Skillet Chicken with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

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This cilantro lime chicken simmers in a creamy flavor packed sauce and comes together in only 1 pan!

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

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.

Seeing how many of you love my recent glazed salmon recipe inspires me to share more of my dinner favorites like this cilantro lime chicken. 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 and easy meals. Well, you’ve come to the right place today.

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

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 cilantro lime pan sauce:

  • creamy
  • buttery
  • slightly 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.)

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

How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken

The first thing to do is grab 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

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

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


  • 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


  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.

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


All Comments

  1. Great week night recipe, easy prep and simple ingredients deliver a delicious and satisfying meal. I used 6oz chicken breasts for this recipe and they cooked up beautifully. I agree that the heavy cream for the sauce is a must! Leftovers are even more savory, will definitely make this again!

  2. Tried this tonight. Turned out fantastic, served it with bowtie pasta and steamed broccoli. Substituted plain Greek yogurt for the cream. My picky fiance gobbled it up.

  3. I thought I had lost this fantastic recipe so I spent the last hour going through a lot of posts; finally I found it.  My husband is so happy because it is now his favorite.  Thank you for this posting!

  4. The pastors wife cooks this meal for the church, i found it so delicious. Never got round to getting the recipe. But found it here and im going to cook it myself.

  5. This was absolutely delish. Made cilantro lime rice as a side. Will be making it again tonight as it is now one of my favorites.

  6. I made this dish for dinner tonight and everyone enjoyed it, even my 2 toddlers! I put extra peppers in it because we like spicy meals. I will definitely be making this chicken again.

  7. I made this today, and I can’t believe how amazing it tasted!  I usually skip any recipe that calls for heavy cream, but this is more broth than creamy.   

  8. I double all of the sauce ingredients and make extra and pour it over penne pasta. It is a staple at our house now.

  9. This is by far my new favorite meal of all time. I’ve made it 3 times now! This time I’ve doubled the sauce recipe because it’s just sooooo good. I serve it with spaghetti noodles tosses in the sauce and a side salad. I will say the red pepper flakes are a must even if you don’t like spicy food. The last time I made it I didn’t have any and it just wasn’t the same. The red pepper flakes really elevate the dish.

  10. OMG…I have made this 3 times in the last 3 weeks. This is a first for any recipe! Forwarded the recipe to my mom, and she is as devoted. She made it and took the leftovers to work. Her co-workers were drooling over how good this recipe is. I did take some of the commenters advice and doubled the sauce. Heaven in a Lodge skillet pan! Thank you so much!

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  1. I am OBSESSED with this recipe. I have made it about 5 times already, and each time I do the following: add the salt and pepper to about a cup of flour in a ziplock bag, mix, and add the chicken into there. This gives the chicken a nice little crunch during the browning process. I also always add about 4 lobes of crushed garlic and sliced mushrooms (probably to an excessive quantity because I love them) to the broth. This most recent time, I was feeling adventurous and chopped up a ring of the fresh pineapple I had in the fridge- best decision ever, totally recommend! Thank you so much for this wonderfully easy and cheap (grad student approved) recipe!

  2. Only made the sauce and put it over grilled chicken, just cause I wanted to grill out on this beautiful night. It was so amazing tasting! Really delicious. Thanks for the recipe.


  1. I’m allergic to red pepper flakes can it go without? or what is a good substitute that will give it flavor?

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally