Grilled chicken is a staple of warmer weather! This grilled cilantro lime chicken has a hint of chili flavor and is so succulent. It will help you get a flavorful dinner on the table in a hurry for your family.
Grilled Chili Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe
Even though it is already over 100 degrees daily in Phoenix, I love the summertime. I love it for the usual reasons, but I also love it because it becomes grilling season.
Which means I get a break from cooking dinner every night! My husband loves to grill and will always take me up on a request to grill for dinner.
Grilling is such an easy and fast way to get dinner on the table which is what we all need in the summer.
We have been making these Grilled Chili Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs for a while now, and they are so yummy on the grill.
Why you'll love this recipe
Homemade dressings and marinades are incredibly easy to made. I think our culture is quick to assume that if you can buy it pre-made, it must be difficult to make. Not true!
You'll love this recipe because...
- You can assemble the marinade early in the day so that dinner just needs to be grilled. Perfect for nights with busy routines for kiddos!
- It is sooo flavorful. You will love having this recipe for dinner or for leftovers the next day.
- Use the chicken for an entree, cut it to serve it over a salad or shred it to tuck it into tacos. Endless possibilities!
In fact, my husband often calls this "Mexican grilled chicken" because it is so good on tacos, burritos, quesadillas, fajitas and more.
Cilantro Lime Marinade
Marinades are actually one of the simplest recipes you can make and the best part is you're going to see immediate results when you use a homemade marinade for grilled meat. I absolutely love this Grilled Shrimp Marinade for seafood and this Italian Marinade for pork.
Marinating meat before cooking it, especially chicken, is really the key to making sure that chicken doesn't dry out while cooking.
Using bone-in chicken helps a lot too but until recently I was never been a huge fan of bone-in chicken because it's usually dark meat. However, I've learned to love chicken thighs — they are sooo juicy!
The meat is so tender and the flavors from this chili cilantro lime marinade basically define summer! Cilantro is one of my favorite summer flavors and it actually has a lot of health benefits too.
Here's what you will need for this easy chicken dinner
- bone in chicken thighs
- chicken drumsticks
- fresh cilantro
- olive oil
- lime juice
- chili powder
You can use other cuts of chicken, even boneless, but it will affect the cook time. Make sure you use a meat thermometer and make sure the meat has an internal temperature of 165°F.
Essential grilling tools
Truthfully, you don’t need more than a good pair of tongs and a grill that works. Whether it’s charcoal, pellet or gas is up to you.
However, if you’re willing to invest in a few tools, you’re setting yourself up for grilling success. Here’s what I recommend:
- No-stick spray: Weber Grill Spray is the perfect spray to coat the grates and makes it easy to clean.
- A meat thermometer: Any meat thermometer will work. We have a simple handheld meat thermometer, but I’ve been eyeing the wireless, Bluetooth thermometers.
- A grill brush: A good-quality grill brush will help you clean off any burnt-on residue without scratching the grates.
- Kitchen shears: I don’t go a day in my kitchen without using my kitchen scissors, and that goes for grilling too. They are handy for snipping off fatty parts of meat.
- Utensils: A great pair of tongs and a turner will go a long way in helping you flip anything you cook, from burgers to chicken wings to corn on the cob.
- Grill basket: Use a metal basket for kebabs, veggies like carrots or cut squash or small cuts of meat that might fall through the grill grates.
How to make cilantro lime chicken
This cilantro lime chicken comes together in just a few easy steps:
Using an immersion blender, combine cilantro, zest from one of the limes, olive oil, lime juice, honey, chili powder, salt and pepper.
Clean and trim chicken thighs and place into a gallon size ziptop bag with the drumsticks.
Cover the chicken with the cilantro lime chicken marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Preheat grill to 350°F degrees. Once hot, clean the grill grates. Spray with grill spray.
Using grill tongs, remove chicken from bag and place on grill over direct heat. Discard remaining marinade.
Grill chicken for around 18 minutes, flipping every six minutes (one side of the thighs will be grilled twice), or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before eating. Garnish with additional lime zest (from one lime), a teaspoon of mild chili powder, and chopped cilantro.
What to pair with this chicken
This grilled Mexican chicken recipe pairs perfectly with these other healthy summer recipes from a few of my blogger friends! Be sure to check them all out.
More grilling recipes
If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.
- 1 lb bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 lb chicken drumsticks
- ½ bunch of cilantro (roughly one cup), stems and leaves
- zest from 2 limes, divided
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons chili powder plus extra for sprinkling
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Using an immersion blender, combine cilantro, zest from one lime, olive oil, lime juice, honey, chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Clean and trim chicken thighs and place into a gallon size Ziploc bag with the drumsticks.
- Cover the chicken with the marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (up to 24 hours).
- Preheat grill to 350°F.
- Clean grates and spray with grill spray.
- Using grill tongs, remove chicken from bag and place on grill over direct heat. Discard remaining marinade.
- Grill chicken for around 18 minutes, flipping every six minutes (one side of the thighs will be grilled twice), or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before eating. Garnish with additional lime zest (from one lime), a teaspoon or so of chili powder, and chopped cilantro.
Grilling temperatures and times may vary. Gas grill was used for this recipe.
This recipe is mild, not spicy, but if you prefer spice use a spicier chili blend like ancho chili powder.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 2 pieces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 287mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 22g