Skillet Chicken with Cilantro Lime Sauce

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

chicken breasts in a skillet with cilantro lime sauce

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.

overhead image of chicken with creamy cilantro lime sauce on a white plate

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, a mountain of chips and guacamole, and key lime pie for dessert. (In favor of trying to keep meals healthy and my shorts fitting, I settled for water and a side of asparagus.)

2 images of asparagus and chicken with creamy cilantro lime sauce in a skillet

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.

ingredients for creamy cilantro lime sauce on a wood cutting board

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. Have a batch of dinner rolls to soak up any extra, too! ♥ ♥

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!

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chicken with creamy cilantro lime sauce in a skillet

Skillet Chicken with Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


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


  • 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 flakes*
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream*
  • 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 simultaneously. 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.


  1. Red Pepper Flakes: 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. Heavy Cream: 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.
  3. Nutrition Information: 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.

Keywords: skillet chicken, cilantro lime

chicken with creamy cilantro lime sauce on a white plate with asparagus


Comments are closed.

  1. This dish is amazing. My fiancé and I absolutely love it. I make it as described with a side of cilantro-lime rice and asparagus and pour the sauce over everything. 5/5!

    1. I’m so glad it’s such a hit with both of you, Megan!

    2. Please tell about cilantro lime rice ?

  2. Loved this recipe. I don’t like cilantro so I left that out and added fresh jalapeños. I doubled the sauce and served it over angel hair pasta. It was soo good.

  3. You can try this sauce with some pasta and dryed tomatoes. Its great and fast.

  4. Loved this! I altered because I didn’t have everything but we Loved it!! Thanks!

  5. Kimberly I Hauschild says:

    This is one of my favorite recipes. I double the ingredients for the sauce so I will have enough for penne pasta. I love cilantro and red pepper!

  6. I just want to tell you that this is one of our favorite meals! My boyfriend and I both love it, and he requests it all the time! We especially love that delicious sauce. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  7. Caroline Gibbs says:

    This is my FAVORITE recipe of all time! It is so easy to make. It looks beautiful when it’s served and the taste is incredible! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  8. Alyssa benson says:

    Currently making this recipe and it already smells so delicious and I haven’t even tried it! It’s seems like a quick meal didn’t take too long for me to prep. I can just imagine the taste yummmy! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Noreen Grady says:

    Could you substitute basil for the cilantro, since my family doesn’t like cilantro.

    1. Absolutely!


    I always look forward to opening my email to see what fantastic recipe you have for me every day.
    I need to tell you I love your videos, they are fast, easy and not a bunch of talking…keep up the good work.
    Going to try this chicken…
    Thanks Rosie

    1. Thank you so much, Rosie! I hope you love this recipe!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    How big are the chicken breasts you usually use (sorry if you’ve answered before, phone scrolling here)? The ones I get around here are usually nearly a pound each; I often have to horizontally halve them and count both halves to get the right sauce/seasoning proportions for recipes. Looks delish, hope to try soon!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! If the chicken breasts are on the thicker side, slice them horizontally so they cook quicker and more evenly.

  12. Sally, hi, what could I substitute for the dairy products in this recipe. It sounds delicious, and I’d love to try it. I cannot use milk products in a chicken dish. Thanks for so many great ideas!

    1. Coconut cream

  13. We made this tonight. We doubled the sauce and served it over the chicken and rice pasta. It was very good!!!

  14. Made this tonight. Substituted 3/4 tsp dried oregano for cilantro. Used coffee cream b/c it is what I had on hand. Cut back the red pepper flakes. Added fresh garlic. Served over spaghettini. Excellent! Next time will double the sauce and pound chicken breast a bit thinner. Thanks for this recipe, Sally!

  15. Oh my gosh! The only change I made was to triple the red pepper flakes. This was a huge hit in our house!! Thank you!

  16. Terrie Waterstraut says:

    Another great Sally recipe–made this tonight and it elevated the routine chicken breast dinner into something special. Thanks!

  17. Made this last night and it was a HIT!!
    I loved it. Added tiny potatoes and used half and half (only because I had it on hand).
    It was marvelous. Thank you so much. Will be making it again.

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it so much!

  18. Ashley Desjarlais says:

    We love this recipe for a quick yet delicious week night meal! This meal is so easy to make, double or tweak with ingredients on hand. I often make double and bring it to work for lunch over a salad.

  19. What kind of onions are best in this recipe? I see you used red but recipe just says onions.Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie! I like to use red onion, but I’ve made this dish before with yellow onion and it’s still wonderful. Choose whichever you have or like best.

  20. Deborah M. Bruce says:

    Sally, this recipe was so good!! Nice amount of spice and the chicken was so tender!! Thank you for this great recipe.

  21. Debbie Knudslien says:

    I bought frozen chicken breasts today, that were individually packaged, so I thought they’d be the right size for individual servings. But they were huge — 12 oz breasts. So I sliced horizontally into 9 slices and used your recipe. I absolutely loved it! I followed almost exactly — used fat-free half and half, and less pepper flakes. It was SO GOOD! I’m definitely making again, next time with pasta. I had some leftover brown rice, so I served with that, and broccoli. Even the picky-eater teenaged boy liked it and even commented, after inhaling it!

  22. Hi Sally: I would like to make this dish but not use the oven. Is it possible to use the electric frying pan with the lid on for the last cooking time? It is too hot here to use the oven during the Summer.

    1. Hi Maureen! You can continue cooking the chicken on the stove until cooked through. Place the lid on top of the skillet so the chicken cooks more evenly.

  23. My family loves this dish I make the sauce and chicken as it says but i make triple amount of sauce and out it over egg noodles ! It’s so good as a light pasta dish . Not like Alfredo where its so saucy ! Thicken it up a bit with a little bit of cornstarch !

  24. Tayyaba Akbar says:

    Made this for dinner today for the family along with your green bean casserole recipe as a side!
    TOTAL HIT! Everyone loved both the dishes!

    Here in Pakistan, we like our food a little spicy so tweaked the spice level up a bit. Instead of 1/2 tsp of red chili flakes, I put in 1tsp of them. It was really delicious!

    Thank you for blogging your tried & tested recipes. Its my go to, I’ve never had a bad experience with any recipe I’ve tried. Whether sweet or savory 🙂

  25. I’ve made this once before and it was absolute PERFECTION. Everyone loved it! I’ll be making this tomorrow and I can hardly wait 🙂 Great Recipe Sally <3 <3 <3

  26. Made this two weeks ago and I’m making it again this week! The only thing I am doing differently is doubling the sauce! 😉

  27. The flavors are great!!! I over cooked mine – following the cooking time. But, that is the case when you pound out chicken, it cooks faster. Just a little tweaking needed on my part. Will make again.

  28. Cynthia Neuhaus says:

    This is fantastic—I’d give it 6 stars if I could! I will make double sauce next time!

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it so much!

  29. Sharmila Chakraverty says:

    Hi Sally,
    Can I use lemons instead of lime? I have a ton of those.

    1. Sure, I don’t see why not! You might also like this one:

  30. This recipe is perfect!!! I cooked everything on the stovetop and it came out great!! My husband said he could eat 5 servings!! Lol! I’m obsessed with your sweet recipes but now I’ll have to try all your savory ones too! You the best, Sally!

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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