Healthy Cilantro Lime Chicken

LAST UPDATED: Oct 19, 2019 | PUBLISHED: Jun 23, 2016 | By: Julie Blanner

A healthy, light and flavorful Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe for those busy weeknights. Baked to perfection in 20 minutes and topped with avocado salsa, it is simply divine. Enjoy on it’s own or along with rice, salad, tacos, quesadillas and more!

baked cilantro lime chicken topped with avocado salsa with lime wedges on baking sheet

Growing up in the 80’s, it seemed there was always a new seasoning or marinade. A packet, a bottle, a shaker, something to make you believe that you couldn’t or shouldn’t do it yourself, you should just pick up a bottle and add meat. It stole our confidence in cooking fresh and of course you never really knew what was going into that bottle.

I think that’s why I’ve always leaned toward my grandmother’s way of cooking over my mother’s – I love the taste of cooking fresh and want to bring it back to basics. That’s exactly what I’m doing in our kitchen with this easy cilantro lime chicken.

This made from scratch baked Cilantro Lime Chicken is a family favorite, though we each enjoy it a little differently. The cilantro lime chicken marinade takes just 5 minutes to make and coat the chicken. While it’s baking, I shred cheese for my salad and for the girls’ quesadillas to make it quick and easy. Chris loves eating this cilantro lime baked chicken a la carte, topped with avocado salsa and I eat mine on a bed of lettuce.

We often use this recipe to make Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos, too!

healthy cilantro lime chicken with avocado salsa on baking sheet

Cilantro Lime Chicken Ingredients

  • Cilantro – Fresh is best, so be sure to purchase it from your grocery store or local farmer’s market. Look for bright green, tender leaves with no evidence of brusing or fading.
  • Jalapeno – To tame down the spice factor, remove the seeds and ribs before making the cilantro lime chicken marinade. For a spicy chicken recipe, leave the seeds and ribs intact and look for peppers that have streaks on them. These are heat marks, meaning that pepper is hot!
  • Lime Juice -Use fresh lime juice rather than the pre-bottled variety. You will need about 2-3 limes for this cilantro lime chicken recipe, depending on how juicy they are. To really get all the juice out of your limes, place them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds prior to slicing. The warm lime will give you up to twice as much juice!
  • Olive Oil – Any of your favorite brand of olive oil will do. Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a lighter and fruitier flavor.
  • Minced Garlic – Mincing the garlic before placing in your food processor helps make the marinade come together more easily and prevents the cilantro from bruising.
  • Chicken Breasts – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts work best. If the chicken breasts are on the large side, cut them in half lengthwise to ensure they cook all the way through. For a faster and kid-friendly approach, chicken tenders would work beautifully as well. Check them after 15 minutes to avoid overcooking.

marinade being brushed onto cilantro lime chicken on baking sheet

How To Make Cilantro Lime Chicken

I save a little time using a food processor to make the marinade, but don’t fret if you don’t have one, just finely chop the ingredients and stir well.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and minced garlic. Grind until fine. Alternatively, chop by hand.
  3. Add half the marinade to a small bowl and coat the chicken. Reserve the other half for garnish.
  4. Place the marinated chicken on a baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes.
  5. Brush chicken with the remaining cilantro lime sauce. Enjoy!

two hands holding baking sheet with cilantro lime chicken with avocado salsa

How To Serve Cilantro Lime Chicken

I love to top this quick and easy chicken dinner with my homemade avocado salsa, but there are endless ways to serve. My girls really enjoy it with quesadillas or sliced into tacos, while Chris likes it all on its own.

The lime cilantro chicken also works beautifully with a side of white or brown rice, refried beans, salad greens, or roasted vegetables.

Good and good for you!

More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

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simple avocado salsa on top of chicken breasts on baking sheet with lime wedges

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa

A healthy, light and flavorful Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe for those busy weeknights. Topped with avocado salsa, enjoy with rice, salad and more!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings (hover to scale): 4
Calories: 325kcal


  • 1 c cilantro (no stems)
  • 1/2 jalapeno (remove seeds)
  • 1/4 c lime juice
  • 1/8 c olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 chicken breasts


  • Preheat oven 400.
  • Meanwhile, add cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, olive oil and minced garlic to a food processor (not required, but I love it ground fine).
  • Add half of the sauce to a small bowl and coat chicken. Place on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the oven and allow to rest 10 minutes (it will continue cooking).
  • Brush chicken with remaining cilantro lime sauce.


I save a little time using a food processor to make the marinade, but don’t fret if you don’t have one, just finely chop the ingredients and stir well.


Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 265mg | Potassium: 875mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 357IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
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