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Grilled Cilantro-Lime Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
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Grilled Cilantro-Lime Chicken

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Grilled cilantro-lime chicken is the perfect recipe for summer grilling. Flavorful chicken thighs marinated in a mixture of cilantro, jalapeños, tequila, and garlic will wow your taste buds. 

It’s fast, easy to throw together, and I can turn it into so many meals. Throw it over some rice with grilled veggies or in a taco with some salsa and cabbage. The possibilities are endless! The best part? The marinade comes together in the blender and this meal only takes a couple of minutes to throw together!

grilled cilantro lime chicken

How to Make Grilled Cilantro-Lime Chicken

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Chicken. I love using chicken thighs here because they’re more flavorful and that extra bit of fat makes them super juicy. If you prefer chicken breast, you can swap that in instead.
  • Cilantro. This recipe may even convert the most fervent cilantro haters! Make sure to use the leaves and the stems for extra flavor.
  • Garlic. Is it even a good recipe without garlic?
  • Lime juice and zest. Grilled cilantro-lime chicken calls for both lime zest and juice to really reinforce that citrus flavor.
  • Jalapeño. Fresh jalapeño in the marinade adds a punch of heat and flavor without being overly spicy.
  • Tequila. Tequila really adds a ton of flavor, but the booze grills off when you cook the chicken. The tequila also helps keep the chicken very tender. Use a decent blanco tequila and serve these watermelon margaritas on the side!

Tools Needed

How to make grilled cilantro-lime chicken

  • Prepare your marinade. The best part about this recipe is that you throw everything together in the blender! Blend the marinade ingredients until they’re smooth.
  • Marinate your chicken. I throw all the chicken into a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade on top. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes.
  • Grill the chicken. You can grill the chicken outdoors or inside on a grill pan, whatever you have! Preheat your grill over medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill on each side for 3-5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked all the way through to 165 degrees F. Serve and enjoy!

Grilled Cilantro-Lime Chicken FAQs

Do I have to use tequila?

If you’re wary about cooking with alcohol, you don’t have to use tequila. I think it adds a lot of flavor and helps tenderize the chicken. Keep in mind that the alcohol grills off if that’s a concern.

How long can you keep grilled chicken?

I love using this recipe for meal prep and find that it stays fresh for about 5-7 days!

Can I substitute other meats?

Absolutely! This marinade would be great on grilled pork or pork chops, grilled steak, chicken breast, shrimp, etc. The sky is the limit and it’s naturally gluten-free!


More Grilling Recipes to Try

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Main Dishes

Grilled Cilantro-Lime Chicken

Grilled cilantro-lime chicken is a year-round staple in our household. Tender chicken thighs marinated with an herby and flavorful mixture of cilantro, garlic, tequila, lime, and jalapeño.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 -6 servings


  • 2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves and stems
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 jalapeño sliced
  • 4 oz 1/2 cup tequila
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


  • Place your chicken thighs in a large zip-top bag.
  • Combine the cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, tequila, olive oil, honey, and salt in the carafe of a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken and seal the bag. Shake to ensure that the chicken is well coated and marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours.
  • Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill for 3-5 minutes per side or until browned and the chicken is cooked all the way through (165 degrees F).
  • Serve with extra cilantro and limes.


Serving: 6ozCalories: 378kcalCarbohydrates: 5.4gProtein: 42gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gSugar: 2.4g

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  1. 5 stars
    Such an easy and yummy marinade! What I love is how fresh the flavors are. We ended up using breasts instead of thighs and while it was still good, grilled thighs are definitely superior. That being said it was still delicious and will be a repeat in our house.