Cilantro Lime Chicken — Damn Delicious

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Cilantro Lime Chicken

Moist-tender chicken roasted to absolute perfection in a zesty, cilantro lime sauce. Quick and easy for any night of the week!

Greetings from Newport Beach! Butters and I left LA for a mini, quick getaway, driving down the PCH and enjoying the beach.

But of course we had to stop for Alta Coffee’s famous toffee latte first and foremost in style. Argyle sweater and everything here.

Then we stopped by Huntington Dog Beach where Butters clearly had the worst time of his life chasing squirrels, dipping his paws into the water and turkey-legging.

No, but really, we enjoyed the beach, got a facial, a pedicure, and basically had a treat-yo-self few days. That and a few lobster rolls from Slapfish.

But my only regret is ordering the lobster roll over the lobster grilled cheese. Epic fail here. But there’s always next time, right?

Until then, I’ll have this cilantro lime chicken to tide me over.

Juicy, tender-crisp chicken thighs lightly coated in brown sugar for just a touch of sweetness and seasoned with paprika, oregano and basil.

Not to mention that heavenly butter sauce that the chicken is cooked in with all the browned up bits from the bottom of the pan.

It may look gunky and all but those bits are golden. And you can easily spoon over some leftover sauce over brown rice or quinoa for a quick meal or snack!

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Moist-tender chicken roasted to absolute perfection in a zesty, cilantro lime sauce. Quick and easy for any night of the week!


  • 8 teaspoons brown sugar, divided
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Using your fingers, work the brown sugar, about 1 teaspoon per thigh, onto both sides of the chicken. Season with oregano, basil, paprika, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; drain excess fat and set aside.
  4. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, lime juice and cilantro.
  5. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet.
  6. Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

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This looks so good!! I will have to try.

That latte is to die for! Looks like a great little getaway. Also, this recipe….yum. It is so simple, but looks like it is just bursting with flavor. Delish!

Yum!! Making this chicken this week!

What side dishes do you recommend serving with this? Thanks!

My absolute favorite side dish is the garlic parmesan roasted potatoes. But please feel free to check out all of my side dish recipes here.

You hit all my favorite spots.
Chicken looks amazing, can’t wait to try!

A nice recipe and a pretty little dog. Thank you

Just bought chicken thighs at the store, now I know exactly what I am going to do with them.

can you use anything else than cilantro family are not fans

Parsley would be a great substitute.

Had to share IMMEDIATELY with my friend who is a cilantro lover!Looks so good…we want to make it now!!

Chungah, this looks fabulous. I envy you today, I love driving the PCH and Newport Beach is a great place to hang out. (Except cilantro is really called coriander

at least it is in England….)

Any chance I can substitute chicken breasts? Not a big fan of dark meat….

Yes, absolutely, but cooking time may have to be adjusted accordingly.

Butters the Corgi is adorable.

I make something similar but yours seems to offer a lot more flavor. Going to try this weekend. 175 degrees seems about 10 degrees to high. When my digital thermometer reads 163 degrees, I will remove and tent with foil and it gets up to 165 degrees in about 5 min and the juices have time to settle by then.

Why didn’t I check your site BEFORE I went to the grocery store today. Now, I have to wait until next week to make this. It looks so tasty. By the way, I am a huge fan. I’ve made several of your recipes and they are always easy to follow and DAMN delicious. Thanks for all that you do.

I tried this recipe last night and my husband loved it. He really likes spicy food so I am thinking of adding a little red pepper to the recipe next time. Do you have any other suggestions top spice it up a bit?

Crushed red pepper flakes would be perfect!

You have the Best recipes every, I’ve been cooking meals for over 45 yrs. and so appreciate getting your yummy recipes.

how necessary is the brown sugar? i don’t like to add sugar to recipes. love cilantro though!

You can definitely omit as needed.

That chili-lime chicken looks so good I want to swim in it!. Guess what I’m making tonight. LOVE your blog!

Any time you want to bring your beautiful pup down here to San Diego I’ll be glad to take you to Dog Beach in Ocean Beach! Your Corgi is a DOLL!

Omg that looks yummy!!

I am currently eating this chicken while typing. It is delicious! Wish I made more.

Girl this sounds like so much fun and butters is the cutest!! This chicken looks to die for!

Can this be a slow cooker recipe?

It is very difficult to give exact conversion information to translate a traditional stovetop recipe to be used in a slow cooker without further recipe testing. However, here is an article worth checking out on a possible conversion guide. Hope that helps!

I made this tonight for dinner….soooo delicious
definitely a keeper.

I have to apologize in advance, but do you know what the words “quick” and “easy” mean?

I’m a signle working father of 2 amazing kids and I try to cook as often as possible when I have the time. Something that requires me to hand-rub individual pieces of chicken does not meet the definition of “easy”, and 50 minutes is far from “quick”.

Try making this recipe at 6:00 p.m. while simulataneously coaching flute lessons and 5th grade math. Something that I could do while performing those tasks would be “quick and easy”.

I’m sure the recipe is delicious, but I wouldn’t know.

Yes, the cook time (AKA idle time) is 40 minutes but did you notice the 10 minute prep time?

Mom of 3 here. I understand not having the time to cook. But it really is a quick and easy meal. Ten minutes of prep is pretty quick in my book. Stuck it in the oven and helped my two littler ones with their writing homework while it finished cooking (hence the easy part). Did you even try this before complaining? lol

This looks delicious. Want to try it this week but can only find skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Will this change the outcome of the recipe?

Yes, the outcome will vary slightly.

I made this using boneless skinless chicken breasts. I accidently overcooked it a little and there wasn’t any butter sauce left. It was still so tasty! I mixed all the spices and then rubbed it on the chicken. It was easy and kind of quick. My husband said we should use this chicken for chicken tacos! Roasting it so it is more dry will taste delicious in soft tacos with lettuce, avocado and some delicious sauce!

Would it spoil the integrity of this dish to just continue to cook this on the stovetop, rather than transferring it to the oven? I appreciate your feedback! Thank you.

Depending on the size of the chicken, it may or may not cook evenly – but as always, please use your best judgment.

It’s in the oven now. I thought this would be alot more complicated, but the most difficult part was figuring out the sides. Rice and sauteed spinach for us! It looks sooo delicious, can’t wait to try it.

Ok, so I just left a not so great review on one, so I have to make up for it on this one! THIS. IS. AMAZING. I saw someone wanted to omit the sugar, and honestly, it added such a wonderful sweet contrast to the savory cilantro, I feel like it’s that “secret” ingredient that makes this dish so amazing. I noticed in your pictures that the cilantro is bright green and happy looking. when mine came out of the oven, the cilantro was so over cooked that it was all brown and sad. Next time I might hold off on the cilantro till the end and finish the sauce on the stove and add the cilantro then. I also used 2 Tbl of “fake” lime juice… might need to up that if i’m in a pinch and don’t have real limes again…
Thanks so much for all of your delicious ideas!

I served this last night for a dinner party and it was absolutely fabulous! I also served the Chungah’s garlic parmesan roasted potatoes and a spinach salad with homemade strawberry vinaigrette to round it out. The entire meal was a huge success and I’ve already passed on the chicken and potato recipes. Thanks, Chungah!

This looks and sounds great! I’m having the BF over for dinner and am wondering what sides would be recommended? Thanks! I LOVE your site! thanks for sharing

My absolute favorite side dish is the garlic parmesan roasted potatoes. But please feel free to check out all of my side dish recipes here.

Maybe I did something wrong because I didn’t think this dish was all that. I have loved every single other thing I’ve made from Damn Delicious but I didn’t care for this one.

I’m sorry that this recipe did not turn out the way you had imagined. I only post recipes that have been successfully tested in my own kitchen, and as you can see from the comments here, many of these readers have had great outcomes in the final dish as well. However, I understand that we all have different taste preferences, and I really appreciate your honest feedback.

I want to make this for dinner tonight but I don’t have smoked paprika will it still taste as good if I use regular paprika?

Yes, you can substitute regular paprika.

Another winner, Chungah! We served it with butter noodles and my “no sauce on mine thanks” teenager scooped extra sauce all over her noodles. We’ll be making this again and again.

I’ve made this and loved it, now I’m trying to cut down on how much meat we eat during the week. Has anyone tried this sauce with veg substitutes? I was thinking potato or cauliflower? (I am sometimes accused of being too ‘liberal’ with my recipe substitutions so thought I’d put it out there for opinions before my poor husband gets to test another strange variation of what should be delicious but ends up ‘interesting…’!)

Come join me in my culinary adventures where we’ll be using simple, fresh ingredients and transforming them into sophisticated and elegant meals for the everyday home cook.

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