Applebee’s Fiesta Lime Chicken

Applebee’s Fiesta Lime Chicken is a tasty baked chicken dish that’s great for any day and perfect for Cinco de Mayo. Serve it with Mexican rice, black beans, and Pico de Gallo for a delicious dinner.

Copycat Applebee's fiesta lime chicken, rice, and black beans on a plate.

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What Makes Applebees Fiesta Lime Chicken So Good?

Say goodbye to boring chicken dinners, and say ‘hola’ to Applebees Fiesta Lime Chicken! Think of this popular menu item as a South-of-the-Border version of Chicken Parmesan.

You and your family will love the taste of this recipe featuring tender baked chicken breasts covered in a lime ranch dressing and smothered in mild Colby Jack cheese.

Why You Should Try This Recipe 

This easy-to-make, no-fail oven-baked fiesta lime chicken recipe will become your new go-to meal for those nights when you want to serve something special without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Just make the sides the day before, and you can have a homemade, fresh-from-the-oven dinner on your table in less time than it takes to get delivery. 

Copycat Fiesta Lime Chicken Ingredients

For the cooking the chicken, you’ll need (please click on the recipe card to get the amounts and full directions of the recipe):

  • Chicken breasts
  • Lime juice
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Water
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

For the Fiesta Lime Chicken sauce, you’ll need:

  • Ranch dressing
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime
  • Zest from lime
  • Worcestershire sauce

Try to use fresh lime juice here since it makes a tremendous difference in the taste. However, if you only have lime juice and no lime zest, you can still make the recipe. 

To finish the Fiesta Lime Chicken Applebees style, you’ll need:

  • Colby Jack cheese, sliced

Swap Colby Jack for Cheddar cheese or another kind of cheese if you prefer. You can also use shredded cheese instead of slices.

Copycat Applebee's fiesta lime chicken ingredients.

How to Make Copycat Fiesta Lime Chicken 

To make to prepare the chicken:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients for the chicken marinade. Place the marinade aside for later. 
  2. Split a chicken breast in half horizontally.
  3. Place one-half of the chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap. Gently pound the chicken into an even thickness using the flat side of a meat tenderizer.
  4. Put the pounded chicken into the bowl with the marinade. 
  5. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.
  6. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge. Marinade the chicken for a minimum of one hour and no more than 12 hours.
  7. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  8. Dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel and place them in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish.
Collage of making fiesta lime chicken marinade and marinating chicken.

To prepare the Fiesta lime ranch sauce:

  1. Place all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Stir until the Mexi-ranch sauce is well combined.

To bake the chicken:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Bake the chicken for 20 minutes. 
  3. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Juices from the chicken will be in the bottom of the dish. Do not pour off the juices.
  4. Spoon the Fiesta Lime Chicken sauce on top of the chicken.
Collage of making Mexi-ranch sauce and putting it on chicken in a baking dish.
  1. Cover the chicken with a slice of cheese. 
  2. Return the baking dish to the oven until the cheese bubbles. 
  3. Use an instant-read thermometer to double-check that the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165°F. 
  4. Plate the chicken and serve it topped with Pico de Gallo or chopped tomatoes and with your favorite Mexican sides. 
Collage of recipe steps for topping fiesta lime chicken with cheese and baking it.

Recipe Variation for Fiesta Lime Chicken

Instead of baked chicken you can make grilled chicken.

  1. Marinate the chicken per the recipe instructions.
  2. Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat on the stove.
  3. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to the pan.
  4. Cook the chicken until it is done, about 4 minutes per side, turning halfway through cooking. Chicken is done when it has an internal temp is 165°F.
  5. Place the grilled chicken in a baking dish and top it with the sauce and cheese.
  6. Broil it until the cheese is melted.
Copycat Applebee's fiesta lime chicken topped with Pico de Gallo.

What Side Dishes to Serve With Applebees Fiesta Lime Chicken

Fiesta Lime Chicken is a good lower-carb dinner on its own, but if you are really hungry, try adding a few carbs to help fill out the meal.

The chain serves the dish on top of tortilla strips and a side of Mexican Rice and black beans. A scoop of homemade Pico de Gallo on top of the chicken adds a lot of freshness and color to the dish. Chopped or sliced jalapeno peppers or hot sauce would give it an extra kick of heat.

Or instead of Mexican rice, you could make Spanish rice or Cilantro rice.

Copycat Applebee's fiesta lime chicken, black beans, and Mexican rice on a plate.

How to Store the Leftovers 

Allow any leftovers to cool to room temperature before putting them in an airtight container or a plastic zip-top bag. Seal the bag and keep it fresh in the fridge for about three days.

If you want to save the Fiesta Lime Chicken Applebees style for longer than a few days, you can freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to two months.

What’s the Best Way to Reheat Fiesta Lime Chicken?

The most convenient method for reheating thawed chicken is in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. While the oven is preheating, put the thawed chicken on the counter to help shake off the chill of the fridge.
  3. Put the chicken in a baking dish along with a few tablespoons of water.
  4. Cover the top of the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 10 minutes. 
  5. Remove the aluminum foil and continue to cook the chicken until the cheese melts and the interior reaches at least 165°F. 
Overhead view of Applebee's fiesta lime chicken on a platter.

More Applebee’s Copycat Recipes

Favorite Chicken Dinner Recipes

Check out more of my easy recipes for chicken and the best copycat homemade restaurant dishes on CopyKat!

Copycat Applebee's fiesta lime chicken, rice, and black beans on a plate.

Applebee’s Fiesta Lime Chicken

Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken is a delicious dish you can make at home with this easy copycat recipe.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Applebees Recipes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 280kcal



  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Fiesta Lime Ranch Topping

  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime
  • lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 slices Colby Jack cheese

Garnish and Serving

  • Mexican rice
  • Pico de Gallo
  • tortilla chips
  • black beans


  • Combine all the ingredients for the chicken in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Close to the end of the marinade time, preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade, place it in the prepared baking dish, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Near the end of the baking time, combine all the ingredients for the fiesta lime ranch (except for the cheese) in a medium bowl and mix well.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and brush the ranch over the chicken. Place 1 slice of Colby Jack cheese over each piece. of chicken and return to the oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Serve with Mexican rice, pico de gallo, tortilla chips, and/or any other sides of your choice.


Be sure to cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
For a more intense flavor, allow the chicken to rest inside the marinade overnight. Do not marinate the chicken for more than 12 hours.
You can also substitute homemade Fiesta Lime Ranch with store-bought.
Nutrition calculation does not include the sides (tortilla chips, rice, and beans).


Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 335mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 474IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 221mg | Iron: 1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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