Baked Coconut Lime Chicken is a tasty weeknight meal that's made in one skillet and comes together in under 30 minutes. Chicken is pan-seared, then coated in a creamy coconut milk sauce and then baked to perfection.
What can I say? I've been on a real chicken kick lately. Normally, I tend to gravitate more towards salmon (hellooooo honey soy salmon) or even tofu (like in my spicy tofu enchiladas), but lately I've been really into chicken, specifically this creamy coconut lime chicken.
See, this recipe is a super easy weeknight meal, and it tastes a little savory and a little sweet. Trust me, coconut, lime and chicken DO pair well together!
- A baked chicken recipe that's ready in under 30 minutes and can be served alongside rice or any type of roasted vegetable.
- Uses easy-to-find ingredients like coconut milk, chicken broth and cilantro to create the most delicious, creamy sauce.
- Is made in one skillet, which makes the prep work and clean up super simple.
- Chicken - Boneless, skinless chicken breasts; can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer (see notes below)
- Coconut milk - Canned, preferably full fat coconut milk for optimal flavor
- All purpose flour - Can sub arrowroot starch to keep this gluten free
- Brown sugar - Can sub coconut sugar if you prefer
Step 1: First, preheat your oven to 375°, then heat oil in a large, oven-safe skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. While the oil is warming, combine the flour and cilantro in a bowl, then dip each chicken breast into that mixture, placing it directly into the hot skillet.
Step 2: Next, pan-sear the chicken. You'll want to pan-sear it for 3-4 minutes per side, or until it's golden brown.
Step 3: While the chicken is searing, whisk the coconut milk, chicken broth, sugar, and juice from 1 lime together in a bowl.
Step 4: Add the garlic to the skillet and let it simmer for 30 seconds, then remove the skillet from the heat and pour in the coconut milk mixture. Place the entire skillet into the oven and bake the chicken until it's cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
Step 5: Finally, drizzle the cooked chicken with the remaining lime juice, then sprinkle it with salt, pepper, extra cilantro, and a handful of chopped green onions.
Notes and FAQs
- If your chicken breasts seem too large, or if you want to serve more people, simply slice each chicken breast in half length-ways to create thinner breasts. If you do this, you can cut the bake time in half (bake for 5-8 minutes instead of 10-15).
- The combination of coconut oil and olive oil creates a savory-sweet flavor as you're pan-searing the chicken. If you don't have both, you can use one or the other.
- Want to bulk this up? Feel free to add a few veggies to the skillet before baking (think: spinach, red onion and/or sliced shiitake mushrooms).
- Always taste test the chicken once it's done and adjust seasonings as needed. Want it to have more lime flavor? Add some lime zest on top. Want to increase the coconut-y flavor? Add a little more coconut oil to the sauce.
Can I use chicken thighs instead?
Yup! I'd use boneless, skinless thighs, and you'll follow the same steps, but you'll bake the chicken for less time, probably closer to 5-8 minutes.
What should I serve this with?
Can this be made gluten free/Paleo? What about Whole30?
Yes -- simply use arrowroot starch instead of all purpose flour to keep this recipe paleo-friendly. For a whole30 version, follow the above steps and omit the sugar.
More chicken recipes
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Creamy Coconut Lime Chicken
- 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts about 4 total chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped, plus more for topping
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2/3 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or sub coconut sugar
- 2 limes
- 1 green onion chopped, for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Heat a large, oven-safe skillet or dutch oven over medium heat, then add the coconut oil and olive oil.
- Combine the flour and cilantro in a bowl, then dip each chicken breast into the mixture until coated, placing it directly into the hot skillet. Pan-sear the chicken for 3-4 minutes per side, or until slightly browned. Once the chicken is almost done, add the minced garlic and let it cook down for 30 seconds or so.
- While the chicken is searing, mix the coconut milk, broth, sugar, and juice from 1 lime in a bowl.
- Remove skillet from the heat, then pour the coconut milk mixture over top of the chicken. Place the skillet into the oven and bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°.
- Remove skillet from the oven, and drizzle the remaining lime juice (juice from 1 lime) over the chicken. Sprinkle everything with salt, pepper, extra chopped cilantro and chopped green onions and enjoy!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in April 2016. It was updated with new text and photos in September 2020.