Cilantro Lime Chicken

I landed a client!  I’m making about 10 meals a week for a person trying to lose weight to prepare for a surgical procedure.  This is exactly the kind of work I want to do, but it is consuming me!  I cook, menu plan, and make shopping lists all the time. So forgive me for the long absence as I’ve figured out the first month.  Most of my initial recipes have been out of a dieter’s cookbook, but as I’m rummaging through the healthier items in my recipe pile, I’m hoping to get back on track with the blog goal and strike a better balance.

Cilantro is such a polarizing ingredient. My husband loves it, I like it sparingly, and several of our relatives taste soap when they encounter cilantro.  I tore this recipe out of Woman’s Day Magazine 5 years ago (June 2010).  I decided to make it for my client after checking out her level of cilantro tolerance.  She likes Chipotle’s Cilantro lime rice, which seems to be her only exposure to cilantro that she can remember.

PREP: 0:15


  • ¾ c. canola oil
  • ½ c. lime juice
  • ¼ c. orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. each minced garlic and jalapeño pepper
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • 12 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ c. chopped cilantro
  • Garnish: chopped cilantro, lime and orange wedges


  1. Combine oil, lime juice, orange juice, garlic, jalapeño pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Transfer 1 cup lime juice mixture and the sugar to a 2-gallon ziptop freezer bag; seal bag and turn a few times to mix. Add chicken breasts; turn to coat chicken. Refrigerate overnight, occasionally turning bag. Reserve remaining lime juice mixture (about 2/3 cup).
  2. Brush grill with oil or coat with nonstick grilling spray. Heat outdoor grill or indoor grill pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Put reserved lime juice mixture and cilantro in blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Remove chicken breasts from bag (discard liquid in bag). Grill chicken 5 to 6 minutes, turning once, until nicely browned and cooked through.
  5. Place chicken on a platter. Garnish with chopped cilantro and fruit if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature with cilantro sauce.

I scaled this recipe down to 1/3, making 4 servings.  I also converted it to roasted chicken instead of  grilled (we have a grill pan, but using it fills the kitchen with blue smoke because our exhaust fan isn’t great).  The procedure was the same for the marinating, but I roasted 4 pieces of chicken (each 4 ounces, the actual appropriate portion size) at 425° for about 20 minutes (USDA internal temp for poultry is 165°, so if your chicken pieces are bigger, plan your roasting times accordingly).

I made my sauce in the blender, but had a terrible time getting the cilantro (especially the stems) untangled from the blades (I made more sauce than the scaled down version called for, because my husband is all about the sauce on any dish).  I would use the food processor instead of the blender next time.  This is great way to use a hearty amount of cilantro, if you happen to have a lot on hand.

Cilantro Lime Chicken


Verdict:  Delicious!  The sauce was tangy and zippy, and the chicken had gorgeous caramelized flavor and color from the roasting.  Client didn’t love it.  I imagine the cilantro was a bit dominant for her, but  I loved the flavor against the lime juice.  The citrus balance was excellent.