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Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

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A simple 30 minute Cilantro lime marinade is all you need for tender, flavorful, juicy grilled chicken.

Three pieces of cilantro lime chicken with a slice of lime and cilantro.

How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

We just need a few ingredients to transform bland chicken to something with lots of flavor. Start by seasoning each piece with salt and pepper. I prefer to season the chicken individually first so I know I’m getting enough salt.

Lime, garlic and cilantro on a board.

Then in a small bowl combine a neutral oil, with lime zest, lime juice, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, and diced jalapenos if you want some spice.

Reserve a little of the marinade to pour over the chicken after it is cooked. Add the chicken pieces to a dish or a zip top bag and ensure each piece gets coated. Place in the refrigerator for at 30 minutes or overnight.

Overhead view of cilantro lime chicken pieces.

This marinade can be used for shrimp too, however it needs only about 15 minutes, since the lime juice will start cooking the shrimp.

How to cook Cilantro Lime Chicken

I think the chicken turns out best cooked on the grill over indirect heat. Always check the internal temperature of chicken with a thermometer. Remove the chicken from the grill once it reaches 165 degrees.

The other option is to use a cast iron skillet, and sear the chicken until browned on both sides. About 2 minutes per a side, then finish cooking the chicken in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Again you want to make sure the internal temp reads 165 degrees.

Three pieces of grilled chicken on a cutting board.

Both cooking methods will work on any type of chicken, but I really love the flavor you get with skin and bone in chicken pieces.

What to Serve With

Make a traditional Mexican meal of Arroz Rojo and Beans.

I also love this chicken in a big delicious salad.

Overhead view of cilantro lime chicken salad

You can even slice the chicken for tacos or burrito bowls. Make a big batch of chicken and switch up the presentation for easy and healthy weeknight meals.

Up close view of cilantro lime chicken

Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade Recipe

A simple 30 minute marinade is all you need for this tender, flavorful, juicy chicken.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 tablespoon Oil I used Avocado
  • 4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • ¼ Cup Lime Juice + zest from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoon Cilantro Finely chopped and stems included
  • 1 Jalapeno Diced and seeds removed for less spice
  • 6 Chicken Thighs I used bone in and skin on, but you can do skinless/boneless or substitute breast or legs.
  • Salt, Pepper, and Red Pepper Flakes


  • Combine oil, minced Garlic, lime zest, lime juice, chopped cilantro, chopped jalapeno, and whisk in a bowl. Reserve a little of the marinade to pour on the chicken after it is cooked.
  • Season Chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Pour marinade over chicken and coat each piece and refrigerate in a glass dish with a lid or a zip top bag. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
  • Place chicken on grill over indirect heat and cook until internal temp is 165 degrees.
    Or Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat and sear chicken on both sides, then finish baking in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until internal temp is 165 degrees.
    Once chicken is done, remove and pour with reserved marinade prior to serving. I also added some red pepper flakes for extra spice.


Serve with  Arroz Rojo and Beans, or in a big delicious salad.
The same marinade can be used on shrimp, but only marinate for 15 minutes since the lime juice will begin cooking the shrimp.


Calories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 19gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 88mgPotassium: 258mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 128IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and depends on ingredients and amounts used. Thai Caliente makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.

Keyword Chicken Marinade, Grilled Chicken, Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken
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