Cilantro Lime Chicken

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Marinated & broiled, baked or grilled, this Cilantro Lime Chicken is juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside!

This easy recipe needs little prep and few ingredients but it’s loaded with big flavor. Zesty lime with lots of garlic and of course fresh cilantro is the perfect blend.

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken on a plate

Why We Love this Recipe

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken is quick and simple, perfect for those busy nights or summer barbeques! (Double up the marinade and use it to dress as salad as well)!

With relatively few ingredients, this recipe has big flavor.

Not ready to start grilling? This dish can also be broiled in the oven making it the perfect meal all year.

It has lots of flavor and leftovers are great in tacos or even added to a tossed salad.

marinade for cilantro lime chicken

Ingredients & Variations

CHICKEN Boneless chicken thighs are juicy and flavorful when grilled. You can also make this recipe with chicken breasts or bone-in chicken thighs or breasts.  You will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

cilantro lime marinade over chicken thighs


MARINADE Marinades serve to tenderize as well as flavor the meat, and this marinade is as easy as it gets! It’s a simple combination of lime juice, lime zest, cilantro and a hint of seasonings. Toss in some jalapenos or extra red pepper flakes for a spicy kick!


How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken

This recipe is crazy easy.

  1. Marinate chicken in a zip-top bag.
  2. Broil, bake or grill.
  3. Garnish more lime and cilantro and serve immediately.

This chicken goes well with any kind of rice (cilantro lime rice is a favorite).

Add in a flavorful side dish like  Mexican corn salad or even some simply boiled corn on the cob.

Cilantro lime chicken on a plate with seasonings

Tips for Success

  • Allow chicken to marinate at least 30 minutes.
  • Fresh lime is best in this recipe, the flavor of bottled lime can be bitter.
  • The best way to tell if the chicken is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer, it should reach 165°F.
  • Leftover chicken is great in a sandwich or sliced over a bed of lettuce for a tasty next-day-at-work salad!

Mexican-Inspired Recipes

Did you make this grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken?  Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken on a plate
4.93 from 28 votes
Review Recipe

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marinade 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 4 thighs
Marinated and grilled, this Cilantro Lime Chicken is juicy and full of flavor!


  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 lime for serving


  • 2 tablespoons lime juice fresh
  • 1/4 cup cilantro fresh, minced plus extra for garnish
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

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  • Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Pour marinade over chicken and let marinate 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

To Grill

  • Preheat grill to medium high heat.
  • Cook chicken on an oiled grate for 7-8 minutes. Turn over and cook an additional 7-8 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F.
  • Rest 5 minutes before serving. Serve with lime slices and additional chopped cilantro.

To Bake

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place chicken on a baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F.
  • Rest 5 minutes before serving. Serve with lime slices and additional chopped cilantro.

Recipe Notes

  • The marinade can also be pulsed in a blender a couple of times if you prefer.
  • Allow chicken to marinate at least 30 minutes.
  • Fresh lime is best in this recipe, the flavor of bottled lime can be bitter.
  • Due to the high amount of citrus in this recipe, don't marinate longer than 2 hours. 
  • This marinade can be used to cook bone-in chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
  • Optional add-ins: add 1 teaspoon of chili powder and/or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper to the marinade to add a little bit of heat. 
To Broil Chicken
  1. Place on a grate or rack on a foil lined pan.
  2. Broil chicken 4-inches from the element for 5-6 minutes per side.
To Cook Bone-In Chicken Thighs or Breasts
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Add the chicken skin side down (reserve the marinade) and cook 3-4 minutes or until browned. Flip over and cook 2 minutes more.
  3. Add remaining marinade to the pan. Bake 25-27 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F. Broil 2-3 minutes to crisp if desired.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 149, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 107mg, Sodium: 412mg, Potassium: 340mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 428IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 2mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Chicken, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican, Tex Mex
Cilantro lime chicken on a plate and a marinade shown with a title
Cilantro lime chicken on a plate with lime wedges shown with a title
Cilantro lime chicken on a plate shown with a title
About the author


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


    1. Hi Bee, we have only made this recipe as listed but you could maybe maple syrup in place of the honey. We would love to hear how it turns out for you!

  1. I’ve used this recipe about 40 times so I decided it’s time to leave a review! My kids call this Mexican chicken and it’s one of their favorites. Chicken is juicy and tender, so good.5 stars

  2. This is so GOOD!!! It is our new favorite recipe.
    I added extra honey and used chili powder.
    I can’t wait to make it again. 5 stars

  3. The marinade was tasty; however, there wasn’t enough marinade for 2 lb chicken. I would also use way more than 2 tbsp lime juice. I grilled the chicken after marinading 2+ hrs. I’ll make it again.3 stars

  4. This chicken recipe is delicious! It was easy to marinade and from the grill, it was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Very flavorful! I served it with Jasmine rice and corn on the cob.5 stars

  5. This is amazingly good…and very easy.

    Thank you so much for your continued efforts – Spend With Pennies is a joy to visit…I’m here every day for inspiration and ideas!

    Keep up the good work.5 stars