This southwest chicken recipe is one of our family favorites. It’s a one pan dish that’s got juicy, tender chicken breasts covered with crisp vegetables, almost like a salad, and cheese to finish it all off.
How to make Southwest Chicken Bake
Simple ingredients and simple instructions are all you need to make this hearty, delicious meal for your family.
Corn – You only need 1 cup and can use frozen or canned, or even fresh if you have access to it.
Black beans – You don’t need a whole can, just about half of one. Add the remaining beans and corn to some jarred salsa and serve with some tortilla chips for a before dinner snack.
Green pepper – Bell peppers are often used in southwest style cooking, and they add some color as well. Remove the membrane and seeds and chop it up.
Tomatoes – I like Roma tomatoes because they aren’t super juicy. Slice and remove the seeds and pulp, then cut into strips and dice.
Diced green chiles – for heat and flavor.
Cilantro – This is one of those take it or leave it ingredients that you either love or hate. You can use parsley instead, but it’s nice to have some fresh herbs.
Southwest Chicken Bake Assembly
Chicken – Two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast is roughly 4 large breasts. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and taco seasoning. You can use a packaged seasoning or make your own homemade Homemade Taco Seasoning. It’s basically the same as a southwest seasoning, but is more readily available.
Assembly – Arrange the chicken breasts in a large casserole dish, 13×9-inches. Spoon the topping (beans, corn, peppers, tomatoes) evenly on top of the chicken. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Cheese – I used Colby-Jack cheese because I didn’t want a sharp cheese flavor, but still something that was nice and melty. Pepper Jack for more heat, or plain Jack for something more mild.
Bake Southwest Chicken uncovered at 375 degrees for about half an hour. If you have a digital meat thermometer on hand, check the internal temp. It should be 165 degrees. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Squeeze a little lime over the top for a burst of freshness.
What to serve with Southwest Chicken
Southwest Chicken Bake has some delicious Tex-Mex style flavor, so it will be complemented by side dishes with the same types of flavors.
You could totally make this southwest chicken bake into a southwest chicken casserole by chopping up the chicken and combining it with some pasta and adding more cheese. Like a southwest mac and cheese.
Make sure to pat and dry the chicken with paper towels before mixing it with the seasonings. Don’t wash it – it’s not necessary and just spreads bacteria around the kitchen.
Temperature testing is important with chicken, especially white meat. Too low and it’s not safe to eat, and too high you have dry, rubbery chicken. You want to get it just right at 165 degrees.
Make ahead, Storage and Reheating
Make ahead – you can prep the chicken with the seasoning about a day in advance, and prep the topping as well, storing it separately.
Storage – Store leftover southwest chicken in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the fridge.
Reheating – Reheat in the individual portions in the microwave, or larger portions in the oven at 350 degrees, covered with foil.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Set out a 13x9-inch baking dish.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine black beans, corn, green chiles, tomato, bell pepper and cilantro. Set aside.
Spray the large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the chicken breasts in the dish and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and rub into both sides. Spread the black bean mixture evenly over the top, and then the cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked (165 degrees F) and the mixture is bubbly.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Additional minced cilantro can be used for garnish.
Make ahead - you can prep the chicken with the seasoning about a day in advance, and prep the topping as well, storing it separately.Storage - Store leftover southwest chicken in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the fridge.Reheating - Reheat in the individual portions in the microwave, or larger portions in the oven at 350 degrees, covered with foil.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.