Lime Chicken infused with garlicky, savoury lime flavours! The trick to getting depth of flavour in a simple lime marinade is to use soy sauce for saltiness, plus a touch of sugar for great caramelisation.
Fabulous for a quick midweek meal and ESPECIALLY great for the BBQ! Bonus: super healthy at less than 300 calories for a whole chicken breast.
If you love lime flavour – and I’m yet to meet anyone who doesn’t – this Lime Chicken has your name written all over it.
It’s juicy. It’s caramelised. And it truly tastes of lime. (gasp shock horror!)
(PS The key is to use lime ZEST. That’s where most of the lime flavour is 👌🏻)
Grill it. Pan fry it. You can even BAKE it!
And it’s HEALTHY, clocking in at under 300 calories per serving!
Lime Marinade for Chicken
The trick with fresh citrus based marinades is getting depth of flavour into it. If you just use lime juice, salt and garlic, the flavour is quite flat and the chicken – especially if using chicken breast – will lack something (because breast has virtually no fat, and fat = flavour).
So I add a bit of sugar and olive oil (so the chicken caramelises when cooked), use soy or fish sauce for the salt (adds complexity but doesn’t taste fishy OR Asiany!) and throw in chopped cilantro / coriander for another layer of flavour!
Actually, this marinade is based on Vietnamese marinades, like the one I use in my Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl and Vietnamese LemongrassPork Cutlet. The Vietnamese know their marinades, that’s for sure!!
But this one doesn’t taste Asian. 🙂
How long to marinade chicken
For this Lime Marinade, chicken is best marinated for 12 to 24 hours. It will make the outside a touch white because the amount of lime juice in this marinade “cooks” the chicken a bit (think ceviche).
But it doesn’t take it so far that the chicken starts to break down so don’t be alarmed. In fact, this marinade is fine for 48 hours, though I wouldn’t take it further than that.
TIP: I like to prepare freezer bags of the chicken in marinade then immediately pop it in the freezer. Then the night before, put it in the fridge and let it defrost for 24 hours, during which time it will marinate.
What to serve with Lime Chicken
The Lime Marinade makes the chicken juicy on the inside and injects with flavour so you won’t need a sauce with it. And after resting the chicken for a few minutes before serving it, some of those juices will sweat to the surface, like you see below.
As for what to serve on the side, here are a few suggestions!
Lime Coconut Rice (pictured below) – lime overload?? Nope! Lime tastes different when cooked with the chicken vs in a coconut rice. 😇
Keeping with the healthy theme, serve this with Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
Mushroom Rice – because this goes with everything!
Sweet/savoury Fondant Sweet Potato for contrast against the citrusy chicken
Super Quick Couscous Salad – great emergency side with leftovers for lunch!
Enjoy! ~ Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Lime Marinated Grilled Chicken
- 600-750g / 1.2 - 1.5 lb chicken breasts (4 pieces) or boneless thigh (Note 1)
- Zest of 1 lime (zest before juicing)
- 4 tbsp lime juice (1 - 2 limes)
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro/coriander (optional)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce (OR 2 tbsp soy sauce) (Note 2)
- 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
- Use fist (or rolling pin!) to pound fat end of chicken breast to about 1.7 cm / 2/3" thickness (not required for thigh).
- Place chicken and Marinade in a ziplock bag, massage to distribute marinade evenly. Place on a plate or bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours (min 12 hrs, max 48 hrs - Note 3)
- Remove chicken, discard Marinade. Cook using one method below.
To Cook (cooked internal temp 165F/75C)
- STOVE: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook chicken for 3 minutes on each side or until caramelised and golden brown (see video!).
- BBQ: Brush grills with oil and heat to medium high (or medium if your BBQ is strong). Cook chicken for 3 minutes on each side until caramelised (see video!).
- OVEN: Preheat oven to 425F/220C. Bake 15 minutes, then flick broiler/grill on high and grill for 3 minutes to caramelise surface & finish cooking.
Rest and Serve:
- Transfer chicken to a serving plate, cover loosely with foil and rest for 3 minutes.
- Garnish with extra coriander/cilantro, lime wedges and chilli if desired, then serve!
Lime Chicken originally published 20 April, 2016. Updated with new photos, brand new video, new writing, and step photos. No change to recipe – readers love it as is!
More great chicken marinades
LIFE OF DOZER
He’s thanking his lucky stars that the largest one was still too small for him…. I couldn’t do it up around his chest. It was stretched so tight, the buttons almost popped off! 😂