As someone who only ate chicken for protein for 10 years, I am always looking to find ways to make chicken exciting. This Paleo Cilantro Lime Chicken makes my mouth water just thinking about it! It is a burst of vibrant flavors with a mouthwatering cilantro lime marinade. These succulent chicken thighs are marinated in a zesty marinade that combines the tang of freshly squeezed lime juice with the aromatic essence of cilantro. A dash of garlic, a sprinkle of ground cumin, and a pinch of red pepper flakes are everything you need to make a normally boring weeknight meal exciting.
This recipe goes in the category of super easy weeknight meals just like tacos, taquitos, and fajitas! So if you are needing a quick and simple meal to feed the family or to meal prep, be sure to try this one out.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Weeknight meal: This chicken recipe is perfect for any weeknight. It takes less than 30 minutes of active cooking time and can be made into a variety of other meals too! You can make this into tacos, taco salad, fajitas, eat it by itself, and much more.
Ingredients You Will Need
Chicken Thighs: I love using thighs for this recipe because they get nice and juicy from the extra fat that that comes from the thigh. Chicken thighs tend to be higher in both protein and fat than the breast. This is likely to keep you more satiated and they tend to not dry out as quickly as the breast.
Olive Oil: It is really important to get a high quality olive oil and one that is 100% olive oil, the food industry likes to cut corners when it comes to oils so be sure you check your labels.
Lime Juice: This adds a nice tartness to the dressing to help balance out the sweetness
Cilantro: Cilantro is a fresh herb that helps fight inflammation, heart disease and can even help fight infections! It is fragrant in flavor.
Garlic: Garlic is known for its anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It helps fight many diseases like the common cold, heart disease, and others.
Cumin: This is a powerful spice that is used in many different cultures. It is one that helps promote digestion, is full of iron, is a powerful antioxidant and so much more! I love the flavor of it in many different dishes, but it goes really well with the lime juice and garlic in this recipe.
Salt and Pepper
Make the marinade: Combine lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper into a large zip-lock bag.
Add the chicken: Place the chicken thighs in to the bag with the marinade and gently mix until everything is coated.
Marinate: Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 3 hours.
Grill: Heat the grill to medium heat and place the chicken thighs skin-side down for 8 minutes, flip and cook for another 8 minutes (depending on the thickness). When the chicken reached 165°F it is finished.
Serve and Enjoy!
Recipe Tips and Tricks
Troubleshooting: If you are like me, who didn't cook with chicken thighs for a long time, they can be a little different than the breasts. They do produce much more fat in the pan and the best method I have found is letting them cook fully on one side before flipping. I am someone who likes to flip and move proteins a lot, but with chicken thighs I have found it best to just let them cook.
Serving: My favorite way to serve these is over some slaw, a few fresh veggies and some hot sauce! I love Siete's sauces the best, but you can choose your favorite. You can also turn these into chicken tacos or fajitas!
Double check ingredients: This recipe is Whole30 friendly, gluten-free, and sugar free naturally! However be sure to check for any added ingredients if you choose to use lime juice that is already juiced.
Alternative cooking method: This recipe can also easily be done in a pan, indoors if grilling is not an option! I recommend using a cast iron pan, but and pan will do. The cooking time will be the same, just be sure to add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan before cooking the chicken.
Refrigerator: This recipe is perfect for meal prepping! I recommend storing this in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It is a super easy lunch or simple dinner the next day and can be made into lots of other recipes.
Freezer: Store in an air tight container or freezer bag. Sometimes I will even chop it up before freezing because I know later me will thank myself for the prep work when I need a super easy freezer meal one night.
FAQs About Recipe
Can you marinate chicken in lime juice?
Yes! You absolutely can marinate chicken in lime juice. The myth is that you can't because it will make it tough. Truth is, it only gets tough if left to marinate in the lime juice for too long. So just be sure to not let it sit more than a couple hours before cooking. Acid can break down the proteins- making an unfavorable texture if left for too long.
How long can you marinate chicken in lime juice?
Technically you can marinate chicken in lime juice for up to 10 hours, however, I recommend no more than a couple hours. Lime juice can make chicken tough if left to marinate too long.
What goes with cilantro lime chicken?
Pair this juicy chicken with a simple slaw, put it in a taco, or over some cauliflower rice! Don't forget your favorite hot sauce on top if you like a little extra kick.
Paleo Cilantro Lime Chicken
- 1.5 lbs Boneless skinless Chicken Thighs
- ½ cup Olive Oil
- ½ cup Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon Garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon Cumin
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ¼ cup Cilantro about one handful of fresh cilantro
- Combine olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper into a gallon size zip-lock bag. Then add the chicken thighs to the bag. Zip the bag shut and gently mix.
- Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 3 hours.
- When you are ready to cook, heat the grill to medium heat. Add the chicken thighs to the grill and cook for about 8 minutes per side. When the chicken reaches 165°F internally it is finished.
- Remove from the grill, serve with desired toppings and enjoy.