This quick and easy Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe is perfectly seared on the outside and bursting with juices and flavor from the marinade on the inside.

The chicken can be grilled, cooked in a skillet on the stovetop, or even baked, making it the perfect weeknight meal. It’s also packed with enough flavor to impress your dinner guests.

Cilantro Lime chicken breasts with lime wedges

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Why You’ll Love Cilantro Lime Chicken

This Mexican-inspired chicken is the perfect recipe for summer cookouts. The cilantro lime chicken marinade has simple ingredients and takes under 5 minutes to prepare. You can cook this on the grill, on the stovetop, or even in the oven (instructions below).

When the weather starts warming up, grilling is one of our favorite ways to cook chicken breast or thighs because it seals in all of the juices and flavor, just like Grilled Steak or Grilled Pork Tenderloin.

The combination of zesty lime, cilantro, garlic, and a little honey is a clear winner, so it’s going to win your family over and get rave reviews.

Barbecue cilantro lime chicken breast cut into slices with lime wedges

How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken

  • Combine the ingredients for the marinade.
  • Pour marinade over the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Grill, Saute, or Bake the chicken (instructions below). Then, once cooked, serve the chicken with lime wedges and more cilantro to garnish.

Pro Tip:

The marinade is so delicious, we like to brush some over the chicken as it’s being grilled.

cilantro lime chicken marinade

How to Cook Cilantro Lime Chicken

Once the Cilantro Lime Chicken is marinated, you can grill, saute, or bake in the oven. No matter what method you choose, this recipe makes the juiciest chicken!

GRILLED Cilantro Lime Chicken

Heat the grill to medium. Place the marinated chicken onto the grates, cover, and grill for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked to 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.

SKILLET Cilantro Lime Chicken

If you prefer to cook on the stovetop, heat a large skillet or grill pan to medium heat. Coat with 1 Tbsp of oil and then place marinated chicken in the pan in a single layer. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until 165°F. If the chicken is browning too quickly, cover the pan with a lid after you flip it to the second side.

BAKED Cilantro Lime Chicken

It’s easy to bake the chicken following the instructions from our Baked Chicken Breast recipe. Simply bake on a sheet pan or dish for 20 minutes at 400°F or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165°F.

Grilled Cilantro Lime chicken on a plate with cilantro and limes

Can I Use Chicken Thighs?

Yes, chicken thighs will work just as great in this recipe. Grill the chicken like in our Chimichurri Chicken recipe until the thickest part of the meat has an internal reading of at least 165°F. They taste even better when they reach 175˚F. Chicken thighs are more forgiving since they aren’t as lean as chicken breast meat.

What to Serve with Cilantro Lime Chicken?

This classic recipe can easily be served with your favorite Mexican-inspired sides. We love to serve the chicken with white rice or our quick instant pot mashed potatoes. This cilantro lime chicken pairs well with:

Make-Ahead

Due to the amount of lime in the marinade, we don’t recommend marinating for more than 2 hours.

  • To Refrigerate: Once cooled, store any leftover cooked chicken in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Store cooled chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat: Thaw in the fridge overnight. Then reheat in the microwave, in a skillet, or in the oven. You can also eat it cold within one day of defrosting.
cooked and cut barbecue meat with lime slices ready for storing

Once you try the cilantro lime chicken recipe, it will become a regular on your grilling menu. I love that it is enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

More Summer Grilling Recipes

We love cooking outdoors in summer because everything seems to taste and smell better on the grill; chicken, beef, seafood, veggies – you name it! If you love firing up the grill in summer, you will love these grilling recipes.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

5 from 100 votes
Author: Valentina Ablaev
Cilantro Lime Chicken sliced on a plate served with lime wedges
This Cilantro Lime Chicken is the easiest recipe for chicken, and it can be grilled, cooked in a skillet, or baked in the oven. The marinade is bursting with flavor and results in juicy and tender chicken every time! This Mexican-inspired recipe will become a favorite.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 4 servings
  • 2 lbs chicken breast (or thighs), (4 small/medium chicken breasts)*
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, (freshly squeezed)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped, plus more to garnish
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving

Instructions

How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken

  • In a bowl, combine oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper, paprika, and honey for the marinade.
  • Add the chicken to the mixture and allow to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours then cook the chicken either on the grill, in a skillet, or bake it in the oven (see instructions below). Once it's cooked, serve with lime wedges and garnish with more cilantro if desired.

How to Grill Chicken

  • Preheat the grill to medium heat. Cover and grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness, or until cooked through*.

To Cook Chicken in a Skillet

  • Set a large non-stick, non-reactive skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil and sautee chicken in a single layer for 4-5 minutes per side until browned and cooked through*, depending on the thickness of your chicken. If your chicken is very thick, cover the chicken with a lid after you flip it.  

How to Bake Chicken

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the chicken breast on a lined baking sheet or large casserole dish. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Notes

*If chicken breasts are uneven in size, set them between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound them to an even thickness. This will help to tenderize the chicken and cook it faster and more evenly. 
*Chicken breast should be cooked until it reaches 165˚F at the thickest part on an instant-read thermometer

Nutrition Per Serving

377kcal Calories7g Carbs48g Protein16g Fat3g Saturated Fat145mg Cholesterol846mg Sodium877mg Potassium1g Fiber5g Sugar335IU Vitamin A8mg Vitamin C15mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
377
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
16
g
25
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Cholesterol
 
145
mg
48
%
Sodium
 
846
mg
37
%
Potassium
 
877
mg
25
%
Carbohydrates
 
7
g
2
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
48
g
96
%
Vitamin A
 
335
IU
7
%
Vitamin C
 
8
mg
10
%
Calcium
 
15
mg
2
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cilantro lime chicken
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 377
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Valentina Ablaev

I am Valentina, the creator behind the food blog Valentina’s Corner where I share our family’s favorite recipes. When I am not in the kitchen, I enjoy spending quality time with my husband and 5 children. We invite you to join us on our blogging journey!

Read more posts by Valentina

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Lisa
    May 29, 2024

    Recipe so easy! A big favorite summertime favorite! We had it with rice and grilled asparagus!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 29, 2024

      Don’t you just love easy recipes? I’m so glad this is a summer favorit!

      Reply

  • Ali
    May 22, 2024

    Wondering if I can omit the lime until two hours before grilling and add the marinade ingredients four hours ahead of time to the chicken. It’s a time crunch thing!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 22, 2024

      Hi Ali, I have notes on that in my Make ahead section of the recipe post – To Refrigerate: Once cooled, store any leftover cooked chicken in an airtight container for up to 3 days

      Reply

  • Ash
    May 20, 2024

    Had a lot of cilantro and this recipe was perfect to use it! It came out moist and the flavour profile is delicious, especially for the warmer months!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 20, 2024

      That’s so wonderful! Thank you for sharing that feedback with me, Ash!

      Reply

  • Mary Runyon
    May 20, 2024

    My husband and I absolutely loved this recipe! Cooked it on the stove. Next time I will try it on the grill.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 20, 2024

      Yum! I can’t wait to make this again soon! I’m so glad you loved it Mary!

      Reply

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