Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken! Marinate skinless boneless chicken breasts in lime juice and cilantro marinade and then quickly grill to perfection. So easy!

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken on plate
Elise Bauer

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.

Video: How to Make Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken


Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

Tips for Grilling Chicken Breasts

  • Pound to even thickness: Pounding the boneless, skinless breasts to an even thickness will help the meat cook more evenly, so you don't have the extremes of raw and dry.
  • Marinate: 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.
  • Work with chilled meat: Since the chicken breasts have been formed into rather thin cutlets, 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.

Don't Like Cilantro?

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 or arugula. Enjoy!

grilled chicken breast next to avocado slices, a lime wedge, and a sprig of cilantro
Elise Bauer

What to Serve With Cilantro Lime Chicken

Try serving this chicken topped with sliced avocado and with a side of refried black beans, cilantro lime rice, or this Mexican quinoa salad. Any of these would be a great compliment to the flavors in the chicken.

More Grilled Chicken Recipes to Try!

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Marinating 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

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

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for the marinade, plus more for grilling

  • Grated zest from 2 limes

  • Juice from 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)

  • 3 tablespoons 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, optional for serving


  1. Pound chicken breasts to even thickness:

    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.

    chicken being pounded down
    Elise Bauer
  2. Marinate the chicken:

    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.

    bowl of cilantro lime chicken marinade
    Elise Bauer
    chicken breasts coated in cilantro and lime in bowl
    Elise Bauer
  3. Preheat Grill:

    Preheat a gas or charcoal grill for medium-high heat grilling, or until you can hold your hand about an inch over the grates for 1 second.

  4. Grill the chicken:

    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 just cooked through.

    cilantro lime chicken on grill
    Elise Bauer
    grilled cilantro lime chicken
    Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
306 Calories
11g Fat
2g Carbs
47g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 306
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 129mg 43%
Sodium 289mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 47g
Vitamin C 7mg 36%
Calcium 28mg 2%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 412mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.