Garlic-Lime Chicken

published May 8, 2024
Garlic-Lime Chicken Thighs Recipe

Fresh lime and garlic give these chicken thighs so much flavor.

Serves4

Prep5 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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overhead shot of four garlic lime chicken thighs, in a cast iron pan.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Twice a week chicken is on the menu for family dinner, with one meal devoted to easy rotisserie chicken recipes and a second to chicken thighs. I love serving chicken thighs because they’re more flavorful and less expensive than chicken breasts. Plus they’re a cinch to cook, thanks to a rule-breaking technique that I’ve memorized. 

I’m getting started early with simple summer cooking by flavoring these chicken thighs with garlic and fresh lime. Minced fresh garlic and garlic powder work in tandem to add savory flavor to the chicken and sauce, while lime zest and juice add a tart and punchy flavor. This simple skillet chicken dinner relies on just five ingredients (plus salt, pepper, and an optional herb garnish), but is so good you’ll want to make it again and again. Here’s how to do it.

Why You’ll Love It

  • This recipe uses a rule-breaking technique to make perfectly cooked chicken thighs. Start the chicken thighs skin-side down in a cold skillet to crisp the skin and render some of the fat before flipping and finishing in the oven. 
  • A sauce of fresh garlic, lime, and honey soak into the chicken thighs as they roast, leaving them juicy and super-flavorful.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Key Ingredients in Garlic-Lime Chicken

  • Chicken thighs: Hearty bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are best for this recipe so that everyone has a satisfying serving.
  • Garlic: Use two types of garlic: garlic powder and fresh garlic. Season the chicken thighs all over with garlic powder to add flavor to the meat without burning as it sears, then add minced fresh garlic to the sauce.
  • Limes: The zest and juice of fresh limes give the sauce a tart and vibrant flavor.
  • Honey: Just a bit of this sweet syrup balances the acidity of the sauce.

What to Serve with Garlic-Lime Chicken

Garlic-Lime Chicken Thighs Recipe

Fresh lime and garlic give these chicken thighs so much flavor.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4

    bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (2 to 2 1/4 pounds total)

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 2

    medium limes, divided

  • 1/2 cup

    water

  • 2 teaspoons

    honey

  • 3 sprigs

    fresh cilantro or parsley (optional), for serving

  • Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Pat 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season all over with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Place skin-side down in an unheated large cast iron or oven-safe skillet. Place over medium heat and sear undisturbed until the skin is golden-brown and releases easily from the pan, about 12 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, mince 2 garlic cloves and place in a small bowl. Finely grate the zest from 1 medium lime (about 2 teaspoons) and juice 1 1/2 medium limes (about 1/4 cup) into the same bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and 2 teaspoons honey, and whisk to combine.

  4. When the chicken is ready, turn off the heat. Transfer the chicken skin-side up to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Pour the lime juice mixture into the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Return the chicken to the skillet skin-side up.

  5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast, spooning some of the sauce in the skillet back over the chicken halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken not touching the bone register at least 165°F, 10 to 12 minutes total. Meanwhile, cut the remaining 1/2 lime into 4 wedges. Pick the leaves from 3 fresh cilantro or parsley sprigs and finely chop if desired.

  6. Garnish the chicken with the cilantro or parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with the lime wedges.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.