Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken


Hello summer and cooking chicken on a grill! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I struggle with grilling chicken breasts.

The meat can very easily end up charred and dry on the outside or ends, while still raw on the inside. What we’ve done here helps result in juicy chicken breasts, with nice grill marks to boot.

First we pound the boneless, skinless breasts to an even thickness, which will help the meat cook more evenly, so you don’t have the extremes of raw and dry.

Then we marinate the chicken in an acidic marinade made with lime juice. It’s almost like using buttermilk, but lime flavored. The acid helps tenderize the meat for grilling.

Since the chicken breasts have been formed into rather thin cutlets, we take them directly from the refrigerator to the grill. That way, they don’t overcook in the time it takes to get nice grill marks on them.

Cilantro lime chicken is a classic Southwestern favorite. Not everyone likes cilantro though, so if that’s you, change it up a bit and try adding grated fresh ginger to the marinade instead. Or maybe some minced garlic and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

  • Prep time: 35 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

The lime is the predominant flavor in this chicken recipe. We've paired it with cilantro. You could also try it with minced ginger, some garlic, or even mint.

We pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness and then chill them before grilling. Chilled, even-thickness chicken breasts will be less likely to overcook in the time it takes to get grill marks.


  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil for the marinade plus more for grilling
  • Grated zest from 2 limes
  • Juice from 2 limes, about 1/4 cup
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Lime wedges, fresh sprigs of cilantro, and slices of avocado to serve


1 Place the chicken breasts between two piece of plastic wrap or wax paper and pound to an even thickness with a meat mallet or rolling pin.


2 Mix the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, sugar, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and massage the marinade into the chicken. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours or overnight.

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3 Preheat the grill for medium high heat. Remove the chicken breasts from the refrigerator. Remove them from the marinade and pat them dry with paper towels. Coat the chicken breasts with some olive oil. Soak a paper towel in a little more oil and use tongs to wipe the grill grates. When the grill is hot, place the chicken breasts on the grill. Grill for a few minutes on each side, until cooked through.

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Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

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Showing 4 of 28 Comments

  • Janine

    Made this tonight and put in whole wheat tortilla with avocado, shredded Monterey Jack, salsa, black beans and cilantro. I marinated the chicken over night and it was delicious. It could have been eaten on its own. I will be making this again in a salad and a main dish. I did enjoy it in my burrito too

  • Jessica

    This was great! My only criticism is that the cilantro taste was hardly noticeable. Next time, I will add more or at least make sure that enough from the marinade stays on the chicken when I cook it. This chicken was totally delicious though, and smelled amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  • Karen

    I’ve made this a couple of times. So good!
    I slice it over a mixed green salad with feta and
    Avocado and simply lime juice and olive oil and a small sprinkle of lemon pepper. YUM!
    I like Wendy’s idea for the tortilla wraps as well…I’d add a lime, cilantro and garlic aioli to punch up the lime flavour.

  • Wendy

    Made this last night for dinner. Only had 1 lb of chicken breasts, but kept everything else the same! It was absolutely delicious and tasted so fresh. We chopped up the chicken and served it in homemade corn tortillas topped with pico de gallo, sour cream and monterey jack! SO good!!
    This recipes going into our favorites cookbook :)

  • Jeff

    This was absolutely wonderful Elise! I just had to post about my experience making it and take some really awful pictures! :) But I totally linked back to you because you deserve all the kudos for this one! Thanks again and keep the good stuff coming! Cheers!

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