Coconut Lime Chicken (Paleo, Whole30 + Keto)

Thai food is one of the genres of food I really love and that always feels like comfort food to me! It used to be my go-to before I started eating Paleo, and it’s our favorite date night when we decide to eat out these days. I have to admit though, this Paleo and Whole30 friendly coconut lime chicken really takes me back to a trip to Thailand several years ago. It’s so flavorful, fresh and satisfying! 

This Paleo and Whole30 friendly coconut lime chicken is so flavorful, fresh and satisfying! Coconut lime chicken in cast iron skillet with lime wedges and cilantro on top.

Back In Time

Many years ago I traveled to Thailand – it was the most spontaneous thing I’d ever done in my life. I purchased my airfare the week before I left and then packed up, hopped on a plane and met a couple of friends in Seoul, Korea where we boarded another plane to Bangkok. I’m not spontaneous or a risk-taker (at least I wasn’t then, but I’ll get into that more later). And then out of nowhere, this trip was the most soul-lifting experience, a much-needed rest and recovery, and it was also so much fun! The first time we made this Paleo and Whole30 coconut lime chicken, I was taken right back to my time in Thailand. Isn’t it funny and cool how scents and tastes can transcend time and put you right back into a memory?!  If you’ve ever been to Thailand or had authentic Thai food like Tom Kha soup, you will get what I’m talking about when you taste this coconut lime chicken. You’ll feel like you just sat down to table full of all the tasty family style dishes.

This Paleo and Whole30 friendly coconut lime chicken is so flavorful, fresh and satisfying! Coconut lime chicken in a bowl with spinach, rice, avocado and lime wedges and cilantro on top.

Maybe The Beginning Of My Healing Journey 

I believe the food in Thailand can vary a bit depending where you are located in the country, but some of my favorite dishes came from the street food on the coast of Krabi – these women and their daughters would cook you up the most delicious meals right there at their little street carts, and it was so fresh and authentic. I had no idea until then that butter and egg yolks were naturally more of an orange color than the dull yellow many of us are accustomed to in the United States. But the flavors, the textures, the smells, all of it was so amazing. And every time we make this coconut lime chicken I am reminded of how fondly I look back on this trip. And it was not too long after my visit to Thailand that I started looking into my diet and lifestyle more. I came home feeling so happy, relaxed and nourished, and I really started to wonder why. I started to take a more honest look at my life and what I was doing, where and how I was spending my energy and what was and was not serving me.

This Paleo and Whole30 friendly coconut lime chicken is so flavorful, fresh and satisfying! Coconut lime chicken in a bowl with spinach, rice, avocado and lime wedges and cilantro on top.

Hindsight Is 20/20

I didn’t figure it out quickly and really these were the just the beginnings of building blocks – and let’s be fully transparent here – I still don’t have it all figured out. But what I do know looking back is that I probably felt so good when I got home because so many of the daily stresses and worries were removed from my life for almost two full weeks. I ate real food in its most natural state, and spent time in nature. I had no idea that all these things have such a huge impact at the time, but slowly from this trip forward I started making changes. I gave up a more high-profile, super stressful job and moved to a less stressful and less time-consuming role. I began teaching barre classes more and spending more time mentoring others (a passion of mine). I can see now that all these pieces were starting to fall into place, little by little like building blocks.

This Paleo and Whole30 friendly coconut lime chicken is so flavorful, fresh and satisfying! Coconut lime chicken in cast iron skillet with lime wedges and cilantro on top.

Taking Risks + Living Out Loud

Like I said at the beginning of this post – I’m not super spontaneous or much of a risk taker (or at least I wasn’t and neither was Justin). I would say I’m still not overly spontaneous, but I’ve gotten more comfortable taking risks, and what I’m learning is that all the magic is there when you step outside of your comfort zone. Tip your toes in the water right outside your comfort zone. Just see how it feels. Does it excite you? Does it scare you? Does it make your soul shine? The answers are probably yes to all of the above.

And for reals, Justin and I both decided to take the biggest risk of our lives to date just about two years ago – we quit our stressful, corporate jobs, sold our houses and moved to a smaller town. We set up shop in our in-home office and started working on this blog full-time, creating delicious yet easy and approachable Paleo and Whole30 recipes, like this coconut lime chicken.

We decided for maybe the first time in our lives to follow our passion and our hearts. It was crazy! Our families thought we were insane! They thought we just needed a break from real life for a little while. But here’s the thing – we realized that “real life” is whatever you make it to be, and we decided we wanted to live life on our own terms. To create the kind of life we love waking up to every day, to help people and develop deeper, more meaningful connections with one another and others.

This Paleo and Whole30 friendly coconut lime chicken is so flavorful, fresh and satisfying! Coconut lime chicken in a bowl with spinach, rice, avocado and lime wedges and cilantro on top.

Some Other Thai + Asian Inspired Recipes To Try

Your Turn To Try Our Coconut Lime Chicken

Quick, easy and full of flavor – you’ll love this coconut lime chicken! Make some, and then turn it into a bowl by adding some greens and rice or cauliflower rice. You know…bowls are life! Let us know it goes by leaving a comment below. Also, take a photo and tag us on Instagram @realsimplegood, so we can check it out! Already follow us on Instagram?! Great! If not, make sure to give us a follow, so we can stay connected!

Close up of chicken in a skillet with sauce. Sliced limes on top.

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Split image with text in middle. Close up of chicken in a skillet with sauce on top and entire skillet with chicken and limes on bottom.

Coconut Lime Chicken (Paleo, Whole30 + Keto)

4.2 from 408 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Calories: 502kcal
Author: Erica Winn
I really love Thai food and it always feels like comfort food to me! This Paleo and Whole30 friendly coconut lime chicken is so flavorful, fresh and satisfying!
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  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for topping)
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 4 chicken breasts see notes
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1.5 cups full fat coconut milk see notes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lime slices for topping (optional)


  • Prep shallot, garlic, ginger and cilantro as noted. Juice limes and set aside.
  • Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of parchment paper and pound them down to make them even in thickness. Sprinkle each side of the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add avocado oil.
  • Once hot, add the chicken to the pan (you may have to cook the chicken in 2 batches depending on the size of your pan). Cook, without disturbing for 3-4 minutes, until a nice brown crust has formed. Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes on the other side, until the chicken is mostly cooked through.
  • Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside. Lower the heat to medium.
  • Add more oil if needed and add the garlic and shallot to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth, coconut milk, lime juice, ginger and cilantro to the pan. Stir to mix, scraping up any browned bits remaining in the pan from when you cooked your chicken.
  • Add the chicken breasts back to the skillet with the sauce. Cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked.
  • Serve with vegetables, potatoes, rice or cauli rice. Spoon some sauce over everything for serving. Sprinkle with cilantro and garnish with lime slices (optional).



  • You can use chicken thighs instead of breasts for this recipe. You should not have to pound the thighs (step 2). Adjust cooking time if needed to ensure the chicken is fully cooked.
  • We use Aroy-D brand full-fat coconut milk. This is the thickest, creamiest coconut milk we have found. If you use a canned brand like Thai Kitchen or Native Forest, the milk might not be as thick and you can omit the chicken broth.
Nutrition facts are an estimate provided for those following a Ketogenic or low-carb diet. See our full nutrition information disclosure here

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 502kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g
Tried this recipe?Take a picture and tag @realsimplegood so we can see it!
Coconut Lime Chicken (Paleo, Whole30 + Keto)Coconut Lime Chicken (Paleo, Whole30 + Keto)Coconut Lime Chicken (Paleo, Whole30 + Keto)

146 thoughts on “Coconut Lime Chicken (Paleo, Whole30 + Keto)

  • If you left a comment about substituting shrimp for chicken in this recipe, (the original comment was accidentally deleted) here is our response: You could use shrimp, but you wouldn’t need to cook the shrimp in the beginning like the chicken. So, you could skip all the way down and start at step #6. In step #8, add the shrimp in and it should cook in the sauce while simmering in 5-6 minutes. Just check it and cook longer if needed but the shrimp should cook quickly. Come back and let us know how it goes if you try it!

  • Served with a cauliflower rice/red pepper/shredded carrot/cilantro lime zest side. Very tasty!!!

  • Just made this for dinner, and it was incredibly tasty! I couldn’t resist adding a bit of fish sauce for some extra umami flavor (the red boat brand contains no sugar).
    Will definitely make it again

  • Hi there! So excited to try this recipe…any chance we could use low fat coconut milk instead? Would it make it too watery?

  • What is the brand of coconut milk you use? Can you take a picture of it? I made this tonight and it was delicious, but mine was a little watery and more of a white color sauce. What makes it that tint of orange?

        • I’m not exactly sure, I think it was just from the browning of the chicken. You can watch the video of the recipe, the sauce turns out more of a brownish color. Maybe it was just the lighting the day we took the photos :).

  • We made this tonight and really enjoyed it. It had a very strong lime/acid flavor so I was wondering if anyone added something to cut the acidity? We’ll definitely make it again but will try to add something to calm it a little rather than just reducing the lime.

  • I made this today but omitted the cilantro and shallot – I just didn’t have it in the house. I was still very happy with the results. Served with rice and veggies.

  • This recipe looks amazing. I’m following the whole 30 diet. Was wondering if I could use my crock pot to cook this meal?

  • I made this and it was delicious, but the sauce was very watery, What did I do wrong or what could I add to thicken it up?

    • It isn’t meant to be a super thick sauce, but make sure you use full fat coconut milk to make it creamier, and then if you wanted to thicken it up you could try using arrowroot starch. Add it to the cooked shallot and garlic and mix it into them. Then, add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the pan, mix continuously to get any clumps out and follow along with the rest of the instructions. We haven’t tried making the sauce thicker, but that’s what we’d try if we did. Hope that helps! Thanks so much for trying our recipe! 🙂

  • Not a hit with my family. The sauce separated and didn’t ever thicken up! Followed the recip to a T. Not sure what went wrong 🙁

    • Hi there – the sauce might have separated because of the coconut milk you use. Coconut cream and milk tend to separate, we’ve found the brand Aroy-d full fat coconut milk to work best. Also, if you read the recipe it never says the sauce will thicken up, it just remains the consistency of full fat coconut milk. Sorry to hear that this didn’t work out for you.

  • This was a hit in our house tonight! I love lime and cilantro, so the flavor was excellent IMO. I did allow the sauce to reduce down a bit & thicken before adding the chicken back & it came out with a nice consistency. I followed the recipe and used all the original ingredients and also added fresh ground coriander & a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. We served it over seasoned basmati rice with a side of sautéed fresh veggies. Will definitely make this again & will also try it with shrimp. Thanks!

  • Was amazing! We used chicken breast tenders. What would be a foot weight for chicken for this recipe?

  • Really disappointed on this one. Very little dimension. Maybe I’ll try it agian with basil and some fish sauce.

  • The sauce didn’t look anything like the photos. It’s very thin and I also don’t think the recipe should have you put cilantro in to simmer. It wilts..I don’t see the wilted cilantro in the photos either? Sauce itself was tasty but chicken rather bland

    • I’m beginning to think that people think we doctored the photos for this post :). It’s really what the sauce looked like it when we made it. The sauce will turn out thin if you use a watered down coconut milk that is not 100% full fat coconut milk – we use Aroy-d brand. If you watch the video for the recipe you can see what it looks like with canned coconut milk vs. the full fat brand we used for the photos.

  • I did not make this yet but I feel like from listening to your amazing story it will be delicious. I wanted to say that i hardly ever read the blogs that go with the recipes but i really enjoyed yours! Thanks for sharing your experiences, it’s very inspriring!

  • maybe reduce the lemon juice, 1/3 cup of lime is it’s a little too much. I followed the exact recipe and the dish was way too sour.

  • This was really good! I was worried about it being watery but it was a perfect consistency, especially if you’re using the sauce to pour over rice and veggies. I did add some coconut aminos and a little fish sauce because it needed salt. I had it with leftover grilled veggies and cauli rice and the hubs and kid had it with white rice, we all loved it. Siracha made it even better 🙂 Thank you!

  • My husband and 5 kids thought it was delicious as is. But to anyone who doesn’t want to worry about your coconut milk seperating, just refrigerate it overnight. It will automatically separate the cream from the water. Use the cream only and your good to go. That’s also how we make our paleo sour cream.

  • Absolutely loved this! Just got done eating and had to leave a review. The sauce is so so so good. Said good-bye to portion control just to have more sauce. I didn’t make any substitutions. Even my picky husband loved it. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  • I just made this for my family last night and everyone loved it! We served it over cauliflower rice and I personally liked the sauce being runny so I could spoon it over the cauli-rice and let it soak up. It is very strong lime flavor – which is amazing! Lime and more lime please! I just printed the recipe to add to our rotation of meals and shared the link to it on our neighborhood recipe swap so more people can enjoy. As mentioned above, my sauce ended up being lighter in color as well, but I didn’t use a cast iron pan and I used a different brand of coconut milk because it’s what I had on hand.

  • I havent made this yet, but want to meal prep it for lunches the first half of this week. Is this something that could reheat or does it need to be consumed immediately?

  • This dish had a potential to be awesome. I was sorely disappointed when I had all ingredients incorporated to a “T”, and I go to taste it and all I can taste is lime juice. I had add almost another entire can of coconut milk and a cup and a half of chicken stock, butter, garlic powder, onion powder and was a lot better but still pretty limey.
    Next time I’ll start with a tablespoon of lime juice and use lime zest to get the lime flavor.

  • All these comments with people not liking the lime in Coconut Lime chicken makes me wonder what they thought it would taste llke? I LOVE lime, so I thought this was delicious! I, too, found it too watery the first time, but I tried one commentor’s suggestion and only used the coconut cream and skipped the chicken broth for a thicker sauce. It was definitely more tailored to our tastes,and the flavor is amazing!

  • This was delicious! Next time I make it, I’ll reduce the lime, but I do like the taste of lime so it didn’t bother me. I love onion, so I will add another shallot, as well. I also thought the sauce could have been thicker so I reduced it quite a bit.
    I paired it with cauli-rice cooked with lime and coconut milk. Yum! I can’t wait to try it with shrimp!

  • Delicious!! My husband and I made this with cauliflower rice for ourselves and two teenage siblings who happened to be over. We all loved it! I disagree with a couple of previous reviews, it was deliciously, perfectly lime-y! Next time I might serve it with a more substantial veggie side dish, I think with just the cauliflower it wasn’t filling enough for us. But, perfect recipe, and this will probably end up in our regular rotation!

  • This chicken was amazing. Thank you so much. We had it with cauliflower rice and everyone loved it. Only problem was , we ate too much. Becca

  • made this last night , loved it . I added fresh sliced jalapeños to give it a little spice ! I was wondering if adding a coconut yogurt would help thicken up the sauce ? ( allergic to dairy )
    Thank you .

  • This is the 3rd time I’ve made this dish, and honestly, every time I make it, I forget how delicious it is! It is simply scrumptious! And super easy too! Thanks for this recipe!

  • Absolutely delicious. I added a bit of spinach and left-over roasted cauliflower. This is going to be a regular in our house. Can’t wait to eat leftovers at work tomorrow!!

  • I read all the comments before trying this and decided to try it with coconut cream instead of coconut milk. I assume this helped because it was SO creamy, not watery, and did not separate. Loved it!

  • Really delish – and super simple to make! I was impressed with how the recipe flowed and how easy it was to follow. The dish was flavorful and something I would definitely remake!

  • Followed the recipe completely and the lime was so overpowering! I do like lime but it completely overpowered all the other flavors. Maybe link the brand of coconut milk you use in the instructions if it makes that much of a difference (for those of us who don’t normally have time to read recipe comments).

  • I love this recipe. I am Whole30ing. I served mine over a baked sweet potato. Delicious! It freezes great, so I make a huge batch and freeze as individual meals. Much better than a frozen dinner from the store.

  • This was SOOO yummy & delicious! I made this for dinner tonight and I always love recipes that are easy! This will for sure be something I make over and over again!

  • Does this recipe freeze well? Prepping meals for my husband and I in preparation for the arrival of our first baby.

    • Yes this one is freezer friendly. The sauce might separate a little when cooled but will mix back together just fine when re-heated. Best of luck with the new baby! We prepped a bunch of meals before Nora arrived and we’re sure glad we did. We went through our freezer stash pretty fast :).

  • Made it: Loved it! Been eating almost completely Paleo since my furlough at the end of March. Nice to be losing weight when most of my friends say they are gaining during this time. Only change I made was used riced cauliflower and added mushrooms and diced onion. BTW I printed this one and added it to my recipe book. Thanks!

  • This recipe is so good!!! Instant favorite in my house. Comforting, bright, easy to make. I’ve substituted in cod for the chicken with great success as well.

  • Soooo gooood! It honestly tastes like Thai carry out! Simple to make, yet so full of flavor! The lime and cilantro give this such a fresh flavor!

  • Wow! This recipe was super easy & full of flavor! Served over cauli rice and it was delicious. It’s a keeper! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Thank you!

  • Easy and tasty weeknight dinner! We loved it and will be making it again! For those who don’t love lime I would cut the lime juice to 1/4 cup since it’s very strong.

  • Such a good recipe! I ate it over kale as a meat/salad dressing combo. I’m also lazy and used bottled lime juice, but it still tasted scrumptious!

  • This was a hit, and especially tasty over rice! Will be putting this into our dinner rotation, thanks for a great recipe!

  • For everyone commenting on it not turning out like the photos – I think I’ve figured it out! I’ve made this recipe about every 2 weeks for the past year. It almost always looks like the “video” on this page with thin, milky colored sauce, and only once did it look like the “photos“ with orange/brown thicker sauce. To make it look like the photos – use a cast iron pan, let the chicken brown with little bits left in the pan, let the shallot caramelize and brown in the pan, use coconut cream instead of coconut milk, and let it reduce down. The only way you can get color is with the brown bits left in the pan. And the only way to thicken naturally is to use a creamier coconut milk and let it reduce. I’ve used arrowroot and even cornstarch to try to thicken it, but it gives it a very gelatinous consistency. Either way (thin and milky or thick and orangey) it tastes great to us, but my family prefers the thinner sauce because when we pour it over rice (or cauliflower rice) it absorbs the flavor better. Hope that helps solve the mystery! J+E – maybe you can swap the recipe photos with some screen shots from the video instead to help with the confusion?

    • Thanks Trisha, glad you like the recipe! We’ll consider updating the photos in the future but we really didn’t do anything special to make the photos turn out how they did 🙂

  • After making this ONCE it became a staple in our home. We love it so much! Adding som e zucchini to the recipe tonight 🙂

  • I just made this for dinner and it was completely underwhelming. The sauce was not thick and I didn’t even add the chicken broth. The flavor was over powered by the lime. It was just plain bland looking. Not at all like the picture and I followed the recipe to the letter.

  • Made this tonight. It was yummy. I made it with zoodles which was great but I really think it needs rice to soak up the juice. I will try the coconut cream instead next time. I will make this over and over! 🙂

  • This is my favorite Whole30 friendly meal. I make a double or triple batch and freeze in one meal portions. I serve it with baked sweet potato and it is divine!
    Thank you for this lovely recipe.
    I do add a couple tablespoons of arrowroot powder to the onions and garlic. It helps thicken it nicely.

  • This was delicious. We cut the lime in half based on comments, but would have had no issue with the original level. I added 1T fish sauce and 1T dark brown sugar (since I had no amines). A few of us loaded it with siracha sauce at the table. The brown comes from a good sear on the chicken. You have to let it sit on the hot pan for 3-4 minutes. My sauce turned out darker than yours, in fact. Will definitely make again.

  • Made this tonight and it was very good! Refreshing actually! Served with basmati rice and a side of asparagus. I thickened the sauce up a bit with additional chicken stock and cornstarch. Will make again!

  • This was FANTASTIC! I used shredded chicken because that’s what I had on hand but followed the recipe otherwise. Everyone cleaned their plates! 💚

  • Truly one of my favorite recipes to make for friends and family. It’s so fun to just take a second to recognize all of the fresh flavors. Such an enjoyable pick when doing whole30!

  • I impressed my husband with this one, we really enjoyed and such guilt free flavor! He is from the carribean and really like the coconut creaminess..this recipe is a win!! Big dub

  • This recipe was a hit with my family! I served the chicken with cauli rice and it turned out delicious! The coconut lime sauce mixed with the cauli rice tastes unbelievable good. I just started following your blog and I’m so happy I found you guys. I know several of your recipes
    will be served in my home. Thank you!!

  • Came together easily, nice flavor served over rice the husband loved it!! I will be making this again healthy without sacrificing flavor

  • We made this last night and it was delicious. Was the sauce thin?…a little, but who cares? It’s flavorful and beautifully accents the whole meal. We poured it over the chicken and cauli-rice. Served it along side broccoli. Boyfriend sopped it up with his bread (while I looked on longingly…)

    We’ll definitely make this again. Thank you!

  • What a wonderful recipe! I had this in Thailand in 1993, now usually get at Cheesecake Factory. I keep fresh limes, coconut milk, and coconut oil on hand. I didn’t use broth (too high in sodium) or have cilantro. I had a small pkg of chicken breast strips, which I cut up, thinking seasonings would penetrate better, but it didn’t brown. I seasoned the chicken w/CHILI LIME seasoning. I saw red pepper flakes in another recipe, so used a pinch. I used minced garlic, ginger powder, added more coconut milk and lime juice than called for, and needed, but while I love limes, it was a bit overwhelming. I added a pinch of Stevia and some salt. By simmering for 5 minutes longer than stated, the color was good and the SAUCE didn’t separate, nor was it watery, probably because I used whole coconut milk, and didn’t use broth. Taste, texture, and color — PERFECT!! I ate over riced cauliflower. I will make again next week, using the same ingredients, but adding cilantro and more chicken, which I will not cut up (and will brown).

  • On day 29 of Whole30 and made this tonight. I wish I discovered this recipe earlier – it’s so good – but am adding it to the regular rotation.

    I omitted the chicken broth, mixed coconut cream and coconut milk to make a thicker mixture and then used 1.5 cups of the mix, and made it in my cast iron skillet. The chicken came our nice and brown and the sauce was thick and flavorful. Great recipe!

  • Does the coconut milk need to be sweetened or unsweetened. I bought a can of Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk and it says unsweetened, which made we wonder if that matters. I’ve never used coconut milk before. Thanks.

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