Southwest Chicken is a delicious rice dish with a variety of veggies, spices, and cheese. The juicy chicken soaks up the lime juice, broth, and salsa to give it great flavor.
You can have this southwest chicken skillet meal on the table in less than 30 minutes and serve with whatever toppings your family enjoys. Don’t forget the dessert! A nice fresh bowl of fruit salad or cheesecake would be perfect.
This is one of those one-pan meals that the whole family will love, and it is so easy, you will enjoy it too. It is really very healthy with the vegetables and lean meat.
The chicken and beans give you about half of your daily value of protein and there are only 220 calories, 11 carbs, and 8 grams of fat.
If you like easy chicken dinners, try this spicy Chinese chicken, that is made with Szechuan peppers! So much better than take out!!
These are the simple ingredients in this southwestern chicken recipe. For exact measurements and details, scroll down to our handy recipe card.
- Chicken breasts: the recipe is written for raw chicken. However, you can use leftover chicken if you would like. Just coat it in half the seasoning mixture and add it at the end.
- Olive oil: You will want to use some of the oil to cook the chicken and the rest for the veggies, so don’t add it all at once.
- Red bell pepper: Adding different colors of peppers makes the dish more fun. However, you can use whatever you have.
- Yellow bell pepper
- Green bell pepper
- Chicken broth: Use broth or chicken stock, whatever you have on hand.
- White rice: Rinsed and uncooked.
- Drained canned corn: You can also use defrosted frozen or fresh.
- Drained canned black beans
- Lime juice
- Shredded cheese: Mexican shredded cheese is best.
- Cilantro: Fresh cilantro, chopped.
- Spices: We used garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika.
- Jalapeno: Chopped. You can use a can of chopped green chiles if you want a milder flavor.
- Onion: Diced small red onion diced.
- Garlic: Minced garlic cloves.
- Salsa: Store-bought or homemade will both work.
How to Make Southwest Chicken From Scratch?
Mix the spices: First, combine all the spices in a small bowl.
Cook the chicken: Next, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet before adding chopped chicken.
Add some of the spices: Immediately, add in half of the spice mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until it is starting to brown.
Cook the peppers: After, remove the chicken and add the rest of the oil to the pan with the diced peppers and onion. Cook for three to five minutes or until they are slightly soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute until the garlic is fragrant.
Cook the rice: Then, add remaining spice mixture, rice, chicken broth, and salsa to the pan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. All the liquid should be absorbed, and the rice should be cooked through.
Finish up: Last, stir in the chicken, lime juice, beans, and corn. Top with cheese and cover for about one minute until it melts.
Serve: Finally, add cilantro and serve this dish your favorite way.
- Other cheese: Feel free to add to or substitute the shredded cheese with your favorite. Shredded cheddar cheese would be delicious with this recipe.
- Different chicken: Similarly, you could also use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
- Less spicy: For a little less spiciness, replace the jalapeno with other green chiles like poblano or Anaheim chiles.
- Spicier: Alternatively, if you want more heat, add chipotle peppers or red pepper flakes.
- Add chives: Add green onions for extra flavor.
- Sweet corn: You can use sweet corn if you like.
- Taco seasoning: You can also use taco seasoning instead of the fresh herbs to cut down on prep time.
How to Serve:
Serve this delicious southwest chicken bake with tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream or try one of these delicious meal ideas:
- Instead of tortilla chips, use tortilla strips for a different way to eat this dish.
- Toss it with a bunch of romaine lettuce to make a southwest chicken salad, or serve with cowboy salad for an extra special meal.
- You can also use pasta instead of the rice.
- Add some diced tomatoes and an extra cup of broth to make southwest chicken soup.
- This is a good recipe for burrito bowls.
- Another way you can use this dish is for chipotle chicken tacos.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different rice with this recipe?
Although we used white rice, you can use whatever you prefer. In fact, long grain brown rice would be delicious for this recipe. Or you can use jasmine rice, basmati rice, long grain white rice, or whichever your family likes best.
Can I make this in a slow cooker?
Yes, this crockpot southwest chicken recipe is easy to do, and you can let it cook all day while you go ahead with whatever you are doing. Just toss everything but the cheese together with the spice mixture in the cooker and stir it up to mix thoroughly. Set your cooker for four hours on high or six hours on low. After, add the shredded cheese and let it melt for a few minutes before serving.
Does this work in an instant pot?
You can also cook this southwestern chicken dish in your instant pot. Add everything but the cheese and stir it up well. Make sure the chicken is submerged in the water and the spices are combined well. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 24 minutes. Then let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before letting the rest of the pressure out. Add the cheese and let it melt before you serve.
How to Store Leftovers:
- Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for about four days.
- Freeze: If you cannot finish it in a few days, put it in a freezer safe container or freezer bag in your freezer for up to two months.
- Defrost: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheat: Reheat in the microwave for one minute.
- Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is 160 degrees F with a meat thermometer.
- Put in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm until you are ready to serve.
- For less meal prep time, use pre-chopped peppers and onion from your grocer’s freezer.
- Save even more time by using a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
- Feel free to use fresh or frozen corn instead of canned.
- Use freshly made Pico de Gallo instead of salsa for a chunkier texture.
More Great Skillet Meal Recipes:
One pan BBQ pulled pork and rice skillet dinner is full of flavor and texture. It will have everyone coming back for a little more and leave you with very few dishes too!
One pan taco rice skillet is a quick and easy way to get dinner on the table. It has maximum flavor with minimal dirty dishes!
Get the flavor of cabbage rolls without the work! Un-stuffed cabbage casserole is a quick and easy one pan dinner that makes cabbage roll goodness possible on a weeknight.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card below!
Southwest Chicken and Rice Skillet Meal
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 lbs. chicken cubed chicken breast
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow Bell Pepper
- 1 green Bell Pepper
- 1 jalapeno chopped
- 1 small red onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 16 oz salsa
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup white rice uncooked and rinsed
- 6 oz canned corn drained
- 6 oz canned black beans drained
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1½ cups shredded Mexican cheese
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- Mix all the spices together in a bowl.
- Place a large skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat add 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Once the oil is hot add the chicken, and sprinkle with ½ of the seasoning mixture. Cook stirring, until the chicken is starting to brown and is cooked. Once browned remove and set aside.
- Add remaining oil to the pan, and add the diced peppers and onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until just softened, then add the garlic and cook for another 20 seconds.
- Next, add salsa, chicken broth, rice, and the remaining spice mixture, stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil then cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Once all the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through, remove from heat. Stir in the chicken, corn, beans, and lime juice.
- Top with cheese, cover with a lid and let the cheese melt.
- Add cilantro and serve.