Whether you decide to grill, bake, or sauté your chicken, this cilantro lime chicken marinade is always a winner. It’s tangy, zesty, and oh-so good. 

What We Love About This Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade 

  • Keeps chicken moist: The marinade helps to seal in moisture and prevents the chicken from drying out during cooking.
  • So much flavor: If you want to infuse a lot of flavor in a short amount of time, this marinade is a great option. 
  • Natural tenderizer: Using a marinade is one way to tenderize chicken. The acidity helps break down the structure of the chicken.
Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade Ingredients

  • Chicken Thighs – Chicken thighs are extremely juicy and moist, which is just perfect for this marinade. 
  • Olive Oil – Oil helps keep the chicken moist and juicy.  
  • Lime Juice – Lime juice adds some acidity and helps tenderize the chicken.
  • Garlic Cloves – Garlic cloves add a savory element to the marinade. 
  • Cilantro – Cilantro is the star of this marinade. It’s bright, it’s herby, and it pairs well with the other ingredients. 
  • Seasonings – Paprika, honey, salt, and pepper.
Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade 

  1. Mix the ingredients. Combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, paprika, honey, salt and black pepper.
    Cilantro Lime Chicken MarinadeCilantro Lime Chicken Marinade
  2. Soak the chicken. Marinade for at least 2 hours. 
    Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade
  3. Bake the chicken in a preheated oven. Check for doneness with a kitchen thermometer. 

Make Ahead, Storing, Reheating and Freezing Instructions: 

  • To store: Place the marinade in an airtight container or plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before using.
  • To freeze: Freeze the marinade in an airtight container or plastic bag. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade
5 from 1 vote

Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

This easy cilantro lime chicken marinade is addictive! Works just as well on chicken breasts, thighs and drumsticks, or whole chickens.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper


  • Add the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, paprika, honey, salt and black pepper to a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Add the chicken to the mixture and allow to marinate for 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Place the chicken thighs on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 165°F.


  • The longer you marinate the chicken, the more intense the flavor will be.
  • Tougher cuts of chicken take longer to marinate than leaner cuts. 
  • It is important not to reuse a marinade after you have used it on raw poultry as this can increase your risk of foodborne illness.
Like this recipe?Leave a comment and review below!

Emma Kelly

Lover of smoosh faced dogs, cooking (of all kinds), spending as much time as I can in the garden (especially with homegrown veg and cut flowers), and diy’ing everything! Make sure to follow me on Pinterest for more easy meals, (mostly) healthy desserts and crave-worthy snacks. Learn more about me here.

This post contains affiliate links (I love sharing my favorite ingredients and cooking equipment with you all!)

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