Coconut Lime Chicken Breasts – a one pan, Whole 30 approved dish made with only a handful of ingredients. Dairy Free + Paleo
Updated with Instant Pot instructions
This coconut lime chicken is for everyone out there who gets unbelievably bored eating plain old chicken day in and day out but can’t be bothered with making anything too fancy for dinner.
Oh hey, that’s me!
I’ve said it before and (to be honest I can be a broken record at times) I’ll say it again: while I’ve never been the biggest fan of chicken. Mike can’t get enough of it. He’s all about the white meat while I couldn’t care less. So naturally that means I have to constantly try to come up with new ways to dress it up and make it something really worth eating.
That being said I’m still happily noshing away on this honey mustard chicken salad – bacon, avocado, mustard….just load me up. While I could wax on about how much I love that salad, today it’s all about this coconut lime chicken – and I promise it’s just as good!
Coconut Lime Chicken
Altogether this dish is super easy to make – you only need one large skillet and about 30 minutes to make!
The prep can be broken up into two main parts:
- Prepping the chicken
- Making the coconut lime sauce
To prep the chicken simply place the breasts between two pieces of plastic cling wrap and pound them down to make them even in thickness. If you own a meat mallet then go ahead and pull that out. I personally just use my rolling pin to bash the meat down and I find it works just as well.
This will help flatten the chicken so that it cooks evenly and makes for more tender chicken. Once flattened, sprinkle each side of the chicken with salt and pepper and move on to browning the breasts.
Melt a tablespoon or two of coconut oil in your skillet. When hot, add the chicken and on each side for about 5-7 minutes until a golden crust forms. Until then – remove from the pan and set aside on a plate while you make the sauce.
Coconut milk Sauce
Once you’ve removed the chicken, give the pan a little wipe down with a paper towel to remove the brown/black bits. Melt a little more oil, then continue on to sauté your onion.
Cook for a few minutes to soften and then add the pepper. After a few more minutes add the chicken stock, cilantro, lime juice and chili flakes to your pan. Bring the mixture to a slight boil and then let simmer for a few minutes.
Finally, add the coconut milk and continue to let the mixture simmer. It will cook down and thicken slightly. After a little more simmering, add the chicken back to the pan and let cook through fully as it soaks up more sauce and that’s it!
Serve the over a bowl of rice or cauliflower rice (for paleo/low carb) to soak up all the extra sauce and enjoy.
Final Notes & Tips
Whole30: If you need this recipe to strict Whole 30 make sure to check the labels on your chicken stock for hidden sugars.
Notes about thickening:
A few people have had issues with the sauce thickening – this could come down to what type of coconut milk you used. Not all coconut milks are the same and some come out thicker/thinner than others. Aim to use a thicker, full fat coconut milk from a can. You can use just coconut cream as well if you have it on hand. If your sauce doesn’t thicken the way you want it to you can add the starch and water mixture to do the trick for you.
- While the sauce should reduce down and get thicker as your simmer it, it’s not supposed to be really thick like gravy so keep that in mind as you cook.
- This chicken is admittedly not the prettiest looking dish as some of you have commented on. Add a pinch of turmeric powder to the sauce to give it a nice golden colour but keep in mind it will change the flavour. Also remember to wipe down the pan after browning the chicken to remove any leftover brown/black bits. That will go a long way in affecting the final colour.
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- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 pounds
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 cup red onion, it came out to 1/2 onion for me, chopped
- 1 whole red or green chili, chopped optional (use something like an Anaheim chili for a mild heat but the type of chili is up to you & your preferred level of heat)
- 1 cup organic chicken stock*
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, about 1 large lime
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 cup full fat unsweetened coconut milk from a can or coconut cream
- pinch turmeric powder (optional for colour)
- 1 tablespoon arrow root starch for paleo/whole 30 or corn starch mixed into 1 tablespoons water optional
- Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic cling wrap and pound them down to make them even in thickness. This will help the chicken cook evenly and make for more tender chicken. Sprinkle each side of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 5-7 minutes or until browned. Flip over and cook another few minutes to brown the next side. Remove the chicken from a skillet and set aside on a plate. The chicken doesn't need to be fully cooked yet because you'll be returning it to the heat shortly. Wipe down the pan with a paper towel to remove black/brown bits.
- Add a little more oil back to the pan along with the chopped onion to the same skillet and sauté for a few minutes to soften. Add the chili pepper if you're using it. Sauté another couple of minutes. Add the chicken stock, lime juice, cilantro and chili flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce down to a simmer. Let simmer for about 5 minutes to let reduce down. Add the coconut milk (and the turmeric if using) and bring to simmer again for another 5 minutes. Add the starch and water at this time if you're using it. You may need to raise the heat slightly higher to bring this to a boil to activate the starch. Once the sauce thickens reduce it back down to a simmer.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet, cover and let cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
- Serve with rice or cauliflower rice with the sauce spooned over the top.
- Add an extra sprinkling of cilantro & chillies and enjoy!
Instant Pot Instructions
- Press the sauté button on the instant pot and wait for it to heat up. Add the coconut oil. When the oil is simmering add the red onions and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes to soften.
- Add the chicken stock, lime juice, red pepper flakes, coconut milk and turmeric. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Stir and let simmer for a minute or so. Add the chicken breasts.
- Secure the lid on the instant pot and make sure the dial on top is set to 'sealing'. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. (Press 'Manual' or 'Pressure Cook' to set the timer.) After the time is up the Instant Pot will automatically switch the keep warm. Let it keep warm for 10 depressurising on it's own before releasing the steam valve.
- After removing the lid carefully remove the chicken breasts from the soup and transfer to a cutting board or a plate. Cut the chicken up into small pieces.
- With the lid off and the chicken out press the 'Sauté' button again. Bring the sauce to a boil and add your starchy water to thicken. Once it begins to thicken turn off the heat and add the chicken back to the pot along with the chopped cilantro. Taste the sauce again to season with addition salt/pepper/ lime juice if need and enjoy!
If you need this recipe to strict Whole 30 make sure to check the labels on your chicken stock for hidden sugars.
Notes about thickening:
A few people have had issues with the sauce thickening - this could come down to what type of coconut milk you used. Not all coconut milks are the same and some come out thicker/thinner than others. Aim to use a thicker, full fat coconut milk from a can. You can use just coconut cream as well if you have it on hand. If your sauce doesn't thicken the way you want it to you can add the starch and water mixture to do the trick for you.
While the sauce should reduce down and get thicker as your simmer it, it's not supposed to be really thick like gravy so keep that in mind as you cook.
This chicken is admittedly not the prettiest looking dish as some of you have comment. Add a pinch of turmeric powder to the sauce to give it a nice golden colour but keep in mind it will change the flavour.
Serving Size:g Calories: 317Saturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 161mgSodium: 323mgCarbohydrates: 6gSugar: 1gProtein: 34g
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