This easy and delicious chili lime chicken can be made in the oven or on the bbq. Enjoy right away or keep in the fridge or freezer and you’re always ready for a quick and easy meal! Great for salads, sandwiches, wraps and tacos, too.
Why you’ll love this chili lime chicken
If you’ve ever found yourself reaching for the pre-cooked, pre-sliced, pre-seasoned chicken at the grocery store, here’s an easy and much more economical way to make your own! This Oven or BBQ Chili Lime Chicken only needs a quick rub, a short marinating rest and then into the oven for 20 minutes. And if it’s too hot to turn on the oven, put the cast iron skillet right on the BBQ.
In about 45 minutes, you’ll have delicious, moist chicken for a meal, or simply a great supply of cooked, sliced and delicious seasoned chicken for your fridge or freezer to use on salads, sandwiches, wraps or tacos.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken Breasts – boneless, skinless chicken breasts are used here, for best slicing. You can start with any sized chicken breasts, but note that oven cooking time will vary a bit based on size.
- Chili Powder – this would be the same chili powder that you would use for a pot of chili (which is usually a mixture of spices).
- Tomato Paste – I love having the tubes of tomato paste on hand, as they are perfect for small amounts of tomato paste such as is used here.
- Chipotle Chili Powder – The chipotle chili powder is optional, but it does add a nice smokey flavour, as well as a little heat. You can easily leave it out if you like. If you decide to skip it, consider replacing a bit of smoked paprika for a similar bit of smokiness.
- Garlic Powder – Don’t substitute minced fresh garlic for the powdered. It will burn and become bitter. Use either the powdered or skip if you don’t have it.
Be sure to test the chicken with an instant-read thermometer, as it can be hard to tell when it is cooked through. The thermometer should register 165F internal temperature, when tested in the thickest part of the chicken breast.
If cooking on the bbq, I like to still cook it in the pan. I find it’s really hard to cook whole chicken breasts all the way through without burning the outside coating otherwise. The method used here simply turns your BBQ into an outdoor oven. You can certainly finish it with a quick trip to the grill grates at the end, to brown up a bit.
Making Ahead, Storing and Freezing
If you like, you can rub the chicken then wrap in plastic wrap and pop into the fridge for several hours ahead before cooking. Cooking time will be a little bit longer if it’s cold going into the oven (probably 25 minutes).
I like to make a big batch of this chicken and refrigerate/freeze it. The recipe as written will nicely coat 3 chicken breasts, but you can double or triple the rub as needed. The cooked chicken will keep several days in the fridge or several months in the freezer.
Ideas for Using your Chili Lime Chicken
Enjoy sliced in salads, sandwiches, wraps, tacos or enjoy it as a whole breast alongside corn on the cob and a salad.
Get the Recipe: Chili Lime Chicken
- 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- 1 lime, cut into thin slices, plus more lime wedges for drizzling when serving
- 2 Tablespoons olive, canola or vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, optional, for a bit of smoky heat
- Freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 425F. (Or alternately, preheat BBQ to medium high heat).
- Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub all over chicken breasts and place into a lightly greased cast iron or other oven-safe skillet (or other oven or BBQ safe pan). Tuck 5-6 lime slices between the chicken. Allow to stand for about 15 minutes.
- Place skillet into the preheated oven to cook for 20 about minutes or until temperature reaches 165F in thickest part of meat (timing will vary depending on size of the chicken breasts). Switch the oven to broil and place skillet about 6-inches from broiler for a few minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove from oven and remove chicken to a cutting board. Let stand at least 5 minutes before slicing. Slice chicken and serve warm or if making ahead, wrap up whole and refrigerate to slice and use later.
- (For the BBQ, place the cast iron skillet on the BBQ grate, close the BBQ lid and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes. You can finish the chicken quickly directly on the grill for some browning and grill marks, if you like.)
- When serving, top with a drizzle of fresh lime juice to really brighten the flavours!
- Keeps several days in the fridge or you can freeze it, as well!
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!