Cilantro Lime Chicken is one the tastiest and easiest chicken dishes that I make. It’s also a recipe that’s in heavy rotation because it pairs with so many different things. Sometimes the simplest of recipes are also the most versatile. Now the key to making this Cilantro Lime Chicken perfect each and every single time is using fresh ingredients! I probably sound like a broken record, but fresh ingredients make ALL OF THE DIFFERENCE! Nothing compares to fresh garlic, lime juice, and cilantro! And honestly, those three ingredients are the Holy Trinity that holds this dish together!
All in all, you can have this Cilantro Lime Chicken with practically anything– and I mean that. Taco night, pasta night, impromptu BBQ, salad lunches– you name it and this chicken is the perfect accompaniment. The best part is that you can also grill it, bake it, or pan sear it. Today, I’m pan searing it because I love it when chicken has a crispy yet tasty exterior especially with garlic that’s been sautéed just shy of being burnt so it’s slightly caramelized. Mmmm… I can taste it now
If you’re wondering how to pan sear chicken perfectly, here are a few of my No-Fail Tips & Tricks:
Tip #1: Heat up the pan BEFORE adding the oil. It’s important to have your pan come up to temperature before you even add your olive oil. Heat plays a huge role in pan searing chicken! Having a hot pan beforehand will ensure that your pot will retain its heat throughout the cooking process.
Tip #2: Add oil to the pot AFTER your pot has come up to temperature and then make sure that your oil is hot. Listen– we’re not in business until that oil is hot as well.
Pot is hot? Check. Oil is hot? Check…
Tip #3: DO NOT OVER CROWD YOUR POT WITH CHICKEN! I know this is tempting, but make sure you leave enough room between the pieces of chicken. It’s important that your skillet remains hot even while it’s cooking the chicken. If you add too many pieces, the overall temperature will drop causing the chicken to sweat. In the end, what you get is Pollo Guisado– and that’s a different recipe altogether!
Tip #4: Now that you’ve added the Cilantro Lime Chicken into the skillet, let it do it’s thing. This is where the magic will begin to happen. The chicken will crisp up and the outside will even slightly caramelize creating flavor overload! Resist the urge of flipping your chicken a million times for fear that it will burn. Repeat after me… IT WILL BE FINE! Flip your chicken twice, max 3 times! Flip it every 4-5 minutes until your chicken is done.
Tip #5: Once your Cilantro Lime Chicken has cooked through, remove it from the skillet and place onto a cutting board. Let your chicken rest for 5 minutes. Don’t worry that the chicken will get cold in those 5 minutes– it won’t. In fact, the chicken will only get juicier and tastier. Don’t drop the ball at the eleventh hour. Let the magic of your awesome Cilantro Lime Marinade take its final course…
And now for the recipe!
- 2 Large Chicken Breasts
- 5 Garlic Cloves Mashed
- 1 Lime
- Zest of 1 lime
- ¼ cup Cilantro Diced
- 1 ½ tsp Adobo
- 1 ½ tsp Orégano
- Olive Oil
- ¼ tsp Salt
- Black Pepper to Taste
- Mash garlic in a mortar and pestle (pilon) with salt until it creates a paste. If you don’t feel like mashing garlic, mincing the garlic will also do
- Afterwards, season chicken with adobo or seasoning salt, orégano, black pepper, mashed garlic, olive oil, lime zest, and juice of that very same lime
- Mix everything together until well combined. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes or overnight. If you’re making this dish in a rush, no worries it will still taste delicious
- In a heated skillet over medium to high flame, add olive oil
- Now add chicken being sure to add a few pieces at a time. Be careful not to overcrowd the skillet. You want to create a crispy exterior on chicken
- After 4 minutes, flip chicken over and cook the other side.
- Flip chicken once more if needed. Careful not to flip chicken too many times
- After about 10 minutes, once chicken is done-- remove and place onto cutting board. Let rest for 5 mins.
- Slice chicken to your desired thickness and enjoy with your favorite meal
You can grill, bake, or fry this chicken.