Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken- This healthy Cilantro Lime Chicken is SO easy to make and packed with flavor! Chicken thighs are marinated in zesty combo of lime, cilantro, olive oil, garlic and a few additional spices to ensure perfectly tender, juicy chicken every time!
Summer is in full swing and it’s HOT! Really HOT I just want to float around in the pool (if I had one) with a frosty margarita in my hand and not worry about cooking . This is just the kind of recipe you need for HOT summer days or days where you want a tasty meal with very little effort.
The secret to this Cilantro Lime Chicken is the marinade. It’s made with lime, cilantro and just a few other easy ingredients. This quick marinade just needs about of 15 minutes to work its magic, but you can prep the chicken up to 24 hours in advance. Fire up the BBQ grill or a grill pan/skillet . This light, bright chicken is mouthwateringly good!
What goes into Cilantro Lime Chicken marinade
- Fresh Cilantro- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro. If you’re not a fan of cilantro or you want to try a different variation or this recipe you can substitute fresh basil (finely chopped).
- Freshly squeezed lime juice- 2 Tbsp ( approx. the juice of one medium lime). I highly recommend freshly squeezing the lime vs. using already bottled lime juice.
- Olive Oil- 2 Tbsp
- Garlic- 2 cloves minced
- Brown sugar- 2 tsp. Just a touch of sweet helps to balance the acidity of the lime juice. You can sub honey or agave if you prefer.
- Cumin- 1 tsp. One of my favorite spices! The addition of just a tiny amount really enhances the flavor of the dish.
- Red Pepper Flakes- ¼ tsp (more to taste). For a touch of heat. Adjust to meet you tastes.
- Grated lime zest (optional)- ¼ tsp. I like to add some fresh lime zest to the marinade to further enhance the brightness of the lime.
How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Whisk together marinade ingredients in a large bowl (or large ziplock bag).
- Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 15 mins. (up to 24 hours).
- Spray a grill pan or skillet with non-stick spray ( If using a cast iron pan/grill pan you may want to lightly coat with oil vs. non-stick spray) . Add chicken to pan and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
- Plate chicken and serve with lime wedges and fresh cilantro for garnish.
What to serve with Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken
This recipe is extremely versatile and will pair nicely with so many things. Here are a few ideas:
Spice it up- Pair with Instant Pot cilantro lime rice (from our sister site HealthyInstantPotRecipes.com) , spicy black beans and Mango Salsa.
Make it a Mexican meal- Serve with Skillet Mexican Street Corn and Mexican Watermelon Salad.
Make a Taco salad- Dice/Slice Chicken and serve over a bed of romaine lettuce and top with cherry tomatoes, corn, black beans sliced avocados.
Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken
For the Marinade
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes more to taste
- ¼ tsp grated lime zest optional
For the Chicken
- 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 2 lbs.)
- Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 limes cut into wedges for serving
- In a medium bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients (chopped cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, brown sugar, cumin, red pepper flakes and lime zest). Add chicken and toss to evenly coat chicken with marinade. Cover and refrigerate. Alternatively, you can use a large ziplock storage bag. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 15 mins. (up to 24 hrs.).
- Spray a large skillet or grill pan with non-stick cooking spray ( if using cast iron you may want to lightly coat pan with oil vs. using non-stick spray). Heat over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 4-6 minutes on each side or until chicken is golden brown and no longer pink ( internal temperature should be 165F). Remove chicken from pan and place on serving dish. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
Cilantro Lime Chicken is super versatile and can be served as a hot or cold. Chilled and sliced Cilantro Lime chicken is a great way to add extra protein to a salad.
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