Skillet Chicken with Cilantro Lime Sauce

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 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 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.)

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

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

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!

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Skillet Chicken with Creamy 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

Description

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


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 flakes*
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream*
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • optional: lime wedges and more cilantro for garnish, steamed asparagus for serving

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  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, skillet chicken with cilantro lime sauce

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

394 Comments

  1. Just made this for dinner tonight!! SOOOO GOOD! Will definitely be made again in our house! Only thing I would change is a little less pepper flakes as it was a little spicy for the kids 🙂

  2. I really want to make this for dinner but don’t have whole milk or heavy cream. Will regular milk or almond milk work?

    1. You really need a thick milk to thicken up the sauce. I’ve never tried with almond milk. Let me know if you do.

  3. Love it. I’m definitely going to try this out. But, what if I steam the chicken first and then sear it on the skillet?? Will that make any difference in the taste, of course there will be a difference in terms of texture.
    Love all your recipes Sally. You sure have many fans from India. Great going . 
     

  4. Made it. Loved it. Magically there are leftovers! Thanks for the recipe!! Always wanted to learn to do a pan sauce and this one is delicious.  I roasted some broccoli as a easy side while I was prepping and doing the chicken.

    I used whole milk and it was great but I’ll try out the heavy cream or half and half next time. 

  5. Sally, this looks amazing! I’ve been looking for a new chicken recipe, and I can’t wait to give this one a try.

  6. I may have gone a littttle over the top with desserts this Fourth of July. I made the inside out cookies, the apple pie (so much fun to make! It was eaten pretty fast!), and the very vanilla cupcake with frosting (with real vanilla bean!). 

  7. This looks so flavorful! It sounds like you had a great fourth regardless of the rain.

  8. 4th of July this year was the best we’ve ever had. We spent time with family we never see, went in their boat, flew kites, and lit up the night with our own fireworks show on the bay, followed by our city’s fireworks display. It was wonderful!

    This dish sounds wonderful. I love quick dinner meals, because who wants to slave everyday in the kitchen?! Even though I love to cook/bake I want a night off every once in a while and this sounds like something my husband could make! 🙂

  9. The weekend was crazy. Drove to southern OH to get my husbands truck he bought, stopped close to Columbus to get our son’s truck. That was all day Friday. Saturday was spent at a parade and Balloon fest. So I didn’t have a lot of time for cooking. However, yesterday I made your salted caramel apple bars from last July 4th.  Wow, so good. I didnt cut them into near as small pieces as you, lol. They are now all gone and they were soooo good. Even my picky eater niece liked it!
    As a side note, the more I workout the more sweets I crave, so your recipes are keeping me sated. May not be healthy, but it is home made and not from a box.  

  10. Oh Sally i finally tried your homemade brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts wowee i am a hero and a genius according to friends and fam. I am making them again on Sunday for a special treat for my co workers. Imade yet another double batch of your choc chip with mega m n ms possibly my sons fav. In case i never told you my daughter ate two of your pumpkin oatmeal cookies ,truly, almost every day of her pregnancy. My baby granddaughter Viviana was born with the most beautiful complexion ever. Im attributing it to the pumpkin!

  11. Hi,
    I made this today. I loved it. The sauce was really nice. I love these dinner recipes you keep introducing us too. ***BTW, September is around the corner, so excited about your cookbook 😉

  12. I made this last night and  – so easy and great flavor! I ended up blending the sauce to thicken it. Yum! Thanks for an easy week night recipe!

  13. DELISH!  Everyone loved it and I saved the leftover sauce to add to a simple soup today for lunch!  Thank you for great recipes!

  14. While it is very nice to see a bunch of “looks delicious” comments, I like to see actual reviews when I scroll through the comment section so I waited to write until I actually made this. It was last night’s supper and everyone (husband and 10 year old twins) loved it. I don’t really measure things when I cook but I’m pretty sure I went went heavier on the lime  The only real change I made was that I didn’t finish it in the oven as the chicken was already cooked through and I didn’t feel it necessary to heat up the oven.  Totally delicious and I will be making this over and over!

  15. Hi Sally! I made this for my husband this evening and in spite of my one change (I forgot to get the Chicken broth and so used vegetable stock instead) It was delish and a big hit. I served it with a Spanish quinoa and brown rice pilaf and french green beans.

    I have to tell you it was so easy to do that I prepared the entire meal with a phone cradled on my shoulder as I had a nice long chat with my sister-in-law. (even when I pounded the chicken she didn’t stop talking :D)
    Thanks for a great recipe that will definitely be repeated.

  16. Sally, I made this last night with 2 changes. As I don’t eat dairy, I used ghee instead of butter and substituted almond milk for the cream. I also used thighs instead of breasts. It was ABSOLUETLY delicious! With the leftovers today I am turning into a wonderful salad! Thanks so much!!

  17. This is the BEST THING I EVER ATE….seriously, I admit I am prone to exaggeration but believe me when I say this dish is fabulous. Thanks Sally!

  18. We tried this tonight and it was AMAZING!  So easy and made with ingredients that I typically have on hand.  My husband loved it as well, and we both agreed it would taste great on fish (like mahi mahi).  We also agreed that the recipe is a keeper to be added to our regular dinner rotation AND we could make it to impress dinner guests!  

  19. Hi Sally,
    Just wanted to let you know that i made this chicken for dinner last night & it was SO delicious!!  My husband & I really enjoyed it.  I ended up using parsley instead of cilantro because I thought I had cilantro in my herb box but turns out the parsley took over….. Next time will most definitely make sure I have cilantro though….. 🙂

  20. I made this sauce for tofu the other night (subbing vegetable broth for the chicken broth) and it was amazing! My boyfriend and I both loved it and I’ll be making it again soon.

    Also if anyone else wants to try this I cut the tofu into cubes then pan fried it. Then made the sauce in the pan while leaving the tofu in it to give it more flavor.

  21. Made this tonight. Very easy to make and so flavourful. I love cilantro!  I served it with cilantro riced cauliflower and sweet potatoe fries.  This is going to be a go to  recipe for sure. Thanks for posting. 

  22. I made it, for the whole family! And they loved it. We usually eat chicken with tomato based sauces here in Brazil, and it’s impossible to find heavy cream/sour cream/buttermilk in our supermarkets, so i used 2 other milk based creams (nata and creme de leite, in portuguese). Oh, and I also decided to go with parsley, not cilantro (my dad is a little stubborn with cilantro).
    This is my first comment here in the blog, but possibly the 10º recipe that i try, an they all worked out very well =)
    Thanks Sally!

  23. With all these cilantro lovers I feel like such an outcast!! I cannot eat it! Being half Latina it is absurd but it tastes so strange to me! Do you have a suggestion for a replacement herb Sally? I do not know what it tastes similar to to everyone else, it honestly is a little soapy tasting to me? Strange I know, but I hear that half of people taste it good and the other half have weird taste for it like me =(

    1. Tara- It is not weird that Cilantro tastes like soap to you.  14% of the world population has the same experience as you.  It is because you have the ability to smell a naturally occurring chemical  (that most people cannot) that the plant has  It is one of the chemicals found in soap. Doctors consider the soap taste as a mild allergy to cilantro.  My husband and daughter cannot eat cilantro for that reason.  I substitute parsley and that works well in most recipes. 

    2. I made it without the cilantro and I thought it came out amazing! Try it with everything but the cilantro and you may like it too. 

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