Easy Healthy Chicken Thigh Recipe – A Must Try Recipe!
Today, I’ve got an easy healthy chicken thigh recipe for you that is packed with bright and bold flavors. And that’s my cilantro lime chicken. It’s no secret that I love the vibrant flavors of Mexican food.
And this dish uses many of those same flavors including cilantro, lime, garlic, cumin, and chili powder. The chicken thighs in this recipe are quickly seared in the pan for that perfectly golden and crispy skin, and then finished in the oven for the juiciest chicken you’ve ever tasted.
I often make a double batch of this easy healthy chicken thigh recipe and then use the leftovers in tacos, salads, and wraps because the chicken will give a bright punch of flavor to anything you add it to. So let me show you how to make it.
You can use chicken thighs or chicken breasts in this recipe. Though, I prefer bone-in chicken thighs because they result in incredibly juicy chicken and the crispy skin adds tons of flavor. Chicken thighs are also more forgiving when cooked.
So if you often end up with dry bland chicken breasts, give chicken thighs a try. And for this easy healthy chicken thigh recipe, I’m using six of them. The marinade for the chicken is really easy and it starts with chopping about a quarter cup of cilantro leaves.
To be honest, I never usually measure. I just grab a small handful of cilantro and start chopping. Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs, so I’m definitely not sad if I accidentally add a little bit more than needed.
And once that’s all chopped up, add it to a mixing bowl. Next, I’ll zest and juice two limes. And of course, always remember to give the outside of the limes a good wash whenever you’re using the zest.
But the zest is important in this marinade, as it really amps up the flavor and aroma. And the juice is important as it provides that kick of acidity, which we definitely want as well. So after you’ve zested the limes, make sure to juice them.
And then add both the zest and juice to the bowl. Then I’ll mince three garlic cloves for that deliciously pungent and spicy flavor. And add three tablespoons of olive oil because you always need fat in a marinade to help the meat retain moisture as it cooks.
To that, I’ll add one teaspoon of cumin. Half a teaspoon of chili powder. One teaspoon of salt and a half a teaspoon of black pepper. for a little sweetness to balance the acidity, I’ll add one tablespoon of honey and then whisk all of that together.
Pour the marinade over the chicken thighs and then dig in with your hands to make sure that the chicken is well-coated. Once it is, you’ll want to marinate the chicken in all of this flavor for 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge.
After the chicken has marinaded, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Then heat an oven-safe pan, like this 12 inch stove pan, which is one of my favorites, on medium high heat. Once the pan has come to temperature, drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil in the pan, and swoosh that around to make sure that it’s well coated.
Place the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down, and you should hear a nice sizzle. After all of the pieces are in the pan, you’ll want to cook them for about five to six minutes, skin side down, or until they have that beautiful golden color on the skin.
And once they do, flip them over and sear the bottom side for an additional two to three minutes. It’s important to remember that the chicken is not fully cooked at this point.
So I’ll transfer the pan to the oven and bake the chicken thighs for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The chicken skin doesn’t gain too much extra color in the oven.
So you do want to make sure that it’s perfectly golden from being seared in the pan before transferring it to the oven. After you take the chicken out of the oven, you can garnish it with slices of lime and cilantro for a little extra pizzazz.
And this is what I do if I’m serving it up buffet style in the pan. This smells amazing, the cilantro and lime. I wish you guys were in my kitchen with me. But I know that you’re probably having questions on what you can serve it with, so I have a few ideas for you.
Side Dish Ideas For Your Easy Health Chicken Thigh Recipe
If you want to serve it as a main course, a few of my side dishes that would pair beautifully with this would be my Mexican rice. A lot of very similar flavors. My cilantro lime rice for extra cilantro lime flavor.
My steamed vegetables, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes. Any of those would be great as side dishes with this. If you want to add the chicken into other recipes, you can add it to my Southwest chicken salad.
My chicken and black bean wrap, and my taco soup. It would give any of those recipes a really delicious, bright punch of flavor. And if you need some ideas on what to wash it down with, of course, you can’t go wrong with my classic margarita, strawberry margarita, or mango margarita.
And if you’re looking for an alcohol-free option, my agua fresca is amazing. But if you’re like me, you probably just want to pick the chicken up and eat it straight off the plate. It is so juicy.
You can probably see the juices dripping down. It’s definitely not clean to eat it this way, but I think this is the best way. Just pick it up. You get that bright burst of cilantro lime flavor. You guys are gonna love this.
I hope you enjoyed this easy healthy chicken thigh recipe – and I hope you give it a try!