$6.67 RECIPE / $1.11 SERVING
The sun is shining, Cinco de Mayo is approaching, and I’m craving fresh, vibrant flavors like cilantro and lime.
Okay, so I’m craving margaritas, but my body won’t allow me to drink them in large quantities, so I’ll get those flavors from chicken instead.
This Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken is a simplified version of one of my older recipes, Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks, which is cooked in the oven. It’s so much faster and easier in the skillet, and the boneless thighs I use are always tender and juicy.
There are a lot of possibilities with this recipe, so keep reading to learn more!
CAN I MAKE THIS WITH CHICKEN BREAST?
Yes, boneless, skinless chicken breast can be used in this recipe. However, because chicken breasts are pickier, you’ll need to do an extra step.
Because chicken breasts dry out more quickly, pound them out to an equal thickness of no more than 3/4 inch before cooking. This will guarantee that the chicken cooks completely through without drying out.
CAN I USE CHICKEN WITH BONE-IN?
Bone-in chicken is not recommended for this quick skillet approach since it takes longer to cook through. Instead, try my oven-baked Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks recipe (you can use drumsticks or thighs).
CAN THE CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN BE COOKED ON A GRILL?
Yes. Marinate the chicken as normal, then grill until each side is thoroughly browned and cooked through. The open flame will enhance the flavor of this chicken.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS FOR CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN
Cowboy Caviar is my favorite accompaniment to Cilantro Lime Chicken, but it also works well with Quick Seasoned Black Beans and Taco Rice, Cumin Lime Coleslaw, Sweet Corn Salsa, or Warm Corn and Avocado Salad.
You could also slice the chicken and use it to top your favorite salad or chop it up and use it to fill tacos!
EASY CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN
Servings: one thigh each
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil ($0.32)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced ($0.32)
- 1/2 tsp cumin ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- freshly cracked pepper ($0.05)
- 2 limes, divided ($0.40)
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, divided ($0.40)
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1.5 to 1.75 lbs. total) ($5.11)
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, salt, and freshly cracked pepper (approximately 10 pepper mill cranks).
- One lime should be zested and the juice squeezed. You’ll need 2-3 tablespoons of lime juice, so juice half of the second lime if necessary. Once the chicken is cooked, cut the remaining lime into wedges to serve as a garnish. Cut the cilantro into small pieces.
- To the marinade, add 1 teaspoon lime zest, 2-3 tablespoons lime juice, and half of the chopped cilantro. Stir everything together. (The remaining cilantro will be added after the chicken has been cooked.)
- In a shallow dish or a large zip-top bag, place the chicken thighs. Toss the chicken in the marinade to coat it. Allow the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes (refrigerated) or up to 8 hours (at room temperature), rotating it once or twice.
- Heat a big skillet over medium-high heat when you’re ready to fry the chicken. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until fully browned and cooked through, after the pan is hot. I didn’t need to add any more oil to the skillet because the marinade had coated the chicken well enough.
- Add extra fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice to the cooked chicken. With any leftover lime wedges, serve.
- Serving: 1 Serving
- Calories: 238.82 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 3.42 g
- Protein: 22.63 g
- Fat: 16.28 g
- Sodium: 340.73 mg
- Fiber: 0.92 g
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN
- In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp olive oil, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (approximately 10 cranks of a pepper mill) to make the cilantro lime marinade.
- One lime should be zested and juiced. You’ll need 2-3 tablespoons of lime juice, so juice half of the second lime if necessary. To serve with the cooked chicken, cut any remaining lime into wedges. 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped The marinade will use half of the cilantro, while the other half will be used to garnish the grilled chicken.
- Toss in half of the chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon lime zest, and 2-3 tablespoons lime juice (depending on the size of your lime). Stir everything together.
- In a shallow dish or large zip-top bag, place six boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 to 1.75 pounds total). Toss the chicken in the marinade to coat it. Allow for 30 minutes of marinating time (or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator), flipping the chicken once or twice.
- Heat a big skillet over medium-high heat when you’re ready to fry the chicken. The skillet should be very hot so that the chicken browns and cooks rapidly. If the heat is too low or the chicken is overcrowded, it will become soupy and not brown, so cook in two batches if necessary. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through.
- Toss the cooked chicken with the remaining chopped cilantro.
- Serve with lime wedges so that each individual can squeeze their own lime over the final chicken.
- It’s all about the lime.
This dinner preps beautifully, too, with Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken, Quick Seasoned Black Beans, and Easy Taco Rice!