Flavorful Chili Lime Chicken is moist and tender from lime, chili powder and cumin chicken marinade that gives it the best taste. Bake, grill or fry and use in tacos, salads or fajitas year round.
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This chili lime chicken 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 healthy pasta salad and Instant Pot corn on the cob for a summer potluck.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Chili lime chicken marinade keeps chicken juicy and tender.
- Easy chicken recipe contains only a few ingredients for a healthy main dish.
- Double the recipe and use it in healthy salad recipes throughout the week
Ingredients for Chili Lime Chicken
Only a few ingredients makes this chili lime chicken recipe simply wonderful!
- Chicken: We like to use boneless skinless chicken breasts but you can also use chicken thighs.
- Fresh limes: Citrus helps the meat absorb all the flavors of chili lime chicken marinade.
- Maple syrup: A small amount balances the subtle heat of chili powder. Feel free to use sugar as well.
- 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
How to Make Chili Lime Chicken Marinade
For the chili lime chicken marinade, I use a bit of olive oil mixed with a lot of fresh lime juice and my favorite simple Mexican spices like chili powder and cumin.
I even use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic to make chicken marinade recipe quicker and to prevent garlic from overpowering other spices.
Whisk marinade in a large bowl and then place chicken in it. Because chili lime chicken marinade contains a lot of lime juice, you can marinate chicken for as little as 30 minutes but not longer than 24 hours.
It literally takes 5-10 minutes to combine everything in a bowl.
How to Bake, Grill or Fry Chili Lime Chicken
I cook chili lime chicken using all methods depending on my life situation.
Back then we did not have an outdoor grill because we just moved. I cooked chicken on an indoor grill because who doesn’t love grilled chicken breast in the summer?!
So, here is a quick overview how to grill chili lime chicken. Full recipe card with all cooking methods is located below.
Preheat grill on medium-high heat and rub clean grill grates with oiled paper towel. Place chili lime chicken on the grill, close the lid and grill for 5-6 minutes or until nice grill marks appear.
Then using a spatula, flip the chicken, close the grill and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 F.
Tips for Best Results
Here are my top tips for the best chili lime chicken recipe from the first try!
- Use chicken thighs: If you love dark meat, feel free to use boneless skinless chicken thighs. They are more juicy but higher in fat than chicken breasts. You will have to cook them for a shorter amount of time.
- You can also use bone-in chicken: You can use bone-in and skin-on chicken like chicken drumstick or chicken thighs. You may have to cook it low and slow on the grill and on the pan. Here is how to grill chicken thighs tutorial. And for the oven, here is a step-by-step guide how to bake chicken thighs. It is same baking temperature just longer cooking time.
- Let the meat rest: 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.
- Discard the marinade: Do not consume it with grilled chicken as it has harmful bacteria in it.
- Longer marinated chicken cooks faster.
- Bottled lime juice: You can use it but your chicken won’t be as flavorful as with fresh lime juice, but it still works.
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.
Lime juice is acid. Not only it infuses this chili lime chicken with excellent flavor, it also tenderizes it.
You can marinate chicken in lime juice based marinade not longer than 24 hours. Past that your cooked chicken will have unpleasant texture because acid will start cooking it during marinating.
As per USDA guidelines, your chili lime chicken is ready when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165 F.
To pan fry chili lime chicken, preheat skillet on medium heat, add oil and cook chicken for 5-6 minutes per side.
To bake chili lime chicken, preheat oven to 450 degrees F, lay chicken breasts in a single layer in a baking dish and bake uncovered for 25 minutes (thinner) to 35 minutes (2″+) or until 165 degrees F internal temperature is reached.
Rubbery chicken is usually an indicator of overcooked chicken. The longer you cook it, the more moisture it loses and becomes rubbery.
More Chicken Recipes to Try
- Greek chicken marinade
- Instant Pot white chicken chili
- Healthy white chicken chili
- Ground chicken chili
- Baked honey garlic chicken
- Grilled chicken burger
Chili Lime Chicken
- In a medium bowl, add lime juice, oil, maple syrup, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork.
- Add chicken to the bowl, cover and marinate for 30 minutes to 24 hours in the refrigerator. The longer you marinate, the deeper the flavor.
- To pan fry: Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl a bit of oil to coat. Add chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165 F. Discard the marinade.
- To grill: Preheat grill on medium-high heat (450-500 degrees F) and rub grates with oiled paper towel. Place chicken on the grill, close the lid and grill for 10-12 minutes turning once. Do not overcook.
- 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 in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Up to 3 months.