Quick Dinner: Skillet Chicken with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

One skillet and 40 minutes is all it takes to transform chicken into a flavor-packed meal!

Tell me about your 4th of July!

What did you do? Did you make any of my recipes? Fire up the grill? Watch fireworks and catch some rays? The weather was miserable, humid, and rainy on Saturday here in Philly so a lot of my celebrating was indoors. Which didn’t stop us from the best party of all time.

One skillet and 40 minutes is all it takes! Grab the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Seeing how many of you love my recent Asian-inspired salmon recipe inspires me to share more of my dinner favorites. While I enjoy baking desserts the most (cookies > dinner), dinner is an everyday adventure. And if you’re like me, you’re constantly searching for quick ‘n easy meals. Wellllllllll you’ve come to the right place.

One skillet and 40 minutes is all it takes! Grab the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today I’m going to show you that one skillet is all it takes to transform chicken into something you and your fam will love. This chicken is cooked on the stove and finished off in the oven with a flavorful southwestern-inspired pan sauce:

creamy 

buttery 

caramelized onions 

cilantro 

a little spice 

zesty lime 

This meal reminds me of my days waitressing at Chilis! Good times. It also has me craving margaritas on the rocks with salt and a mountain of chips/guac. (In favor of trying to keep meals healthy and my shorts fitting, I settled for water and a side of asparagus.)

Whomp whomp.

One skillet and 40 minutes is all it takes! Grab the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

So. The first thing to do is grab some skinless boneless chicken breasts. You can use bone-in chicken thighs instead if that’s easier. Cook the chicken in the skillet until both sides are browned and crisp– the chicken will cook again in the oven so if the centers aren’t cooked all the way through just yet, it’s ok. Remove the chicken for the time being.

Now, using the same skillet, make the pan sauce with the smorgasbord of tasty things mentioned above.

One skillet and 40 minutes is all it takes! Grab the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

For the sauce’s liquids, you’ll use chicken broth and cream. Now, you’ll only need a little cream (3 Tablespoons for the whole recipe– that’s it!). Just the right amount to add richness to the sauce. You can use whole milk instead if that’s easier. Boil the pan sauce until it has reduced and thickened.

The sauce is easily the best part of this dish. And that makes sense because without it this would just be cooked chicken. So yeah. You’ll be spooning licking up the sauce from your plate. How ladylike of us all. Whatever. It’s really good sauce.

Next step? Add the chicken back to the skillet and bake everything in the oven until the chicken is cooked through. Add extra cilantro (flavor! flavor!), another squeeze of lime, and that’s IT. Serve with veggies and smother them with the extra sauce. ♥ ♥

One skillet and 40 minutes is all it takes! Grab the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

About 40 minutes start to finish. We both LOVED this meal. And here’s a new video for you to see the recipe start to finish!

Skillet Chicken with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

One skillet and 40 minutes is all it takes to transform chicken into a flavor-packed meal!

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I recommend reduced sodium)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice (I use closer to 1.5 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes1
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream2
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • optional: lime wedges and more cilantro for garnish, steamed asparagus for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. If the chicken breasts are uneven in thickness, pound them down so they're all even. This way all the breasts will cook through similtaneously. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 6-7 minutes, turning once. You want the chicken nice and browned on the outside. (It doesn't have to be cooked all the way through yet.) Set chicken on a plate and cover tightly with foil until step 5.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and add the broth, lime juice, onion, cilantro, and red pepper. Return to heat. Cook and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to around 1/4 cup. (During this time you can steam some veggies to have on the side, like asparagus.) Reduce heat to medium-low, then add the cream and butter. Stir until butter has melted.
  5. Add chicken to the sauce and place the skillet in the preheated oven. Bake uncovered until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Serve chicken with sauce spooned on top and any of the listed optional garnishes. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat to your liking.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your liking. This amount made the chicken mildly spicy. The cream in the sauce mellows out the spice.
  2. You can use whole milk instead, but for the thickest, richest sauce I highly recommend heavy cream. If using whole milk, make sure it is at room temperature to help prevent curdling.

Using SparkRecipes calculator, this gluten free chicken dish comes out to about 300 calories, 14g fat, 2g carbs, and 33g protein per serving. That includes all the extra sauce too! If your chicken breasts are smaller than 6 ounces each (about what mine were), these numbers will be lower.

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 Try my pecan crusted chicken fingers next. Baked not fried!

Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers-- baked, not fried! sallysbakingaddiction.com

More savory recipes for you!

Only 1 pan and 40 minutes to make this seriously FLAVORFUL Skillet Chicken with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce!

296 comments

  1. Fantastic! I used a heavy whipping cream for a thicker sauce and a tad more lime juice to keep the flavor. I also only used a dash of red pepper flakes so the kids could enjoy it without too much spice! No leftovers tonight!

  2. Not ‘quick’, but GREAT! I think it took us longer (20min in oven) to cook the breasts because ours were pretty big. We used coconut milk for our ‘cream’ as and ghee for ‘butter’ as we’re on the Whole30 cleanse right now. Doubled the sauce recipe and used it to go over some roasted potatoes and broccoli. Our out of town guest loved it – and was SUPER surprised when we said it’s Whole30. Don’t be shy with the lime, I used 2 limes for the doubled sauce recipe; I’m usually not a ‘creamy’ dish fan but the added acid really made it bright and lovely against the creaminess.

  3. My husband and I love this dish. We like the added heat of the red pepper flakes and serve it over white rice. Sally, keep the dinner recipes coming!

  4. Can I use fish for this?

  5. I made this tonight and the whole family, including 5 picky kids) loved it.  I used coconut milk because I didn’t have any heavy cream.  

  6. What a great recipe! I just made this for my family and friends and they loved it!! Thank you for sharing! I actually used a little white wine in the sauce and it was really good! 🙂

  7. I made this tonight and my family loved it! They are a bunch of picky eaters and I’m not a big fan of cilantro normally, but this was a hit! Thank you so much for this and many other recipes that I’ve tried (the oatmeal m&m cookies are a big favourite at our house) 🙂 I doubled the sauce to go over some pasta and some winter greens and it was perfect!

    Happy Foodie greetings from Germany!

  8. The sauce is really good however, I feel like the chicken doesn’t absorb the taste of the sauce. What can I do to solve this? 

    • I have the same problem! I’ve made this so many times and the chicken itself just isn’t special. Perhaps marinating it in a dash of lime juice beforehand? I too would like any tips someone could offer!

      • I’ve made this 4-5 times in the last 6 months. I do pound the chicken breasts and add garlic to the sauce. I probably add 2x the lime and cilantro then cook in the oven at least 20 min. A little extra lime and cilantro after its on the plate and generous sauce on chicken with a bed of rice. I always make at lease 2x the sauce.
        YUMMY!!! Garlic really takes it over the top. I : )

  9. Made this tonight and it was truly fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

  10. This was awesome! I made it tonight and served it over cauliflower rice. Both husband and toddler aprove!!! 🙂

  11. I am very interested in trying this recipe but my husband is not a fan of cilantro. Can u recommend a substitute? I’m thinking flat leaf parsley?

  12. This was SO good, even my kids (5, 4 and 1) all loved it. My hubby whipped it up quick and we had a great dinner with peas and jasmine rice. Next we’re going to try the lemon one. I’ve been a fan of yours for years and am thankful for your great work. My little girl’s birthday party is in a week and I’m thinking of doing the funfetti cake in a layer cake. I make everything of yours with gluten-free flour and it’s perfect, following the recipe exactly.

  13. Sounds really good! I’m just wondering if this would work as a freezer meal? And if so would you cook your chicken already or not?

  14. I’ve never been a fan of cilantro but with this recipe, I’m going to give it another try – tomorrow! This creamy skillet chicken with lime looks yahsome and sounds amazing.

  15. This dish is always a hit at my house! 

  16. So good! Made it for dinner and my boyfriend loved it! I can’t wait to eat the leftovers in the fridge 😉

  17. Made this for dinner tonight with broccoli. The whole meal was delicious! I see why others said to double the sauce, I was kind of left with a paltry amount. Mine was definitely a ‘pan sauce’ and not really anything thick–but still good! I’m wondering if those are tenders shown in the picture instead of breasts? They look small! I might have had better luck with tenders. 

  18. We made this for dinner tonight, very tasty and easy to make.  Thanks for sharing!

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