Chili Lime Chicken features an incredible chili lime marinade that really infuses the chicken breasts with so much mouthwatering flavor! This easy roasted chicken recipe is hassle-free and always impresses.
This chili lime chicken can’t get any easier! All you have to do is toss the ingredients in a bowl, marinate chicken and then roast it for about an hour. As easy as it may be, there is one pretty hard part… waiting for it to marinate when you smell how delicious that marinade is!
Lime juice, cilantro, garlic, jalapeños, chili powder and more come together to create the very best flavor in the marinade. The combination of ingredients creates a spicy and fresh flavor palate that really makes the chicken as flavorful as can be. Plus, the acidity from the lime juice and vinegar make the chicken nice and tender.
While this is a lovely warm weather entree, you can enjoy this summery chicken really any time of year! Personally, I never get tired of a tender, juicy, browned chicken breast that’s loaded with flavor. This is a go-to dinner recipe in my house that my family asks for all the time!
Chicken – I recommend using chicken on bone and with skin still on because it will be a little more flavorful and juicy. You can of course use boneless/skinless chicken breast if you can’t find breast on bone.
Olive Oil – Avocado oil also works well if preferred.
Ancho Chili Powder – You can add more or less based on how spicy you’d like it to be.
Jalapeños – Scroll down to read some of the best tips when it comes to picking spicier or tamer jalapeño peppers!
Limes – You’ll need both the juice and zest for the very best fresh, tangy flavor.
Cilantro – You can omit this if you don’t like cilantro. If you’re a cilantro lover like me, though, it really sends this dish over the top!
See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and instructions.
How to Make Chili Lime Chicken
Prepare the limes. Cut one of the limes in half. Save one half of the lime to top the chicken with later. Zest the limes, then squeeze the juice out of them and add it to the small mixing bowl.
Make the marinade. Add all the remaining ingredients for the marinade into the mixing bowl as well. Whisk all ingredients, except chicken, in the bowl.
Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken to a large zip-top bag (or large bowl) and pour in the marinade (1). Close the bag and squeeze out as much air as you can (2). Place on a large plate. Let the chicken marinate for 2-12 hours.
PRO TIP: You can keep the seeds from the jalapeño if you wish to make your marinade spicier. Taking the seeds out will take out a lot of the heat.
Prepare the chicken for roasting. Use metal tongs to take the chicken out of the marinade and place it in the prepared pan, skin side up. Spread the marinade over chicken. Slice the reserved half the lime and place the lime slices on top of chicken.
Cook the chicken. Bake for 35-45 minutes at 425°F, depending on the size of chicken breasts.
PRO TIP: Use a meat thermometer to test the temperature of the chicken. Chicken should be cooked to 165°F internal temperature. Test the temperature of the very center, thickest part, of the meat.
There are so many delicious options! Plain white or brown rice are great and so is Cauliflower Rice. You can keep it fresh with a number of different delicious vegetable side dish recipes. A simple pasta side dish also goes great with this versatile chicken recipe!
When it comes to meats, don’t try to guess if the meat is done just by the cooking time. Cook time always varies! It’s always best to use a meat thermometer. It’s the most certain way to make sure the meat is fully cooked. Remember to insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat. Fully cooked chicken that’s safe to eat should be 165°F.
Yes, absolutely. Just remember to adjust the time for each type of meat because having a bone and size of meat does affect bake time. In general, chicken breasts will be done the quickest and chicken drumsticks will take the longest. As always, the best time to tell if the chicken is done is to use a meat thermometer. Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature taken in the thickest part of the meat.
Storing and Reheating
Once cooled to room temperature, any leftover chicken you have will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheating can be in the microwave in about 45 second increments or in the oven. In the oven, reheat it at 350°F and only until the chicken is heated through or it will start to dry. Reheating in the oven does help crisp the skin again.
Tips for the Best Chili Lime Chicken
- Jalapeño – You can use jalapeños according to the spice level you want in your marinade. Older jalapeños are more spicy, and you can tell they are older by the veins on the skin. More dry veins means that it’s an older and spicier jalapeno. If there are no veins, the jalapeno is young and less spicy. You can also choose to leave the seeds in or discard. Seeds store most of the spice for the pepper, so leaving them in will make the dish spicier.
- Where to Marinate – Use either a large, gallon zip-top bag or a metal mixing bowl to marinate the chicken. Do not marinate raw meats in plastic containers! If you use a zip-top bag, place it either in a container or on a plate just in case there’s a leak.
- Marinating Time – It’s best to give your chicken at least 2 hours to marinate. Although you can marinate something in 20 minutes, that’s not quite enough time to get enough flavor through. And remember, don’t marinate your meats for longer than 12 hours because then the acids in the marinade start to break down the meat tissue.
- Room Temperature – Make sure to take the meat in the marinade out of the refrigerator about 45 minutes before cooking and let it rest and warm up on the counter.
- Use a Meat Thermometer – There are many factors that can effect the cook time of the chicken, like the size of the chicken and oven temperature. It’s very important not to roast chicken by time alone. Use a digital instant-read cooking thermometer to determine when it’s done. Chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast or thigh reaches 165°F.
- Use the Proper Pan – Any time you are using a pan and not a baking dish to cook something in the oven, make sure to use an oven-safe cooking pan. Oven-safe cooking pan means there are no wood or plastic elements like a handle, and it can withstand temperatures up to 500°F safely.
- Let the Meat Rest – After removing chicken from the oven, it’s important to allow the juices to redistribute back into the meat. This is the step for more juicy and tender meat.
- Save the Cooking Juices – The sauces/juices that will be left in the pan are wonderful to serve over the pasta, rice, or other side dishes!
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Chili Lime Roasted Chicken
- 4 large bone-in chicken breasts
Chili Lime Marinade:
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp ancho chili powder more or less to personal tolerance
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1-2 jalapenos seeded and minced
- 2 tbsp fresh minced cilantro
- 5-6 garlic cloves pressed
- 2 large limes – juice and zest
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt more or less to taste
- Cut one of the limes in half and reserve the half (to top the chicken).Zest the limes, then squeeze the juice out of them and add it to the small mixing bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients for the marinade into the mixing bowl as well. Whisk all ingredients, except chicken, in a large mixing bowl.Note: you can keep the seeds from the jalapeno if you wish to make your marinade spicier. Take the seeds out, will take out a lot of the heat.
- You can use a large gallon size zip-top bag to marinate the chicken or a metal mixing bowl. Add chicken breasts into the zip-top bag (or into a metal bowl large enough to hold the chicken and the marinade) and pour in the marinade. Use metal tong to mix the chicken with the marinade if needed. Close and place on top of a large plate.
- Marinade chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight. (You can marinate the chicken longer if you wish, but not much longer than 12 hours).
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- You can use a seasoned cast iron skillet, a baking dish, or a roasting pan, to cook the chicken.
- Use metal tongs to take the chicken out of the marinade and place it in the prepared pan, skin side up. Spread the marinade over chicken. Slice the reserved half the lime and place the lime slices on top of chicken.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of chicken breasts. Use a meat thermometer to test the temperature of the chicken. Chicken should be cooked to 165° internal temperature. Test the temperature of the very center, thickest part, of the meat.