Key West Lime Chicken

Key West Lime Chicken is an Island favorite, made with soy sauce, honey, lime juice, chicken thighs, and garlic. 

If you liked some of my other chicken recipes, like Easy Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Katsu, and 20 Minute Chicken Fajitas, this is another delicious dinner for you to try out. Key West Lime Chicken is great for BBQs and potlucks, and it also keeps really well so you can make it in advance and reheat it for a quick weeknight dinner.

Key West Lime Chicken in cooking pan after baking

Key West Lime Chicken is a delicious dish from the Florida Keys that is loaded with flavor and really simple to make. Best of all, it is low carb, gluten free, and uses ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, like honey and citric acid.

Key Lime Chicken is best if you marinate for thirty minutes before cooking, but you can leave it a little longer to let the lime juice and salt tenderize the meat. The cook time is fairly short once the meat is done marinating, which gives you enough time to make a side dish but not so much time that you have to spend all afternoon on it. The marinated chicken doesn’t take long to cook through, but you should always check the temperature before you serve it up to make sure it isn’t raw in the middle.

Key West Lime Chicken collage

For this recipe, you don’t want to use boneless or skinless chicken because the best part is how crispy and moist the skin is. Once the chicken is tender and infused with flavor, discard marinade and bake the chicken until it’s golden brown. If the skin on your Key West Grilled Chicken looks like it’s starting to get too brown, some basting may help keep it from burning.

I would recommend serving up Key West Lime Chicken with a small bowl of Chinese Steamed Rice, Spanish Rice, or Easy Mushroom Rice.


  • Add-ons: You can add any veggies you’d like to your key lime chicken to add a punch of flavor, but I’d recommend chopping up cilantro, jalapeños, or bell peppers and topping the chicken with red pepper flakes.
Key West Lime Chicken in cooking pan after baking


  • Serve: You should not leave your Key West Lime Chicken for longer than about 2 hours or it will start to go bad. If you forgot about your leftovers and let them sit out last night you should throw them away rather than chance getting sick from eating them.
  • Store: Let the Key West Lime Chicken cool down to room temperature before wrapping it up in plastic wrap or an airtight container and putting it in the fridge. The leftovers will last for up to 3 days in the fridge before it’s no longer good.
  • Freeze: Properly sealed and cooled, your leftovers will be good in the freezer for up to 4 months. I would definitely recommend eating the leftover Key West Lime Chicken sooner rather than later for the best flavor.
Key West Lime Chicken in cooking pan meat on fork


If you ever visit the Florida Keys, one of the things that you’ll notice is that there are a lot of beautiful, brightly colored chickens running around. These gorgeous fowl are protected and not used for meat, and they provide eggs and natural pest control. But why are there so many unique, bright chickens running around? How did they get to this relatively secluded island chain?

The story goes that these chickens are the descendants of jungle fowl from Cuba and domesticated chickens that escaped from farms in the surrounding area. The chickens have become so much a part of local Key West culture that a local famously rescued a whole bunch of them from hurricane Irma.

Despite how iconic the chickens are, they aren’t everyone’s favorite fowls. Key West’s Community Trapping Program is a local organization whose self-described mission is to minimize “human chicken conflict,” since the chickens can be loud and are literally everywhere. During seasons when there aren’t enough natural predators to keep the chickens in check, the Community Trapping Program rents out humane traps and the captured chickens are brought to a community farm where they are adopted out to the mainland. In fact, if you want a Key West chicken of your own, you can adopt one through the Community Trapping Program.

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Key West Lime Chicken

Key West Lime Chicken is an Island favorite, made with soy sauce, honey, lime juice, chicken thighs and garlic.
Yield 5 Servings
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 3 tablespoons  soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon  vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic , crushed
  • 5 chicken thighs , bone in, skin on


  • In a zip lock bag add soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, lime juice, and garlic.
  • Place chicken breast halves into the mixture, and turn to coat.
  • Cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Put chicken in pan skin side up. Roast for 30-35 minutes until skin is browned.
  • If the juice is thin, remove chicken and thicken, then glaze chicken with thickened sauce.
  • Garnish with lime zest and lime wedges.


Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 607mg | Potassium: 326mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 114IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Key West Lime Chicken
Key West 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 upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being 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.

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  1. Sounds good! But… you may want to edit the recipe.
    Where it says, “Place chicken breast halves into the mixture”.
    Shouldn’t it say ‘chicken THIGHS’?

  2. The recipe calls for bone in/skin on chicken thighs in the ingredients, but states chicken breast halves in the instructions.

  3. Hi Sabrina, If I’m using low sodium soy sauce, should I add a pinch of salt or garlic powder to the chicken? Cannot wait to try this one. I love your recipes.

  4. This recipe sounds delicious. I’m going to make it later this week. I have celiac disease. It mentions in the description that it is gluten free with a link to soy sauce that has gluten in it. To be truly gluten-free you will need to substitute tamari for the soy sauce.

  5. Hi Sabrina – two things…you show thighs in the ingredients and breasts in the directions. Also, directions were a little vague. I figured it out because I’ve been cooking for 50 years but you say if the liquid is too thin to thicken it. I’m assuming just with cornstarch? For those not experienced in reading between the lines, you might want to be more explicit. This sounds like a great recipe and I can’t wait to try it.