Damn Delicious

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs - This is truly the most AMAZING zesty cilantro-lime marinade ever. And the chicken comes out perfectly juicy and tender.

This is truly the most AMAZING zesty cilantro-lime marinade ever. And the chicken comes out perfectly juicy and tender.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs - This is truly the most AMAZING zesty cilantro-lime marinade ever. And the chicken comes out perfectly juicy and tender.


It was 25 degrees F this morning. I am seriously so over it.

I mean, we’re about to head into April! And it was 60 degrees just a few days ago. Where’s the Spring weather, Chicago? I’m ready for grilling season!

But I guess for now, I’ll have to settle for the grill pan.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs - This is truly the most AMAZING zesty cilantro-lime marinade ever. And the chicken comes out perfectly juicy and tender.

Because these cilantro lime chicken thighs cannot wait for this Chicago warm weather everyone has been promising this LA native.

Nope. This marinade is too epic to be waiting. The marinade made with fresh cilantro, olive oil, lime zest, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.

It’s simple, it’s quick, and it yields the most flavorful, zesty chicken thighs one can ask for.

Simply throw these bad boys on a grill pan or a hot grill (for those of you with actual Spring weather!) and serve with rice or use for tacos, bowls, or salads.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs - This is truly the most AMAZING zesty cilantro-lime marinade ever. And the chicken comes out perfectly juicy and tender.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

This is truly the most AMAZING zesty cilantro-lime marinade ever. And the chicken comes out perfectly juicy and tender.

2 hours 15 minutes20 minutes


  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs


  1. In a medium bowl, combine cilantro, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
  2. In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine chicken and cilantro mixture; marinate for at least 2 hours to overnight, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the chicken from the marinade.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat.* Working in batches, add chicken to the grill pan in a single layer and cook until golden brown and cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 4-5 minutes per side.
  4. Serve immediately.


*If you do not have a cast iron grill pan, you can also use a large cast iron skillet.

Did you Make This Recipe?

Tag @damn_delicious on Instagram and hashtag it #damndelicious.

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I’m marinating the chicken now. Has anyone used the air fryer to cook this? If so, what temperature and cook for how long? I’m using bone-in chicken thighs.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent! I’ve made it again tonight to cook tomorrow after a long day. Everything is so tender and flavorful. And they cook so quickly! This has quickly become a household favorite. 

  3. Made this for my wife and stepdaughter yesterday and they absolutely loved it! And they are tough customers! Sorry I don’t have pictures but I don’t really think of doing it at the time! I sliced up the meat and made them into chicken tacos. We made rice and Mexican street corn too. Delicioso! ☺️

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Absolutely fantastic, this is now one of my go to recipes.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    So GOOD!!!! But was thinking about doing in the air fryer. thoughts on that?

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    I love this recipe! I have made it at least 10 times now. It so easy to make the night before and grill the next day. It never looks as good as it does in your photos but it tastes delicious and the chicken thighs are full of flavor!  My entire family loves it. 

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent!! We grilled them and they were so tender and so flavorful! Definitely a recipe to be on repeat. 

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Chicken, Lime and Cilantro…. What a delicious combination. Must try sort of dish. the picture looks super yummmyyy

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    I added a twist by adding a glaze. The glaze was 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 lime juice,1/4 tequila, 1 teaspoon chilli power, 1/4 crushed red pepper. Brought it to a boil and the low to keep worm as the grill heated up.
    Grilled it over med low heat on a gas grill 15 min on one side. Turned the chicken then put the glaze on and cooked 10 more min. Surved with Spanish rice, black beens with cheese on the side. Fantasic!

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    I’ve made this once before and it was great. But if there are only two of us, but enough chicken for four, would it be okay to save half the sauce and then prepare the remaining chicken for dinner next day with reserved sauce or cut sauce in half and make it fresh next day?

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    After seeing this on your IG a few times, I finally bought the ingredients. I doubled the recipe because you have never disappointed me before. This was a HOME RUN! I made it exactly as you’ve specified, letting it marinate for 5 hours. My family of 6 — that includes 4 teenagers — couldn’t not get enough. Thank you for another ahhhhh-mazing dinner to add to my rotation. 

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    Saw in IG your hubby was grilling this over the weekend. Made it for the first time and it was awesome! Husband and teenage son went to town 🙂 (note: I came up a little short on the lime zest but otherwise followed to a T)

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    Made the orher day. It. came out AMAZING. going to make again very soon.

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is sooooooo good! Hubby loves it! 

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    Delicious! I added some crushed garlic to the marinade which we like!

  16. Rated 5 out of 5

    This recipe was AMAZING!!! I’ve tried making cilantro lime chicken before and it was a ton of ingredients and annoying. But this was so good and easy. I used chicken breasts instead of thighs and made lettuce wraps. DELICIOUS!!!

  17. Rated 5 out of 5

    No Joke! I made this marinade, minus the lime and cilantro. I used the juice of 1 lemon in place of the lime and no zest was used.

    I was looking for a Fajita marinade and this was very close to what I had used decades ago, so I made the change I stated above but also added 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar to make fajita chicken.

    How did it come out? It was fantastic. There are a couple additional tweaks I need to make. 1 is to add a chopped Jalapeno and the other is to cut the cumin to 1/2 tsp. I think that will be perfect for my next go around.

    As for actually making Cilantro-Lime, I think I would also cut the cumin to 1/2 tsp and make sure to add the 1 tablespoon of sugar.

  18. Rated 5 out of 5

    Loved this! My boyfriend told me to triple the recipe for next time!

  19. Outstanding! I wouldn’t change a thing.

  20. Rated 5 out of 5

    This recipe was excellent, works with chicken breast too(I would recommend slicing them in half). The only thing I would add is a little bit of sugar of some kind because the marinade can get a little on the salty side, and I added a little cayenne for some more heat.

  21. Rated 5 out of 5

    This marinade was amazing!! So happy I stumbled across your page. I let mine marinate for a full 24 hours and pan cooked them making them nice and crispy. Tasted great paired up with some cilantro lime rice. Next time I think I will use this chicken for tacos, ahh so many possibilities I will have to make it again next week!

  22. Rated 5 out of 5

    Delicious, juicy, tasty and soooo satisfying! I’ll make it again and again for my family.

  23. Rated 5 out of 5

    Love these chicken thighs so much! Love them by themselves or in burrito bowls, tacos, etc.
    Perfect seasoning mixture. The longer you marinate, the better. I also like to sear them on the frying pan with oil and then bake to finish cooking them so that they are extra crispy on the outside.

  24. Rated 5 out of 5

    Marinaded over night.
    I actually added some fresh garlic to my marinade along with a couple splashes of soy sauce instead of the salt and added a little bit of my fresh honey too. Im going to be searing these in a hot frying pan but I’m sure the grill would be the best. But I think they’ll still be very tasty and I’m also going to prepare some saffron yellow rice on side and sliced tomato and avqcado.
    I’ll let you know how it is.
    Oh my goodness they were very tasty!!

  25. Rated 5 out of 5

    Sounds delicious. I have been cooking your Instant Pot Lemon Chicken with great success. Damn delicious! I’m assuming I can follow those directions with the IP with this recipe? 

  26. Rated 5 out of 5

    Big winner last night!  Thank you for the great recipe.

  27. Rated 5 out of 5

    I stumbled across this recipe in June and have easily made this 7 or 8 times. I use chicken breasts and pounded them out to be even and they are delicious!! I’ve been serving it with rice and broiled parmesan asparagus.

  28. Rated 5 out of 5

    DELICIOUS. My husband said it was restaurant quality. I even used chicken breasts, marinated for just over 1 hour, and they were still moist and flavorful. I will be making this again!

    • So glad I seen a comment about using chicken breasts! That’s what I plan on using. I wanted to see if anyone else did, and if it turned out well. 🙂

  29. This is easy and so delicious. Love this recipe.

  30. Rated 5 out of 5

    I made this tonight and it came out excellent. It will go into our rotation.. thank you for sharing

  31. I made these for my sons graduation party and they were amazing!! People thought I had them catered. I will be making these again for sure!

  32. These look amazing, any advice for adapting this for bone-in skin-on thighs?

    • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs take a bit longer to cook through so I recommend finishing these guys in the oven. Hope that helps, Amy!

      • Rated 5 out of 5

        Thanks for the tips! I decided to skip the pan and go straight for the roast; 425 for 40 minutes. The meat came out so tender, but the bottom skin was a little soggy, shouldn’t have skipped the pan sear. I absolutely love the flavor though, perfect for the crazy hot day today here in Chicago. Thanks for the recipe! This is going into the summer rotation 🙂

  33. Rated 4 out of 5

    These were so good! Fast and easy. I added 1 tsp honey and loved it.

  34. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! We are foodies and this dish was a definite keeper.

  35. What kind of sides would taste great with this? Looking for some ideas to make a meal.

  36. Rated 5 out of 5

    I never leave reviews but had to because this was outstanding. The only tweak was I added 3 cloves of sliced garlic to the marinade. Also served the chicken with a dollop of plain greek yogurt. Thank you. Will be making this again!

  37. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is a new family favorite, for sure! We added garlic, as many others suggested, and sliced the grilled chicken to use it in tacos. My eleven-year-old son declared it his favorite out of all of the taco fillings in our rotation. Works well on a broiler, in a grill pan, on on the outdoor grill.

  38. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent chicken! We added garlic (what’s not made better with garlic??) and ended up baking it for 20 minutes at 425 F after pan frying because we had the wrong heat setting on the stove. Still delicious and juicy!

  39. Rated 5 out of 5

    So good! I’ve been making it with cilantro lime rice. Any suggestions on sauce for bowls or dressing for salad? 

  40. Rated 5 out of 5

    So delicious that I’m compelled to leave a review. Moist and bursting with flavor. Will make weekly now. Do you have any other recipes that are equally good?

  41. Rated 5 out of 5

    Wow, just wow. I wish i could gave this 6 stars. This is the recipe that made star in yesterday’s party. The guests liked this dish so much that made feel real proud. In my opinion you are the real star changah.

  42. Mexican St Tacos. *****
    ,Slow Cooker Butter Chicken *****,Quick Ramen Noodle Stir Fry*****,Instant Pot Chicken Stock*****,
    I have made them all with total success!!!! I have transformed into a joyful person in the kitchen again thanks to your wonderful recipes. Thank you sooooo much. I look forward to continuing to enjoy my kitchen relationship. Signing up for your recipes came just at the right time….after 70 I needed a refresher.

  43. Rated 5 out of 5

    I love so many of your recipes and can’t wait to try this one soon. After step 2 could I freeze the marinated chicken to defrost and cook later?

  44. Rated 5 out of 5

    Such a nice flavor! We are new to cilantro, but have a lot in the garden so we like finding recipes that need it. Everybody loved this one. We did it on a sheet pan.

  45. Hi. Love your recipes & they always turn out amazing! Can I make the cilantro lime chicken thigh recipe on a sheet pan? Thank you.

  46. Thanks for this recipe, it was really yummy.

  47. Rated 5 out of 5

    I never comment on your recipes but I’ve been coming here for years and you never disappoint! I know I can count on your recipes to deliver! My kids favorite recipes were found here and on my daughters birthday she asked for the lemon butter chicken instead of eating out! Thanks for all you do!

  48. Rated 5 out of 5

    Turned out really yummy. Very flavourful.

  49. Made this for dinner tonight on the bbq. I really liked it! Only marinated for 6 hours. I would do the full 24 hours next time and maybe add a little garlic.

  50. Rated 5 out of 5

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was a big hit!  Very tender and flavorful. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  51. First time ever writing a review. I have made this 3 times, it is so good! Going for a 4th time today. I will bake in the oven this time. Too much work cleaning my grill pan after cooking on the stove top. Outdoor grill would be great, if only I had one. I love all your recipes !

  52. Rated 5 out of 5

    Very tasty and easy to make. I did leave in the refrigerator for 2 days which only improved the flavor. Highly recommend this recipe.

  53. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent!  Cannot wait to have this again.

  54. Rated 5 out of 5

    So damn good!! We added garlic… because let’s be real you can never have enough garlic! I can’t wait to make this on our charcoal grill. 

  55. Rated 5 out of 5

    This was a HUGE hit at our family dinner tonight! Between 4 adults and 4 picky children, everyone loved it. Made 4lbs of chicken thighs and only had 2 pieces left. Thanks for the yummy addition the my recipe repertoire.

  56. Rated 5 out of 5

    It was Damn Delicious!!! I paired it with Jasmine rice and sautéed green beans. Definitely will be making this recipe in the future.

  57. Amazing! 

  58. Rated 5 out of 5

    I’m planning on making this tomorrow night What sides do you recommend? 

  59. Rated 5 out of 5

    Can I give this 10 stars???? I made as described other than I baked in the oven until thighs were cooked. I served with some cilantro lime white rice and asparagus and it was a HIT. My husband and kids were fighting over who got to take the leftovers the next day. This is certainly being added into our regular meal planning rotation. Thanks!!!

  60. I made this last night (even bought a relatively inexpensive grill pan last week, because the recipe looked so good). It was SOOOO delicious. Will be great for summer when I don’t want to use the oven. Thanks for sharing!

  61. Rated 3 out of 5

    The picture of the marinaded chicken looks MUCH different from the one made with this recipe. The one in the picture looks like it has minced garlic in it and no chili powder. The marinade that is made with this recipe is dark red, because of the chili powder. I feel like I’m making a different recipe than what is shown.

  62. Rated 5 out of 5

    Very easy to make and the taste was out of this world. Did put in oven after browning just to be sure they were cooked.

  63. Rated 5 out of 5

    10 out of 10 will make again!! Husband says it’s one of his new favorites in the chicken line up. Can’t wait to try it on the BBQ this summer with a side of Mexican Street corn! 

    So easy to make and such bright flavours! 

  64. I have a question about using a Lodge cast iron pan. I thought cooking chicken in these pans are not recommended since soap is not used to correctly clean these pans so they cure correctly. Am I wrong about this? Thanks

    • Jeannie, I personally love cooking chicken (and almost everything else!) in my Lodge cast iron but as always, it is best to do what you are most comfortable with. Hope that helps!

    • Jeannie,

      It is a big myth that you can’t clean your pan with soap – YOU CAN!!  Just rinse well and dry even better! Then rub your pan with a thin layer of oil and heat in oven (like a normal seasoning.) … you can find these directions on the web. (On several websites)

      I hope this helps!

  65. I luv luv lime but HATE cilantro. Do you recommend a substitute? TY

  66. Rated 5 out of 5

    I made this tonight but grilled them instead. They were amazing and so tasty! Love your recipes!

  67. Having tonight ,am sure it will be fantastic

  68. Just wondering if I can bake the chicken thighs ?
    Thanks Joannr

  69. Rated 5 out of 5

    this looks amazing and have not made it yet because im wondering if this will do well on the grill?

  70. This was amazing.  We BBQ’d indirectly.  This will go along with a honey, lemon, cumin marinade as a keeper.  You’re my go to for chicken thigh recipes.

  71. Hi, this is not a review, as your recipes look amazing but I have yet to make any. My question for you is–do you list the calorie/nutritional info anywhere on the site? If not, that’s fine, just wondered if you do and I’m not seeing it.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Yvonne! We only provide nutritional information for select and some new recipes at this time and it would show at the bottom of the recipe. However, if it is not available for a specific recipe, we recommend using free online resources at your discretion (you can Google “nutritional calculator”) to obtain such information. Hope that helps!

  72. Rated 5 out of 5

    Looks absolutely incredible to me! YUM!

  73. Rated 5 out of 5

    Woow. It looks really great. I want to try it now.

  74. Rated 5 out of 5

    Super flavorable
    Marinated over night 24 hrs

  75. Rated 5 out of 5

    New family favorite! Thank you so much for sharing. One note – on the printable version it doesn’t include the lime juice! It’s only on the website. 🙂 We’ll be making this for years to come!

  76. Rated 5 out of 5

    Looks amazing! Going to try this week! Is there a grill pan you recommend? 

  77. Had the chicken marinate over night and made a rice bowl with this chicken on top for my husbands lunch. Said he couldn’t wait to eat it ☺️ As always thank you For your recipes. You have saved me so many times. Hugs to Butters ❤️

  78. Rated 5 out of 5

    DAMN THIS IS DELICIOUS, AND I AM GOING TO DO THIS BECAUSE I LOVE CHICKEN THIGHS!!!! (BUT WITH THE BONE IN THAT IS WHERE THE FLAVOR IS, THE BONE!! (Not shouting) when something is right I get excited…My SERVICE DOGGIE, DEE DEE will love these too. I cook for my babies I don’t feed that crap dog food, all it is, is “SCRAPS”, I don’t eat scrap and my babies don’t neither. Damn Delicious, i love your recipes, and I still say you are cute.

  79. This looks really good. My sons love lime flavor. Just to let you know I’m opposite you born in Chicago and now out in Menifee, Ca (near to L.A.) It was 86 degrees today Sunday. I’m here because I can’t take the cold anymore. Keep warm!

  80. I bet that chicken was tender AF!!!!

  81. Speaking as a Chicago native, just be grateful we don’t have any snow on the ground right now! 😉 A couple inches of snow in April is not unheard of around here! It really wouldn’t feel like spring in Chicago without 60’s one day and snow the next. You’ll fall in love with summer in the city though — there’s nothing better!

  82. This looks so tasty, is it possible to use the oven instead?

  83. I have not tried this yet, but want to know if you can do this with chicken breast instead of thighs?

  84. No actual lime juice in the marinade?