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Fiesta Lime Chicken

Fiesta Lime Chicken – A copycat Applebee’s Fiesta Lime Chicken that is topped with a Mexican ranch sauce, melted cheese and fresh pico de gallo.  

I have ordered this Fiesta Lime Chicken at Applebee’s more times than I can count. Years ago it was called Tequila Lime Chicken and that is when I first fell in love with it.  Now I love making it at home any night of the week.  

Copycat recipes are one of my favorite things to make.  This Panera Macaroni and Cheese is a staple for quick and easy dinners.  There is just something about getting to make restaurant favorites at home!

Applesbee's Fiesta Lime Chicken is topped with mexi-ranch, melted cheese and pico de gallo


Grilled chicken is a staple in the summer.  Grilled Chicken Thighs with a chili sauce that makes them absolutely delicious is on repeat all summer long.  Chicken can be boring, so you need to mix it up and make it special! And the Mexi-Ranch sauce on this chicken is going to become a quick favorite.

Fiesta Lime Chicken Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts
  • Lime Juice
  • Soy Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Garlic
  • Ground Cumin
  • Salt & Black Pepper
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Jalapeno

This fiesta chicken is marinaded in soy sauce, lime juice and other spices for hours so it gets tender and delicious.  Then you top it with a Mexican ranch sauce and melted cheese.  It gets saucy and delicious. The fresh pico takes it over the top make makes it bright, fresh, and great for summer. You can mix up the marinade in the morning before going to work, or even the night before and let it sit overnight and all the next day.

Applebees Fiesta Lime Chicken

How To Make Fiesta Lime Chicken

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for the FULL PRINTABLE recipe card.

I understand the ingredient list looks long, but this is a super simple recipe you will make over and over again!

  1. Combine all of the ingredient for the marinade in a food storage bag. Add the chicken, seal and store in the fridge for 8-24 hours.
  2. Next you can make the Mexican Ranch sauce. This can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Just mix all of the ingredients together until smooth, cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Then you assemble the pico de gallo. This can be done a few hours ahead, or you can take a shortcut and use store bought. Just toss all of those ingredients together and store in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  4. Heat the grill to high heat.
  5. Discard the marinade the chicken was in and place pieces of chicken on the grill. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side until they reach an internal temperature of 160º F.
  6. Once they are mostly cooked, top with a spoonful of the Mexican ranch dressing and sprinkle on the cheese. Cover the grill to melt the cheese.
  7. Remove the chicken and top with the fresh pico to serve.
Copycat Applebee's chicken

Recipe Tips

  • If you are in a hurry or don’t have all of the ingredients, you can make quick shortcut to the Mexi-Ranch by just mixing about equal parts of ranch dressing and salsa together. I have heard from Applebee’s employees that when they run out, they do this sometimes.
  • Homemade Pico de Gallo is listed in the recipe card, but if you wanted a shortcut or tomatoes are not looking very good, you can use your favorite store bought salsa, or even make a Homemade Salsa that uses canned tomatoes.
  • You can make your pico de gallo and Mexi-Ranch sauce ahead of time and store in the fridge. So the day you want to make this, you really just have to cook the chicken. Super easy to meal prep and make the week easy.

Applebee’s chicken is always served with rice and crispy tortilla strips.  I make my favorite Instant Pot Spanish Rice, and buy tortilla strips in the salad aisle to sprinkle over the top.  You have to have all the elements of the restaurant to really enjoy it right?  Right down to the Frozen Strawberry Margarita.

chicken with pico de gallo on a plate with mexican rice

More Copycat Recipes to Try

Yield: 4

Fiesta Lime Chicken

A plate of food on a table, with chicken and Lime

Fiesta Lime Chicken - A copycat Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken that is topped with a Mexican ranch sauce, melted cheese and fresh pico de gallo.  

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Colby Jack Cheese


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbls lime juice
  • 2 Tbls soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Mexican Ranch

  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 Tbls lime juice
  • 2 Tbls cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Pico de Gallo

  • 1 cup tomato, chopped
  • 2 Tbls onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbls lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbls chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped


  1. In a resealable plastic bag combine all of the ingredients for the marinade.
  2. Add chicken and toss to coat. Place in fridge for 8-24 hours.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the Mexican ranch by combining all of the ingredients and mixing until smooth. Store in fridge until ready to use.
  4. To prepare the pico de gallo toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Store in fridge until ready to use.
  5. Preheat grill to high heat.
  6. Place chicken in the grill, discarding the remaining marinade. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side, until the chicken is fully cooked.
  7. Top each piece of chicken with a spoonful of the ranch and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Cover the grill to melt the cheese.
  8. Once the cheese has melted serve topped with pico de gallo.

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Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 408Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 128mgSodium 1050mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 2gSugar 7gProtein 44g

Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on should only be used as a general guideline.

Did you make this recipe?

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Wednesday 9th of August 2023

I saved this recipe a few years ago and finally made it. Omg it was a huge hit with my whole family! The Mexican ranch sauce is SO good! And with the fresh pico on top, fabulous! This Applebees knock-off recipe nails it, and it has always been a favorite of mine to order. Btw, I marinated my chicken for only 3 hours as I’ve read in multiple places that citrus will toughen meat and seafood if marinated too long. Not a criticism of your recipe at all, but just sharing that bit of info. :) Thank you for this wonderful recipe!


Wednesday 20th of July 2022

I worked at Applebee’s for six years and this was my go to entree! I ate so much of it when I was pregnant. This recipe is AMAZING! Any time I crave it and don’t want to pay the $18, I use this recipe. So thank you!

Carla Barnes

Monday 14th of March 2022

VERY DELICIOUS!!! This is my fave dish af Applebees and the first time I made it it was a HUGE HIT!! I no have it cooking right now again for the second time and I can’t wait!! It taste exactly like Applebees!!!!


Sunday 27th of February 2022

I worked at Applebee's for 6 years and I'll say that whenever we ran out of pre packaged mexi-ranch, we just mixed together ranch and salsa and I never had or heard of anyone noticing. So, shortcut.

Selene Schulz

Friday 27th of January 2023

How much of each?


Wednesday 20th of July 2022

I worked there for six years too lol and yes, that was definitely what we did when we ran out too!


Thursday 13th of January 2022

I made this and it was a hit. It seems like a lot when you look at the ingredients but it’s so simple and it’s amazingly delicious!!!

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