Chicken With Lime Sauce


This chicken with lime sauce is a staple in most households. Juicy, tender chunks of meat in a rich and creamy sauce. Whenever I’m planning to make chicken with lime sauce I also always make sure to pick up some fresh veggies to go with it! Although you could use any veggie you fancy, but I usually prefer to prepare my veggies by steaming them for about 7-10 minutes until cooked.

Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken

This cilantro lime chicken simmers in a creamy flavor packed sauce and comes together in only 1 pan!

chicken breasts in a skillet with cilantro lime sauce

While I enjoy baking desserts the most (cookies > dinner), dinner is an everyday adventure. And if you’re like me, you’re constantly searching for quick and easy dinner recipes. Well, you’ve come to the right place today! This is my 1 pan creamy cilantro lime chicken, a consistent crowd-favorite!

overhead image of chicken with creamy cilantro lime sauce on a white plate

Today I’m going to show you that one skillet is all it takes to transform chicken into something you and your fam will love. This chicken is cooked on the stove and finished off in the oven with a flavorful southwestern-inspired cilantro lime pan sauce:

  • creamy
  • buttery
  • slightly caramelized onions
  • cilantro
  • a little spice
  • zesty lime

This meal reminds me of my days waitressing at Chilis! Good times. It also has me craving margaritas on the rocks, a mountain of chips and guacamole, and key lime pie for dessert. (In favor of trying to keep meals healthy and my shorts fitting, I settled for water and a side of asparagus.)

2 images of asparagus and chicken with creamy cilantro lime sauce in a skillet

How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken

The process is the same as my lemon thyme chicken, so if you’ve made that before you know how easy it is! The first thing to do is grab skinless boneless chicken breasts. You can use bone-in chicken thighs instead if that’s easier. Cook the chicken in the skillet until both sides are browned and crisp– the chicken will cook again in the oven so if the centers aren’t cooked all the way through just yet, it’s ok. Remove the chicken for the time being.

Now, using the same skillet, make the pan sauce with the smorgasbord of tasty things mentioned above.

ingredients for creamy cilantro lime sauce on a wood cutting board

For the sauce’s liquids, you’ll use chicken broth and cream. Now, you’ll only need a little cream (3 Tablespoons for the whole recipe– that’s it!). Just the right amount to add richness to the sauce. You can use whole milk instead if that’s easier. Boil the pan sauce until it has reduced and thickened.

The sauce is easily the best part of this dish. And that makes sense because without it this would just be cooked chicken. So yeah. You’ll be spooning licking up the sauce from your plate. How ladylike of us all. Whatever. It’s really good sauce.

Next step? Add the chicken back to the skillet and bake everything in the oven until the chicken is cooked through. Add extra cilantro (flavor! flavor!), another squeeze of lime, and that’s IT. Serve with veggies and smother them with the extra sauce. Have a batch of dinner rolls to soak up any extra, too! ♥

About 40 minutes start to finish. We both LOVED this meal. And here’s a new video for you to see the recipe start to finish!

Skillet Chicken with Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • Prep Time:30 minutes
  • Cook Time:10 minutes
  • Total Time:40 minutes
  • Yield:serves 4


This cilantro lime chicken simmers in a creamy flavor packed sauce and comes together in only 1 pan!


  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I recommend reduced sodium)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice (I use closer to 1.5 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes*
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream*
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • optional: lime wedges and more cilantro for garnish, steamed asparagus for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. If the chicken breasts are uneven in thickness, pound them down so they’re all even. This way all the breasts will cook through simultaneously. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 6-7 minutes, turning once. You want the chicken nice and browned on the outside. (It doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through yet.) Set chicken on a plate and cover tightly with foil until step 5.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and add the broth, lime juice, onion, cilantro, and red pepper. Return to heat. Cook and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to around 1/4 cup. (During this time you can steam some veggies to have on the side, like asparagus.) Reduce heat to medium-low, then add the cream and butter. Stir until butter has melted.
  5. Add chicken to the sauce and place the skillet in the preheated oven. Bake uncovered until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Serve chicken with sauce spooned on top and any of the listed optional garnishes. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat to your liking.


  1. Red Pepper Flakes: Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your liking. This amount made the chicken mildly spicy. The cream in the sauce mellows out the spice.
  2. Heavy Cream: You can use whole milk instead, but for the thickest, richest sauce I highly recommend heavy cream. If using whole milk, make sure it is at room temperature to help prevent curdling.
  3. Nutrition Information: Using SparkRecipes calculator, this gluten free chicken dish comes out to about 300 calories, 14g fat, 2g carbs, and 33g protein per serving. That includes all the extra sauce too! If your chicken breasts are smaller than 6 ounces each (about what mine were), these numbers will be lower.


chicken breast in a skillet with creamy cilantro lime sauce

Made in one pan, chicken with creamy cilantro lime sauce is tender chicken in a rich, tangy sauce. Serve this weeknight-friendly meal over rice or with tortillas to soak up the flavorful sauce.

Happy Monday! How about a creamy, saucy, fast-cooking chicken dish to start off the week? It’s pouring rain here, and I’m feeling grateful that we spent most of the weekend outside. Our tomatoes were devoured by the squirrels, so we pulled out all of the plants and will put in some fall-friendly flowers and greens. With school all online for our first graders, we’re going to need to spend plenty of time out in the backyard and on the deck this fall for recess / sanity breaks. 

The skillet full of tender chicken and creamy sauce that you see before you is an example of what happens when I discover something I really like and then want to keep making it different ways. This recipe is sort of a blend of the method for Creamy Dijon Chicken and the flavors of Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. It’s got a Tex Mex vibe and makes great leftovers.

chicken breast in a skillet with creamy cilantro lime sauce

We keep it super simple when we serve this meal. Just with rice and / or warm tortillas and a side of roasted broccoli. 


  • Chicken Breasts – Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this quick-cooking meal. Chicken breasts these days can sometimes be really large and thick, so you can slice them in half lengthwise to thin them out and help them cook more quickly. Sometimes I even slice them into cutlets to make them easier to serve (you can use cutlets like this in Creamy Dijon Chicken).
  • Lime Juice – Fresh lime is the flavor that really makes this dish shine. It takes a few minutes, but use fresh limes for this. You’ll need 2-4 limes, depending on their size.
  • Fresh Cilantro – As with the lime, this is a key flavor in the dish. If you love the flavor of cilantro, feel free to add even more or tone it down a bit if you’d like more mild cilantro flavor.
  • Crème Fraîche – Crème fraîche is the base for this creamy sauce. It’s a creamy, sour dairy product that is similar to sour cream but has a much thicker texture and a richer flavor. Look for it in the dairy section, often near other soft, specialty cheeses (like ricotta, mascarpone, or perhaps near the goat cheese and fresh mozzarella). Many grocery stores carry it, and I’ve been picking up the Trader Joe’s version any time I make a TJ’s run. 
  • Low-Sodium Chicken Stock – If you have regular (not low-sodium) stock, that’s just fine. Just reduce the salt you use to season the chicken by about half. You can always add more salt to the sauce after cooking. (Vegetable stock will also work fine here, and you can even use water in a pinch, but the sauce won’t have quite as much depth of flavor.)
  • Cooking Oil and Butter – Use cooking oil (any type will work) to sear the chicken and then butter to start the base for the creamy sauce.
  • Flour – A tiny amount of flour helps to thicken the sauce. You can easily skip it for a gluten-free meal.
  • Garlic, Cumin, Honey – These add flavor to the sauce.
ingredients for cilantro lime sauce


  1. Sear chicken in a hot skillet.
  2. Melt butter with garlic and cumin. 
  3. Add stock, crème fraîche, and honey and simmer until the sauce is thick.
  4. Finish sauce with lime juice and fresh cilantro.
  5. Combine chicken with sauce and serve!
cooked chicken breasts on a sheet pan
stirring sauce in a cast iron skillet


  • Make it Gluten-Free – Just skip the flour. The sauce may take a bit longer to thicken, but you’ll still get a rich, creamy sauce.
  • Add Vegetables – Want to give the dish more of a vegetable boost? Simmer chopped green beans, broccoli florets, diced green bell peppers, or baby spinach right in the sauce.
  • Change the Protein – Try this with thinly sliced pork chops, chicken thighs, or salmon. (Just adjust the cook time)
  • Make it Vegetarian – This is great with thinly sliced tofu steaks instead of chicken. Slice the tofu thin and cook the dish as written.
chicken in a skillet with creamy cilantro lime sauce

Chicken with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Made in one pan, chicken with creamy cilantro lime sauce is tender chicken in a rich, tangy sauce. Serve this weeknight-friendly meal over rice or with tortillas to soak up the flavorful sauce.

Want to adjust the size of this recipe? Click on the number next to “servings” and use the slider to scale up or down.

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time20 mins

Total Time35 mins

Course: Main Dish

Cuisine: Tex Mex

Keyword: one pan meal, one skillet meal, skillet chicken

Servings: 4

Calories: 269kcal

Cost: $7.50


  • Skillet


  • 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, halved lengthwise if large
  • ¾ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Chopped Cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon Cooking Oil
  • 2 tablespoon Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 teaspoon All-Purpose Flour (optional, see note)
  • ½ cup Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 2 teaspoon Honey
  • 1 8oz container Creme Fraiche (about 1 ½ cups; see note)
  • Rice or tortillas, for serving (optional)


  • If the chicken breasts are large / thick, slice them in half lengthwise to thin. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Combine lime juice and cilantro. Set aside (to add at the end of cooking).
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Transfer chicken to the hot pan. Cook on both sides until deep brown and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes (depending on thickness). Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Reduce heat under the skillet to low-medium and add butter. When butter melts, add garlic, ground cumin, and flour. Stir until garlic is fragrant and no dry spots of flour remain, about 1 minute.
  • Pour stock into pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Simmer for 1 minute.
  • Whisk in honey and creme fraiche. Continue cooking sauce, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat and whisk in lime juice and cilantro.
  • Return chicken to the skillet and spoon sauce over top.
  • Serve over rice and / or with tortillas on the side for soaking up sauce.


Creme Fraiche– Creme Fraiche is a creamy, sour dairy product that is similar to sour cream but has a much thicker texture. Look for it in the dairy section, often near other soft, specialty cheeses (like ricotta, mascarpone, or perhaps near the goat cheese and fresh mozzarella). If you can’t find creme fraiche, you can make this recipe with sour cream, but do not cook the sour cream over direct heat (it may separate). 

Flour – For a gluten-free version you can skip the flour. A bit of flour helps to thicken the sauce more quickly, but you’ll still have a creamy, rich sauce without the flour.


Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 628mg | Potassium: 454mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 211IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

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