Plank-Roasted Cilantro Chicken Recipe

Tired of sitting down to the same old baked chicken every week? Baking chicken may be an easy way to prepare the protein, but that doesn't mean you have to settle for a repeat of the marinade you used last week (and the week before that...). "Chicken is such a great palette for all kinds of flavors," Kara Barrett says, who developed this flavorful recipe for smoky, savory, tangy plank-roasted cilantro chicken. "Zesty lime complements the herbaceous cilantro, and combined with chicken, make this a bright-tasting and flavorful dish."

This recipe is named plank-roasted chicken because it's quite literally baked on a piece of wood. "Plank cooking in the oven is the unique method to this dish. It imparts a subtle smoky flavor that complements the lime and cilantro," Barrett explains. Don't be intimidated — this is a relatively straightforward dish to make, especially if you cook chicken breast often. Barrett also offers these words of advice to home cooks: "The trick is to make sure you get the salt right. Always season along the way and taste for seasoning before serving."

Get your plank-roasted cilantro chicken ingredients together

This recipe only requires 6 ingredients, and one of them is salt. The others? Limes, crème fraîche, a cedar cooking plank, and, of course, cilantro and chicken breasts; Barrett uses thinly sliced chicken and notes that regular chicken breasts should be sliced in half unless you'd like to cook them for longer. (You may also need a spray bottle of water for the baking process.) If you can't track down crème fraîche, Barrett says plain yogurt or sour cream could be used instead "with great success." And if you'd like to make any part of this recipe ahead, you can even marinate the chicken in the crème fraîche mixture overnight, which Barrett says will "develop intense flavor." 

Soak the wooden plank

First of all, if you've only used wood in the context of grilling, know that cedar planks are safe to use in the oven. However, you will need to do some light prep to get it ready, specifically submerging your wooden plank completely in water for at least 30 minutes or, even better, for an hour. This is important because, as Barrett wisely states, "You don't want it to catch fire." She goes on to explain that "the heat creates the steam that helps infuse the flavor of the plank into your food. Only use real cooking planks, not just random wood. That's not safe. Also, your kitchen will smell wonderful after cooking with these." Next up, preheat the oven to 450 F.

Marinate the chicken and make the sauce

While your plank soaks, zest your limes and mix the zest with the crème fraîche and salt. Coat your chicken pieces in that mixture and let them sit in a covered container or plastic bag for at least half an hour. Then, cut up the cilantro — you can set some extra leaves aside for garnish, but don't toss the cilantro stems, as they're perfectly good to use here — and mix it with lime juice and some salt to taste. While your chicken is marinating, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake, broil, and serve your cilantro roasted chicken

Once your oven is preheated, your wooden plank is soaked, and your chicken is marinated, turn your oven down to 400 F and put a sheet pan on the bottom rack in case the chicken drips. Place your pieces of meat on the wood plank and put it right in the oven. Keep an eye on it and spritz it with a little water if you notice any flames coming off it. Once it's baked, broil it for a bit, then take it out and let the meat rest. Then it's time to pour on the cilantro-lime mixture, garnish with more cilantro, and enjoy! "I think roasted corn or any roasted veggies would pair well with this dish," Barrett says, but feel free to enjoy your plank-roasted cilantro chicken with whatever you think will be tastiest!

Plank-Roasted Cilantro Chicken Recipe
5 from 46 ratings
This chicken is anything but ordinary, infused with the flavors of a cedar roasting plank and lots of cilantro and lime.
Prep Time
Cook Time
wood roasted cilantro chicken
Total time: 45 minutes
  • 1 wooden cedar cooking plank
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 thin-cut pieces of chicken breast
  • ½ bunch cilantro, stems removed, roughly chopped (plus more for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Soak the wooden cooking plank in water, covering it with something heavy so it stays fully submerged, for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the crème fraîche, lime zest, and salt to taste.
  4. Add the chicken to the crème fraîche mixture and coat well. Cover and leave to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator. (If making ahead of time, remove the chicken from the fridge to bring it to room temperature before cooking.)
  5. In a small bowl, combine the cilantro and lime juice with a large pinch of salt. Whisk together, taste for seasoning, and set aside.
  6. Add the marinated chicken directly on top of the cooking plank. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 F and bake for 8 minutes on the middle rack, with a sheet pan placed underneath to catch any drippings. Watch closely and spray the plank with water if any flames appear.
  7. Broil for an additional 6-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken and your desired doneness. Continue to watch the plank closely for flames.
  8. Remove the plank from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle with cilantro lime sauce, garnish with additional fresh cilantro, and serve.
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