Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinate 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Your next BBQ needs Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken! Juicy boneless chicken breasts in a zesty, flavorful fresh lime juice, lime zest, and olive oil marinade.

Grilled Chicken Breasts are an easy entree that you can pair with any side dish, use as leftovers, or for meal prep. This flavorful Chicken Recipe is a delicious upgrade to a classic.

Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken on grill pan


Grilling chicken is a BBQ staple all summer long. It’s easy, delicious, and a healthy start to building any meal. Whether you marinate it, baste it, or just use a simple seasoning blend, juicy chicken breasts are one of the best main dishes for any occasion.

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken is the perfect entree for your next summer BBQ or weeknight dinner. You can marinate the chicken breasts overnight to make your summer cookout that much easier. If this is your first time making grilled chicken breasts, there are tips below to get the best juicy chicken every time.

Make Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken the star of a Mexican dinner night by slicing up the chicken breasts for tacos or a taco salad. Serve your Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos with a side of Black Beans and Mexican Rice. These tacos go great with your favorite toppings like avocado, fresh tomatoes, sour cream, and Restaurant Salsa.

Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken in bowl before cooking

For a healthy meal prep idea, make Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken and Brown Rice Bowls topped with Pineapple Salsa. You can store these Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Bowls for up to 5 days so you’ll have a quick lunch all week long.

For those days you can’t fire up the grill, invest in a good cast iron grill that you can pop on your stove top and enjoy Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken all year long. You can also make these flavorful, zesty chicken breasts on an electric grill or even make them in a slow cooker with the quick guide in this post.

Can I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe?

You can definitely use boneless, skinless chicken thighs with this recipe or even bone-in chicken. Boneless chicken thighs are going to cook about 2-3 minutes longer on each side and bone-in chicken a bit longer than that. If you are making bone-in chicken, use a meat thermometer to make sure internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, according to USDA Food Safety.

Tips For Grilling Chicken Breasts

    • It’s important to pound chicken breasts so that they are the same thickness so they will cook evenly. But be gentle, you don’t want mushed chicken.
    • The lime juice in the marinade helps tenderize the meat for juicy chicken every time. Marinate at least 30 minutes. Marinating 4 hours or overnight will get the best results.
    • The colder your chicken breast is, the better the grill marks you will get without overcooking the chicken. Refrigerate marinated chicken breasts right up until you are ready to put them on the grill.



  • Making the marinade less chunky: If you don’t want tiny pieces of cilantro in the marinade, you can put the marinade in the food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Marinade the chicken: To allow the marinade to penetrate the chicken more deeply, cut X’s in the chicken (about 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep) before marinating.
  • Make the marinade ahead of time: Make a quadruple recipe of the marinade ahead of time and freeze in batches, then defrost each batch when you’re ready to cook for easier prep.
  • Marinate other meats: This marinade can also be used on other proteins, including beef, pork, or even seafood.

Four pieces of Cilantro Lime Chicken on grill pan


  • Spicy: Give your Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken marinade a little kick by adding diced fresh jalapeños, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes.
  • Garlic: Who doesn’t love garlicky chicken? Use a few minced garlic cloves or substitute a teaspoon garlic salt for regular salt in the marinade.
  • Seasoning: You can use spices like a teaspoon ground cumin,  coriander, or chili powder in your marinade for more flavor.
  • Thai Chicken: To give this lime marinade a Thai flavor, use Thai basil instead of fresh cilantro and a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil along with the olive oil. For extra spicy, use a diced fresh Thai chili pepper!

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

If you don’t want to grill your chicken breasts, easily turn the lime cilantro marinade into a slow cooker sauce for your chicken breasts. Increase the oil to ¼ cup and add ½ cup chicken broth to the marinade ingredients. Pulse the marinade ingredients in a food processor a few times. Place chicken breast in slow cooker and pour marinade over chicken. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Serve whole breasts or shred for tacos.



  • Serve: Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken can be at room temperature for 2 hours before it needs to be refrigerated.
  • Store: Cool grilled chicken breasts completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: You can freeze Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken for up to 2 months in an airtight container or freezer safe bag. If storing in a bag, freeze for one hour on a baking sheet first so they don’t stick together.

Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken close up on grill pan

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Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

Your next BBQ needs Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken! Juicy boneless chicken breasts in a zesty, flavorful fresh lime juice, lime zest, and olive oil marinade.
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil , plus more for grilling
  • grated zest of two limes
  • 1/4 cup lime juice , about 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro , chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin


  • Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and pound to an even thickness with a meat mallet or rolling pin.
  • Mix the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, sugar, salt, pepper, and cumin together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and massage the marinade into the chicken.
  • Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
  • Heat your grill or grill pan to medium high heat and oil the grate with a paper towel.
  • 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.
  • Grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side then let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 555mg | Potassium: 891mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I tried this recipe for our weekend BBQ at home and my husband and kids enjoyed it so much! I made it more special by serving it with Mexican rice. Thank you for this!

  2. These are definitely going to be on our table this coming weekend. I’m loving the lime, YUM! Thank you 🙂