Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

GrillSouthwesternLow CarbPaleoGrilled Chicken

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

Photography Credit: 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.

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!

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!

Updated June 17, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Marinating time: 30 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.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds skinless, 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, to serve

Method

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.

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.

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.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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43 Comments / Reviews

No ImageGrilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Christine

    So delicious, tender and moist. I marinated for about 6 hours, then grilled just 3 1/2 minutes per side at around 325 degrees, grill closed. Perfect! Thank you for a great recipe.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Karlette

    Delish and easy! I used boneless, skinless thighs as I prefer dark meat to light. My husband said it was a winner. I served it with a favorite “southwestern” side: https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/pan-fried-squash-with-broken-tostadas-cilantro-and-lime Served this meal out on the deck with a glass of chilled rose’ on a warm summer evening. Great!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. SANDRA

    Sencillamente delicioso

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Katie Mae

    So Delicious! Wish I could attach a pic! Turned out so beautiful!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Lisa

    I have found that marinating chicken more than 2 hours in lime or lemon juice can actually toughen the meet. I marinate in buttermilk overnight and then in the flavored marinade for 1.5-2 hours on the day I grill the chicken.

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Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken on plateGrilled Cilantro Lime Chicken