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. 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. Want to try this. Does anyone have a substitute for cilantro? I love it but only one in family that likes it.

    1. I use parsley when I dont have cilantro on hand.

  4. I have made this four times, it’s amazing every time! One of my favorite recipes ever, thanks!

  5. Would this work in a slow cooker?

    1. I would use bone in chicken thighs for slow cooker. Boneless breasts dry out

  6. 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!

  7. Wow! That looks like so delicious. That food is worth all the effort of cooking. I’ll pin it on my Pinterest account. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Michelle Stardrin says:

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.   

  12. Hi Sally!!
    Can’t wait to try this!! A great Keto recipe !!

  13. krissy wood says:

    Made this recipe and really love it!

  14. 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!

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

  16. Is there a substitute for the dairy for those of us who have a dairy allergy? Would love to make this

    1. Hi Catherine! I suggest coconut oil and coconut cream.

  17. Anything else besides cilantro to use. Can’t stand the taste, to overwhelming.

    1. Of you don’t like it you can just omit it. It will taste just as good.

  18. 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.

  19. Tempe Morrisey says:

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

  20. What did y’all use for the cream?

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. Made this for the first time and I am in love! This is my new favorite chicken recipe! I will be making this MANY more times!

  24. Made for the first time last night and it was DELICIOUS!! Easy to make! Will definitely keep this recipe on hand! Thank you!

  25. Taylor DeRemer says:

    This has been one of our absolute favorite recipes over the last couple of years. We also added mushrooms, and then tripled all of the ingredients (except same # of chicken breasts) to make a lot more sauce. We then cook rice and serve the sauce and chicken over a bowl of rice. When we store our leftovers we just pour it all in together and its almost even better the next day when the sauce has soaked into the rice. Thank you for the recipe!!

  26. This was AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing it! My family ALL loved it and requested I make it every week. Even my husband said it was the best chicken ever. Great job Sally and thanks again!

  27. Just made this for the second time and I just can’t get enough of it. It’s just sooooooo good. Used thin cut chicken breasts this time because I grabbed these by mistake at the store but still was delicious. Definitely going to be my go to recipe.

  28. Can this dish be cooked on the stove top?

    1. When you add the chicken back to the skillet in step 5, cover it and finish it off on the stove top. If you don’t have an oven proof skillet you can also transfer everything to a baking dish as this point and finish it in the oven as instructed.

  29. Made this last night & also doubled the sauce as I used 8 chicken breasts. It was soooo good! Everyone loved it. I used heavy cream and omitted the pepper flakes.

  30. Has anyone tried to convert this to an Instant Pot recipe? My husband claims to hate chicken, but has told me this is his favorite meal. He requests it all the time, and I was hoping to cook it with less hands on time. As a mother of three and a full time schedule, it’s hard to even find the time to make a 30 minute dinner some nights.

    1. I’m going to try making this in the Instant Pot tonight… I plan to brown the chicken in the IP on Saute mode, add the sauce ingredients EXCEPT the cream and bring to pressure. I’ll add the cream after a slow pressure release. It won’t come out browned but it should still be flavorful.

      1. Carol Ann White-Melton says:

        Thanks for the ideas for using the Instant Pot. With a little ghee or oil, it should work well to brown the chicken in the Instant Pot first, remove it, add the liquid and return to the pot on an insert to keep it out of the liquid. I did that tonight with another recipe…8 minutes on high with a natural release after 5 minutes for boneless thighs. I want to try this sauce using your plan.

    2. has anyone tried turning this into a soup? would you just add more broth or?

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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