Applebee's Tequila Lime Chicken in Creamy Southwest Sauce

Applebee's Tequila Lime Chicken in Creamy Southwest Sauce

22 reviews, 4.6 star(s). 91% would make again

Ready in 1 hour 15 minutes

One of Applebee's top-selling signature dishes, this tasty dish combines the tangy flavor of the tequila lime marinade with creamy southwestern-style dressing, and tops it all off with a melted cheese blend.


1/2 cup tequila
Juice of 4 limes
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 bone-in skin-off chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves; finely chopped
1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
1/4 cup salsa
.5 cup shredded reduced fat monterey jack cheese
2 cups tortilla strips

Original recipe makes 4 Servings



In a large bowl, combine the tequila, lime juice, hot sauce and vegetable or canola oil. Add the chicken to the mixture and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up 4 hours. (See Notes)

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400F or grill to medium.

Shake the excess marinade off the meat and season the pieces with salt and pepper. Grill or roast the meat until cooked through, about 40 minutes in the oven or 8 minutes per side on the grill.

While the meat is cooking, stir together the cilantro, dressing and salsa in a medium-size bowl.

Arrange cooked chicken in a 9"x13" inch baking dish. Spread a layer of Salsa-Ranch dressing over each piece of chicken, followed by 1/4 cup of cheese blend. Broil in preheated oven for 2 to 3 minutes, or just until cheese has melted.

Spread a bed of about 1/2 cup crumbled corn chips on each of 4 plates. Slide a chicken breast onto the chips on each plate and serve.


Try it with shrimp for a different flavor!

Be sure you don’t marinate the chicken longer than the 3 to 4 hours, or the citric acid in the lime juice may toughen the chicken. The bed of crispy corn tortilla strips can be easily cloned with the crumbled store-bought corn chips, but if you want strips like those served at the restaurant, just follow the instructions below. Serve this dish with your choice of rice (Spanish rice is recommended), along with some pico de gallo (you can find a recipe here) or salsa on the side.

Make your own tortilla strips:

Cut a stack of eight 6-inch corn tortillas in half. Stack the halves on top of each other and slice the tortillas into thin strips. Fry the tortilla strips in 2 cups of oil preheated in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes or until crispy. Salt lightly and cool on paper towels to drain.

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With Guitarmom's Chipotle's Cilantro Lime Rice

Drumsticks! [click to zoooom]

Superb dish served with Cilantro Rice, Corn Salsa and added Shrimp!

Calories Per Serving: 413 Get detailed nutrition information, including line-by-line nutrition insights?  Try BigOven Pro for Free for 14 days!

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Recipe Links

Arroz Verde (Green Rice or Cilantro Rice)

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"This recipe is inspired by Diana Kennedy's recipe. It goes well with just about everything!" — Firebyrd Firebyrd

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WOW I'm so amazed this has skyrocketed to a favorite of so many! It's a staple at my house, so glad so many of you enjoyed this versatile dish! Thank you for all the compliments and remember, if you don't like the tangyness of tequila & lime, your palate just might not be up for the flavors offered here!
Firebyrd 1y ago

I've tried a couple of other copy cat recipes that I liked better. This one is quick to make, but was a little tangy for me.
drewdavies05 1y ago

Very good! I've never had Applebee's so I can't compare the copy cat part.
Jldozer 2y ago

Awesome, awesome dish! Full of flavor! I have made this several times now and we love it. I made with Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice and homemade corn salsa. I also added some shrimp to the marinade and cooked them along with the chicken (just not as long). Was superb!
1horse4me 2y ago

This was very easy and was so delicious. Will definitely make this again. Thank you
Badboyzgirl 3y ago

This was extremely good, the entire family ate it all up, even the kids who can be pretty picky! Very simple to make and I was delighted with the lovely flavor it delivered. This will be a repeater!
MauraSpeckt 3y ago

Made last night, pretty good though I added garlic because it was strange to me there was none.
Dragop21 3y ago

Delicious! My husband always orders this whenever we went out, and this has his deepest approval-he enjoyed 2 helpings! The flavorful spiced sauce went really well with the rice you have pictured. Thanks for sharing!
larkinglesby 3y ago

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