These grilled cilantro-lime chicken breasts are fragrant, juicy, delicious, and are sure to please. I like to serve them right off the grill with my favorite sides, but they work beautifully in salads, wraps, and tacos too.
These simple, brightly flavored grilled cilantro-lime chicken breasts are great for make-ahead meals, and they are my favorite go-to healthy option. If you are looking to clean up your diet, these flavorful chicken breasts will add a bit of spark to your menu!
What you’ll need to make grilled cilantro-lime chicken breasts:
4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
Fresh lime juice, 3-4 limes
Jalapeno, 1 medium-sized
Salt and black pepper
The cilantro-lime marinade:
The building block of flavor for these grilled cilantro-lime chicken breasts starts with a marinade. Though it is just six ingredients, it packs a punch! You can amp up the flavor by adding 1 teaspoon of chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin. Doing this will add an earthy depth to the marinade. On occasion, I will add 1/2 tablespoon of honey to the marinade mixture. It cuts the sharpness of the cilantro-lime combination.
What can I use instead of cilantro? If you are not a fan of cilantro, you can substitute it with flat-leaf (Italian) parsley.
Preparing the marinade: This cilantro-lime marinade is easy to prepare. Pop the ingredients into your blender or food processor, and blend the mixture. Some folks prefer a smooth marinade, while others like a little texture to it. Either way works great.
Marinate your chicken for 2-4 hours or up to 8 hours if needed. I don’t recommend marinating these chicken breasts longer than 8 hours.
Prepping the chicken:
We flatten the chicken for this grilled cilantro-lime chicken breasts recipe. The object is to flatten it by half of its original thickness. Not more than that! Doing this will help even out the thickness of the breasts and the grilling process easier.
For even thickness, set down a 10″ piece of plastic wrap on your counter. Place 1-2 chicken breasts on top, then set another piece of plastic wrap right on top. Using the flat side of a kitchen mallet, lightly strike the chicken breast(s) from the center, moving outward to create a uniform piece of meat. Strive for ¾” thickness. Repeat the process with the remaining breasts.
Grilling Cilantro-Lime Chicken Breasts:
-Cook over medium-high heat, or about 375 degrees F. Oil the grill grates once the grill comes up to temperature. Have a reliable instant-read thermometer handy!
-Place the marinated chicken breast on the grill, close the lid and cook for 5-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Reduce heat if needed, or move chicken off to a cooler part of the grill, and continue cooking over indirect heat.
Store your leftover grilled chicken breasts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days after preparation.
Grilled Cilantro-Lime Chicken Breasts
- 4 medium chicken breasts skinless and boneless
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 medium jalapeno stems and seeds removed
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- For even thickness, set down a 10” piece of plastic wrap on your counter. Place 1-2 chicken breasts on top, then set another piece of plastic wrap right on top. Using a kitchen mallet, lightly strike the chicken breast(s) from the center, moving outward to form a uniform piece of meat. Strive for ¾” to 1” thickness. Repeat the process with the remaining breasts.
- Move flattened chicken into a glass baking dish or resealable freezer bag.
- Place all marinade ingredients into a food processor or blender. Pulse 10 times to create a nice thick mixture. If the marinade is too thick, add a little more olive oil. The mixture should not be a puree but rather a fine chop.
- Pour marinade over chicken breasts and toss to coat. Cover dish with plastic wrap or seal bag, and place into the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
- Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Once up to heat, oil the grill grates.
- Place marinated chicken breast on the grill, close the lid and cook for 5-7 minutes. Turn chicken breasts over, close the lid, cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Reduce heat if needed, or move chicken off to a cooler part of the grill. Continue cooking over indirect heat.
- Once cooked through, remove chicken breasts from the grill and place them onto a serving platter. Hit with a little extra fresh lime juice, and garnish with cilantro.
- *Substitutions: Not a fan of cilantro? You can substitute it with a mixture of Italian parsley and fresh oregano. It will change the flavor, but the chicken breasts will be delicious. Garnish with chopped green onion or parsley.
- *Purchase about four limes for this recipe.