Lime Marinade For Chicken Recipe: Zesty Flavor Explosion!

Grilled chicken is a summertime essential, and our favorite is Mexican Lime Grilled Chicken – it always turns out tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor! It’s the go-to recipe for any barbecue or gathering.

Making the marinade is a cinch – just mix some everyday ingredients from your pantry, and you’re good to go! It’s so simple that you can whip it up any night of the week, even if you’re short on time.

What I love most about this flavorful chicken is its versatility. You can enjoy it on its own, toss it into a salad for a quick and healthy meal, or serve it alongside your favorite sides. For a delicious pairing, try it with Tomato, Fresh Corn, & Burrata Salad or Instant Pot Mexican Sweet Corn.

Lime Marinade For Chicken Recipe

Lime Marinade For Chicken Recipe

Imagine juicy Lime Chicken with a tangy, garlicky flavor! The trick to making this marinade taste awesome? Soy sauce for a salty punch, and a bit of sugar for that sweet caramelized goodness. This recipe is perfect for a quick dinner, especially if you're firing up the BBQ! Plus, it's super healthy, with each chicken breast clocking in at under 300 calories. It's juicy, it's got that caramelized crust, and it's bursting with lime flavor. The Lime Marinade not only keeps the chicken juicy but also gives it loads of flavor, so you won't even need a sauce.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 275 kcal


  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Large frying pan or skillet
  • Grill
  • Oven


Chicken Marinade

  • 600-750 g 1.2 – 1.5 lbs Chicken breasts (4 pieces) or boneless thighs (see Note 1)
  • Zest from 1 lime grate the lime before juicing it
  • 4 tbsp Lime juice from 1-2 limes
  • 2 Garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped Cilantro optional
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce or use 2 tablespoons soy sauce instead

For Cooking

  • 1-2 tbsp Olive oil


Prepare the Chicken:

  • Pound the thick part of each chicken breast with your fist or a rolling pin until it’s about 1.7 cm (2/3 inch) thick. Skip this step if you’re using chicken thighs.
  • Put the chicken and marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag. Seal the bag and squeeze it to mix everything together.
  • Place the bag on a plate or in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, but 24 hours is best. You can marinate it for up to 48 hours.
  • Take the chicken out of the bag and throw away the marinade. Now, let's cook the chicken!

Cooking the Chicken (Aim for an Internal Temperature of 165°F/75°C):

  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side, until it looks caramelized and golden brown.
  • Brush oil on the grill and preheat it to medium-high (or medium if your BBQ is very hot).
  • Grill the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side until it’s caramelized.
  • Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Bake the chicken for 15 minutes.
  • Then, turn on the broiler/grill to high and grill the chicken for another 3 minutes to caramelize the surface.
  • Put the cooked chicken on a plate.
  • Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for 3 minutes.
  • Add extra cilantro, lime wedges, and chili if you like. Serve and enjoy!


  • Fish sauce is better than soy sauce because it has richer, more complex flavours. It adds depth to the marinade without making it taste fishy! You can prepare this ahead of time. Just put the chicken and marinade in a ziplock bag and freeze it right away. When you’re ready to cook, defrost the bag in the fridge overnight. The chicken will marinate as it thaws.
  • Adding chili is a great idea! You can include finely chopped fresh chilli or chili paste in the marinade for an extra kick.
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Nutrition Facts:

Calories275 kcal
Saturated Fat1g

How Long Can Chicken Marinate in Lime Juice?

How Long Can Chicken Marinate in Lime Juice?

For the best taste, let the chicken sit in lime juice for 12 to 24 hours. The lime juice might change the chicken’s colour a bit because it starts to cook outside (like ceviche), but it won’t harm it.

Do You Put Lime On Chicken Before Or After Cooking?

You can do it either way! After cooking, you can squeeze fresh lime over the chicken for extra zing. Or, serve it with lime wedges on the side, so everyone can add their own.

What is the Minimum Time to Marinate Chicken?

Chicken can soak in flavours for as little as 2 hours, but for the tastiest results, aim for 12 to 24 hours. Even a quick 15 to 30-minute soak can add flavour and moisture, especially for smaller chicken pieces. If your chicken has bones, it needs a longer soak than boneless chicken.

How Long Do You Cook Chicken?

Cook each side of the chicken for about 5 minutes, until it’s golden brown and fully cooked inside. Once it’s done, sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top for an extra burst of flavour.

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