Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are marinated in a blend of fresh cilantro, lime juice, lots of garlic & Mexican spices then cooked until crispy & incredibly tender! These zesty cilantro lime chicken wings are exploding with flavor & perfect for serving as an appetizer or main course! (Air fryer AND baking directions are included!)

Crispy cilantro lime chicken wings sitting on a large white serving tray served with cilantro lime dipping sauce

Chicken wings are a staple in our house so I’m constantly looking for new flavors to try. We have our tried and true favorites (like cajun chicken wings and lemon garlic wings) but these cilantro lime chicken wings are on a whole other level! They’re zesty, tangy, insanely crispy on the outside while tender in the center and ridiculously easy to make! Plus you can make them in the air fryer or bake them in the oven – they’re sooo good either way! We love serving them as an a game day appetizer or snack and friends and family can never get enough of them!

Ingredients used to make cilantro lime chicken wings in the oven or in the air fryer

Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Chicken Wings

  • Chicken wings: Look for “party wings” or “wingettes” for the best results. (These have the “drums” and “flats” already seperated.)
  • Cilantro: Use the leaves AND stems for maximum flavor! (The stems are where all the flavor is at!)
  • Lime juice: Juicing fresh limes is the key to making the best marinade for your chicken wings! (Store bought lime juice tends to have additives in it that can alter the flavor of your marinade.)
  • Avocado oil: Has a higher smoking point which helps to crisp up your wings more in the oven. (Extra virgin olive oil can be used as a substitute.)
  • Garlic: You’ll need 2 cloves of garlic for this recipe.
  • Spices: Chili powder, salt, black pepper and a hint of cayenne are all you need for these tasty wings! (You can omit the cayenne if you don’t want your wings too spicy.)
A food processor photographed from above filled with a cilantro lime marinade for chicken wings
A large clear bowl filled with raw chicken wings marinating in a cilantro lime marinade

How To Make Cilantro Lime Chicken Wings In The Air Fryer

  1. Make your marinade. Add your marinade ingredients to a food processor and blend them together utnil smooth.
  2. Marinate your chicken wings. Place your wings in a large plastic bag ro bowl and add your marinade. Seal the bag or cover the bowl and allow them to marinate for 1 hour – 4 hours.
  3. Air fry. Then preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees. Once it’s ready, remove your chicken wings from the marinade and place them in the air fryer basket in a single layer. (It’s ok do do this in batches if needed.) Then air fry your wings for 18-20 minutes flipping halfway through (around the 9-10 minute mark.)
  4. (Optional) Make your dipping sauce. While the wings are cooking, make another half recipe of your marinade and reserve it to dip your wings in later. (This step is completely optional but it adds so much flavor to your wings!)
  5. Serve! Serve your wings immediately with extra lime wedges and your reserved dipping sauce!

*Note: Every air fryer is different so your wings may take more or less time depending. If you’re unsure then I’d suggest checking them every so often to make sure they aren’t burning.

Slightly charred cilantro lime chicken wings sitting in an air fryer basket

Baking Method For Cilantro Lime Chicken Wings!

  1. Marinate your chicken wings. Marinate your chicken wings the same as you would for the air fryer method.
  2. Prepare your oven. Once your wings are done marinating, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then place a large wire rack on a rimmed baking pan and spray the rack and pan with cooking spray.
  3. Bake. Place your wings on the rack and spread them out so they’re not overlapping each other. Then place the pan in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes without flipping them. (For extra crispiness, try broiling your wings for 2-3 minutes after they’re done baking. Make sure to watch them so they don’t burn!)
  4. Serve! Serve your wings immediately with extra lime wedges and your reserved dipping sauce (from air fryer method).
An up close photo of crispy air fried cilantro lime chicken wings sitting on a metal tray with lime wedges and freshly chopped cilantro sprinkled over the top

Serving Ideas

Chicken wings aren’t just an appetizer anymore – we also love serving them as the main course too! (There’s just something so fun about digging into a plate full of wings for dinner.😙) However if you’re anything like my family, you’ll probably need a few side dishes to help round out your meal. Here are a few of our favorite dishes to serve with them:

A hand dipping an air fried chicken wing into cilantro lime sauce

FAQ’s

  • Can I prep any ingredients beforehand? Absolutely! The marinade can be made up to 1 week in advance.
  • Do I have to marinate my chicken wings? Yes…and no. It technically isn’t required that yo marinate your wings but it does give them so much more flavor! They longer they marinate the more flavorful they’ll be! (If you choose to not marinate your wings, I strongly suggest making another batch of marinade to serve as a “sauce” on the side.)
  • How do I know when my chicken wings are cooked? Chicken wings are done when they’ve reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. The best way to tell is to grab a meat thermometer and stick it in the thickest part of the wing.
  • How do I store my lefotver chicken wings? Place your chicken wings in an airtight container and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them again.
  • How long will my leftover cilantro lime chicken wings stay good in the fridge? They should last for 3-4 days if stored correctly.
  • What is the best way to reheat my chicken wings? We always prefer reheating them in the oven! To do this, place your chicken wings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and heat them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until they reach your desired temperature.

Why you’ll love this cilantro lime chicken wing recipe

  • So easy! Your marinade takes just minutes to make then cook your wings however you prefer! This is a no-fuss chicken wing recipe that’s perfect for any occasion!
  • Healthier & packed with flavor! Unlike most chicken wing recipes that call for frying your wings in large amounts of oil, this recipe only uses the oil in your marinade to crisp them to perfection!
  • Air fry or bake! Don’t have an air fryer? No problem! These wings can easily be baked in the oven and they taste just as delicious! (Try broiling them for even more crispiness!)

Need them gluten free? Great news, they already are!

Need them dairy free? Great news, they already are!

More chicken recipes you might like:

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]

Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are marinated in a blend of fresh cilantro, lime juice, lots of garlic & Mexican spices then cooked until crispy & incredibly tender! These zesty cilantro lime chicken wings are exploding with flavor & perfect for serving as an appetizer or main course! (Air fryer AND baking directions are included!)
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main dish
Cuisine: Dairy free, Gluten free, Mexican
Keyword: air fryer, chicken recipes, chicken wing recipes, chicken wings, cilantro lime, oven baked
Servings: 24 wings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken wings (drums and wingettes)
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped (leaves & steams are ok)
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil (can be replaced with extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne (optional)

Instructions

To marinate your chicken:

  • Add your cilantro, lime juice, garlic, avocado oil, chili powder, salt, pepper & cayenne to a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Then place your chicken wings in a large plastic bag or bowl and add your marinade. Seal the bag or cover the bowl and allow them to marinate for 30 minutes – 4 hours.
  • (Optional) While the wings are marinating, make another half recipe of your marinade and reserve it to dip your wings in later. (This step is completely optional but it adds so much flavor to your wings!)

Air Fryer Method:

  • Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees. Once it's ready, remove your chicken wings from the marinade and place them in the air fryer basket in a single layer. (It's ok to do this in batches if needed.) Then air fry your wings for 18-20 minutes flipping halfway through (around the 9-10 minute mark.)
  • Serve your wings immediately with extra lime wedges and your reserved dipping sauce!

Baking Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place a large wire rack on a rimmed baking pan. Then spray the rack and pan with cooking spray.
  • Next place your wings on the rack and spread them out in a single layer. Then place the pan in the oven and bake them for 30-35 minutes. (Do no flip your wings!) For extra crispiness: Broil your wings for 2-3 more minutes after they're done baking.
  • Serve your wings immediately with extra lime wedges and your reserved dipping sauce.

Notes

*Optional: If you don’t have time to marinate your wings, reserve 1/4 of your marinade and make the wings as directed. Then use your reserved mariande as a dipping sauce for the wings.

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