Cilantro Lime Chicken

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Cilantro Lime Chicken is both simple and flavorful! Pair it with cilantro-lime rice and mango avocado salsa for a delicious, healthy meal.

Cilantro Lime Chicken on a bed of rice with fresh salsa.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

The marinade for this Cilantro-Lime Chicken is everything a good marinade should be: it’s easy to whip together, has so much flavor, and doesn’t contain any “strange” ingredients. This recipe also pairs really well with my mango salsa--I always make it as a side when I make this dish. I’d recommend giving it a shot!

All the ingredients for this recipe prepped out for easy assembly.

How To Make Cilantro-Lime Chicken

  1. Whisk together the marinade: Remove about 1/2 cup of the marinade (we’ll use it later).
  2. Prep the chicken: You want to pound chicken breasts to an even thickness so they’ll cook evenly later on. This is best accomplished by a meat mallet.
  3. Marinate: Place the chicken in the marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  4. Cook: Grill, bake, or saute the chicken until it reaches 165 degrees F. (Take the guesswork out by using a digital meat thermometer.)
  5. Baste: As you cook the chicken, brush it occasionally with the reserved marinade mix. 

The marinade being whisked together and added to the chicken for this cilantro lime chicken recipe.

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure to slice the chicken in half, or pound it to an even thickness before marinating. This allows the chicken to soak up more flavor from the marinade (improves taste), and the even thickness will allow it to cook evenly.
  • If grilling, generously oil your grill grates. I do this by rolling up a few paper towels, drenching them in oil (I use canola), and using tongs, rub the drenched paper towels along the grill grates. Doing this will contribute to a beautiful sear, and ensure the chicken doesn’t stick to the grates.
  • If grilling, fully preheat your grill. I know it’s hard to wait, but adding meat to a fully preheated grill will sear the surface of the meat–and that gives you a juicier chicken. It also allows the chicken to get a great char.
  • As the chicken is cooking, brush the reserved marinade on the chicken. Doing this will further enhance the flavor.
  • Once it’s finished, let the cooked chicken rest, tented with foil, for 5-10 minutes before cutting in!


Mangoes have a large pit inside and that makes it tricky to slice them. Here’s a helpful visual guide: how to cut a mango.

The mango salsa being mixed together in a bowl.

Make It A Meal

One of the things I love about this recipe is how easily it pairs with other sides. Below are a few of my favorites to serve with this meal:

  • Mango-avocado salsa: The salsa has an outstanding texture that pairs perfectly with Cilantro-Lime Chicken.  The sweetness of the mango and the orange juice perfectly balance the tang of all the cilantro and lime from the chicken marinade. Check out the mango salsa recipe or find it in the recipe card below as well.
  • Cilantro-Lime Chicken and Rice: Serve Cilantro-Lime Chicken over cilantro-lime quinoa or rice for an amazing meal. I’ve included my favorite recipe for cilantro lime rice (or quinoa) in the recipe notes section.
  • Cilantro-Lime Chicken Taco Salad: To convert this recipe into a salad, finely chop some romaine lettuce, add the (cooled) chopped chicken, your favorite veggies (such as cherry tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, cucumber, etc.), and the dressing from this quinoa black bean salad.

The cilantro lime rice being made in a pot to go with the cilantro lime chicken.

Alternate Cooking Methods

Cooking times will vary, depending on several factors, so I always recommend using a thermometer to test your chicken as it cooks. Aim to hit exactly 165 degrees F. (Undercooked = unsafe; Overcooked = dry chicken)

  • Baked Cilantro-Lime Chicken: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for approximately 18 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Remove from the oven, and loosely cover the sheet pan with foil.  Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes.
  • Sautéed Cilantro-Lime Chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken breast(s) and cook for 4-6 minutes per side until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. As you sauté the chicken, brush it generously with the reserved marinade. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate, loosely cover with foil, and let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes.

The Cilantro Lime Chicken on a bed of rice with fresh mango salsa on it ready to be enjoyed.

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Sides


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Cilantro Lime Chicken

4.99 from 56 votes
Cilantro Lime Chicken is both simple and flavorful! Pair it with cilantro-lime rice and mango avocado salsa for a delicious, healthy meal.
Cilantro Lime Chicken on a bed of rice with fresh salsa.
Print Recipe

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Cilantro Lime Chicken on a bed of rice with fresh salsa.
4.99 from 56 votes
Cilantro Lime Chicken is both simple and flavorful! Pair it with cilantro-lime rice and mango avocado salsa for a delicious, healthy meal.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword cilantro lime chicken
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinate 2 hours
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 430kcal


Chicken Marinade

  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, plus 1 tsp zest
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, plus 1 tsp zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro,
  • 1 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper

For Serving


  • MARINADE: Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Reserve about 1/2 cup of marinade, and pour the rest into a large resealable bag.
  • CHICKEN: Trim the chicken of fat. Pound the breasts to even thickness or slice in half to get evenly sized breasts and place in the bag with the rest of the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, making sure to flip the bag halfway through. I recommend marinating for 2-6 hours.
  • COOK CHICKEN: The instructions below are to grill the chicken. To see other methods of cooking chicken, read the portion of the post that is right above this recipe card. Lightly oil the grill grate or grill ridges on a grill pan or add 1 tablespoon oil to a skillet and then place the marinated chicken on the grill. Discard leftover marinade.
  • COOK, CONT.: Grill for 10-12 minutes or until chicken juices run clear and internal temperature is at 165 degrees F. Flip the chicken halfway and brush it generously with the reserved 1/2 cup marinade.
  • MANGO SALSA: Prepare mango-avocado salsa.
  • RICE: If desired, prepare cilantro-lime or coconut rice.
  • ASSEMBLY: Serve grilled chicken over a bed of rice (if prepared) and add spoonfuls of the salsa on top. Enjoy immediately!


Recipe Notes

Cooking times will vary, depending on several factors, so I always recommend using a thermometer to test your chicken as it cooks. Aim to hit exactly 165 degrees F. (Undercooked = unsafe; Overcooked = dry chicken)

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 6servings | Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 557mg | Potassium: 792mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 851IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.


The ultimate BEST EVER cilantro lime chicken with an incredible mango salsa! via #cilantro #lime #chicken #grilled #easy #quick #familyfriend #kidfriendly #mango #avocado #salsa #healthy
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4.99 from 56 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. This looks so good! I have an amazing chilli & lime salad dressing that I get here in the UK which would complement it brilliantly I think.

  2. 5 stars
    Just WOW! I made this tonight and oh wow I’m definitely making this again! I didn’t have honey so I substituted brown sugar. This is a winner for sure.
    I’ll be checking out more of your recipes.

    1. Yay! Love hearing that 🙂 So happy you enjoyed this dinner and hope you love whatever you try next 🙂

  3. I wound up making this in a pan instead of grilling, I cut the chicken into small pieces. Cooked them first, pulled and then put all the marinade in the pan with 2tblspns of butter to thicken, then added the chicken back in. IT WAS STILL DELICIOUS! Great recipe. Thank you.

  4. I’m so excited to make this tonight!! Is it ok to make the salsa ahead of time? or is it best to whip it up fresh right before cooking?

    1. Yay! So happy to hear it! Thanks for coming back and leaving a comment and review Shan 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    This was so delicious! I found your recipe through Pinterest and I’m so glad I did. This is a perfect summer meal that my family loved! I’m so excited to try more of your recipes! Thanks again 🙂

    1. Ahh I am soo happy you and your family loved this recipe! Thanks soo much for your comment! 🙂

  6. Does it do well for meal prep? Does the mango avacado salsa keep decently in the fridge for a couple of days?

  7. This was an absolute winner at our house! Great flavor! We used the oven this time but can wait to use the grill to add extra flavor!!!

  8. Is there a salsa i can make that doesn’t include mango? I’m not a huge fan but i’d like something that pairs well with the chicken marinade! thanks a bunch

  9. 5 stars
    This is our favorite go to meal! Dinners can be so tough when it comes to my 2 year old and 3 year old.. But when I put this on their plate I know I won’t hear any complaining! Thank you for making my life that much easier!

  10. 5 stars
    Seriously, the best meal EVER. I love to cook and my kids rate meals daily. This was the top of their all-time favourites. AWESOME!!!!

  11. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for my family, and they loved it! It was so easy to prepare. Thank you for a delicious recipe. I will be making this again. I added Mexican street corn for a side. Even the kids had seconds.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Angela! I’m so happy you and your family loved this cilantro lime chicken so much! I definitely need to start pairing it with Mexican street corn as a side! 🙂

  12. 5 stars
    One of the best dishes I’ve ever put together! The salsa is phenomenal and would even be good as a snack 🙂 thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. I am so happy to hear you loved this Cilantro Lime Chicken so much! Thanks so much for your comment Jamila! 🙂

  13. I found this on Pinterest a while back and I’m so glad I did – this seriously is so yummy, it’s one of our favorite meals! We don’t have a grill (apartment life) so I use my cast iron grill pan and it works perfect! I always double this recipe so we can have leftovers. 🙂

  14. I’d like to include this recipe in my diet. Do you have the nutrition analysis of the recipe? I need to know the macros in order to include this recipe – fats, proteins, sugars and carbs – all per serving size. Thank you for your help!

  15. Any chance you could include the nutrition analysis for the recipe? I need to know the the number of grams for the fat, carbohydrates, sugars and proteins for macros in a carb-cycling diet. Thank you!

    1. Hey Lisa! Slowly working through all my posts to get this added, I’ll add this to the list to get through today 🙂

  16. This looks delicious and I will have to try it sometime!! Love grilled chicken and your marinade sounds good.

  17. 5 stars
    Oh my freaking goodness! This is probably one of the best meals I have made in a long time. My family devoured it! Had it with cilantro lime rice and black beans with the avocado mango salsa. Definitely a keeper.

  18. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! So fresh and colorful. The chicken had a wonderful caramelized texture and flavor from the grill. 10/10 the whole family loved it! Will definitely be making again. Thanks for the recipe 😊

  19. Making this for dinner tonight. I’m confused about what to do with the 1/2 cup of marinade that needs to be reserved. TIA!

    1. Hope you love it! Brush it on the chicken as you grill and/or drizzle some on the cooked, finished chicken 🙂 Enjoy

      1. Ahh – sorry! I see that in your post – just didn’t see it in the recipe. Thanks much. It was good!

          1. 4 stars
            I’ve made this recipe several times now and it’s always great my husband always asks me to make it! However mine never comes out caramelized like the photo and I can’t help but wonder why.

  20. I have made this twice already absolutely delicious!! Thank you for recipe. Just one question on the nutritional value, does it all include the salsa on the information or is that separate??

    1. So glad you’ve enjoyed it! 🙂 Nutrition facts are for salsa and chicken; the optional rice isn’t included!

  21. 5 stars
    This is one of the best recipes I’ve tried in a long time. The marinade is so amazing that I had to keep myself from eating it! I reserved some to drizzle over the chicken after I’d plated it. I’ll be making this all summer.

    1. I’m not sure! If it smells okay it’s probably alright. The citrus from the marinade has probably dried it out quite a bit (acid will begin “cooking” the chicken)

  22. 5 stars
    Absolutely nothing about this dish was “easy to whip together” but I can’t say the difficulty wasn’t worth it. This may be the most delicious dinner I’ve ever made. I used skin-on thighs instead of chicken breasts, and we can’t eat avocado, so I added some pinto beans instead. Fantastic!

  23. The ingredients measurements do not match what is written in the directions. What is the correct amount? I.e., soy sauce? Cilantro?

    1. I’m confused what you mean. The soy sauce is what is written in the recipe and the cilantro is divided use so you add 1/4 cup to marinade and 1/4 cup to the salsa

      1. 5 stars
        Came here to find this comment or add it myself.
        The chicken marinade ingredients say “2 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce” and “2 teaspoons minced garlic” but the marinade instructions say “1 teaspoon each cumin, soy sauce, garlic”. If you only use 1 tsp each of the soy sauce and garlic for the marinade, when do you use the rest? (the cumin is right, 1 tsp in the marinade, the remaining 1/4 tsp in the salsa)
        This recipe is the best, btw!

      2. It calls for 2.5 tablespoons of soy sauce in the ingredients, but then it only mentions adding one teaspoon of soy sauce to the marinade. What about the rest of it? It isn’t mentioned anywhere else.

  24. This recipe is really hard to read and follow. Half the marinade ingredients are meant for the salsa. If you’re going to separate them like that, you should just put those ingredients under the salsa heading.

  25. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! The mango salsa is the star of this show. Will definitely make this again and again…

  26. 5 stars
    Made this for tea 09/08/2022 followed the instructions and tasted the marinade but wasn’t over keen i thought it tasted a bit bland but I decided to persevere and marinated the chicken in the sauce for 7 hrs I’m so glad I did because it turned out absolutely delicious and I think by letting it marinade for as long as you can it helps to infuse all the ingredients into the chicken. As for the salsa that was also delicious and I would definitely make this again.

  27. 5 stars
    My daughter-in-law made this while we visited over the holidays and we absolutely loved it. I just made it and there were no leftovers.😋

  28. It’s too bad you have so many ridiculous ads that you can’t even get to the recipes. If you want to actually share recipes rather than make money from ads perhaps you could scale back a bit.

    1. Sorry Connie, the ads are how I afford to run this site. Between hosting fees (paying for this spot on the internet), maintenance costs, and the many (many!) groceries to test recipes multiple times it can get very expensive!

  29. 5 stars
    I made this and it was delish. But in the ingredients it said 21/2 Tbs soy sauce. In the marinade instructions it says 1 tsp and I don’t see where you used the rest of the soy sauce further down. So I’m wondering if I missed something?

  30. I’m
    Just not sure about hot chicken and cold salsa? Also doesn’t say how many people serves. (the lime chicken)

  31. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! I pan seared instead of grilling it, it was sooo fresh & I light! I made homemade chips out of soft taco shells for the leftover salsa!

  32. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! Made for a family dinner this summer along with the cilantro lime rice, which my sons said tasted just like “Chipotle’s rice.” The meal was a huge hit. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Great recipe. But recipe directions need to be better wrote out. I messed up the recipe because I did not have enough ingredients because part of the salsa ingredients were underneath the marinade ingredients instead..

  34. 5 stars
    This is HANDS DOWN the best chicken recipe I have ever made in my entire life and I cook homemade food 6 nights a week! Legit this combo is *chefs kiss!!! Thank you for sharing this!

  35. 5 stars
    I’ve always heard that citrus in marinades “cook” the meat, or Is that only fish? Is everyone really marinating the chicken for 4-6 hours? Thanks. I hope to try this soon

  36. Hello can I use bone in chicken thighs in this
    recipe and can I make the chicken in my air fryer or oven

    1. Absolutely, just make sure you’re checking the internal temp as it might cook faster or slower than boneless chicken. Enjoy!

  37. Unfortunately the sweet marinade caused the chicken to burn on the grill. Salsa is good otherwise wouldn’t recommend.

  38. 5 stars
    Pinterest led me to this recipe & I’ve been meaning to make it for a while now. And the only regret I have was not making it sooner, love how flavorful the chicken is & the mango-avocado salsa is the best! Thank you for sharing!

  39. 5 stars
    This was delicious. Great recipe and it was nice and moist which made it fantastic. Made it with the mango salsa and that was also amazing. Thank you. I do however have a question the nutritional information is that per serving or for 6 servings?

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