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Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken

Cooked in the skillet or on the grill, Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken makes a perfect summer meal.

Picture yourself and a few friends on a perfect summer afternoon or evening. You’re in the backyard or at a beach house, someone is lounging in a hammock, a couple of people are tossing a Frisbee, favorite tunes play in the background. What are you making for dinner? This recipe. Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken screams summer, and not just because of the citrusy, fragrant flavors. It’s also simple and quick to make. Prep is easy; while the chicken marinates, make your sides. Then plop the chicken into a skillet or on the grill for a few minutes and serve. Easy, breezy—pass the margaritas!

The cilantro-lime marinade, plus fresh cilantro added at the end, give the chicken its citrusy deliciousness. Tangy cilantro and tart lime complement each other, taking both flavors to a higher level. Because cilantro has a starring role in this recipe, be sure to use the freshest available, preferably straight from the garden.

Boneless chicken thighs are called for here. Can you substitute bone-in thighs or breasts? Yes, but with caveats. Boneless thighs cook more quickly than bone-in and are easier to eat. It’s also easier to chop them up, if you choose, so you can use the meat in tacos or a salad. Chicken breasts have less fat, so they can overcook quickly. Plus, the thickness is uneven. To cook them properly for this dish, pound the breasts thin to even them out and be careful not to overcook. They should just lose their translucency.

Sides choices for this main dish can vary, but you can’t go wrong with black beans and rice or corn on the cob. Or start with a bowl of freshly made gazpacho. Whatever you do, make it easy!

Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken

Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken

Make this summery dish in under an hour! Lots of cilantro and tart lime combine for a plate full of tangy goodness. A perfect weeknight recipe for family or easy weekend fare for guests, it will become your go-to recipe for taco fillings and salad toppings, too.

  • Author: Norann Oleson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Additional Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 1x
  • Category: Entrées


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 limes, divided
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, divided (about 1 cup, loosely packed)
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs


  1. Combine the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill) in a small bowl.
  2. Zest one of the limes and then squeeze the juice. You’ll need 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice, so, if needed, juice half of the second lime. Cut the remaining lime into wedges to garnish the chicken once cooked. Roughly chop the cilantro.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of the lime zest, 2 to 3 tablespoons of the lime juice, and half of the chopped cilantro to the marinade. Stir to combine. (The remaining cilantro will be added fresh after cooking the chicken.)
  4. Place the chicken thighs in a shallow dish or a large zip top bag. Add the marinade and toss the chicken to coat. Allow the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours (refrigerated), turning it once or twice as it marinates.
  5. When ready to cook the chicken, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until well-browned and cooked through. The chicken should have enough of an oil coating from the marinade that you will not need to add any extra to the skillet.
  6. Top the cooked chicken with more fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve with any extra lime wedges.

Have you tried this recipe? It’s an easy, but satisfying dish—please tell us how it turned out for you.


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