by Olena

Cilantro Lime Chicken (Video)

by Olena

5 from 14 reviews

This Cilantro Lime Chicken can be grilled, baked or fried so you can enjoy it year round. The best part – marinate from 30 mins to 48 hours. So much flavor either way!

Unlike my oven baked chicken breast and baked chicken thighs, this chicken breast is so summer-y. That’s why I’m sharing. 🙂

sliced cilantro lime chicken on a platter

Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

This cilantro lime chicken is tangy, full of cilantro flavor, garlicky and a bit of a heat kick. And yet so simple to make! My friend used to make Rachael Ray’s cilantro lime chicken recipe and that’s how I got introduced to it. To clarify, this is my cilantro lime chicken recipe madde to my Ukrainian taste.

It is such an easy and healthy chicken recipe to have for a weeknight dinner or entertain with on the weekend. Add guacamole and some organic tortilla chips, Mexican kale salad, Instant Pot corn on the cob, margaritas and beers and you have a healthy Mexican fiesta!

Don’t worry, I will not ask you to marinate the chicken for a long time.You will be eating juicy and flavorful baked, grilled or pan fried cilantro lime chicken today. It is amazing! You will see for yourself.

cilantro lime chicken on a platter garnished with lime

Ingredients You Will Need

Cilantro lime chicken ingredients are simple whole foods. You probably have them on hand right now.

  • Chicken
  • Limes
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Oil
  • Cumin, cayenne, black pepper and salt.

limes, cilantro, garlic, cumin, oil, spices and chicken breasts

What Is Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade?

To make cilantro lime chicken marinade:

  • In a food processor or blender add rinsed cilantro with stems and not chopped. I’m obsessed with my small chopper. It is so easy to pull out, wash and store. And it does amazing job. 
  • Then add freshly squeezed lime juice. I like to use this tool because it gets all of the juice. It is also a perfect opportunity to use up old limes.
  • Then blend until marinade is combined.

Tip: You can finely chop cilantro, grate garlic and whisk marinade by hand. In case you do not have a blender or a food processor. Healthy food can be prepared without fancy gadgets.

cilantro lime chicken marinade prepared in a food processor

How Long to Marinate Chicken?

To marinate chicken in cilantro lime sauce:

  • I like to stab it randomly with a fork. On a bad day, a very satisfying procedure. Small cuts allow marinade to penetrate chicken deeper, especially if you are marinating for a short amount of time.
  • Pour marinade on top. Using same fork, toss around the bowl to coat. And I try to use plastic bags as little as possible because they are not recyclable. But I wash them with soap anyways. But anyways, a glass bowl is the best.
  • Cover and marinate for as little as 30 mins to 48 hours. The longer chicken marinates, the bigger the flavor. But honestly, both 30 mins and 24 hour marinated cilantro chicken had such amazing flavors.

Tip: To save on plastic, I use homemade beeswax wraps. You can also buy wraps on Amazon but homemade are cheaper, obviously.

how to make cilantro lime chicken step by step

Can I Use Chicken Thighs?

Yes. Both boneless and skinless chicken breast or thighs work to make cilantro lime chicken. Thighs are dark meat and more fatty and juicy. But because our marinade contains acid from lime juice, lots of flavor and we use proper cooking technique, chicken breasts will be just as juicy.

I would say whatever is cheaper at Costco.:)

How to Make Baked Cilantro Lime Chicken

No matter how you choose to cook chicken, discard marinade.

  • Rub the bottom of large baking dish with oil and lay marinated chicken breasts in a single layer.
  • Bake uncovered in 450 degrees F preheated oven for: 25 minutes for chicken breasts under 2 inches thick or 35 minutes for chicken breasts over 2 inches thick.
  • Or until internal read thermometer registers 150 degrees F internal temperature. You do not need to wait for 165 degrees F as meat will get there during resting. This way you will avoid dry chicken.

Tip: For very large and thick chicken breasts slice them in half lengthwise starting where “the bump” is. It reduces cooking time.

How to Pan Fry Cilantro Lime Chicken

Pan frying cilantro lime chicken is the method I prefer unless it’s summer. My mom always cooked chicken this way, and it’s fast and brings fond memories.

  • Cook cilantro lime chicken thighs or breasts in preheated on medium heat skillet for 5-6 minutes covered. Covering chicken will allow it to get cooked through in the thickest part without burning. However, keep in mind that pieces of cilantro will burn a bit and that’s fine.
  • Flip and cook uncovered for another 5-6 minutes. Or until the thickest part juices run clear when poked with a knife or fork.

pan frying cilantro lime chicken

How to Make Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

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.

Always rest your meat after cooking. But don’t cover it with homemade beeswax wraps. Heat melts the wax. Lesson learnt.

What Goes Well with Cilantro Lime Chicken?

How to Store and Freeze

Refrigerate cilantro lime chicken for up to 5 days in an airtight container. To keep chicken moist, slice right before serving.

Freeze cooked chicken for up to 3 months, again in an airtight container. I love glass containers because there are numerous studies on how chemicals contained in plastics are in our bloodstream. Plus so much better for the planet.

I think it is best to cut, slice or shred your chicken before freezing it. It will thaw faster and you can add it to your meal right away. Frozen and thawed chicken is great to be added to casseroles.

More Easy Chicken Breast Recipes

Enjoy this cilantro lime chicken! And I hope you come back and let me know how you liked it in comments below. I love hearing from you!

baked, grilled or pan fried cilantro lime chicken garnished with cilantro and limes


Cilantro Lime Chicken

cilantro lime chicken breast thighs

5 from 14 reviews

Pan fried, baked or grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken with as little as 1 hour marinating. For easy dinner, get togethers, meal prep, tacos and salads.

  • Author: Olena of
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 chicken breasts 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove, Oven or Grill
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • 2 lbs chicken breasts or thighs, boneless & skinless
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 4 limes, juice of
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a food processor or blender, add cilantro (whole and with stems), lime juice, garlic, olive oil, cumin, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Process until marinade forms, pausing and scraping the walls.
  2. Add chicken in a medium bowl and poke with a fork randomly. This will allow marinade to penetrate the meat. Pour marinade on top and toss with a fork to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 mins – 48 hours. The longer you marinate, deeper the flavor, but even after 30 mins cilantro chicken tastes awesome.
  3. To pan fry (pictured): Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl a bit of avocado oil to coat. Add as many chicken breasts as fit, 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. For all methods: Make sure you let chicken rest. Remove from heat and cover dish with tin foil, silicone lid or paper towel. Let rest for 5 minutes. This step helps juices to settle back into the meat.

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


For very large and thick chicken breasts slice them in half lengthwise starting where “the bump” is. It reduces cooking time.

Because of the nature of marinade, if you pan fry chicken, cilantro will burn a bit on the bottom. And that’s fine. It creates a nice crust. Yum.

If you do not have blender or food processor, you can finely chop cilantro, grate garlic and whisk marinade by hand.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

30 comments on “Cilantro Lime Chicken (Video)

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  1. OMG so good. I struggle to find a chicken marinade my husband likes since he’s not a huge fan of most citrus but this is AMAZING! we did boneless skinless chicken thighs and I marinated for about 7 hours. We grilled it instead of baked it and I only did 1 Tbs of oil. I served it with mexi rice and the combo was perfection. This is most definitely going on my rotating dinner list

  2. Excellent !
    My 17 year old daughter who loves to cook and experiment with new and healthy recipes made this; and the whole family enjoyed it.
    It was simple and yummy❤️
    Love your recipes !!!

  3. i made this recipe for my dinner, i marinated it at noon, and in the evening i grilled it in my pan, served it with green bean, carrots and mushrooms. it tasted soooo refreshing from the lime and it smells so yummy. my daughters loved it, and definitely I’ll make it again next time. 😍👍👍👍👍

  4. You have a great site, my favorite for recipes! And I love your tips like avoiding plastics. And washing and reusing baggies, I’ve done that too! The tip here for cooking chicken to 150 and letting it rest is the kind of info I really find helpful though. I’ve always stood over the grill poking my chicken until it got to 165 and then wondered why it was always dry??? Experienced chef tips like these are how I can tell you personally actually prepare these recipes yourself and that sets you apart. Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much for your positive feedback Bill! I am thrilled that you are finding my website helpful for your cooking!

  5. This recipe is so simple and flavourful. Absolutely love it. Even my son, who isn’t much of a citrus fan…..2 thumbs up!
    Yum yum 😁😁

  6. Made this cilantro-lime marinade using chicken thighs, excellent and sp juicy.
    My go-to until I try the Greek marinade, thanks!

  7. Thanks again Olena! My son had complained that he’s sick of chicken thighs (his former favorite). This recipe put them back in his good books. We love cilantro in our family so I was happy to try this one out. It was really simple and I actually ended up marinating this for 48 hours because as most families have happen, our schedules changed and that dinner was delayed to the next evening. I didn’t have the heart to take the few leftovers for lunch the next day…left them for my son. 🙂

  8. New to your website and love it! I wish it had the caloric content though. I am watching my weight and looking for all sorts of healthy chicken recipes and your website is fantastic. so excited to try this one

    1. Hi Sally and welcome. Nutritional info is located inside the recipe card for each recipe. Please give it a second to load. Enjoy and please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

      1. Hello, I am looking for nutritional information for this recipe too. I opened/selected to Print the recipe and waited a few min, but don’t see nutritional info/didn’t load. Love your site, have found several recipes to try as I am diabetic and need to lose weight. Thank you!

          1. Hi Olena, I’m on a Mac/Chrome, I haven’t tried on my iPhone or iPad yet. I refresh the page, sometimes the nutritional info loads and sometimes it doesn’t, bizarre.
            But I’m actually making this recipe tonight for dinner for me and my hubby, so can’t wait to taste it! I made your chicken and zucchini (I just cut up the zucchini vs. zucchini spaghetti) recipe last night, it was so delicious! Molto Grazie!

          2. Sigh…isn’t technology great when it works?! I will keep digging into this issue as a few other people have the same difficulties. On another hand, so so happy to read this! Thanks for your positive feedback, Marina!

  9. I made this for dinner for two expecting leftovers for the next day’s lunch. Never lasted long enough for lunch. It was DELICIOUS!! No changes to to your recipe – it was perfect as is! Yummmmmmm

  10. Perfect recipe! I’ve made it four times this summer already and it’s always a hit. So thankful I found your site, I just keep making all your recipes and the family loves them. All of them are spot on and delicious!

  11. We marinaded for 24 hours and grilled chicken breasts for Father’s Day. Best chicken we’ve ever grilled. We made street tacos with it. Definitely a make again and again recipe!

  12. Made your cilantro lime chicken for Mother’s Day and it was fantastic! Thank you for this recipes. More chicken breast recipes please.

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