Easy “Cuban” Chicken

Cuban lime chicken, a family favorite.

Bistec de Pollo

I am a huge fan of Cuban cuisine. I’ve been making recipes from Three Guys From Miami since their cookbook was nothing more than a random collection of recipes online; I highly recommend investing in both Three Guys From Miami Cook Cuban and Three Guys From Miami Celebrate Cuban.

For those who haven’t eaten Cuban food, it typically uses basic ingredients like citrus, garlic, onion and tomato, and is always served with black beans and rice. It’s the kind of food that definitely falls into Michael Pollan’s category of “food my great-grandmother would recognize.” Ok, granted, my own great-grandmother wouldn’t have heard of Cuban, but someone’s great-grandmother undoubtedly would have.

I made this recipe while traveling. I didn’t have a proper recipe to precisely replicate bistec de pollo, but I made a decent and flavorful replacement using limes, onions and garlic.


  • Thin boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (or breasts cut to half thickness)
  • One large onion, cut into strips lengthwise
  • Garlic cloves, crushed with the side of a knife
  • 5 limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Butter


Sauté the onions in olive oil and a touch of butter (1/2 Tbsp) until golden, but not limp. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime over the onions. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add olive oil to the hot pan. Add garlic and stir until you can smell the aroma. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown, then flip over to finish cooking. The length of cooking time will depend on the thickness of your cutlets, but shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes per side. When the internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees, remove the chicken and place on the bed of onions.

Add the juice of three limes to the pan to deglaze, scraping the browned bits from the bottom. Add 1/2 to 1 Tbsp butter to the juice to create a slightly thicker sauce that will cling to the meat. Pour the sauce over the meat and onions. Serve immediately.


The Tiny Kitchen Assistant asked for three helpings of chicken tonight. I’d say that’s equal to a huge thumbs up.

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2 Responses

  1. I made this tonight – four thumbs up! I needed to use some beet greens, so I was trying to think of something to go with them and honest to God thought, “You should check with Betty.” I knew you’d just linked to some recipes. Thanks! This one is getting bookmarked.

  2. Alisa says:

    I have to tell you, after a week (month?) of spinning my wheels at almost everything, hearing good feedback like that gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. Thanks for writing!

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