Juiciest baked cilantro lime chicken recipe with bold Mediterranean seasoning and  the BEST garlicky lime sauce! Make it in the oven or Crockpot. Serve baked cilantro lime chicken over rice or your favorite grain to make use of the delicious sauce!

Cilantro lime chicken in cast iron skillet

Baked cilantro lime chicken

Of the many chicken recipes I've shared with you here, this cilantro lime chicken is one that is regularly requested by my family.

Fresh cilantro and lime juice are the perfect duo that many associate with Mexican cuisine. But they are also gloriously used in Mediterranean cooking – often combined with garlic and a host of warm spices.

In this one-pan cilantro lime chicken recipe, the chicken thighs take on a simple and delicious seasoning that includes warm spices like paprika, nutmeg, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. And white wine, lime juice, chicken broth, and cilantro form a show-stopping sauce in which the chicken cooks until fall-apart-tender!  You’ll want to put the delicious sauce to use; pour it over some rice, bulgur, or your favorite grain

Ingredients for cilantro lime chicken thighs

This baked chicken thighs recipe comes together with simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Chicken thighs - For succulent, flavor-packed results, use bone in, skin on chicken thighs.
  • Seasoning - Seasoned salt, paprika (sweet Spanish or spicy paprika, whichever better suits your taste), black pepper, garlic powder, and nutmeg.
  • Extra virgin olive oil - You’ll need a couple of tablespoons of quality EVOO to brown the chicken for more flavor and better presentation. 
  • White wine - To deglaze the skillet after browning the chicken and to start off our garlic sauce with lime and cilantro. Don’t cook with alcohol? Just use more chicken broth (perhaps with a splash of white vinegar for a little acidity). The flavor will be different, but still delicious.  
  • Chicken broth - A generous 2 cups of quality low-sodium chicken broth are just what you need to make this chicken dinner super saucy.
  • Fresh lime juice - The star of the sauce, lime juice brightens and lifts the other flavors in this baked chicken recipe. 
  • Garlic - You need 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped. No need to mince them too finely or neatly. 
  • Fresh cilantro - An entire bunch (stems removed) goes into the skillet. You’ll also need more for garnish. 

How do you make cilantro lime chicken?

This chicken recipe is as simple as season, brown, and bake. Here’s how you make chicken with lime and cilantro (printer-friendly recipe below):

  • Season the chicken. Mix the spices together (1 tablespoon garlic powder; 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon each sweet paprika and black pepper, and ½ teaspoon nutmeg). After patting the chicken dry, season it chicken all over, and be sure to lift the skins up and apply the spice mixture underneath.

    Chicken thighs seasoned with spice mixture
  • Brown the chicken. Heat up a bit of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet (be sure the skillet has a lid, as you will use it later). Brown the chicken well on both sides. This is another opportunity to create great flavor!

    Chicken thighs seared on both sides
  • Make the sauce. Remove the chicken from the skillet for now and set it aside. Lower the heat. Add 1 cup dry white wine and cook to reduce, and then pour in 2 cups chicken broth. Add in the juice of 2 limes and 6 cloves roughly chopped garlic.


  • Cook the chicken thighs with the sauce. Add the chicken back into the skillet and nestle it into the sauce. Add the fresh cilantro (we're using 1 bunch of cilantro here). Bring this party to a high simmer for 5 minutes, then cover the skillet and transfer it to the oven. Bake at 375 degrees F on the center rack for about 45 minutes. The chicken should be well cooked through and pretty much falling apart!

    Cilantro lime chicken served in cast iron skillet

Slow cooker option 

If you're wondering whether you can make cilantro lime chicken in a slow cooker, the answer is YES! Here's what you do:

  • Season and brown in the skillet as directed in the recipe.
  • Make the sauce (per the recipe as well).
  • Transfer the sauce to the bottom of a large slow cooker or Crockpot.
  • Add the chicken to the Crockpot and nestle it into the sauce. Add the cilantro.
  • Cover and cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours or High for 2 to 3 hours. (Internal temperature should register 165 degrees F).

I personally prefer baked cilantro lime chicken, but the slow cooker option is wonderful as well, especially when you need a hands-off alternative.

Cilantro lime chicken in skillet

Can I use chicken breasts to make this recipe?

While bone-in skin-on chicken thighs are my usual choice for maximum juiciness, you can also use boneless skinless chicken breasts. Be sure to pound them with a meat mallet until the breast is an even thickness to ensure the entire breast cooks at the same speed. 

Because breasts cook faster than thighs, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. If baked in a 425 degrees F heated oven, chicken breasts are cooked in about 18 to 20 minutes, depending on their size and thickness. My Italian baked chicken breast recipe is a good guide to help you estimate how much time you need. 

Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead?

Yes, if you like, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs. As with chicken breasts, boneless chicken thighs will cook faster than bone-in (around 30 minutes at 425 degrees F). See my baharat baked chicken thighs recipe for more tips on how long to bake boneless chicken thighs. 

Regardless of what cut of chicken you use, it will need to cook through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F when measured with a meat thermometer. 

What to serve with cilantro lime chicken 

Cilantro lime chicken thighs are perfect with a hunk of crusty bread of rice or grains (barley and bulgur will both work well here) to soak up the delicious sauce! 

If you’re a potato person, you can’t go wrong with Greek potatoes. And if you’re looking for something green that goes well with baked chicken thighs, try baked zucchini, roasted cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts

If you’re adding a big salad to start, try black bean and corn salad, lemon parmesan lettuce salad, or roasted asparagus salad

Leftovers and storage

If you have any leftover cilantro lime chicken, allow it to cool completely before transferring to a tight-lid container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through. 

More chicken thighs recipes

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4.82 from 271 votes

Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

Suzy Karadsheh
Cilantro lime chicken in cast iron skillet
All-star cilantro lime chicken recipe! Chicken thighs, prepared Mediterranean-style with a special spice mixture and cooked to tender perfection in a tasty garlic, lime and cilantro sauce. You can cook this in the oven (my preference) or in the slow cooker (see notes for instructions). Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are my preference here, but you can use boneless thighs or even chicken breasts if you like. (Note that cooking time will change, and I've listed all the details in the post.)
Prep – 20 mins
Cook – 45 mins
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 8 pieces
Course:
Entree

Ingredients
  

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 limes, juice of
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed, chopped; more for garnish

Spice mix:

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, mix the spices. Pat the chicken thighs dry, and season each thigh on both sides with the spice mix. Be sure to season underneath the skin as well. Let the chicken thighs sit in room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  • Brown the chicken. When ready, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet (with a lid). Brown the chicken thighs deeply on both sides in the heated oil. Remove from skillet and set aside briefly. Brown the chicken thighs deeply on both sides in the heated oil. Remove from skillet and set aside briefly.
  • Lower the heat and deglaze the skillet with the white wine. Let cook to reduce and then add the broth. Bring the liquid to a simmer then add the lime juice and garlic.
  • Now. return the chicken to the skillet and toss in the cilantro. Bring to a high-simmer for about 5 minutes or so.
  • Cover the skillet with the lid and transfer to the heated oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through.
  • Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with more cilantro, if you like.

Video

Notes

  • Slow Cooker/Crockpot Instructions: Once you've browned the chicken and prepared the sauce, transfer the sauce to the bottom of a large slow cooker or crockpot. Nestle the chicken into the sauce and add the fresh cilantro. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours (internal temperature should register 165 degrees F).
  • What to serve along: You have s many options for what to serve with these baked chicken thighs! Here are some ideas. Rice, Greek potatoes, baked zucchini, roasted cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts all go really well. For salad options, try black bean and corn salad, lemon parmesan lettuce salad, or roasted asparagus salad
  • How to store leftovers: Allow leftovers to cool completely and then transfer to an airtight container. These chicken thighs will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Visit Our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including spices and extra virgin olive oil used in this recipe. 

Nutrition

Calories: 289.5kcalCarbohydrates: 5.1gProtein: 19.2gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5.1gCholesterol: 110.7mgPotassium: 346.2mgFiber: 0.8gVitamin A: 219.7IUVitamin C: 9.7mgCalcium: 24.9mgIron: 1.2mg
Tried this recipe?

*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2015 and has recently been updated with new information and media of readers' benefit.  

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Suzy, this cilantro lime chicken is amazing! So easy to prep, and the chicken is delicious. I served it over quinoa, it is fantastic. All of the flavors pop, this will be a regular in my rotation. I love the spices and the lime juice.

  2. 5 stars
    I have been following Mediterranean Dish for a little over a year now, and Suzie's recipes never let us down. I tried the Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe and it was absolutely superb. The flavors were off the chart. We paired it with Majadara, lentils and rice with crispy onions, and Shirazi salad. An excellent meal. Thanks Suzi

  3. 5 stars
    Omgod!! Amazing!! Sooooo delicious!! I absolutely loved this chicken! And it was soo easy to make. The juice that the chicken cooked inside the oven in, I mixed with pasta. It all turned out to be such a great dinner! Thank you so much for this recipe 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I used the 2 cups of broth with boneless skinless thighs (I used 2 Costco packs-10 thighs). Covered and cooked on the stove, then uncovered and kept on low. Sauce thickened (almost too much!) and had such great flavor. Will definitely become a regular in the rotation.

  5. Suzy, I can hardly wait to try this recipe! Thank you so much for including slow cooker instructions. When the temperature in West Texas is 105 degrees, I can't bring myself to fire up my gas oven!

  6. 5 stars
    This is delicious!! Made it exactly as-is, and squeezed a third fresh lime and another ~1/2 cup cilantro over the chicken once cooked.

    Next time I'll increase the recipe (maybe 12 thighs) since it's the same amount of work and my 12" pan seems large enough. I will also serve this over rice (should've followed Suzy's advice...) so that I have something to pour the broth over. I served the chicken with roasted baby potatoes and asparagus this time, but they don't soak up the liquid as well -- which is a shame because it's so good.

    Will definitely be making again!

  7. 5 stars
    Just made this tonight - SO GOOD!!! I already have requests to make this again. Thank you and cannot wait to try more recipes from your website!

  8. Hi Suzy. Could I prepare this recipe to a point, refrigerate, then continue later on the day?. I want to make this for friends coming in the evening but don’t want to be frying just before they come. At what point could I pause and continue later? BTW, the recipe sounds amazing, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

    1. Hi, Denise. You could complete the whole recipe a day or two in advance, refrigerate in a tight-lid glass container, and then warm it up in a medium-heated oven.

  9. 4 stars
    Made sorta a half recipe: 4 thighs with the rest per recipe (there's only 2 of us not counting the puppies). BUT would like to see some of the amounts in standard measuring units. Limes vary a lot in size; mine were about golf ball size & 2 of them gave me a little over a TBS of juice. Final result had a hint of lime, but that's all. Really felt like lime should have shown through a bit more robust. From my bunch of cilantro, I got about a half a cup or so . Cilantro got lost in the final result; maybe I needed a full cup or more. Agree that cilantro flavor is critical for this recipe, so want to have enough to taste.
    Chicken was excellent: great seasoning and flavor, falling off the bone tender, delightful!
    This is clearly a do again, and I suspect it will take me several iterations to get it "right", measuring lime and cilantro and making notes to get quantities in TBS, Cups, etc.
    PS: Ditto garlic on quantities. Of late my garlic has had smaller cloves than last year My 6 cloves were slightly more than a TBS this time whereas at another time, I'd have 2+ TBS.

    1. Did this again with a bag of limes and 2 bunches of cilantro. Squeezed limes until I had 1/4 cup of juice; got 1 heaping cup of cilantro (agree with Suzy that cilantro is critical for this dish). Everything popped! Flavors were perfect; chicken was falling off the bone tender; 4 large thighs - 2 meals. Clearly a keeper & do again often.

  10. 5 stars
    I love this recipe just as it is, but am making it for a group that includes people who don’t like cilantro. What do you suggest I substitute?

  11. 5 stars
    This was really good! I made mine with boneless skinless chicken thighs, so I did all the cooking in the pan and skipped the oven step. I thickened the sauce into a gravy with a little cornstarch and served it with rice.

  12. Suzy, are there any differences between using finely diced cilantro stems versus using only the leaves?
    And, what alternatives do u suggest instead of white wine?
    Thanks!!

    1. Hi, Mary Ellen. I'm not sure, but I never use only the stems. I prefer to cut and discard the large woody stems, and only include the stems right where the leaves start to grow, along with the leaves. And regarding the wine, if you would prefer not to use any here, you can just use a bit more broth.

  13. 5 stars
    So good!! The whole family loved it! Even the picky eaters 😊 Definitely make this recipe again…Thanx for sharing…

  14. 5 stars
    This dish is so gooood!! I will definitely be making it again. We had left overs the next day and it was even better!

  15. This is SO tasty and easy!! I servedbit over wild rice with stir fried vegetables. Thank you for this, a new family fav!

  16. 5 stars
    This was a Fantastic meal. Even my father who doesn't like cilantro went back for more gravy.
    I only put the Cilantro on my half. Then when I served it I incorporated herb into the gravy.
    I love the simplicity of the recipe. Many thanks.