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Zesty Cilantro Lime Roasted Chicken

Chicken from pastured hens is split, marinated in a blend of cilantro and lime, and oven roasted to create this flavorful dish shared with us by Megan Keatley of Health-Bent. Thanks, Megan for the recipe!

Roasted chicken is a comfort meal that speaks to all regions of the U.S. It’s an important recipe that every cook should have in their repertoire. Not only is it an economical way to feed the fam, but it’s also a double do-er. There are countless ways to season & eat the meat AND you can save the bones to make stock. After years of dry, flavorless roast chicken attempts, I feel like I’ve (humbly) perfected the roast chicken.

Zesty Cilantro Lime Roasted Chicken

The Players

The How-To

Get your chicken out of the fridge pronto. It’s ultra, super important, for the most moist roasted chicken ever created, that you bring the chicken to room temperature. Think about it this way, if you stick the chicken in the oven straight out of the refrigerator, at least 1/2 of the time it’s cooking, you’re actually trying to bring the temperature of the chicken up…and by doing it this way, you’re getting different temperatures within different parts of the chicken, so some parts cook faster than others, resulting in dryyyyyy chicken.

Now we’re going to split the chicken in half — trying to get it to lay flat as it can. Splitting the chicken in half is just another trick that will help the chicken cook faster, thus keeping it moist. Using a pair of kitchen shears, or a cleaver, cut the chicken along its back (not the breast side), making sure you start cutting to the side of the backbone, don’t actually cut into the chicken’s backbone. Sit the chicken on the counter to give yourself a sturdy base and start at the neck opening, cutting down towards the end at the tailbone. The chicken will look like it’s doing a split — sort of. Lay the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan or large oven-safe baking dish.

In your food processor, puree the lime zest & juice, green onions, garlic, olive oil and salt. Also add the cilantro, but I want you to include the stems, along with the leaves. Think of it as nose-to-tail cilantro use. Smear the mixture all over the top of the chicken. Use the time it takes the chicken to come to room temperature as marinade time too.

Preheat your oven to 400F. Clean off the bottom of a cast iron pan and lightly grease it with oil. Stick the chicken in the oven and place the bottom of the cast iron pan on the top of the chicken. This allows the oven heat to cook the chicken from the bottom and the cast iron pan to crisp the chick from the top. Bake until the temperature in the thigh of the chicken is around 150-165F. It should take about 45 minutes. Carefully remove the cast iron pan from the top of the chicken, and if you’d like the skin crispier, just stick the oven on broil and peek at the chicken every minute until it’s done to your liking.

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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23 Responses to Zesty Cilantro Lime Roasted Chicken
  1. Dana Seilhan via Facebook
    March 21, 2011 | 12:01 pm

    Cast-iron Dutch oven. Seriously. We do that with turkey (yes, we have a Dutch oven that is HUGE) and it works brilliantly. It takes less time in the oven because the iron makes it hotter but it works out great and isn’t in the least bit dry.

  2. Sara Sanchez via Facebook
    March 21, 2011 | 12:03 pm chicken csa starts soon and this will def. be one of the first i try!

  3. Food Renegade via Facebook
    March 21, 2011 | 12:04 pm

    Well, Megan shows those of us without dutch ovens how to use a make-shift cast iron dutch oven using our cast iron skillets. Pretty neat for those of us with smaller kitchens or who are waiting on the perfect dutch oven.

  4. Dana Seilhan via Facebook
    March 21, 2011 | 12:05 pm

    True! I live with a food geek. :D But I can’t resist passing on that hint because it just works so well.

  5. Leslieanne Steff Coffey via Facebook
    March 21, 2011 | 12:11 pm


  6. Debbie Worster via Facebook
    March 21, 2011 | 12:13 pm

    Sounds yummy!

  7. Jenn @ Dishrag Diaries
    March 21, 2011 | 12:32 pm

    My mouth is watering, and I’ve never been so happy to have cilantro in my fridge. Cannot wait to try. Like most farm-food-eaters, we eat a LLLLLLLLOT of chicken. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Natasha Nguyen via Facebook
    March 21, 2011 | 2:22 pm

    It must be roast chicken day because I am making Morracan roast chicken as we speak :)

  9. Adrienne
    March 21, 2011 | 7:32 pm

    This looks great! We love cilantro! Did you know that you can freeze it after chopping too? Makes it easy to buy and use without waste!
    Thanks for mentioning about using the stems! I had mentioned that on my blog as well…not a lot of people know it!

  10. Lisa @ HapyinDoleValley
    March 21, 2011 | 9:08 pm

    Last summer we raised our very own meat birds, and I’ve been saving the biggest one (8.55 pds.) for a recipe such as this one. I’m imagining the leftovers will go perfectly with our favorite Mexican dishes. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to give this a try and will let you know how it turns out. Blessings!

  11. Jo
    March 22, 2011 | 5:14 am

    MMM fantastic recipe, can’t wait to try it your way this weekend.

    Will let you know how it goes.

  12. Ronna
    March 22, 2011 | 8:38 am

    This looks fantastic! Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs… especially in conjunction with lime and garlic. And with coconut oil! Yum! That combination has got to be great!

  13. Breville BJE200XL
    March 22, 2011 | 10:41 pm

    Yum, this looks oh, so good! :D

  14. LD
    March 23, 2011 | 7:59 pm

    i am going to make this, it looks soo good, yum

  15. Sandra@Natural Health Goodies
    March 25, 2011 | 6:31 pm

    Ohh that is beautiful! And you’ve got me at the right time – just when my stomach is yelling at me to get off the computer and make something delicious. Fantastic recipe, I can’t wait to try it.

  16. Nu Era Fitness
    April 3, 2011 | 7:24 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious! Great recipe for a great lifestyle. We support the fitness community!

  17. Dez W
    April 11, 2011 | 12:20 pm

    I had been holding on to this recipe for a few weeks now and was dying to try it. Sunday turned out to be the perfect day. It was absolutely fantastic and I did not change one thing as written in the article. Husband said it tasted like authentic street cart tacos even wtihout the tortilla and cheese. Excellent.

  18. NGN
    April 29, 2011 | 12:33 pm

    The chicken looks oh-so good!

    And nice watch, Kristen! I don’t see the cyclops so I’m guessing it’s the Sea-Dweller.

  19. shari shortcake
    January 20, 2012 | 6:00 pm

    I just made this and couldn’t be happier! The cilantro lime rub is so awesome that I’ll be using it as a topping and dip!! I added plenty of salt to taste to the rub and found it so delicious I wanted to just eat it all up right then! But I had to save it for the chicken. And I’m glad I did because the chicken is amazing. I used bone in, skin on, half breasts, because that’s what I had, and they turned out fabulous! Thank you so much for this recipe–it’s going to be a regular in my home!

  20. Laura T.
    June 17, 2012 | 9:36 am

    This looks great! However, I do not have a cast iron pan. Could I just make it without the pan on top of the chicken?

  21. Amanda
    January 23, 2013 | 12:33 am

    I bought a fryer this week and wanted to try something different. My hubby is getting bored of the same old stuff. Thank goodness we just did Mexican fair the other day and I still have a lime and half a bunch of cilantro left just perfect for this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Vikkie Housley Smith via Facebook
    February 9, 2014 | 12:02 pm

    I don’t know what it is about cilantro and lime.. but they rock each other!!!

  23. Jen Condon via Facebook
    February 10, 2014 | 1:17 am

    That sounds fabulous!

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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