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

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, 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

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. 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

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!

More Favorite Dinner Recipes

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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


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, skillet chicken with cilantro lime sauce

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


  1. I made this tonight and we loved it! It was so easy to make and we already had almost all of the ingredients in the fridge already. I’m definitely making this again.

  2. My daughters ask for this for dinner all the time! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. I made this today for dinner. I used other seasoning besides salt and pepper on my chicken. It turned out good to my liking. Just wanted to try something different.

  4. This was an amazing dinner!! The sauce is so delicious and ingredients so simple! Perfect amount of heat. This  be part of my regular collection of dinners! Thank you!!!

  5. I have to say I have never wanted to write a review about something I’ve made before. But this one I just had too!! 

    It was absolutely amazing!!! 
    I did how ever read the review from others and def added more spice to it we like our food way spicey. Added way more of everything to it. So it was packed with flavor. 
    I also didn’t serve with veggies , I made jasmine rice and smothered it with the sauce which was also amazing! 

    I cannot wait to make this again!
    Thanks for sharing!! 

  6. Question about oven-safe pan. If I don’t have one can I transfer sauce and chicken to a casserole dish and bake in there instead?

    1. Yes, that works just fine.

  7. Dear Sally,
    Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe. I made this today but I added fresh garlic as an extra ingredients and that gave your recipe more flavor. My family love it. Definitely I will made this again.

  8. Making this tonight, but quick question: do you cover the skillet when you place in the oven to bake?

    1. I always bake it uncovered.

  9. I made this tonight for my family, was devoured

  10. I am making this tonight and sliced the chicken in half so they are thinner, do I need to use the oven at all? 

    1. If the chicken is cooked through, then you won’t need to bake.

  11. Looks amazing. I wouldn’t use a non-stick skillet in the oven — temps that high ruin the pan, and worse, cause chemicals into leech from the coating into your food.. Cast iron all the way.

  12. Made this tonight and served it over baby spinach, was delicious! Though I cut down on the red pepper cause I can’t handle spicy food, was still a bit too hot for me but the hubby loved it 😀

  13. I have half & half cream in the fridge. Will that work?

    1. Worked just fine for me!

  14. I love this recipe! But I wanted paleo so I used coconut oil not butter and coconut milk not cream. Delicious!!!!

    1. Oooh coconut and lime, that sounds good! Did it work well and did you use the same amounts as the recipe called for cream and butter??

    2. Thank you! My son has a dairy intolerance, and I was going to ask if coconut or almond milk could be substituted. Thank you for answering my question!

      1. Coconut milk seems to work a lot better for cooking than almond milk, so I tend to prefer almond milk for cold, coconut for hot. 

  15. Hi Sally — Just wanted to let you know that in printing your recipe via your “print recipe” button, there are about 3 1/2 pages worth of javascript that prints before the recipe. Might want to check that out. Looking forward to trying this recipe out tonight!

    1. We’re aware! It’s an issue with Internet Explorer at the moment. We’re on it. 🙂 Thank you!

  16. Jessica Campos says:

    Omg , I pinned this recipe and made it tonight for me and my hubby !! Loved it !! It has so much flavor !! I made it with roasted asparagus and red potatoes!  I put cooked the potatoes in the same pan as the chicken with the sauce ! It was delish !! 

  17. Made this for the 3rd time for dinner tonight and it’s so stinking good!!!!

  18. I made this tonight. I didn’t have cilantro, so I improvised with ground cumin. And I didn’t have cream, so I used a bit of milk. Nevertheless, it was still really delicious. I love cilantro, so next time I’ll get some so I can follow your recipe more closely. 

  19. EXCELLENT chicken dish – probably the juiciest chicken breast I’ve ever made. Our whole family gobbled it up. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. I used jalapeno peppers instead of crushed red peppers came out delicous, added a little more spice too 🙂

  21. Love this recipe. This is my 2nd time making it but for a family of 6. I moderately increased the proportions. I cant wait until its finished. This time im using chicken thighs with the bone. And with pasta. The 1st time i made it, i used the boneless chicken breast like it said and served it with cauliflower pureed and spinach.

  22. Charlie T. says:

    Made this tonight! Pureed the finished sauce in the vitamix and poured onto the chicken! Was absolutely delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  23. Rosa Gonzalez says:

    This is delicious!  Made this last night, and we loved it! Definitely making this again!

  24. I am so excited to try this tonight! I am doubling the sauce recipe and trying it out in my crockpot since I don’t have a lot of time to make dinner tonight. I do plan on having us grill the chicken in a skillet while cooking the asparagus, though. It’ll just be pre-cooked and hopefully will have absorbed all of the yummy sauce flavor while cooking, too.

    1. let us know how it comes out in the crockpot. I am always looking for crockpot dishes 🙂

  25. What kind of onion do you use? yellow, red, or vidalia?

    thank you 🙂 can’t wait to make this for my family on saturday!

    1. I see red onion in the picture above.  I think you could use any onion and get wonderful results.  

  26. This was a wonderful recipe, I did add more cilantro, and after taking the chicken out of the pan I sautéed the onions first in some olive oil in the pan and then added everything else in. My husband LOVED it.  

    1. Oh and I also added some red peppers in since they’re my husbands favorite. Added a nice peppery flavor.

  27. Hi, does anyone know if taking the onions completely will change the taste of the recipe ? 

  28. Can I use thighs instead of breasts?

  29. This recipe was so delicious! I did sprinkle garlic powder along with the salt and pepper on the chicken and I also used extra cilantro. This will definitely be going in our dinner rotation. Thank you so much!

  30. Made this for the first time last night.  WOW!  So simple and delicious.  Looks and tastes like a gourmet dish. My boyfriend called it a “total keeper”. 

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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