easy · main dish · Recipes

Thyme Lime Chicken

A family favorite, this no-salt-added dish is especially good for people who don’t have much time to cook, don’t want to hunt for unusual ingredients, must watch their salt intake, or all of the above. You basically put the chicken pieces in a pan, add three marinade ingredients on top, and put the whole thing in the oven. That’s it!
Don’t worry if you don’t measure the ingredients exactly; this recipe is forgiving. The ingredients are readily available; limes are probably the hardest thing to find. And because it’s baked and requires no fussing during that time, this dish frees you up to do other things, like prep the rice, veggies, and whatnot.
The clever addition of the fresh squeeze of lime over this chicken after the meat has been cooked gives this dish its “salty” kick, not to mention a bright citrus note. I especially love serving it with brown rice or home made corn tortillas and having the lime juice and the chicken juices drip onto the rice or corn tortillas, pulling together the flavors. Yum. 🙂
This adapted recipe comes from Jeff Smith’s The Frugal Gourmet, a wonderful cookbook with great ideas for folks trying to get dinner on the table every night.

  • 1 chicken, cut up OR the rough equivalent in chicken drumsticks, thighs, or whatever chicken part happens to be on sale
  • 2 T olive oil plus oil to film the baking dish
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 2 T lemon or lime juice
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 4 limes, cut into wedges

Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Lightly film baking dish with oil and set aside.
Wash chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. (If you’re watching your cholesterol or fat intake, remove most or all of the chicken skin. Yes, chicken skin is divine, but don’t worry; it’s still very good without the skin.)
Place chicken pieces in baking dish. Add 2 T olive oil, thyme, lemon/lime juice, and black pepper all over chicken pieces.
Bake 45 to 60 minutes, or till chicken is golden (if leaving skin on) and tender.
Serve over rice or home made corn tortillas along with whatever cooked vegetables, salad, and/or cut up raw tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. you happen to have on hand. Serve with lime wedges on the side. Squeeze lime juice onto chicken pieces and enjoy.
When adding the marinade ingredients, just do your best to distribute the oil, thyme, and pepper as you’re sprinkling them onto the chicken from above and leave it at that. You don’t have to premix the marinade in a separate bowl, massage the marinade into the chicken pieces, flip the chicken over to get to the undersides, or anything. Its really that simple; don’t sweat it.
I love eating chicken skin but too much chicken skin isn’t good for anyone. Therefore, I typically remove 85 percent of the chicken skin, allowing for the enjoyment of oven-roasted chicken skin without going overboard in the cholesterol department.
By all means, play around with the marinade ingredients and amounts. Avoid increasing the thyme by too much, though, as doing so will result in an unpleasant woody taste.
Ingredient Sources – What I Use

  • olive oil – Whole Foods 365, Costco Kirkland Signature
  • dried thyme – Spicely, McCormick
  • black pepper – Spicely, McCormick

Adapted from The Frugal Gourmet by Jeff Smith