Grilled Southwestern Lime Chicken Breasts

Sometimes I think I’m the Queen of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cheap and quick, they can be doctored to take you all over the world. Today, as reigning Queen, I’m going to take you deep into the Colorado Rocky Mountains. And I’m gonna declare you make these Southwestern Lime Chicken Breasts.

Grilled Southwestern Lime Chicken Breasts

Grilled Southwestern Lime Chicken Breasts

I know what you’re thinking – Southwestern? Wasn’t that all over in the 90’s? And you’d be right – but I always say, if it was good then, well, it’s good, now. My original inspiration was from Golden Annie’s in Frisco, Colorado, a recipe published in Bon Appetit, circa June ’98. Frisco was near my old stomping grounds, so of course, I had to make this, and of course I had to tinker.

Frisco, Colorado, photo from the Random Fishbowl

Frisco, Colorado, photo from the Random Fishbowl

As is, the dish was long a family favorite, but I wanted more zesty lime, no soy or herbs to muddy the flavor and a touch of crisp, clean heat. A dash of Worcestershire sauce, a Cook’s Illustrated trick, deepens the flavor without being discernible. I often doctor, too, with a little cilantro, touch of cumin, oregano and/or a dash of tequila. We all know about Queen’s whims, right?

Grilled Southwestern Lime Chicken Breasts

Grilled Southwestern Lime Chicken Breasts

Golden Annie’s served their Southwestern Lime Chicken topped with Jack cheese, accompanied by an Ancho Chili Sauce. I’ve never been that fond of that sauce and I ditch the cheese and use my Sweet Cayenne Mustard Sauce – it’s easy and the flavor sets off the lime in the chicken so well.

Sparrow Tavern's Sweet Cayenne Mustard Sauce

Sparrow Tavern’s Sweet Cayenne Mustard Sauce

This can be served with black beans (doctor a can of them with garlic & cumin, to taste), rice and tortillas but I like to saute up an assortment of bell peppers and a little onion to go along side – then you can build a marvelous fajita! You could put those onions and peppers in a grill basket, instead.

Grilled Southwestern Lime Chicken Breasts

Grilled Southwestern Lime Chicken Breasts

You will want to make extra Southwestern Lime Chicken, more than just for tonight’s dinner. Trust me, you’ll want leftovers for a bowl or a sandwich and as long as you’re marinading one batch, double or triple and stash a few packets in the freezer. But do cook a little extra; if you only cook up only enough for dinner, you’ll miss out on all the left over possibilities for this chicken.

  • A crispy salad of lettuce, bell pepper, avocado and a Creamy Lime Vinaigrette, all topped with a some of this Southwestern Lime Chicken? Marvelous! Perhaps a few tortilla strips for a little crunch to take it over the top.
  • For a fantastic sandwich, pull out that pepper jack cheese after all, and serve the left over chicken, just warmed through so the pepper jack is a little melty, on a flatbread, slathered with either the Sweet Cayenne Mustard or the Creamy Lime Vinaigrette, maybe a little bacon…perhaps lettuce, tomato and avocado?

You’ll look like a genius, any way you go with this dish, and I guarantee your family will fall on it like wild wolves. Cost for the meal with beans and tortillas? About $5.08.

Southwestern Lime Chicken in a Sandwich with Sweet Cayenne Mustard Sauce

Southwestern Lime Chicken in a Sandwich with Sweet Cayenne Mustard Sauce

Grilled Southwestern Lime Chicken Breasts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • zest and juice from 1/2 lime, save other half for serving
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (brown or white)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic, mashed with 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne*
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut in 1/2 horizontally*
  • 8 slices Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
  • Sweet Cayenne Mustard Sauce

Combine first seven ingredients in Ziploc or medium bowl and mix together. Add chicken, massaging & turning to coat. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. (May be marinated overnight, and it is flavorful, but the heat will dissipate with the longer time period.)

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Remove chicken breasts from marinade, letting excess drip off. Grill chicken until just cooked through, turning occasionally, about three to five minutes, depending on thickness of breasts.

If using cheese, when turning the chicken, place 1 cheese slice atop each chicken breast half; cover barbecue and cook until cheese melts, one to two minutes. Transfer chicken breasts (two to a person) to plates.

Serve with lime & Sweet Cayenne Mustard Sauce.


  • A regular chili powder is mixed with a number of ingredients which tend to add a “muddy” flavor to the chicken – stick with a pure powder like a Chipotle or Cayenne.
  • The breasts don’t have to be cut, but it speeds up cooking time and maximizes the flavor.

from the kitchen of

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my Strategies – You’ll see them all explained on the upper left tab of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
Make extra for your freezer - a no brainer meal stashed away for a busy night.

Make extra for your freezer – a no brainer meal stashed away for a busy night.

Put Your own Spin on It:

  • This marinade works well on a number of other items: turkey, pork, shrimp or salmon. If using on shrimp or salmon, a much shorter time period would be appropriate.
  • Although not very spicy, spiciness is easily altered. Cumin, oregano or cilantro may be added.
  • A shot of tequila is great in this or a splash of beer adds interesting notes.

You Could Have This or You Could Have That!

Buffalo Wild Wings Chicken Sandwich from looks like a Gourmet experience compared to what I was served.

Buffalo Wild Wings Chicken Sandwich from Yelp…it looks like a Gourmet experience compared to what I was served.

This photo, above, from Buffalo Wild Wings looks like a Gourmet experience compared to my venture there a couple of weeks ago…and cost nearly 10 bucks! More with tax, tip and a beverage. I should have had beer – I might have liked the sandwich better!


4 thoughts on “Grilled Southwestern Lime Chicken Breasts

    • Thanks for letting me know! My daughter is in the South and they run a little less than in Mn, and I have a few friends sprinkled around the country who seem to get about the same pricing, so I assumed they were inexpensive, everywhere!

      Now, I only see this low price a few times a year, usually about once a quarter or so, so I stock up and toss them in my freezer. If I just buy them not on sale, they can be really pricey.

      I was just contrasting that sandwich on my facebook with one I had when I was “forced” to go to Buffalo Wild Wings a few weeks ago…it was an event. The sandwich was SO sad, it was like they would have TRIED to make it horrible. Brownish lettuce, pale, crunch tomatoes, red onion that was at least an inch thick so it couldn’t have been eaten. The bun crumbled, the chicken was rubbery (and SMALL) and I paid close to 10 bucks!

      I’ve had some lackluster food at chains, but I was shocked at how bad it was – and yet it’s so easy to make GREAT chicken sandwiches! Heck, this chicken recipe is so easy, it’s practically NOT cooking at all…I felt like a big of a cheat when I posted it…

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