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Chicken with Lime

Published in Amherst Citizen - September 26,2000

Now that we are getting back to routine (or at least attempting to) after this summer, try this recipe out. It is basically boneless chicken breast in a bread crumb crust, baked in the oven. Sounds normal, no hard work. But the flavor is absolutely incredible due to the addition of lime zest and lime juice, together with garlic and butter.

When I demonstrated this on 'Cooks Corner' on WMUR ABC's Channel 9, Jean Mackin said I had "been cooking this for decades". I felt really ancient, but it is true I have been cooking this for more than 20 years. I discovered it in an English cookery book purporting to be on American Baking. I reduced some of the butter and increased the lime and now it is one of the most popular recipes I have with students and clients. My son of fourteen has always loved it, which as most parents know is a good enough recommendation to encourage one to try it. When my father took over the cooking at home, he would make it for guests as limes were not readily available in England and so it took on the mystique of an exotic dish.

I love it with fresh bread, salad and corn on the cob so that the lime flavor is not masked. If you don't think your family will like such a definite lime taste, then use the juice and zest of one lime, and retain the same ½ stick of butter and garlic. You can prepare the chicken in the lime crust the night before, refrigerate it and then just pop it in the oven when you walk in the door.

Chicken with Lime (Serves 4 - 6 people)


  • 4 Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • About 2 c white bread crumbs (2-3 slices ordinary bread)
  • Grated rind 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional)
  • Milk


  • ½ stick (2 oz) butter
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1-2 cloves garlic crushed


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, and lime rind with pepper in a cereal bowl. I personally find there is enough salt with the parmesan cheese and melted butter.

3. Dip each chicken breast in milk in a cereal bowl and roll in bread crumb mix, patting crumbs in to form a good coat and not wasting any.

4. Spray 9x13" dish with a little Pam and lay breasts in . Put in oven and bake for 20 minutes. There is no need to turn the chicken over.

5. Combine butter and garlic in a small saucepan and melt, then simmer for 1 minute, add lime juice and simmer for further 2 minutes. Make sure you cook the garlic in the butter before adding the lime juice as otherwise the bits of lime and garlic turn blue/green from the acid of the lime. This does not affect flavor and you can strain sauce to remove bits. Normally, color disappears on cooking. After 20 minutes of cooking, remove chicken from oven, pour sauce over breasts and bake for 5-10 minutes more. The crust topping does not turn crispy, because of the sauce.

6. Serve with salad and baked potatoes, corn on the cob or angel hair with butter, olive oil, lime and garlic sauce.

I have also made this recipe by cutting each chicken breast half into 3-4 strips as in chicken tenders and then followed recipe as normal. The chicken had a good tang since there was more mix around each piece of chicken, it seemed to stay moister and was suitable for a party.

Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, is a qualified teacher and offers a Personal Chef and Catering Service. She can be seen frequently on WMUR ABC's Channel 9 Cooks Corner. Contact Oonagh on 424-6412 or visit her web site at

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Last modified: Oct. 22, 2000
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