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+ servings
a plate with pasta being twirled around a fork

Cilantro Lime Chicken Pasta

A quick lunch or dinner fix that is tangy and so delicious!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Pasta, Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Sarah Mir



  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • salt

Cilantro Lime Chicken Sauce

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾-1 lb chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4-5 cloves garlic crushed
  • ½-1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cup chicken stock (or ¾ of a stock cube)
  • ¼-1/2 cup cream
  • zest of one lime
  • 2-3 tbsp lime juice 2 limes
  • ¾-1 cup shredded cheese - monterey jack, parmesan, mild cheddar or any combinationn
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • salt, freshly cracked pepper, red chilli flakes, red chilli powder for seasoning
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Bring a generous amount of water to boil and add a few fat pinches of salt
  • Pop in the spaghetti
  • Season the chicken pieces well with salt, pepper, and a tiny pinch of cayenne (red chilli powder)
  • Cook the chicken pieces in a hot skillet in the olive oil for about 2 minutes on each side on medium high heat - they should be golden brown and cooked through
  • Remove the chicken, turn down the temperature and then add the garlic and chilli flakes
  • Sprinkle on the flour and cook for a minute to take away the raw smell
  • Then whisk in the chicken stock, the lime zest, cream (start with ¼ cup) and some freshly ground pepper
  • Bring to a boil and simmer till it thickens a little
  • Add the chicken pieces and 2 tbsp lime juice to the sauce.
  • Drain the pasta when it's cooked through making sure to reserve a cup of pasta water
  • Add the sauce to the cooked spaghetti, stir to coat.
  • Now stir in the cheese, tossing the pasta frequently as you add it. It should melt into the pasta fairly quickly, add a splash of pasta water and additional cream to loosen the sauce if needed
  • Cook on medium heat stirring frequently until the sauce is a consistency you like. If it thickens too much then add more pasta water.
  • Add the cilantro, mix lightly and then taste the pasta - adjust seasoning with remaining lime juice, salt, pepper and chilli flakes
  • Serve immediately


  • Any cheese that isn't overpowering works well here. 
  • this is not a saucy pasta meaning it does not microwave well. If you are planning on reheating then make sure to reserve extra pasta water and reheat in the skillet