Chicken cooked in a creamy, cilantro lime sauce. Made with coconut milk, this Cilantro Lime Skillet Chicken has less dairy than most cream sauces, but has no shortage of flavor!
Recently, I posted a Skillet Tuscan Chicken recipe, and was a little surprised how many people told me that they loved it. It’s certainly one of my favorite recipes, but I had worried that there was not a large audience for creamy sauces made without heavy cream. I’m happy to report that I was wrong and that there are quite a few people out there who share my desire to make creamy sauces with less dairy.
More SugarSpicesLife recipes made with less dairy:
Less Dairy Vodka Sauce
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
Instant Pot Coconut Curry Chicken
Dairy Free Instant Pot Yogurt
I was quite excited when I realized I had an excuse to start experimenting with other creamy sauces. My next recipe was for a creamy, less dairy cilantro lime sauce.
Cilantro Lime Skillet Chicken
Years ago I saw a photo of a cilantro lime chicken dish on Pinterest. It looked amazing. The recipe called for heavy cream, and I tried to substitute something else. I don’t remember what I used, or even where the recipe originated, but I do remember that it was a giant fail.
I started thinking about that fail recently and took it as a challenge to make a delicious cilantro lime sauce without heavy cream. After a few trials, I ended up with a recipe that I’m excited to share with you!
For this recipe, I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. When it comes to grilling, baking or using chicken in a skillet recipe, I’m a huge proponent of using breasts that are about 3/4″ thick.
If you have thick chicken breasts, you can slice them in half horizontally, or pound them with a meat mallet. By keeping the chicken thin, you don’t have to dry out the outside of the chicken to get the inside of the chicken cooked through. And, you have a great sauce to chicken ratio.
The chicken is rubbed with a seasoning mix that uses the following spices:
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
- Onion powder
Simple, but full of flavor. After the seasoning has been rubbed on the chicken, it is cooked in olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
After the chicken has been cooked and removed from the skillet, it’s time to make the sauce. The sauce uses:
- Fresh minced garlic
- Full fat canned coconut milk
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh lime juice and zest
- Fresh cilantro
- Cayenne pepper
If you want to make this recipe completely dairy free, you may consider substituting the butter with a dairy free butter or margarine, and substituting the Parmesan with either nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan cheese.
Alternatively, if you want more dairy, you may use heavy whipping cream instead of coconut milk.
Once the sauce has been made, return the chicken to the sauce and simmer until it has warmed through.
Serve the chicken over rice for a filling, flavorful meal!
This Cilantro Lime Skillet Chicken is quick enough to make for a weeknight dinner, but delicious enough to serve weekend guests!
Cilantro Lime Skillet Chicken
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts if breasts are thick, cut in half horizontally so that each piece is about 3/4" thick
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium sized onion diced
- 6 cloves fresh minced garlic
- 1 cup canned full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- pinch cayenne pepper
- juice and zest of one medium sized lime
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 cups cooked white rice if desired, for serving
- In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, and coriander. Rub spice mixture evenly over all chicken breasts.
- Heat olive in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts (you may need to cook chicken in 2 or 3 batches). Cook 3 to 4 minutes a side, until each side of chicken is browned and breasts are cooked through.
- Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium. Melt butter in skillet. Add onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
- Stir in coconut milk, Parmesan cheese, salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, lime juice and zest, and cilantro. Taste sauce and add additional salt and pepper as desired.
- Reduce heat to low. Return chicken to skillet and heat until chicken has warmed through, about 2 minutes.
- Serve over rice.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
If you enjoyed this Cilantro Lime Skillet Chicken, you may also enjoy these other SugarSpicesLife recipes:
Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken
Skillet Beef and Cornbread Casserole
Tequila Lime Chicken Taquitos
Chocolate Coconut Lime Bars
Toasted Coconut Lime Zucchini Bread
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