This cilantro lime chicken simmers in a creamy flavor packed sauce and comes together in only 1 pan!
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.
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:
- slightly caramelized onions
- 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.)
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.
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. ♥ ♥
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
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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