by Olena

Chili Lime Chicken

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Olena Osipov
5 from 7 votes

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Flavorful Mexican Chili Lime Chicken in as little as 30 minutes. Bake, grill or fry and use in tacos, salads or fajitas year round. This chicken recipe stays moist and tender from a lime, chili powder and cumin marinade that gives it the best taste.

Check out other fresh flavored chicken recipes like lemon chicken, coconut lime grilled chicken thighs and grilled chicken breast.

grilled chili lime chicken with limes

This 30 minute dinner idea is full of flavor and can be served in a variety of ways! Use it for a Tex-Mex themed dinner served with Mexican street corn salad and guacamole or pair it with pasta salad and Instant Pot corn for a summer potluck.

Why This Chili Lime Chicken Works?

  • Chili lime chicken marinade keeps chicken juicy and tender
  • Easy recipe contains only a few ingredients for a healthy main dish
  • Perfect for summer – we love to alternate it with cilantro lime chicken
  • Double the recipe and use it in salads throughout the week

Ingredients for This Chicken Recipe

Only a few ingredients makes this chili lime chicken breast recipe simply wonderful!

  • Chicken Breast: We like chicken breasts, but you can use chicken thighs.
  • Lime: Citrus helps the chicken absorb all the flavors of this simple marinade.
  • Maple Syrup: A small amount balances the subtle heat of chili powder.
  • Cumin: Adds a nutty, earthy flavor and goes perfectly with chili and lime.
  • Chili Powder: This aromatic spice really takes the flavor up a notch for this chicken.
  • Other seasonings: garlic powder, salt and pepper
ingredients chili lime chicken

Best Chicken to Use

The best chicken to use to make chili lime chicken are boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Depends whether you are white or dark meat person.

Thighs are more juicy but higher in fat than more lean chicken breasts. I do not find chicken breast dry because I cook it properly. There is a trick.

You can use bone in and skin on chicken. You will want to cook it low and slow on the grill and on the pan. In the oven, same baking temperature just longer cooking time.

How to Make Chili Lime Chicken Marinade

For the chicken marinade, I use a bit of olive oil mixed with a lot of lime juice and my favorite simple Mexican spices like chili powder and cumin.

Lime gives the most fresh, summer-y flavor in this recipe and others like cilantro lime cauliflower, zucchini noodles with cilantro chicken and lime, and lime iced tea.

I even use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic to make marinade recipe quicker and to prevent garlic from overpowering other spices.

Whisk marinade in the bowl and then place chicken in it. Because chili lime marinade contain a lot of lime juice, you can marinate chicken for as little as 30 minutes and as long as 48 hours.

It literally takes 5-10 minutes to combine everything in a bowl.

Bake, Grill or Fry

I cook chili lime chicken using all methods depending on my life situation. Right now we do not have an outdoor grill because we moved. I cooked chicken on an indoor grill because who doesn’t love grilled chicken in the summer. In winter, I would crave more baked or fried chicken – it would even be great variation of air fryer chicken breast!

No matter how you cook your chili lime chicken, you have to let meat rest. Resting chicken means to cover a dish with cooked chicken with a tin foil, towel or silicone lid. Let it sit like that for 5-10 minutes. That allows juices to settle back in a meat.

What to Serve Chili Lime Chicken With?

My absolute favorite way to serve any chicken is with a side of whole grain and veggies like quinoa and Mexican kale salad. I just love simple and quick meals. My family does too. It took 30 minutes for all of this goodness.

And cut up and serve in chicken tacos or a grilled chicken salad. Don’t forget to try it along with black bean salsa or mango salsa.

sliced chili lime chicken served with salad and quinoa


How do you grill juicy chicken?

The key to juicy grilled chicken is letting your meat rest covered after cooking. After your chicken is done, cover with foil, lid or even a bowl and rest for up to 10 minutes. Resting allows juices to settle back in the chicken, making it juicy and tender!

What does lime juice do to chicken?

Lime infuses this chicken with excellent flavor. When a citrus marinade is combined with salt and oil, the result is a flavor depth profile that results in an amazing taste.

More Healthy Chicken Recipes

chili lime chicken sliced on a plate
Chili Lime Chicken

Chili Lime Chicken {Bake, Grill or Fry}

Flavorful Mexican Chili Lime Chicken in as little as 30 minutes. Bake, grill or fry and use in tacos, salads or fajitas year round. This chicken recipe stays moist and tender from a lime, chili powder and cumin marinade that gives it the best taste.
5 from 7 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 221kcal
Author: Olena Osipov


  • 2 lbs chicken breasts or thighs boneless
  • 3 limes juice of
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste


  • In a medium bowl, add lime juice, oil, maple syrup, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork.
    Chili Lime Chicken
  • Add chicken to the bowl, poking and tossing with a fork. This will allow marinade to penetrate the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 mins – 48 hours. The longer you marinate, the deeper the flavor.
    Chili Lime Chicken
  • To pan fry: Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl a bit of oil to coat. Add chicken, cover and cook for 5-6 minutes. Flip and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until the thickest part juices run clear when poked with a knife or fork. Discard marinade.
  • To grill: Preheat grill on medium-high (450-500 degrees F) and rub with oiled paper towel. Place chicken on the grill, close the lid and grill for 8-10 minutes turning once. Do not overcook. Discard marinade.
    Chili Lime Chicken
  • To bake: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Rub bottom of large baking dish with oil and lay chicken breasts in a single layer. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes (thinner) to 35 minutes (2″+) or until 150 degrees F internal temperature. Discard marinade.
  • For all methods: Make sure you let chicken rest. Place cooked chicken onto a baking dish and cover with tin foil, silicone lid or paper towel. Let rest for 5 minutes. This step helps juices settle back into the meat.

Store: Refrigerate covered for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.


    Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 386mg | Potassium: 629mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 329IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
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