Succulent and flavorful, this Chipotle Lime Chicken makes your tastebuds sing. Whip up the sweet and spicy marinade and fire up the grill for an easy low carb dinner!
Grilling season is here and you simply can’t beat this Chipotle Chicken recipe. It has all the Southwestern flavor you crave, with a tangy, smoky, slightly sweet sauce. And none of the added sugars or carbs!
It makes a wonderful low carb high protein recipe for busy weeknights. But it can also be doubled or tripled for larger gatherings. Consider adding this to your Keto 4th of July Recipes and wow your guests!
Why this grilled chicken is so good
- Sweet and spicy marinade: The sauce on this chipotle chicken is finger licking good. And it’s great on other meats too. Try brushing it on beef or shrimp skewers.
- Easy to make: This chicken recipe takes minimal effort. You just blend up the marinade and pour it over. Then allow it to sit for several hours to soak up the flavor.
- Juicy, succulent meat: Grilling the chicken over both direct and indirect heat allows it to cook through to juicy perfection without drying out.
- Perfect for parties: You can easily scale this recipe up or down as needed. It’s a great addition to any get togethers or backyard BBQs.
Ingredients you need
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- Chicken: I like to use bone-in, skin on chicken thighs for this recipe. It will work with boneless chicken thighs or even breasts, but the cooking time will change. I recommend brining the chicken breasts first to keep them from drying out.
- Lime: You will need both lime juice and lime zest for this recipe.
- Chipotle: This recipe works best with canned chipotle in adobo sauce. They are easy to find at most grocery stores in the international food aisle.
- Sweetener: I used the new ChocZero keto honey for this marinade, to give it a more authentic flavor. Other sweeteners will also work. See the Expert Tips section for more options.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is a must for a good keto chicken marinade!
- Cumin: This spice adds classic Southwestern flavor.
- Pantry staples: Olive oil, salt, pepper.
Step by Step Directions
1. Prepare the marinade. Add the lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, keto honey, chipotle pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper to a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Marinate the chicken. Pat the chicken thighs dry and place in a glass baking dish. Pour about two thirds of the marinade over and turn each thigh a few times to coat. Let marinate for 1 to 3 hours.
3. Grill the first side. Set up your grill for indirect heat on one side. Place the chicken thighs, skin-side down, directly over the heat . Let cook, watching carefully for flares, until the skin is nicely browned and has grill marks, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Flip the chicken. Flip the thighs and grill over direct heat for another 4 to 5 minutes, then move to indirect heat. Brush the tops with the remaining marinade and continue to cook until the thighs register at least 165ºF on an instant read thermometer.
If you choose to use boneless chicken for this recipe, you need to adjust the cooking time. Boneless chicken thighs cook through quickly so keep a close eye on them. I recommend about 3 minutes per side over direct heat, before moving to indirect heat.
Boneless chicken breasts can be harder to grill without drying them out, so I recommend brining them before marinating and grilling.
Keep your eye on the chicken and watch for flaring. The keto honey can caramelize quickly which gives the chicken a wonderful sticky quality. But it can burn if you leave it too long.
If you don’t love chipotle peppers, you can substitute two tablespoons of Chile powder instead. It will be less spicy but absolutely delicious.
You have a number of options for sweetening this marinade. I like the honey substitutes because they give it an authentic Southwestern flair. Allulose honey works just as well as ChocZero (I’ve made it both ways). The plain liquid allulose is also a good option.
If you can’t access those, you can simply use any granular sweetener and sweeten to taste. 2 to 3 tablespoons should suffice. Again, keep your eye on things and make sure that the allulose sweeteners don’t cause the sauce to caramelize too quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chipotles are smoked jalapeño peppers, so they have a smoky, spicy flavor. They are often packed in adobo sauce, which includes tomato, vinegar, and garlic, so it adds even more flavor. Because of their strong flavor, chipotles in adobo sauce are often used to add spice other recipes like chili, soup, and chicken.
The marinade for this recipe is quite spicy on its own, but the grilled chicken isn’t overly spicy. The tanginess from the lime and the sweetness from the honey tone it down. And much of the marinade gets lost through the cooking process.
If you don’t have a grill, you can easily cook this chicken in the oven or in an air fryer. For the oven, bake at 400ºF for 30 to 35 minutes, skin side up. For the air fryer, cook at 400ºF for 20 to 25 minutes. You will need to work in batches for the air fryer.
Healthy sides for Chipotle Lime Chicken
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice takes only 5 simple ingredients and has spectacular flavor. This copycat of the famous Chipotle rice goes with all of your favorite healthy dinners.
Cauliflower Potato Salad
This cauliflower potato salad recipe goes with all your grilling favorites. It’s creamy, flavorful, and packed with classic ingredients. You won’t miss the spuds with this perfect keto side dish.
Grilled Zucchini is an easy and appetizing side dish that goes with all your favorite keto dinners. It takes only a handful of fresh ingredients to bring out the best flavor for this low carb summer squash.
Chipotle Lime Chicken Recipe
- Add the lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, honey, chipotle pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry and place in a glass baking dish. Pour about two thirds of the marinade over and turn each thigh a few times to coat. Let marinate for 1 to 3 hours.
- Set up your grill for indirect heat on one side. Place the chicken thighs, skin-side down, directly over the heat first. Let cook, watching carefully for flares, until the skin is nicely browned and has grill marks, about 4 minutes.
- Flip the thighs and grill over direct heat for another 4 minutes, then move to indirect heat. Brush the tops with the remaining marinade and continue to cook until the thighs register at least 165ºF on an instant read thermometer.