Cilantro Chicken

Here’s a big-time easy, favorite recipe for grilled Cilantro Chicken.  Click below to watch a short video showing you how to make this recipe, then scroll to the bottom of this post to print out the complete recipe.

Let me tell you a little story about cilantro.  I was once a hater… a very big hater.  When my husband and I were newlyweds, we used to eat at a local fish taco place once a week.  I always ordered the Shrimp Burrito with NO CILANTRO.

One day my husband brought home a shrimp burrito for me.  I took one bite and Pffft!  What the heck?!  He had forgotten to ask them to leave it out.  I disliked the stuff that much.  Somewhere along the way, I became okay with cilantro.  I won’t eat it raw by the handful, but I definitely use it in my cooking and have found that I finally have a taste for this fresh herb.

Even if you ARE a hater, you’re likely still going to enjoy this recipe for Cilantro Chicken.

Grilled Cilantro Chicken - recipe from

The cilantro is ground up into the marinade.  It coats the chicken before grilling, and then the chicken is brushed with sweet sauce before serving.  This is my new favorite chicken recipe- shared by a beach house neighbor’s friend named Joyce who was visiting for dinner this summer.  Joyce was gracious enough to bring samples over for us to try.  It was so delicious that I simply had to have the recipe to share with you.  Here you go:

Grilled Cilantro Chicken - recipe from

First things first:  this recipe is SO easy!  You’ll need chicken- I used wonderful skinless thighs with very little fat from Whole Foods Market.  I find the thighs that you buy from the regular market are far too full of fat.  By the time you remove the fat, there is hardly any meat left.  It’s worth it to go to Whole Foods for chicken thighs.  You can also use chicken breasts, but you’ll want to make sure they are evenly pounded out so they don’t dry out while grilling.

The marinade is simply made up of olive oil, garlic and cilantro.

Grilled Cilantro Chicken - recipe from

And it’s all mixed together in the blender (or food processor) until it is thick and smooth.

Grilled Cilantro Chicken - recipe from

I like to marinate my chicken in a large zip baggie.  I put the chicken in first and then scrape the marinade into the bag too.  Squeeze all of the air out of the bag, zip it closed, and then massage the marinade into every nook and cranny of the chicken.  If you do this in the morning, it can marinate all day long.  Busy folks can get it all ready the night before and let it marinate all night and into the next day.

Grilled Cilantro Chicken - recipe from

It’s been so stinkin’ hot where I live that I decided to go with my stovetop grill pan instead of using the hot BBQ outside.  Just a few minutes on each side.

Grilled Cilantro Chicken - recipe from

Stack the chicken onto a platter, and give it a generous brush of Sweet Chili Sauce (sweet chili sauce can be found in your market’s Asian aisle- if you can’t find it, ask.  And if you don’t have access it, make your own!)

Grilled Cilantro Chicken - recipe from
It’s ready to serve!  But wait… what will you serve it with?!

Coconut Rice - recipe from
Whip up some Easy Coconut Rice (or regular steamed rice).  Recipe HERE.

Grilled Cilantro Chicken - recipe from

Now you’ve got something new to make for dinner!  My whole family loved this.  The cilantro didn’t scare anyone- it just makes a wonderful addition to the simple marinade.  And the sweet chili sauce is NOT spicy.  I love using chicken thighs for grilling because they always turn out a little more tender and moist than breasts, which have a tendency to dry out on the grill.

Thanks to beach house friend Joyce for sharing such a wonderful recipe this summer!  And thank you to my tastebuds for overcoming your resentment of Cilantro 😉

Cilantro Chicken

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time:15 minutes

Cook Time:8 minutes

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro (a big handful)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sweet chili sauce
  1. Place the chicken in a large zip baggie.
  2. Place the olive oil, garlic and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Process until the mixture is combined and smooth. Scoop the marinade into the bag with the chicken, press the air out of the bag and zip it closed. Knead the marinade into the chicken until it is evenly distributed. Marinate overnight or all day long.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium heat and coat with oil or grill spray. Remove chicken from the bag and grill 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, until good grill marks are showing. Flip and grill an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove the chicken to a platter and brush the sweet chili sauce on top.
  • 1/4 cup of minced garlic is quite a lot to mince yourself. I like to buy it already minced for this recipe - either fresh or jarred.
  • If you are preparing this recipe as gluten-free, just be sure to use a brand of chili garlic sauce that is known to be GF.
  • I like to serve this chicken with Easy Coconut Rice.
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  • Linda wrote:

    First time reader here, and this chicken sounds delish! I will probably add a touch of lime to the marinade, and pair it with cilantro-lime rice! Mmmm!!!

  • Julie Howard wrote:

    So delicious! Love the spicy sweet sauce! Thank you for the recipe!

  • Missy Balestra wrote:

    Great recipe!!

  • Cindy C wrote:

    I loooove cilantro! I made this the other night and my husband and I loved it! I tasted the marinade before adding it to the bag with the chicken and thought the garlic was overpowering so I just used the entire bunch of cilantro instead of just the half. The end result was still great. Thanks so much for this easy recipe!

  • Mary wrote:

    I use chicken breast on skewers. I only use about 3 cloves of garlic. I add a little more than 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce to the blender with the other ingredients. I don’t brush it on later. Delicious! Marinate the cut up chicken then put on skewers, so easy!

  • Lauren wrote:

    I made this for dinner tonight and was delicious. I could barely taste the cilantro, the chile sauce was dominant flavor but it all blended well. I will definitely make this again, it’s a great hot weather dinner. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • Peggy Owen wrote:

    Ha Ha I moved to California and also took a huge dislike to Cilanthro. It tasted like soap suds to me. Been here 50 years and I love it with so many foods, Had the Cilanthro Chicken at a Chinese restaurant, a little too salty for my taste, but I knew they were on to something. Hence going to try this one. and thanks for the different tips. I’ve always preferred thighs over breasts.

  • Linda wrote:

    Hi, Lori:

    Thanks for the recipe. Will be trying this tonight. Cilantro is an amazing ingredient and I love it. Looks super delicious. I’ll let you know how it comes out. Thanks for sharing!

  • eileen cline wrote:

    This wasn’t really good, I hate to say. Too many tastes was one comment but it just didn’t do anything for me atall.

  • Scott wrote:

    Outstanding recipe. Like you, I never cared much for cilantro. This notion was squashed by this dish. Very delicious…I’m eating it now.

  • Diana wrote:

    I just tried this recipe and it was delicious! I played around, changed it a bit by using whole cut-up chicken and Kikkoman Sweet and Sour Sauce since my husband can’t stand spicy food… Yummy! Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

  • Joanne Hepler wrote:

    I have made this twice since my daughter shared the recipe. I love it cut up on a salad thanks for the recipe!

  • Jennythevoice wrote:

    I just started cooking and this recipe was so easy and yummy !! Thank you . Everybody love it 🙂

  • Diane wrote:

    I made this again with the boneless thighs in my grill pan and they came out great! They cooked up much faster than thighs with the bones and they were just as juicy. My husband LOVES this recipe! It’s a keeper! Thanks so much!

  • Diane wrote:

    I made this on my grill pan with bone-in thighs but had to cook them quite a bit longer. Maybe they were bigger than yours. They were DELICIOUS!!!! Hubby was raving about it! I wondered though if I could bake the thighs with the marinade and sauce and just keep checking to be sure the sauce doesn’t dry up. Has anyone tried this?

  • Brandi wrote:

    Is there a sauce that you would maybe substitute for the sweet chili sauce? I just really don’t like sweet flavor. Everythings else looks great!!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      not sure…

  • linda wrote:

    Do you think it would be okay to prepare the marinade and place in bag with chicken and freeze?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Maybe… or it may lend too much cilantro flavor to the chicken!

  • J @ semplicemente … J wrote:

    I am so happy you reposted this recipe … love it … I love cilantro!