When you want a ton of flavor without a ton of dishes, this recipe for Sheet Pan Chili-Lime Chicken and Sweet Potatoes is your answer. Juicy chicken thighs, tender chunks of sweet potato, onion, and bell pepper are all tossed in a spicy, sweet, and citrusy marinade before baking all together for a one pan, healthy recipe.
I make all sorts of recipes. Elaborate ones. Indulgent ones. Exotic ones. Family-friendly ones. But this recipe is my favorite sort of recipe– the kind that I call a “box ticker”.
☑️ It’s easy. Prep takes very little time, and there are no crazy techniques necessary nor do you have to babysit the ingredients as they cook. Just toss everything all together to marinate, then pour it on a sheet pan and bake it all at once.
☑️ It’s healthy. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a great source of lean protein with tons of flavor, and sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, fiber, and potassium.
☑️ It’s adaptable. Got veggies in the fridge you need to use up? Add ’em in. Want to use chicken breasts instead? Be my guest. How about salmon? Yup, you can sub in fish. Or pork tenderloin, even. Or tofu! You might need to adjust cooking times a bit, but that’s it. And I’ll go over those details in a few, just in case you need them.
☑️ It’s delicious. There’s no shortage of flavor here thanks to a chili powder and lime juice marinade (with garlic, cumin, and honey as well for extra goodness). That’s even if you don’t wind up using the creamy avocado cilantro sauce on top… but you should. You definitely should. Because all of that flavor together is always a good decision.
And that– all of that– is exactly why I love this recipe.
HOW TO COOK BONELESS, SKINLESS CHICKEN THIGHS IN THE OVEN
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a go-to in my house because they’re inexpensive, flavorful, and easy to cook. So easy, in fact, that it’s pretty hard to mess them up, unlike unforgiving breasts which dry out and get stringy easily.
First, trim and remove excess fat from the chicken thighs. Then, marinate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Contrary to popular belief, it only takes about 30 minutes for the marinade to penetrate the meat, but you can leave the chicken in the marinade for up to 12 hours. Why only up to 12? Some people think the longer you marinate, the better, but if you let it sit too long the citrus in the marinade will break down the proteins on the outside of the thighs too much. When that happens, the meat becomes mushy, so don’t overdo it!
When it comes time to cook, you want to cook at a higher heat– 425°F here– because it helps the fat in the thighs melt, browns the thighs, and in turn adds flavor to the chicken. It also means that you can cook relatively quickly. It will only take about 30 minutes for the thighs to completely cook through, which means that this recipe really deserves another checkmark in that box ticking list above: it’s quick.
DREAMY, CREAMY AVOCADO CILANTRO SAUCE
Earlier this week, I posted a recipe for Dreamy, Creamy Avocado Cilantro Sauce and rambled on and on about how many ways there are to use it. My favorite way is definitely serving it over this Sheet Pan Chili-Lime Chicken and Sweet Potatoes, though! It only takes 5 minutes to make the sauce, so if you’re using it, just whip it together in the food processor as the sheet pan recipe cooks.
If you’re not feeling the sauce, feel free to eat the Sheet Pan Chili-Lime Chicken and Sweet Potatoes without it. It’s delicious either way!
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wheels for roasting
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 red onion, cut into chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
- Fresh cilantro, chopped, to top
- Fresh radish, sliced, to top
- Dreamy, Creamy Avocado Cilantro Sauce, to serve (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the chili powder, garlic, canola oil, honey, cumin, and lime juice.
- Add the chicken, sweet potatoes, onions, and red bell pepper to the bowl. Toss to coat in the marinade and cover. Refrigerate to marinate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken and vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet and top with lime wheels. Discard excess marinade.
- Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Top with cilantro and sliced radish. Serve warm with Dreamy, Creamy Avocado Cilantro Sauce.