Appleby's Tequila Lime Chicken Recipe - USA

Appleby's Tequila Lime Chicken

Appleby's Tequila Lime Chicken Recipe - USA
Region / culture: USA | Preparation time: 2-3 hours | Cooking time: 10-15 minutes | Servings: 4


Appleby's Tequila Lime Chicken
Appleby's Tequila Lime Chicken

Appleby's Tequila Lime Chicken is a vibrant and flavorful dish that brings a zesty twist to your dinner table. This recipe combines the tangy zest of lime and the subtle warmth of tequila to marinate chicken breasts, which are then grilled to perfection, smothered in a spicy Mexi-Ranch dressing, and topped with a generous amount of cheese. It's a dish that promises to transport your taste buds to a fiesta of flavors with every bite.


The Tequila Lime Chicken recipe is inspired by the popular dish served at Appleby's, a well-known casual dining restaurant. The dish has evolved over the years, incorporating various cultural influences to create a unique blend of flavors that celebrate both Mexican and American cuisines. Its popularity has grown due to its perfect balance of zest, spice, and smokiness, making it a favorite among patrons seeking a delicious and satisfying meal.



Mexi-Ranch Dressing


How to prepare


  1. Prepare the marinade by combining the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the chicken to the bowl, cover, and chill for 2 to 3 hours.

Mexi-Ranch Dressing

  1. Make the Mexi-ranch dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix well until smooth, then cover the dressing and chill it until needed.


  1. When you are ready to prepare the entree, preheat the oven to high broil.
  2. Also, preheat your barbecue or indoor grill to high heat.
  3. When the grill is hot, cook the marinated chicken breasts for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until they are done.
  4. Arrange the cooked chicken in a baking pan.
  5. Spread a layer of Mexi-ranch dressing over each piece of chicken (you will have plenty left over), followed by 0.25 cup of the shredded cheese blend.
  6. Broil the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes, or just until the cheese has melted.
  7. Spread a bed of 0.5 cup of the tortilla strips or crumbled corn chips on each of four plates.
  8. Slide a chicken breast onto the chips on each plate and serve with your choice of rice and pico de gallo or salsa.


  1. Crumbling store-bought tortilla chips is the easy way to make the bed of crunchy chips that the tequila lime chicken rests on.
  2. You can make tortilla strips like those served at the restaurant by cutting a stack of eight 6-inch corn tortillas in half.
  3. Stack the halves on top of each other and slice the tortillas into thin strips.
  4. Fry the tortilla strips in 2 cups of oil preheated in a large skillet for 3–5 minutes or until crispy.
  5. Salt lightly and cool on paper towels to drain.


  • For a spicier version, add more jalapeños to the Mexi-Ranch dressing.
  • Substitute the chicken breasts with thigh fillets for a juicier option.
  • Add avocado slices or guacamole for an extra creamy texture and a boost of healthy fats.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Tequila Lime Chicken turns out perfectly, consider the following tips:

- Marinate the chicken for at least 2 to 3 hours to allow the flavors to fully penetrate the meat.

- If you have time, marinating overnight will enhance the flavors even more.

- Use a grill pan if you're cooking indoors to achieve those desirable grill marks.

- Keep a close eye on the chicken while broiling to prevent the cheese from burning.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Tequila Lime Chicken with a side of cilantro-lime rice, black beans, and a fresh salad for a complete meal. For a lighter option, consider serving it over a bed of mixed greens.

Cooking Techniques

Grilling the chicken not only adds a smoky flavor but also helps to seal in the juices, ensuring the chicken remains moist and tender. Broiling the cheese-topped chicken at the end adds a delightful crispiness to the cheese without overcooking the chicken.

Ingredient Substitutions

If tequila is not available, you can omit it or substitute it with a bit of rum for a similar depth of flavor.

- Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream for a healthier Mexi-Ranch dressing.

Make Ahead Tips

The chicken can be marinated up to a day in advance, and the Mexi-Ranch dressing can also be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. This makes for a quick and easy assembly when you're ready to cook.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the chicken on a vibrant plate garnished with lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and a sprinkle of chili flakes for an extra pop of color and flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp beer or a margarita pairs wonderfully with the zesty flavors of Tequila Lime Chicken. For a non-alcoholic option, a lime-infused sparkling water complements the dish well.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or on the stove for the best texture, as microwaving may make the chicken rubbery.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Tequila Lime Chicken contains approximately 400-450 calories, making it a moderately calorie-dense meal. Adjusting the amount of cheese and dressing can help manage the calorie content.


This dish is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the tortilla strips and the small amount of sugar in the teriyaki sauce. Each serving contains approximately 15-20 grams of carbohydrates, making it a suitable option for those following a low-carb diet.


The fats in this recipe come mainly from the cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream used in the Mexi-Ranch dressing. Each serving contains about 20-25 grams of fat, with a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. Opting for low-fat versions of the mayonnaise and sour cream can help reduce the fat content.


Chicken breast fillets are an excellent source of lean protein. Each serving of Tequila Lime Chicken provides approximately 30-35 grams of protein, making it a great option for muscle repair and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C from the lime juice, calcium from the cheese, and various B vitamins from the chicken. The fresh ingredients like tomato and onion in the Mexi-Ranch dressing also contribute additional nutrients.


Common allergens in this recipe include dairy (cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream) and gluten (teriyaki sauce, tortilla strips). Individuals with allergies should modify the recipe accordingly or ensure that gluten-free options are used.


Overall, Tequila Lime Chicken is a balanced dish that offers a good mix of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It can be easily modified to suit various dietary needs and preferences.


Appleby's Tequila Lime Chicken is a delightful dish that combines the tangy flavors of lime and tequila with the richness of cheese and the spiciness of Mexi-Ranch dressing. It's a versatile recipe that can be adjusted to suit various dietary needs and preferences, making it a perfect meal for any occasion. With its blend of flavors and textures, it's sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the sense of wonder I felt when I first saw this recipe for Applebee's Tequila Lime Chicken. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, a unique blend of flavors and ingredients that intrigued me from the start. I knew I had to learn how to make it for myself, so I set out on a culinary journey to uncover the secrets behind this delicious dish.

The story of how I learned to make Applebee's Tequila Lime Chicken starts with a chance encounter at my local farmer's market. I was browsing through the stalls, admiring the fresh produce and homemade goods, when I stumbled upon a stand run by a mysterious woman with a twinkle in her eye. She had a basket full of limes and a bottle of tequila, and as she sliced the fruit with practiced precision, I knew I had found the key to unlocking the recipe I had been searching for.

I struck up a conversation with the woman, who introduced herself as Maria. She told me that she had learned how to make Applebee's Tequila Lime Chicken from her grandmother, who had passed down the recipe through the generations. Maria had put her own twist on the dish, adding her own special touch to make it truly her own. She offered to teach me how to make it, and I eagerly accepted her invitation.

We spent the day together in Maria's kitchen, chopping and marinating, grilling and sautéing. She showed me the proper way to prepare the chicken, the secret to getting that perfect char on the outside while keeping the meat juicy and tender on the inside. She taught me how to make the tequila lime marinade, a tangy and flavorful concoction that would elevate the dish to new heights.

As we cooked, Maria shared stories of her grandmother and the traditions she had passed down. She told me how the recipe had been a staple in their family for years, a dish that had brought them together around the table time and time again. I could feel the love and care that had gone into creating this recipe, and I knew that I was privileged to be learning it from someone who held it so dear.

By the end of the day, the kitchen was filled with the mouthwatering aroma of grilled chicken and zesty lime. Maria plated up the dish, garnishing it with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. I took my first bite, savoring the explosion of flavors on my tongue. The chicken was tender and juicy, with a subtle hint of tequila and a bright citrus kick. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted before, a perfect balance of sweet and savory, tangy and spicy.

I thanked Maria profusely for sharing her recipe with me, promising to carry on the tradition in my own kitchen. She smiled and hugged me, telling me that she was happy to pass on the knowledge to someone who appreciated it as much as I did. I left her house that day with a full belly and a heart full of gratitude, knowing that I had found a new favorite recipe that would become a staple in my own family for years to come.

And so, that is the story of how I learned to make Applebee's Tequila Lime Chicken. It is a recipe that holds a special place in my heart, a reminder of the day I spent with Maria in her kitchen, learning the secrets of a dish that had been cherished for generations. I will always be grateful for the chance encounter that brought me to that farmer's market stall, and the friendship that blossomed from a shared love of cooking and good food.


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