Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice — This 15-minute recipe is made in a single skillet and tastes even better the next day! You can use it as a taco filling or enjoy as is. You’re going to love all that lime-cilantro flavor!
Cilantro Lime Chicken, Rice & Black Beans
I’ve always been a huge fan of both lime and cilantro, and lately I’ve been on a real lime-cilantro kick.
This easy, one-skillet, 15-minute dish is packed with both. There are so many textures and Mexican-inspired flavors — you’re going to love it!
Juicy, moist chicken with tender rice, hearty black beans, sweet corn, and crisp red peppers all scented with lime and the fresh pop of cilantro. You could also work in avocado, red onions, or use it as a filling for tacos and sprinkle cheese on top. I love versatile recipes like this one!
The flavors marry over time and my family thought it tasted even better the second day. It was perfect summer day-camp lunch for my daughter.
Ingredients in Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice
To keep this cilantro chicken and rice with black beans super easy, I used some shortcuts like pre-cooked packets of rice, canned beans, and frozen corn. I just wanted to get something healthier on the table as quickly as I could!
Gather the following ingredients:
- Lime juice and zest
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
- Chicken breasts
- Cooked rice
- Canned black beans
- Canned or frozen corn
- Red bell pepper
- Fresh cilantro
How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice
Chicken with cilantro lime rice and beans is quick and easy to prepare! Here’s an overview of how this Mexican-inspired chicken recipe is made:
- In a large measuring cup, combine the lime zest, lime juice, honey, olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
- Cook cubed chicken in an oiled skillet over medium-high heat until it’s about 90% cooked through.
- Add the sauce, noting that it may bubble up in the first few seconds. Continue cooking until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce has thickened some.
- Turn the heat to low and add cooked rice, black beans, corn, red peppers, and cilantro to the skillet. Stir to combine, and cook just until everything is heated through.
- Once everything is hot, garnish with additional lime zest, if desired.
As you’re cooking the chicken, make sure to continue flipping it intermittently. This will ensure that it cooks through evenly and that it doesn’t become too browned on one side.
Tips for Making Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice
Rice: To make this recipe super easy, I used two packets of pre-cooked Uncle Ben’s rice. You’re welcome to cook the rice yourself ahead of time in a rice cooker, but this is what I had on hand and it sped up the cooking process immensely!
Corn: I also used frozen corn and added it to the skillet straight from the freezer. You could use fresh or canned instead — again, just use what you have!
Lime juice: Use freshly squeezed lime juice, if possible. It tastes so much better than the pre-bottled stuff, and it doesn’t take very long to squeeze the limes!
Recipe Variations to Try
This is a very flexible recipe that can be adjusted based on personal preferences or what you have on hand. Try any of the following swaps when making cilantro lime chicken with rice and beans:
- Swap the spices for you favorite taco or fajita seasoning
- Use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, noting that chicken thighs need to be cooked slightly longer
- Use any variety of rice you like, such as brown, basmati, or jasmine
- Use quinoa instead of rice
- Omit the rice entirely and replace with cauliflower rice or just enjoy the chicken and veggies
- Swap the black beans for kidney or pinto beans
- Swap the bell pepper and corn with any other veggies you have on hand, noting that you might need to adjust the cook time depending on what vegetable(s) you use
What to Serve with Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice
At most, I might serve this dish with a green side salad just to get some extra veggies on my plate. However, you can stretch the recipe by serving it with one or more of the following:
- Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
- Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips
- Grilled Mexican Corn (Elote)
- Mexican Wedge Salad
Pin This Recipe
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lime zest + more for garnishing
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil for sauce + 1 tablespoon for cooking chicken
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- about 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
- about 3 cups cooked rice*
- one 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup corn (I used frozen that I added straight from freezer)
- 3/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and diced small**
- 3/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped; or to taste
- To a medium bowl or large measuring cup, add the lime zest, lime juice, honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, optional cayenne, and whisk to combine; set sauce aside.
- To a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, add chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, flipping intermittently so all sides cook evenly. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of pieces. Chicken should be about 90% cooked through.
- Add the sauce, noting that it may bubble up in the first few seconds. Allow sauce to bubble at a medium-fast boil for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until sauce has reduced some and chicken is cooked through. Stir sauce and flip chicken intermittently throughout.
- Turn the heat to low and add the rice, black beans, corn, red peppers, cilantro, stir well to combine, and cook until everything is heated through. Taste and check for seasoning balance, making any necessary adjustments (more salt, pepper, pinch of sugar or cayenne, splash of lime juice, etc.) and garnish with a pinch of lime zest before serving.
- Will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 4 days. Serve cold or reheat gently prior to serving if desired.
*I used two 8.8-ounce pre-cooked Uncle Ben’s Original Rice packets
**Orange or yellow peppers may be substituted
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 747Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 1763mgCarbohydrates: 97gFiber: 12gSugar: 28gProtein: 59g
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