Fiesta Lime Chicken

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This is a copycat version of Applebee’s beloved fiesta lime chicken recipe. Tender marinated chicken breasts are covered in a deliciously creamy and tangy sauce and lots of melted cheese then served with crushed corn chips.

A forkful of fiesta lime chicken.

Fiesta lime chicken has got to be one of Applebee’s most popular dishes. If that’s true, it’s easy to see why. You have marinated grilled chicken breasts covered in a thick creamy sauce and lots of melted cheese with the tantalizing crunch from a bed of delicious tortilla chips. Who can say no to a combo like that? Well, today we’re making homemade fiesta lime chicken. This is a copycat recipe, so it’s my version and as close as I can get.  If you can’t get out to Applebees to have it, this is a close second.

Now, don’t be scared by the number of ingredients in the below picture and list. Yes, there are a few. But I bet a lot you already have at home. The thing is, we need to make both the chicken marinade and the creamy sauce, and to make them as flavorful and as close to Applebee’s version as can be, we need lots of ingredients. First, let’s talk about the marinade, which is made with teriyaki sauce, lime juice, liquid smoke, salt, minced garlic, and ginger. How tasty does that sound?

Then we have the creamy sauce, which includes mayo, sour cream, salsa, milk, Cajun seasoning, parsley, hot sauce, cumin, and dried dill. It’s creamy, a little bit tangy, and very delicious. The final step is lots of melted cheese goodness on top. While there are lots of ingredients, there really aren’t a lot of steps and this is overall a pretty easy supper recipe. We just need to make the marinade, marinate the chicken, make the sauce, cook the chicken, and then melt the cheese on top. 

Now, I love to serve my fiesta lime chicken on a bed of crushed corn chips, but I’ve included other serving suggestions below. Are you ready to give it a go?

Ingredients for fiesta lime chicken.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Water
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Lime, juiced
  • Minced garlic cloves
  • Tequila (optional) 
  • Liquid smoke
  • Salt
  • Ginger
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa (chunky and spicy to your preference)
  • Milk
  • Cajun blackened spice
  • Dried parsley
  • Hot sauce
  • Cumin
  • Dried dill
  • Colby Monterey Jack cheese
  • Crumbled corn chips

How to Make Fiesta Lime Chicken

Add water to measuring cup.

First, we’re going to make our marinade. Whisk together water…

Add teriyaki sauce to measuring cup.

Teriyaki sauce…

Add lime juice to measuring cup.

Lime juice…

Add garlic to measuring cup.

Minced garlic…

Add tequila to measuring cup.

Tequila (optional)…

Add liquid smoke to measuring cup.

Liquid smoke…

Add salt to measuring cup.


Add ginger to measuring cup.

And ground ginger.

Combine chicken and marinade in ziplock bag.

Coat the chicken in the mixture. Use either a mixing bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or use a ziplock bag.

Let fiesta lime chicken marinate for at least 2 hours.

Then let the chicken marinate for about 2 hours.

Add mayo to mixing bowl.

In the meantime, we have to make our sauce. So in a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise…

Add sour cream to mixing bowl.

Sour cream…

Add salsa to mixing bowl.


Add milk to mixing bowl.


Add Cajun seasoning to mixing bowl.

Blackened spice mix…

Add parsley to mixing bowl.

Dried parsley…

Add hot sauce to mixing bowl.

Hot sauce…

Add dill to mixing bowl.

Dried dill…

Add cumin to mixing bowl.

And cumin.

Mix ingredients together to make fiesta lime chicken sauce.

Mix well, cover, and chill. 

Grill marinated chicken breasts.

Grill the marinated chicken breasts until cooked through (internal temperature of 165 degrees).  

Add sauce to grilled fiesta lime chicken on baking sheet.

Take the sauce that was chilling and brush it onto the grilled chicken.

Cover fiesta lime chicken with cheese and broil until melted.

Put cheese on top…

Fiesta lime chicken breast covered in melted cheese.

And broil until the cheese melts, like so.

Adding extra squeeze of lime on top of fiesta lime chicken.

Serve over a bunch of crushed tortilla chips and add an extra squeeze of lime and some chopped fresh cilantro if you like.

Plate of fiesta lime chicken.



  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat them in the microwave, the oven, or the air fryer.
  • You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating as above.

Recipe Notes

  • If you like, make a Mexi ranch sauce instead and substitute the mayo for ranch dressing.
  • You can marinate the chicken for 2 hours or overnight, whatever works.
  • Feel free to omit the tequila, but back in the day did you know this dish was called Tequila Lime Chicken?
  • You can also whatever type of shredded cheese you have on hand, whether that’s cheddar cheese or Pepperjack cheese.

Recipe FAQs

How do you serve fiesta lime chicken?

Besides serving it as a main dish with tortilla strips, it also tastes delicious served with pico de gallo, guacamole, and a side of Mexican rice.

You may also like these easy chicken recipes:

Crockpot Fiesta Chicken and Rice

Chicken Fajitas in Crock Pot

Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla Recipe

BBQ Chicken French Bread Pizza

Honey Lime Chicken

Blackened Chicken Recipe With Cheese Topping

Fiesta Lime Chicken

Fiesta Lime Chicken

This is a copycat version of Applebee's beloved fiesta lime chicken, with tender marinated chicken breasts covered in a deliciously creamy and tangy sauce and lots of melted cheese.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, lime
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp tequila (optional)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp salsa (chunky and spicy to your preference)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp cajun blackened spice
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1 cup Colby Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 cups corn chips, crumbled 


  • Whisk together water, teriyaki sauce, lime juice, garlic, tequila (optional), liquid smoke, salt, and ginger.
    1 cup water, 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, 1/2 lime, juiced, 3 garlic cloves, minced, 1 tsp tequila (optional), 1 tsp liquid smoke, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ginger
  • Place chicken in the mixture and coat it. Then let this marinate for about 2 hours.
    1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, salsa, milk, blackened spice mix, dried parsley, hot sauce, dried dill, and cumin. Cover and chill. Set aside.
    1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tbsp salsa (chunky and spicy to your preference), 1 tbsp milk, 1 tsp cajun blackened spice, 1/4 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp hot sauce, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp dried dill
  • Grill the marinated chicken breasts until cooked through (internal temperature of 165 degrees).  
  • Take the sauce that was chilling and brush it onto the grilled chicken. Put cheese on top and broil until the cheese melts.
    1 cup Colby Monterey Jack cheese
  • Serve over a bunch of crushed tortilla chips.
    2 cups corn chips, crumbled 


Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

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One Comment

  1. I cannot eat mayonnaise at all. Especially heated. It just turns my tummy. What can I substitute for the mayo?

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