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Blackened Crispy Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

These Blackened Crispy Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs are marinated in cilantro jalapeño pesto and seared to perfection. And you can't forget the extra cotija cheese on top. Perfectly served over rice or a salad, you can even slice them up for tacos.
prep10 hours
cook30 minutes
total10 hours 30 minutes
course: Main
cuisine: Mexican
author: Brianna May


  • 6 bone-in skin-in chicken thighs*
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon honey*
  • 1 batch of cilantro jalapeno pesto, divided*
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil


  • Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.
  • In a sealable large bag, combine chicken, salt, cumin, honey, and pesto. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes or up to 10 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • After the chicken has marinated, heat olive oil in a large oven safe skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the chicken and sear for 3-4 minutes or until browned on each side.
  • Finish the chicken in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Brush the seared chicken with additional pesto before serving.


Honey: Swap for 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar.
Chicken Thighs: You can use chicken breasts or drumsticks. 6 bone-in chicken thighs is about 3 pounds of chicken.
Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto: Set aside about ¼ cup of the pesto to brush on hot chicken.
Make sure you use chicken with skin. While skinless chicken will work, the crispy skin is the best part of this dish.
Let your chicken marinate as long as possible. The longer the chicken marinates, the more flavor it will have!
Be sure to use an oven safe pan. Since the chicken is finished in the oven, make sure the skillet is stove and oven safe. A cast iron skillet will work. If you do not have a skillet that is oven and stove safe, transfer the chicken to a baking dish after searing.
Use a meat thermometer. This will allow you to cook the chicken to the perfect temperature (165°).
Garnish the chicken. Finish the chicken with more pesto, cotjia, lime juice, and fresh jalapeños if desired. This will add even more flavor.
Did you make this recipe?Mention or tag @bites.with.bri_ or use the hashtag #biteswithbri!