Cilantro Lime Chicken Rice Skillet is a 30ish minute, one pan meal with tender chicken, fresh cilantro, and tangy lime. Perfect for a flavorful weeknight dinner!

For a different twist, try one pan Mexican chicken and rice and chicken burrito skillet.

Cilantro lime chicken rice skillet with linen towel around it.

This chicken and rice skillet recipe takes my cilantro lime chicken to the next level, everything you need for dinner in one skillet! Who doesn’t love time-saving one pot meals? Plus, the lime cilantro flavor is out of this world!

I shared a test photo of it on Instagram and you all went crazy asking for the recipe. So, here we go!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy recipe: Basic ingredients, quick prep time, and easy to follow steps.
  • One pan: A great skillet meal where chicken and rice cook together. Less dishes to clean!
  • So flavorful: There is a lot of flavor in both cilantro and lime, and without the extra calories!
  • A crowd pleaser: Chicken and rice is always a hit, everyone just loves that combo!

Ingredients for Cilantro Lime Chicken Rice Skillet

To make this recipe you’ll need a few simple, staple ingredients.

Chicken breasts, rice, garlic, lime, jalapeno, cilantro, cumin, chicken broth, oil, salt and pepper.
  • Chicken: Cube boneless skinless chicken breasts. You can also use chicken thighs, they cook up just as quickly.
  • Jalapeno peppers: Seeds removed and chopped. If you’re into a bit more heat, feel free to leave a few seeds in.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves bring a stronger and more vibrant taste.
  • Chicken broth: Low sodium chicken broth cooks the rice perfectly and boosts flavor.
  • Rice: Use long grain or basmati white rice and be sure to rinse it, I use a mesh strainer for this step.
  • Limes: Use fresh lime juice and zest from 2 limes for the best flavor. Please stay away from bottle juice.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped. If you don’t love it, please see FAQs.
  • Spices: Salt, black pepper, and cumin.
  • Oil: We just need a little for frying. I like to use avocado oil or olive oil because they both add a nice flavor.

How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken Rice Skillet

Here’s a quick step-by-step overview how to make this easy healthy dinner. Full recipe card is located below.

Step by step process how to make cilantro lime chicken skillet.
  • Sear chicken: Heat a large skillet with oil. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until nicely brown. Then, transfer to a plate.
  • Saute aromatics: Put the skillet back on the heat and swirl in the rest of the oil. Toss in the jalapenos and garlic, cook for 1 minute, stirring often to prevent burning. Pour in the chicken broth and scrape up the tasty bits from the pan.
  • Simmer chicken and rice: Add cooked chicken back into the skillet along with the rice, lime juice and zest, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir, cover it up, and bring it to a boil. Then, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 12 minutes.
  • Add cilantro: Give it a taste to check if the rice is cooked. If it’s ready, turn off the heat. If not, give it a few more minutes. Gently stir in the cilantro, and serve hot.

What Rice Can I Use?

  • White rice: Use long grain rice, I tested it with basmati and jasmine rice. Short grain rice will make it mushy.
  • Brown rice: Again, use long grain. It will take longer, about 30-40 minutes. To make sure your rice is cooked, be sure to bring all mixture to a boil first before reducing the heat, use a tight fitting lid, and do not open it too often.
  • Minute rice: Cook for less time, it should be tender in 5-10 minutes.
  • Cauliflower rice: Add only 1/2 cup broth, and cook for 3-4 minutes uncovered and stirring. Or you can cook chicken as per this recipe and combine it with cilantro lime cauliflower rice.
Chicken and rice topped with avocado and limes served on a plate with a fork.

Tips for Best Results

Here are my best tips for mastering this cilantro lime chicken rice skillet.

  • Don’t open the lid too often: It’s OK to open and stir once with white rice, but with brown rice – don’t open.
  • Use a tight lid: The one that fits your skillet well and doesn’t let the steam to escape through the sides.
  • To make it more saucy: Add 1/2 – 1 cup broth after or simply adjust the amount of liquid.
  • Don’t overcook: You want rice that’s al dente with each grain separate rather than sticking together, hence cooking it for 12 minutes. It might be less time for your stove and rice, I recommend checking after 10 minutes.
  • Play it by ear: Ovens, skillets, and rice varies so check at the 10 minute mark and adjust cooking time, liquid, and seasoning at the end as needed.

How to Store and Reheat

Store: If you plan to enjoy leftovers within 5 days, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Freeze: Cook, cool, and place in an airtight container. Then store in the freezer for up to 3 months and thaw in the fridge overnight.

Reheat: You can reheat chicken and rice in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of water or broth to prevent drying out, stirring occasionally until heated through.


What can I use instead of cilantro?

You can substitute parsley for cilantro. Green onion is another great choice but use half the amount.

What else can I add?

Feel free to add onion in with the garlic and jalapenos, corn or diced green chilies with chicken and rice. You can also saute any other veggies like bell peppers, peas, diced tomatoes, zucchini, or chopped spinach and cook with other ingredients.

More Chicken and Rice Recipes

More One Pan Meals to Try

Close up of chicken and rice with lime and cilantro.
Cilantro lime chicken rice skillet with linen towel around it.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Rice Skillet

Cilantro Lime Chicken Rice Skillet is a 30ish minute, one pan meal with tender chicken, fresh cilantro, and lime. Perfect for busy weeknights!
No ratings yet
Servings 6 servings
Calories 427
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes


  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 2-4 jalapeƱos seeded and chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth low sodium
  • 2 cups long grain or basmati white rice rinsed & drained
  • 2 limes juice and zest of, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus a bit more
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper plus a bit more
  • 1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil for frying


  • Preheat large skillet on medium-high heat and swirl 1 tablespoon of oil to coat. Add chicken, a bit of salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring a few times and allowing it to brown a bit. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Return skillet to the heat and swirl remaining oil. Add jalapenos and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Then add chicken broth and deglaze the pan.
  • Add previously cooked chicken, rice, lime juice and zest, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir, cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes.
  • Taste, and if rice is ready turn off heat or cook for a few more minutes. You can also add more chicken broth if you want more saucy dish.
  • Add cilantro, gently stir and serve hot.


  • Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze:Ā For up to 3 months.


Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 378mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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