I’ve been making this Chile Lime Chicken on the grill for almost ten years now. The chile lime marinade gives it amazing flavor and you control the heat and spice. If you prefer a mild dish (like my garlic lemon chicken breasts), simply remove all the seeds as indicated in the recipe. Or you may choose to turn it up!
Chile Lime Chicken on the Grill
I love marinades and rubs. Whenever I see a recipe for a marinade that has ingredients I like, I’ll usually give it a shot. Chicken is especially good once it has soaked in a marinade for several hours and this one is no exception.
This marinade includes dried red chiles, limes, garlic and a jalapeno pepper. For a spicy dinner, don’t remove any of the seeds, or remove some if you like heat but prefer to keep it real. If you remove all the seeds, this dish will not be spicy at all but will have a nice flavor.
Ingredients for Chile Lime Chicken
- 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 5-ounces each)
- 4 dried red chiles, soaked and seeded (Guajillo – mild to moderate OR Puya – hot)
- 4 limes, plus 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Helpful kitchen tools:
- A meat thermometer made for the grill
- Outdoor grill, cast iron grill pan or an indoor grill
- Chef’s knife
- Mini food processor
PRINTABLE VERSION AT THE END OF THIS POST
Cooking Tips for this recipe
- Before juicing citruses such as lime, lemon or oranges, zest it. Put the zest in a freezer bag and save for another recipe like these Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies or this Lemonade Cake.
- Place chicken breasts between two sheets of waxed paper on a cutting board. Use the flat side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan to pound the chicken so they are all of even thickness. This ensures that all breasts will be done in the same amount of time.
- Cut 1/4-inch slices into the top of the chicken breasts to give the marinade a head start.
- Marinate for at least an hour, less than that and the marinade doesn’t really have a chance to soak in. I recommend 2-8 hours for this marinade to really enjoy the flavor!
- Make sure you wipe off the excess marinade with paper towels before placing the meat on the grill. If you don’t it’ll just burn the marinade and can also cause the flame to flare up, which you don’t want.
- When cooking chicken the internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F. A meat thermometer made for the grill is super handy.
Cooking on the grill vs. a grill pan
I’ve made this recipe both ways… on the grill is my preferred method, but when it’s raining or my grill is covered with 2 feet of snow, I reach for my cast iron grill pan. You can also use an indoor grill for this Chile Lime Chicken!
Some tips for the grill
- Preheat the grill on medium-high and close the lid, letting it heat up for about 10-15 minutes.
- Open lid and clean grate with grill brush.
- Turn the grill temperature down to medium-low. Wad up a couple pieces of paper towel and grab the wad with a pair of tongs. Dip the wadded paper towel into some vegetable oil, then using the tongs, brush the grates with the oiled paper towel.
- Place the chicken on the grill and cover with a disposable aluminum pan (or close the lid). Allow to cook for 6-8 minutes, long enough to create nice grill marks. Turn the breasts over and cover with aluminum pan for 6-8 minutes more.
- Turn grill temperature back up to high. Grill chicken a few minutes more on each side. Internal temperature should be 165.
Some tips for your grill pan
- Preheat a heavy duty (I prefer cast iron) grill pan over high heat for about 2-3 minutes.
- Use Canola oil instead of olive oil as it has a higher smoking point.
- Reduce heat to medium-high and add some Canola oil to the pan, use a barbecue brush or wadded paper towel to ensure the entire pan is coated.
- Place chicken breasts in pan and cook for 5-8 minutes on the first side, loosely covered without disturbing, to allow those beautiful grill marks to form!
- Use tongs to turn the chicken breasts over and cook loosely covered for an additional 5-8 minutes.
- Turn off heat and allow chicken breasts to rest in pan for at least 5 minutes before cutting.
What to serve on the side
There are varying opinions in my house on what this chile lime chicken should be served with. When my kids were teenagers, they were all about macaroni and cheese, but as they’ve grown they are more about corn on the cob and grilled potatoes. With the Mexican flavors in this dish, I really think this Spanish Rice with Black Beans and Corn makes a delicious accompaniment!
I do highly recommend squeezing some fresh lime over the top of this chicken just to kick it up one more notch right before serving!
Chile Lime Chicken on the Grill
- 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts 5 breasts
- 4 each dried red chiles seeded - see notes
- 4 each limes
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 each jalapeno seeded and coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed or finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak the chiles in hot water to rehydrate. Once rehydrated, seed them and toss in blender or mini food processor with the garlic, lime juice and the seeded jalapeno. Puree.
Slice the 4 limes into 1/4 inch slices and and fold the slices into the chile mixture with salt (again, zest these first).
Cut diagonal slits in the chicken breasts to allow them to soak in more of the marinade. Place chicken and marinade into a zipper gallon bag or glass container. Refrigerate 2-8 hours, turning occasionally.
Remove from marinade and wipe off the excess with paper towels, dab off excess moisture.
Preheat the grill on high, covered, for about 15 minutes. Open lid and clean grate with grill brush.
Turn the grill temperature down to medium-low. Wad up a couple pieces of paper towel and grab the wad with a pair of tongs. Dip the wadded paper towel into some vegetable oil, then using the tongs, brush the grates with the oiled paper towel.
Place the chicken onto the grill and cover with a disposable aluminum pan (or close the lid). Allow to cook for 6-8 minutes, long enough to create nice grill marks. Turn the breasts over and cover with aluminum pan for 6-8 minutes more.
Turn grill temperature back up to high. Grill chicken a few minutes more on each side. Internal temperature should be 165.
Hint: Before juicing a lime, zest it. Put the zest in a freezer bag and save for another recipe.
Red chiles - If you prefer a mild to moderate dinner buy Guajillo peppers. If you prefer some heat, get Puya peppers instead.
The recipe tells you to remove all the seeds, however if you want some heat leave some in!
This post was originally published here on August 2, 2010