Cilantro lime chicken thighs are perfectly juicy, just a little crispy, and full of flavor. Not only is this recipe delicious, it is incredibly easy to make and will take you no time to whip up. Meal prep these chicken thighs in advance for an easy lunch or make them for a quick weeknight dinner.
Flavorful and Juicy Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs
You can never have too many chicken marinades, am I right? I’m not sure about you, but chicken is one of the most frequently cooked and eaten sources of protein in my house. While I also try to eat a wide variety of meat and seafood each week, if I am really in a pinch, and just cannot seem to figure out what to make for dinner that night, I always have a pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the freezer that I can cook.
We all know that chicken without the right seasoning can be boring which is why you need this cilantro lime chicken recipe in your life. The chicken is marinated in a delicious marinade made with fresh garlic, lime juice, chopped cilantro, and spices. Once the chicken is marinated, it is perfectly cooked until a little crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
This recipe is a great one to have in your pack pocket and the marinade would also work well on shrimp or pork. It is naturally gluten free, easy to make, and Whole30 compliant.
Reader Favorite Chicken Recipes
Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade Ingredients
Olive Oil: The base of this marinade is olive oil. Choose a great tasting olive oil that you love.
Cilantro: Lots of freshly chopped cilantro is included in the marinade as well as sprinkled on top of the chicken after it is cooked.
Lime Juice: Fresh lime juice adds such brightness to the marinade and works well with the flavor of the cilantro.
Fresh Garlic: Freshly minced garlic is always best and adds so much flavor to the marinade.
Red Pepper Flakes: Feel free to leave these out if you do not like a little heat.
Salt, Pepper, and Spices: Any good chicken marinade must have salt and pepper. This marinade also includes cumin and paprika.
Tools You’ll Need to Make This Recipe
How to Make the Best Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs
Step One: Add all of the ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
Step Two: Next, add the chicken thighs to a large bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken and use kitchen tongs to toss the chicken until it is well coated in the marinade. If you are running short on time, let the chicken marinate for up to fifteen minutes at room temperature. If you have a bit more time, cover the bowl and let the chicken thighs marinate for up to two hours in the fridge.
Step Three: Once your chicken is done marinating, it’s time to cook. The great thing about chicken thighs is that they are hard to overcook, unlike chicken breast. They are a great option if you are still perfecting your chicken cooking skills. You can cook these chicken thighs in a skillet on the stove top or on a grill, whichever you prefer.
To make these on the stove top, heat your skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add a teaspoon of oil to the pan. There is already a good amount of oil on the chicken from the marinade, so you won’t need to add a lot of extra oil to the pan. Next add the chicken thighs and cook for five to six minutes per side or until no longer pink and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Step Four: Once the chicken is finished cooking, transfer it to a serving dish. Finish off the chicken with and extra squeeze of fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro.
Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Cooked Chicken Thighs
- Make sure your chicken thighs are completely submerged in the marinade to ensure that they have a chance to soak up all of that juicy marinade.
- Do not be afraid of a hot pan. When you add your chicken to the skillet, it should audibly sizzle. Making sure you have a hot pan will ensure that the chicken develops a delicious and slightly crispy outer crust.
- Leave those chicken thighs alone! When you first add the chicken to the pan, you may feel tempted to move it around but don’t. Once you add the chicken to your hot skillet, leave it alone and allow it to cook, without moving it, for a full five minutes without moving it before flipping.
- Avoid overcrowding the pan when cooking the chicken. You do not want the chicken thighs to be touching or crowded together in the pan when cooking. This helps the chicken to develop that delicious brown crust. If your pan cannot accommodate all of the chicken thighs at one time without being crowded, cook the chicken in batches.
Can I Use Chicken Breast Instead of Thighs?
Yes! While I love the juicy-ness of chicken thighs works so well in this recipe, if you prefer, you can use chicken breast instead. If using chicken breast, be sure to adjust the cooking time depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts. They will be fully cooked when they are no longer pink and their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
What to Serve with the Chicken
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Add all of the ingredients, except the chicken thighs, to a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
- Next, add the chicken thighs to a large mixing bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken and use kitchen tongs to toss the chicken until it is well coated in the marinade. Let the chicken marinate for 15 minutes uncovered or for up to 2 hours, covered, in the fridge.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add a teaspoon of oil to the pan. Next add the chicken thighs and cook for five to six minutes per side or until no longer pink and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Once the chicken is finished cooking, transfer it to a serving dish. Squeeze extra fresh lime juice and sprinkle chopped cilantro over the chicken before serving. Enjoy!
Prep time includes 15 minute marinade time
Keywords: chicken thighs, cilantro lime chicken thighs, cilantro lime chicken, cilantro lime marinade