Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

Story by Holly
Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs
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A quick marinade of lime, garlic, bright cilantro, and a touch of honey transforms boneless, skinless chicken thighs into just the juicy, tender surge of sunshine that your dinner routine needs.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

Juicily flavorful, and a cinch to make, we’re majorly in love with these stovetop-cooked, cilantro-lime chicken thighs. A quick marinade of lime juice and zest, chopped garlic, bright cilantro, and a touch of honey transforms boneless, skinless chicken thighs into the juicy, tender surge of sunshine that your dinner routine needs.

Tangy, sweet, herby and just a teeny bit spicy, the key to this delicious chicken is its magical cilantro-lime marinade. Obviously we love it on chicken thighs, but this marinade is one that you’ll want to memorize and use on so many things. Try rubbing on a whole chicken for a savory-citrusy roasted bird, or slather it on a meaty white fish like halibut before throwing it on the grill. There is no wrong way to use this marinade, other than sparingly.

How to Cook Chicken Thighs in a Pan

While you could cook these lovelies just about any way you’d like to—in the summer they’d be great grilled over charcoal—we love the little bit of crisp crust that chicken thighs get when they’re simply and quickly cooked in a pan on top of the stove. Break out that cast iron skillet and get cooking! Here’s how:

  1. Use a large skillet. Ideally, you’ll be using a skillet that can comfortably fit all of your chicken thighs, so you’ll want to use the largest one you have, whether that’s a non-stick or a cast iron.
  2. Let your skillet heat up before you add the chicken. Give the pan time to warm up a bit, so that when the cilantro-lime marinated chicken hits the pan you hear a nice sizzle.
  3. Add the chicken! No oil needed—the chicken will be coated in a nice slick of oil from its time in the marinade, so you can just add it directly to a dry pan. Don’t crowd the chicken thighs—try not to have them touch each other in the pan. If they don’t all fit comfortably, no biggie! Just work in batches.
  4. Done! When the chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 165°F, you’re done! Pull that chicken out of the pan, and get ready to tuck in.
Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

Are Chicken Thighs Bad for You?

Skinless, boneless chicken thighs are actually, arguably, better for you than chicken breasts! For a long time, they got a bad rap because they’ve got a marginally-higher fat content than chicken breasts. But, thanks to that bit of extra fat, they are way more flavorful (even without the skin) and are also higher in iron. We’re calling for chicken thighs in this recipe because they’re so juicy, they marinate quickly and reheat beautifully.

How to Serve Our Cilantro-Lime Chicken Breasts:

Garlicky, herby, limey chicken thighs are good on just about anything you can think of—their versatility is one of the many things we love about them. Keep things simple and serve these cilantro-lime chicken thighs with just a big salad, or mix it up a little. Here are a few of our favorite ways to serve them:

  • Take this chicken fajita bowlto the next level by swapping these chicken thighs for the chicken breast. YUM.    
  • In these cheery, rainbow-colored chicken street tacos with mango slaw.
  • Make a big, cilantro-lime chicken-topped salad with lots of creamy avocado and a lime vinaigrette.
  • Our simple mole chicken enchiladas call for a store-bought rotisserie chicken, but would be SO crazy, over-the-top delicious if you used cilantro-lime chicken thighs instead.
  • Make nachos! Shred the chicken up and spread it on top of a sheet pan covered with tortilla chips. Sprinkle with loads of cheese and pop it into the oven just until the cheese has melted.    
Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

If you make this dish, we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to snap a photo, add it to your Instagram feed or stories and tag @themodernproper and #themodernproper if you do. Also, feel free to leave a comment on the post and be sure to tell your friends where you discovered the recipe!

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 lbs chicken thighs, bloneless, skinless
⅓ cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp honey
2 limes, juice and zest
¼ cup cilantro, finely minced
2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Method

  1. In a large bowl mix the olive oil, garlic, honey, zest and juice of limes, cilantro, chili powder, salt pepper and olive oil.
  2. Add the chicken to the marinade, stir to coat well. Marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to 2 hours covered in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat a large cast iron pan, non-stick frying pan or a griddle over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the chicken thighs in a single layer, so they are not touching.
  5. Cook for 6 minutes on each side until the chicken thighs are cooked through, with an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. and no longer pink in the center.