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
You’ll want to wash it all down with homemade margaritas or horchata (which is non-alcoholic, by the way!).
Pin This Recipe
Lime Cilantro Chicken with Mixed Rice and Black Beans
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!
- 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
More Mexican Chicken Skillets:
15-Minute Cheesy Chicken Taco Skillet — Craving tacos minus all the empty carbs? This EASY taco skillet without tortillas is PERFECT!! Fast, EASY, loaded with awesome Mexican-inspired flavors and it’s super CHEESY!!
Skinny Mexican Chicken Skillet — EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and is a skinny recipe that keeps you full and satisfied!! A great Mexican-inspired meal that’s naturally gluten-free and is a flavor FIESTA in your mouth!!
Easy 30-Minute Chicken Fajitas — These Easy Chicken Fajitas take just 30 minutes to make and are the perfect weeknight dinner. Friends and family will go crazy for this recipe!
15-Minute Salsa and Black Bean Chicken Skillet — Fast, EASY, family-friendly, healthy yet hearty, naturally gluten-free, Mexican-inspired meal!! The PERFECT recipe to jazz up your usual weeknight chicken dinner!!
15-Minute Salsa Verde Chicken, Rice, and Beans — Fast, EASY, one skillet recipe!! Between the salsa verde, lime juice, and cilantro mixed with juicy chicken, rice, and beans, you’ll be hooked! Perfect for busy weeknights and meal prepping!!
I found this recipe while looking for a way to use up a lot of cilantro I got from our CSA. It’s very good and I will make it again.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you’ll make this again!
Made the cilantro chicken and rice. Very quick and easy to prepare. I used Uncle Bens brown rice and served on fresh spinach. Tasty and healthy!
Glad it turned out tasty and was quick and easy, too!
Some of my family does not like tomatoes. What can I substitute for tomatoes ?
Great recipe, so easy to prepare and cook. Even my 2 boys ate it so it must be good :)Do you have any ideas on alternatives to rice so we could make it much lower in carbs?
Use cauliflower rice. https://www.averiecooks.com/skinny-chicken-fried-cauliflower-rice/
Or just eliminate the rice all together. Glad it was a hit!
I use quinoa instead of rice and it’s delicious! One of our family favorites.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this is a family favorite!
My family loves all things with cilantro and lime. I made this for the first time last night and it was good. I will either cut out or decrease the honey the next time I make it because the honey taste was definitely there. I even added more lime juice at the end to try to cover it some. My honey was medium in color and maybe a little stronger? Who knows, but it was good! I also made your Better Than Takeout Shrimp Fried Rice right after this dish. I have 3 kids, including 2 teenage boys, so I try to cook to have leftovers for a night or two. :-) The Shrimp Fried Rice was right on!!
Thanks for the 5 star review glad you enjoyed this recipe as well as the Better Than Takeout Shrimp. With regard to the honey, everyone’s palettes are different so yes either reduce or eliminate based on what you like.
Our family doesn’t like sweet foods at all. I noticed this has honey.. is it very seeet or does it balance out with the citrus?
It balances really well but if you feel you wouldn’t like it, easy to omit.
Oh my gosh, this was fabulous! I tweaked it a bit just due to what I had on hand — used skinless, boneless chicken thighs, and used “real” rice which I cooked beforehand. Also I added 3 green onions and a handful Of snow peas, simply because I wanted to use them up! However, I completely forgot the corn! It was still phenomenal so I think you can tinker with the veggies based on what you have on hand– it’s the sauce that makes this so GREAT! We’re not big black bean fans but even my hubby loved this, and declared it was a “definite repeater”!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And glad it’s a definite repeater!
I was looking for a black bean and rice recipe when I came across this one. Just finished making it. It’s bombastic!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!
I realized that I had printed this recipe out twice so I knew I really had to try it. It was really tasty. The lime definitely worked and the combination was flavorful and fresh. Thanks!
Thanks for trying the recipe and glad it came out great for you! Glad you had two copies of it :)
Driving home from a holiday thanksgiving with family in the mountains I came across your recipe. My boyfriend who is a discriminating home chef and a writer who had his own cooking column made it upon arrival home after a long 12 hr drive. It was quick, easy and so full of flavor. We loved it. He wants to try it with shrimp. He was very impressed and wants to try a few more of your recipes. Thank you for helping us have a nice “fast food” meal without going through a drive-thru! Do you have any quinoa recipes?? ?
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! I’m flattered that a discriminating chef with a cooking column is impressed with my recipe :)
Almost all of my dinner recipes are easy, family friendly, not costly to make either in terms of ingredients or time.
Hi there! I have been pinning your recipes on Pinterest and making them without realizing that they were all yours. I have made 8 of them and they have all been delicious. Tonight I made the cilantro lime chicken with black beans and rice and I loved it. Thank you for posting all these wonderful recipes, it has really helped me have dinner on the table for my family every night!
I love comments like this and that’s awesome that you’ve made EIGHT of my recipes and just connected the dots that they were all mine! I love that it’s helping you have dinner on the table every night for your family! If you make other things, LMK how it goes!
Made this for dinner tonight and loved it. I made a few adjustments as well. I did not put honey in the sauce so it would be tangier. I added onion and used leftover chicken that had been grilled. It was fabulous! Can’t wait to try more of your dinner recipes.
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you with the few tweaks you made and great time-saver to just use leftover grilled chicken! If you make other recipes, LMK how it goes!
I just made this and it is wonderful! Both easy and colorful. I only had 1 lime, so had to make up with lemon juice, which was ok, but next time I’ll plan ahead. Next up, the honey lemon chicken.
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you and you’re going to love the honey lemon chicken! LMK how it goes!
This looks so healthy and vibrant Averie! I love the use of lime juice AND zest.
It was perfectly limey and now all you need is to save some limes for margaritas to wash it down with :)
I need to make this for dinner ASAP! I have been in such a dinner slump lately. This may get me out of it!
I love a flavorful one bowl meal like this. You’re always satisfied after finishing it because of all the flavors and textures.
I love the combination of lime and cilantro, it’s so fresh and satisfying in the summer and always reminds me of Thai flavours! Definitely pinning this for an easy meal mid-week, I love mixing up my stir-frys and it’s definitely time for a change. Have a great week!
This dinner looks so nice and fresh! I love how quickly it can be prepared, and how simply!
Can’t wait to make this! By the way, my husband and I LOVED your Chinese chicken pasta salad recipe.
Thanks for trying the Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! LMK if you try this one!
Perfection Averie! This looks like the perfect dinner to me! We love lime, cilantro, black beans – all of it! Pinned!
Thanks for pinning and can I please have some of your broccoli salad b/c it looks beyond amazing!!
I would have to leave out the corn on this since my daughter is allergic, but I’ve got to make it! YUM!!
This looks great, I bet it’s soooo delicious! But I would get rid of the beans – stomach problems..
Mexican flavors are our go-to at home. They never let us down. I need this recipe in my life and on my dinner table.
I am loving EVERYTHING about this recipe.. There is so much flavor I could just jump into that plate and eat it all.
This is my favorite kind of dinner!! I love it!
Yum! This is the perfect weeknight dinner!
I e Mexican flavors in savory dishes, they are so hearty.
Averie, your recipes always have so much texture, I love it, I can’t get enough of all the beautiful and delicious ingredients you use, and also, that plate is very nice as well.
Thanks so much! One of my favorite recipes.
I too am a HUGE fan of lime and cilantro and keep them both on hand regularly! This gorgeous skillet looks like such a fun and different way to kick up beans ‘n’ rice! Can’t get enough of all that awesome flavor you packed into it!
Thanks, Sarah! Glad you’re a cilantro lover, too!
I love cilantro…this looks so good and the leftovers would be great rolled up in a wrap or on top of a salad for lunch.
It would be so good in wraps, taco-style, or as you said on top of a salad and just kind of all swirled together with it!
I have 3-4 bunches of cilantro on hand AT ALL TIMES because I go to the store and have a minor freak out that we ran out or something. SORT of totally obsessed.
So this dinner? It is totally my kinda eating! Pinned!
I love that you have 3-4 bunches on hand at all times! You have me beat even! That’s awesome :) And thanks for pinning!
This will be a huge hit here and I was on a lime cilantro chili kick a few weeks ago so it’s time to cycle back to it! I am also a huge fan of anything that only requires a skillet.
There is so much flavor and so many textures going on with this dish, Paula, and since you’re already a big lime-cilantro-chili fan, you’re going to really like this one I bet!
We loved this! Black beans are Jon’s favorite kind of bean and the flavor of the whole dish was great. I love fresh herbs and never get tired of cilantro. I’m already looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch today!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Black beans are my favorite beans, too! I can’t get enough of them. Hope you’re enjoying your leftovers for lunch!