Southwestern Chicken Skillet

4.77 from 13 votes
45 minutes
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Here’s an easy family dinner sure to put a smile on everyone’s face! Made with simple ingredients you may already have on hand, saucy and cheesy Southwestern Chicken Skillet can be on the table in about 45 minutes! All you need is some seasoned cauliflower rice on the side!

Southwestern Chicken Skillet garnished with jalapeno and cilantro.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper:

Raise your hand if you’re always on the lookout for new, delicious chicken recipes–especially an easy chicken skillet recipe! Same here–and this has become one of our favorites!

Boneless skinless chicken breast halves are seasoned with taco seasoning, seared then nestled in saucy vegetables and black beans then topped with cheese for a flavor-filled medley you’ll want to put on repeat!

This Southwestern Chicken Skillet recipe:

  • Is easy with minimal prep.
  • Has ingredients available in any grocery store or that you may already have in your pantry.
  • Can be ready in about 45 minutes.
  • Is freezer-friendly!

Let’s make it!

How to Make Southwestern Chicken Skillet:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe along with how to prep. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Southwestern Chicken Skillet in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breast halves, but boneless skinless chicken thighs (which are super budget-friendly) can also be used.
  • Taco Seasoning: I used regular store-bought taco seasoning, but any Southwestern spice blend can be used. You can also blend your own with chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander and Mexican oregano.
  • Enchilada Sauce: If you prefer to make your own enchilada sauce, here’s a great recipe from The Kitchen Girl.
  • Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles: Usually sold under the brand name Ro-Tel.
  • Canned Black Beans: Be sure to drain and rinse thoroughly as the liquid the beans are canned in can be quite salty.
  • Corn: Use frozen thawed corn or canned.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Generously season the chicken with salt, pepper and some of the taco seasoning.
Four uncooked chicken breasts on white plastic cutting board sprinkled with taco seasoning.
  • Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat.
  • Place the seasoned chicken in the preheated skillet and brown well on the first side, approximately 4-5 minutes.
  • Flip the chicken and cook 3-4 minutes on the other side, adjusting the heat as necessary so the spice blend doesn’t burn. Transfer the chicken to a plate. (The chicken will not be completely cooked.)
Four cooked chicken breasts in skillet.
  • Refresh the oil if needed and add the onion to the skillet. Cook the onion over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until it begins to soften.
  • Add the bell peppers and garlic and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the remaining taco seasoning, the enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes with green chiles.
  • Bring that up to a simmer and add the chicken back into the skillet.
  • Cover with the lid slightly ajar, reduce heat to low and simmer, turning once, until the chicken is completely cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the center.
  • Add the drained, rinsed beans and the corn and simmer a few more minutes to heat through.
Four cooked chicken breasts with other ingredients in skillet.
  • Top with cheese then place the lid back on to melt the cheese.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro…
  • …top with fresh jalapeno slices if desired and DINNER IS DONE! Southwestern Chicken Skillet for the family dinner win!
Southwestern Chicken Skillet in the skillet with serving utensils garnished with jalapeno slices and cilantro.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • When you can grab chicken breasts on sale and can stock up:
    • Take some time to trim them all and place flat in quart-sized bags with two breast halves per bag.
    • Label the bag with the date and freeze for 3-4 months.
    • I like to place a few of the bags in a gallon-sized bag so they’re easier to access in the freezer and they can’t get lost.
    • Freezing chicken breasts in small, divided quantities that are flat will make them much easier to defrost.
  • To speed up cooking, cut the chicken breasts (or thighs) into cubes.
  • For a nice presentation, always sear the top (or the best side) of any protein first.
Southwestern Chicken Skillet in the skillet garnished with jalapeno slices and cilantro.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I add rice to Southwestern Skillet Chicken?

Yes, you absolutely can but you’ll want to add additional liquid in the form of water or chicken broth if the rice needs to be cooked. The quantity of liquid will depend on how much rice you use. The ratio is typically two parts liquid to one part rice.

How do I add orzo to a skillet chicken recipe?

To add orzo, use the 2:1 ratio outlined above.

Can I freeze Southwestern Skillet Chicken?

Yes, this recipe freezes very well. Cook to the safe internal temperature of 165 degrees in the center, cool thoroughly then place in an airtight container or baking dish with a secure cover. Freeze for 1-2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees.

Serve with:

More family-friendly, tasty Southwestern-inspired chicken recipes:

Get all my chicken recipes here! Chicken and Turkey Recipes – From A Chef’s Kitchen, and don’t miss this collection of all my Mexican-Inspired Recipes!

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Finished Southwestern Chicken Skillet on wood trivet.

Southwestern Chicken Skillet

4.77 from 13 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Here's an easy family dinner sure to put a smile on everyone's face! Made with simple ingredients you may already have on hand, saucy and cheesy Southwestern Skillet Chicken can be on the table in about 45 minutes! All you need is some seasoned cauliflower rice on the side!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Southwestern / Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 347 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves - or boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 heaping tablespoon taco seasoning
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small onion - chopped
  • 3 medium bell peppers - orange, red, yellow or a combination
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 can (10-ounce) red enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (10-ounce) diced tomatoes with green chiles - undrained
  • 1 can (15-ounce) black beans - drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn - thawed
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 jalapeno pepper - sliced

Instructions
 

  • Generously season the chicken breasts with taco seasoning and salt and black pepper.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saute pan.
  • Place the chicken in the skillet and brown well on the first side, approximately 4-5 minutes. Flip the chicken and brown on the second side for approximately 3-4 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so the spices don't burn. Transfer to a plate.
  • Refresh the oil if necessary. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add the bell peppers and garlic and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes or until the bell peppers are softened.
  • Add any remaining taco seasoning, the enchilada sauce and the diced tomatoes with green chiles. Bring to a simmer.
  • Cover with the lid slightly ajar, reduce heat to low and simmer, turning once, until the chicken is completely cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the center.
  • Add the drained and rinsed black beans and corn and cook briefly just to heat through.
  • Top with cheese and place the lid back on briefly just to melt the cheese.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro and top with fresh jalapeno slices if desired.

Notes

FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Cook to the safe internal temperature of 165 degrees in the center, cool thoroughly then place in an airtight container or baking dish with a secure cover. Freeze for 1-2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 378mg | Potassium: 801mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3058IU | Vitamin C: 125mg | Calcium: 346mg | Iron: 1mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this last night and can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch!! Delicious, and easy to make. The only thing I changed was that I used Chicken Breast Tenders (because that’s what I had) they worked perfectly, just shortened the time of the browning stage. Will be repeating this great recipe soon! Thanx Carol for another delicious inspiration!

    1. Hi, Jim, Thanks so very much and so happy you enjoyed!! You can definitely change out the chicken pieces. I did this for a personal chef client and cut the breasts into small pieces. Thighs will also work. Thanks again! Your feedback and support means so much!