We call this “red” chicken because it is a fantastic fiery-red color from the paprika! It is not spicy by itself, but the addition of the jalapeno in the (necessary) spicy cilantro sauce is the kick.
I highly recommend doubling this recipe if you are cooking this for two or more people and want leftovers for the next day. It will sound like a lot of food, but honestly, this is one of the fastest disappearing entrees that we make, so I’ve learned to make double so we can eat it for the week. The spicy cilantro sauce is what pulls this dish together for a really fresh flavor.
I always serve this dish with my recipe for Cilantro Lime Rice and two cans of undrained pinto beans reheated on the stove with (1 tsp) of taco seasoning.
This recipe originally appeared on the Instagram account @shredhappens as “Crispy Juicy Chicken Thighs with Spicy Cilantro Sauce”. (Arash is awesome!) This is my adaptation of his recipe that I make over and over and that feels a little lighter to me with the incorporation of chicken breasts. I added in a few other small adaptations that work well for me. Go follow him for fresh recipes!
Garlic Lime “Red” Chicken with Spicy Cilantro Sauce
For the chicken marinade:
- (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
- (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
- (Zest + Juice of 1-1/2) limes
- (4 cloves) of garlic, minced
- (2 TB) olive oil
- (2-3 pinches) sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- (1-1/2 TB) paprika
- (1/2 TB) cumin
For the spicy cilantro sauce:
- (1 large handful) cilantro
- (2-3 cloves) garlic, peeled
- (1) jalapeno, seeds removed, or (1 TB) canned, diced jalapeno
- (Juice of 1-1/2) limes
- (2 heaping TB) sour cream
- (2 TB) olive oil
- (2 pinches) salt
To make the chicken:
- Mix everything for the chicken in a bowl until well-coated. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2-3 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425*F. Take the chicken out to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Grease 1 or 2 glass baking dishes with olive oil. arrange the chicken in a single layer, mixing breasts and thighs in each dish.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes for whole chicken breasts and bone-in thighs.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes for boneless chicken breast tenders and boneless thighs.
- Ensure the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 165*F to be fully cooked.
- Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving
To make the cilantro sauce:
- Combine everything in a blender, food processor, or baby food grinder and pulse until smooth. Keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge in a mason jar or airtight container. Shake well.
- The chicken can easily be marinated in the fridge in a Ziploc or airtight container the day before. Remove from the fridge and allow to sit out at room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking.
- Serve with my recipe for Cilantro Lime Rice and 1-2 cans of undrained pinto beans reheated on the stove with (1 tsp) of taco seasoning.
- For Freezer Meal-Prepped Burritos: After making the chicken, rice, beans, and cilantro sauce, portion out servings of each into warmed burrito-sized tortillas. Top the filling with queso blanco (optional), wrap closed, and freeze the burritos individually wrapped in parchment, then in plastic wrap. Store in a freezer Ziploc for up to 3 months. To reheat in the microwave, remove plastic wrap and microwave in the parchment, about 1 minute each side.
- Add the ingredients for the chicken marinade in a Ziploc and massage well to combine. Marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours, then flatten and squeeze out all the air. Freeze horizontally/flat in the freezer.
- Defrost in the fridge overnight, or in a bowl of water, changing the water every 30 minutes.