Lime & Chipotle Chilli Chicken

Lime & Chipotle Chilli Chicken

Years ago when I was backpacking in Mexico I came home with my bag significantly heavier. No normal souvenirs for this food lover. Instead I packed as many cans of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce as I could fit.

I also had a beautiful collection of exotic dried chilli peppers. But unfortunately the customs officers in Sydney decided they were a risk to national security and had to be incinerated on the spot. Well it wasn’t actually on the spot but I was heart broken none the less.

Thankfully my chillies in cans were given the OK. And I was rewarded for my efforts with many incredibly delicious meals.

So you can imagine my delight 15 years later when my local supermakret started stocking this magical ingredient. In glass jars!

Ever since then I’ve always had some in the house. Ready to add a Mexican flare at a moments notice.

They are especially well suited to bringing a big burst of flavour to good old chicken. Add some zesty lime juice and you have the perfect marinade / sauce.

I love this with drumsticks or chicken wings so you get lots of beautiful bones to gnaw on. But it will be faster, easier and more suitable for polite company if you use boneless chicken thigh fillets.

If limes are really expensive, I’ve made it with apple cider vinegar instead and it was just as delicious (and easier because I didn’t have to squeeze the limes).

It looks like a lot of ingredients but the salt and oil don’t count :). And for lower carb option use almonds instead of cashews.

Lime & Chipotle Chilli Chicken

Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people


  • 1/4 cup lime juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 100 g chipotle chillies in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 chicken drumsticks or 4 chicken thigh fillets
  • 4 medium zucchini (courgettes) (approx 800g)
  • 1 handful roast cashews or almonds (approx 50g / 2oz)
  • 1 small bunch mint or coriander (cilantro)


  1. Turn your oven to 250C (480F).
  2. Combine lime juice or vinegar, chipotles and sauce, salt and oil in a small bowl. If your chillies are chunky, chop them first.
  3. Line a large rimmed baking sheet / large oven tray with baking paper (for easier cleanup). Place chicken on the tray. Slice zucchini into rounds about 1/2 inch (1.5cm) thick and scatter on the tray around the chicken.
  4. Drizzle over the chipotle sauce and toss to combine so the sauce coats the chicken and veg. Make sure the all the chicken is touching the oven tray and not resting on top of any zucchini so it cooks quicker.
  5. Pop in the oven and set your timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes stir the zucchini and turn the chicken.
  6. Return to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes for drumsticks or 5 minutes for thigh fillets. Or until chicken is well browned and cooked through. If you're not sure, cut into the chicken to make sure it isn't still pink.
  7. To serve scatter cashews / almonds and herbs over the cooked chicken and let everyone dive in. If using drumsticks serve with wipes or serviettes so everyone can enjoy eating with their fingers.

Recipe Video

NET CARBS: 21g / serve.

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Variations & Substitutions Lime & Chipotle Chilli Chicken

short on time – use boneless chicken. And crank the oven as high as it will go.

Keto / ultra low carb – use almonds or skip the nuts.

vegetarian – chicken = tofu, tempeh, mushrooms or eggplant.

nightshade-free – try this lemon basil chicken instead.

more substantial (carb lovers) – potatoes, rice, tortillas.

no chipotle chillies in adobo sauce – use tomato passata and 2-3 teaspoons smoked paprika and some chilli flakes or chopped fresh serrano or thai birds eye chilli peppers.

more substantial (low carb) – avocado, sour cream, more nuts, more chicken.

family-friendly – I roast some chicken and veg on a separate tray for the boys.

different vegetables – eggplant, mushrooms, sweet potato, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, red bell peppers (capsicum).

different protein – chicken wings are divine! OR sausages or salmon or meatballs or see the vegetarian options.

more fancy / for entertaining – serve with zucchini tortillas or other tortillas. Or the Mexican version of my reliable cabbage salad. Or add some avocado.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

lime – will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.

apple cider vinegar / chipotle chillies in adobo sauce / salt / olive oil / roast cashews or almonds – keep them in the pantry.

chicken – freeze it.

zucchini – will keep for 2 weeks or longer in a plastic bag in the fridge. To keep it even longer, cook sliced zucchini in a little butter until just soft then store in an airtight container in the fridge.

mint – best to use for another meal. leaves can be frozen but will wilt when defrosted so not ideal. Alternatively make a mint oil by packing washed and dried leaves in a clean dry glass jar and covering with extra virgin olive oil.

coriander – best to use for another meal. Can be frozen but will wilt when defrosted.

Problem Solving Guide Lime & Chipotle Chilli Chicken

bland – more salt!

too dry – overcooked chicken. Next time get it out earlier. For now an extra squeeze or some avocado or lime would help.

no oven – you could pan fry the chicken and zucchini and pur the sauce over to warm through just before serving.

sticking to the pan – next time use baking paper.

Prepare Ahead

Best when fresh out of the oven! Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week or can be frozen.

Lime & Chipotle Chilli Chicken

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Have fun in the kitchen!

BIG love,
Jules x

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