Coconut Cilantro Lime Chicken

Once you try this Coconut Cilantro Lime Chicken, it will be your go-to grilled chicken for the summer! Just a few simple ingredients and you’ve got a marinated chicken you can use that day or freeze for later.

An image of a plate of cilantro lime chicken with limes and cilantro around it.

This recipe is part of my Dump it ’til it’s hot series of dump recipes. It’s all about making delicious food with minimal prep, no pre-cooking, the ability to freeze for a good make-ahead meal. And trust me when I say, easy never tasted so good!

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Other great grilled chicken recipes include:

Coconut Cilantro Lime Chicken

Grilled chicken is a frequent flyer meal in our home, especially in the summer. And what’s not to like? It’s easy. It’s healthy. And there are about a million different flavor variations. So I’m going to share a new favorite with you today.

You know that whole lime in the coconut song? That was kind of the inspiration for this coconut and lime chicken. Tangy fresh lime juice, cilantro, and creamy coconut milk combine into a deliciously flavorful marinade while also making the chicken even more tender.

Lime in the coconut chicken sliced on a plate.

Tips for making coconut chicken

  • Be sure to shake the can of coconut milk really well to combine the cream with the liquid. If shaking doesn’t help you can also pour it into a bowl and whisk it together.
  • Limes can vary in size, so you’ll want to use anywhere from 2-4 limes to get 1/3 cup.
  • The 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes tat I used won’t really make this spicy, so if you’d prefer a spicier marinade, just add more.

How do I get the most juice out of a lime?

I’ve found that limes really vary in terms of how much juice you can get out of each one. Getting the most juice starts with choosing good, ripe limes. Look for a bright green color. Look for a fruit that feels heavier in your hand. Smell it and go for a lime has a stronger lime-y smell. If it’s hard to tell, gently scrape it with your nail and smell that.

Before cutting into the limes, roll them on your counter or cutting board before slicing in half. Once cut, if they look a bit on the drier side you can even use a fork to loosen the flesh or nuke them for 10-20 seconds.

Can I use fresh cilantro instead of dried?

Sure- just chop it up nice and fine!

What is the minimum amount of time to marinate chicken?

Chicken doesn’t need to marinate as long as other meats like beef. Ideally, if you’re not freezing it right away, you can marinate it for anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours.

A close up image of a piece of coconut chicken that's been grilled.

How do I cook this if I don’t want to use my grill outside?

You can also use a grill pan or even a saute pan, but a real grill is best.

What kind of coconut milk should I use?

For this recipe, I prefer unsweetened coconut milk (and not light either!).

How do you keep chicken moist on the grill?

I use a meat thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. You’ll want to remove it from the grill at just under 165 degrees. Rest it for a couple minutes before serving and in that time the internal temperature will reach 165 which is considered safe for consumption.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe Upgrades

Although this is designed to be a dump-and-go recipe, here are a few “upgrades” you can make if you have a little extra time on your hands and don’t mind doing a small amount of extra work. You don’t have to do them to have a delicious meal, but they will make this recipe come out even more delicious:

  • Turn the chicken pieces 45 degrees halfway through grilling each side to get some nice cross-hatch grill marks.
  • Slice some limes in half and grill those as well.
  • Make some instant rice and grill some veggies for a quick and easy meal.

An overhead image of coconut lime chicken sliced up on a plate

Make it a meal!

A few great recipes to round out and complete this meal would be:

Helpful tools:

  1. Gallon freezer zipper bags
  2. Measuring spoons
  3. Measuring cups
  4. Chef’s knife
  5. Cutting board
  6. Whisk
  7. Mixing bowl
  8. Citrus reamer
  9. Grill tongs
  10. Meat thermometer


Coconut Cilantro Lime Chicken
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Marinating time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Once you try this Coconut Cilantro Lime Chicken, it will be your go-to grilled chicken for the summer! Just a few simple ingredients and you've got a marinated chicken you can use that day or freeze for later.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian
Keyword: cilantro lime chicken
Author: Jessy Freimann, The Life Jolie
  • 1 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken (or whisked to fully combine)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 large or 4 small limes)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Cooking spray
  1. In a large bowl whisk together coconut milk, lime juice, oil, cilantro, garlic powder, salt and crushed red pepper until well combined.

  2. Submerge chicken in marinade for 30 minutes to 12 hours in the refrigerator (or freeze in a plastic zipper bag).

  3. When you're ready to grill, spray the grill with cooking spray and preheat it to medium high.

  4. Place chicken pieces on the grill and discard marinade.

  5. Cook the first side for 3-5 minutes, rotating 45 degrees halfway through for crosshatch grill marks.

  6. Turn chicken pieces and cook that side for another 3-5 minutes, rotating 45 degrees halfway through for crosshatch grill marks or until the chicken pieces reach an internal temperature of 163 degrees.

  7. Remove chicken pieces to a clean plate and rest them for a couple minutes. Serve immediately.


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