Not only does this easy cilantro lime chicken marinade result in tender, juicy chicken every time, it’s also so simple to make. It comes together very easily and freezes well, too. The marinade for this cilantro lime chicken is incredibly simple and I’d be willing to bet you have all the ingredients. Fresh lime juice, cilantro, cumin, paprika, salt, and garlic powder are all you need. This cilantro lime chicken recipe is my absolute favorite chicken marinade. It seriously couldn’t be much easier to prepare and have on the table in a jiffy.

This cilantro lime chicken is ready in less than 30 minutes, it is one of those chicken recipes that is packed with flavor as if you’ve had it marinating overnight. First, you toss the chicken breasts or thighs, legs, or quarters if you prefer into a large baking dish. Then, you stir together the ingredients for the marinade, pour it over top, top the chicken with lime slices, wrap tightly and then refrigerate for about 5 minutes. That’s all it takes for the chicken to absorb so much of the cilantro lime flavor.

This will help cilantro lime chicken cook evenly when they’re in the oven and save you from cutting into a breast and finding out that it’s not fully cooked through. The cooking time will change slightly, depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breasts. Chicken always needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. It is delicious served with a bit of avocado salsa piled on top with a fresh squeeze of lime.


  • 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 c. freshly chopped cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooked white rice, for serving


  1. Whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let marinate in fridge 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425°. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then add to skillet skin-side down and pour in remaining marinade. Sear until skin is golden and crispy, about 6 minutes.
  4. Flip and cook 2 minutes more.
  5. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Serve over rice drizzled with pan drippings.