Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken Thighs

Living in the sunshine state has many benefits and one of them is having beautiful grilling weather most of the year. We love our backyard grill and put it to good use. These Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken Thighs are one of our favorite dinners. The marinade is really easy to make and very easy to adjust to make it more or less spicy, add different flavors by using different combinations of spices. I used both the lime zest and the juice to really amp up the lime flavor. The fresh cilantro adds so much freshness and the roasted poblano adds the great taste of peppers to the chicken. You can use jalapeno peppers instead of the poblano pepper if you want more heat.

You can grill the chicken right away if you want a really simple, quick dinner, or let it marinate overnight for maximum flavor. We use this marinade on chicken drumsticks and chicken breast too and use the meat for burritos, tacos, or alongside rice or Roasted Potatoes. It’s a perfect meal any time of the year. 
Ingredients:

8 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (however, you can use any chicken parts, chicken drumsticks, thighs, wings, breast, even use boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts)

Marinade:

1 medium poblano pepper (or jalapeno pepper)

1/2 cup olive oil (or avocado oil, grape seed oil, etc)

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

juice of 1-2 limes, zest of 1 lime

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 – 1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chili lime seasoning, optional, or any other unsalted seasoning mix, such poultry seasoning, dry Italian herbs, herbes de Provence, chili powder, etc.

Instructions:

Trim the chicken thighs of extra skin and fat, so they look nice and neat.

Cut the poblano pepper in half, place it on a baking sheet and broil it on the highest heat setting of your oven until the skin gets charred about 5 minutes. It can burn really quickly, so keep an eye on it. Remove the skin.

Instead of using a poblano or jalapeno pepper, sometimes I use this Hatch Valley Salsa that I buy at Trader Joe’s. It has some heat and lots of great pepper flavor. You can substitute salsa verde or some other pepper salsa. In this case, it will be even faster to make the marinade.

Place all the marinade ingredients into a food processor or blender. (You can also chop the cilantro and poblano pepper finely and not use a food processor at all.)

The combination of spices and dry herbs is completely up to you. I am giving you the spice combination that I like to use, but you can make the flavor more robust or omit any of them that you don’t like. You can also keep it very simple and just use salt, pepper, and paprika. I use this marinade all the time and I often do different combinations.

Process all the ingredients together until smooth.

Combine the chicken with the marinade in a large bowl. You can grill it immediately, but if you can let it marinate for at let 30 minutes to an hour, it will taste even better. For the best results, let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the grill on high heat for about 15 minutes. Clean the grill grates. Take a wad of paper towels and holding them with a pair of tongs, dip them into a small bowl of oil and brush the grill grates 3-5 times. This will help to create a barrier on the grates, making them somewhat nonstick and also clean the grates even more.

Place the chicken skin side down on the grill grates and lower the temperature to medium. Grill the chicken for 5-8 minutes, until the skin has some nice grill marks and is golden brown. Flip the chicken over and continue grilling until the internal temperature of the chicken is 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit. The time will vary greatly, depending on your grill and the size of the chicken, anywhere from 15-25 more minutes.

Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken Thighs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 8 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (however, you can use any chicken parts, chicken drumsticks, thighs, wings, breast, even use boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts)
  • Marinade:
  • 1 medium poblano pepper (or jalapeno pepper)
  • ½ cup olive oil (or avocado oil, grape seed oil, etc)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1-2 limes, zest of 1 lime
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili lime seasoning, optional, or any other unsalted seasoning mix, such poultry seasoning, dry Italian herbs, herbes de Provence, chili powder, etc.
Instructions
  1. Trim the chicken thighs of extra skin and fat, so they look nice and neat.
  2. Cut the poblano pepper in half, place it on a baking sheet and broil it on the highest heat setting of your oven until the skin gets charred about 5 minutes. It can burn really quickly, so keep an eye on it. Remove the skin.
  3. Instead of using a poblano or jalapeno pepper, sometimes I use this Hatch Valley Salsa that I buy at Trader Joe's. It has some heat and lots of great pepper flavor. You can substitute salsa verde or some other pepper salsa. In this case, it will be even faster to make the marinade.
  4. Place all the marinade ingredients into a food processor or blender. (You can also chop the cilantro and poblano pepper finely and not use a food processor at all.)
  5. The combination of spices and dry herbs is completely up to you. I am giving you the spice combination that I like to use, but you can make the flavor more robust or omit any of them that you don't like. You can also keep it very simple and just use salt, pepper, and paprika. I use this marinade all the time and I often do different combinations.
  6. Process all the ingredients together until smooth.
  7. Combine the chicken with the marinade in a large bowl. You can grill it immediately, but if you can let it marinate for at let 30 minutes to an hour, it will taste even better. For the best results, let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  8. Preheat the grill on high heat for about 15 minutes. Clean the grill grates. Take a wad of paper towels and holding them with a pair of tongs, dip them into a small bowl of oil and brush the grill grates 3-5 times. This will help to create a barrier on the grates, making them somewhat nonstick and also clean the grates even more.
  9. Place the chicken skin side down on the grill grates and lower the temperature to medium. Grill the chicken for 5-8 minutes, until the skin has some nice grill marks and is golden brown.
  10. Flip the chicken over and continue grilling until the internal temperature of the chicken is 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit. The time will vary greatly, depending on your grill and the size of the chicken, anywhere from 15-25 more minutes.