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This skillet cilantro chicken recipe is incredibly easy to make and packed with some of my favorite Lebanese flavors. The marinade combines fresh cilantro, zesty lemon juice, and garlic that infuse the chicken breasts before searing them in a pan. Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal or a dish to impress your dinner guests, this skillet cilantro chicken will hit the spot.
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love Lebanese cilantro chicken
- Cilantro chicken ingredients
- How to make cilantro chicken in a skillet
- Tips for making the best Lebanese cilantro lemon chicken
- Popular substitutions & additions
- What to serve with cilantro chicken
- How to store & reheat cilantro chicken
- Frequently asked questions
- More easy chicken recipes:
- Cilantro Chicken Recipe
I learned a genius meal-prepping hack from my mother-in-law: to buy a bunch of fresh cilantro and meal-prep a massive batch of chicken cutlets in one go. After washing, drying, and chopping the cilantro, she marinates 16 servings of chicken at once and freezes them for busy days.
The best part? The individually wrapped cutlets thaw quickly, making a quick and delicious dinner ready in a snap. Thanks to this brilliant technique, I always have a stash of flavorful marinated cilantro chicken on hand to make hectic weeknights a breeze.
Why you’ll love Lebanese cilantro chicken
- Bursting with flavor. This chicken dish packs a serious punch thanks to the flavorful combination of cilantro, garlic, and lemon, but also a little kick from red pepper flakes. Each bite is an explosion of fresh, tangy, and savory flavors.
- Versatile chicken recipe. Cilantro chicken can be served in many ways, such as over rice, with pasta or potatoes, in a wrap or pita, or on a salad. Experiment with different spices and ingredients to add your own unique twist.
- Protein-rich entree. This lemon cilantro chicken recipe is a good source of lean protein, with a whopping 28 grams per serving! Plus, chicken breasts are low in fat and provide essential amino acids our bodies need making this a healthier option for a main dinner entree.
Cilantro chicken ingredients
- Chicken: I use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. You could also try it with boneless chicken thighs, but you may need to cook them a little longer.
- Cilantro. Fresh cilantro has a citrusy, slightly bitter taste that adds depth and an herby flavor that shines through this herb chicken recipe.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is always best and will bring an aromatic and savory flavor to the marinade.
- Lemon: Used for the marinade, but you can also add a fresh squeeze of lemon juice before serving to brighten up the pan-fried cilantro chicken.
- Seasonings: black pepper, crushed red pepper, salt
- Olive oil: Use any oil you like for the marinade. It will also help coat the chicken when you sear it in the pan.
How to make cilantro chicken in a skillet
- Place the cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl and whisk together.
- Add the chicken breasts and coat them well in the cilantro marinade. Cover and place in the fridge to marinade for up to 2 hours.
- When ready to cook, add the chicken to a hot skillet and allow to cook a few minutes until it has a nice sear.
- Flip and continue cooking until completely cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken to make sure it reaches 165°F
Tips for making the best Lebanese cilantro lemon chicken
- Make sure to use thin chicken cutlets. If needed, you can tenderize the chicken with a mallet to ensure they are all thin and even in thickness. This will help them cook quickly without burning the cilantro.
- Don’t worry if the cilantro browns. Herbs can be so sensitive to heat, so usually, I add them at the end of cooking proteins. However, the fresh cilantro in this skillet chicken recipe is what gives it so much flavor. A little browning is totally normal as long as the cilantro doesn’t turn black.
- Mince the garlic finely. To get the most flavor out of your garlic, mince or finely chop it before adding it to the marinade. You can also use a garlic press for a quick and easy way to crush the garlic.
- Prep the marinade ingredients. To save time on meal prep, you can chop the cilantro, garlic, and lemon juice in advance and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. This way, you can quickly whip up the marinade when you’re ready to cook. You can also freeze fresh garlic and freeze fresh herbs whenever you need them!
Popular substitutions & additions
- Use dried cilantro or another dry herb. Instead of ¼ cup of fresh cilantro, I recommend 1 tablespoon of dried cilantro or any other herb. This will also prevent any browning of the herbs when you cook them in the skillet.
- Switch up the citrus. Instead of lemon, you can use lime or orange juice instead. Both citrus fruits will add a bright and tangy flavor to the marinade.
- Use thighs instead. You can easily swap out the chicken for boneless skinless chicken thighs and marinade them just the same. They’re just as delicious and tend to be richer and juicier.
- Switch up the marinade. Try with different herbs and spices, such as fresh parsley or basil, or even a pinch of smoked paprika or cumin, to give the chicken a unique and delicious flavor. Here’s a list of a few more of my favorite chicken marinade recipes!
What to serve with cilantro chicken
- Lebanese Spicy Cilantro Potatoes
- Fluffy Bulgur
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Sautéed Mushrooms with Garlic
- Lebanese Fattoush Salad
- Red Cabbage Slaw
- Lebanese Cabbage Salad
How to store & reheat cilantro chicken
Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to eat, reheat in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.
How long will cooked chicken breasts last in the fridge?
Cooked chicken will last in the fridge for up to four days.
Can I freeze marinated citrus herb chicken?
To freeze the chicken, you have the option to do it before or after cooking. If you choose to freeze before cooking, simply put the chicken and marinade in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to four months. When you’re ready to cook, allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge before cooking as usual.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can grill the marinated cilantro chicken breasts. I suggest grilling the chicken away from the direct flame to ensure the cilantro doesn’t burn up while cooking.
No, it is not necessary to pierce the chicken before marinating. The marinade will penetrate the chicken without additional holes, which could actually cause the chicken to dry out.
Yes, you can add other vegetables or ingredients to the skillet with the chicken. Some great options include onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. Just be sure to adjust cooking times accordingly and ensure that any added vegetables are thoroughly cooked before serving.
This Lebanese-inspired cilantro chicken recipe is a delicious and versatile way to enjoy a healthy and protein-rich meal. Its simple and flavorful citrus and herb marinade makes this stove-top cilantro chicken easy to prepare and pair with many side dishes. Plus, the option to make it a freezer meal for later (before or after cooking) makes it convenient for busy weeknights and will be your new favorite go-to chicken recipe!
More easy chicken recipes:
- Spinach Feta Stuffed Chicken
- Grilled Harissa Chicken
- Honey Mustard Chicken
- Pecan Crusted Chicken
- Tortilla Crusted Chicken
- Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Baked Chicken Nuggets
- Yogurt Marinated Chicken
- Breaded Air Fryer Chicken
- Oven Baked Balsamic Chicken
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- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 pounds chicken breast cutlets
- Place the cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the chicken and toss to combine. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- When ready to cook, heat a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 4 minutes, undisturbed. Flip and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 4-5 more minutes.
- Serve with more fresh cilantro, if desired.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.
Reading the recipe I was concerned it might be too sour but it was not- it was well balanced and delicious
Your mom is a genius- we all enjoyed this and i’m so happy to have put some aside and frozen before cooking to pull out for a week midweek meal.
Aw, thank you so much, Lizzy! I will be sure to tell her you said that she will be so happy!