Cheesy Baked Salsa Chicken Is A Weeknight Win

published Dec 16, 2021
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Salsa Chicken Recipe

For an even tastier salsa chicken, use salsa verde to perfectly season and spice up this weeknight chicken dish.

Serves4 to 6

Prep5 minutes

Cook30 minutes to 45 minutes

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salsa chicken (chicken marinated in salsa baked with melted cheese) in a white ceramic baking dish
Credit: Renae Wilson

Salsa chicken is a spectacular weeknight dinner choice.  The process is mostly hands-off, and with so few ingredients you really can’t go wrong. To make it, season chicken breast with taco seasoning then give it a quick sear on the stovetop. Cover it with salsa and add a hefty amount of cheese, and bake it until the cheese is melty and the chicken is perfectly tender.

As far as salsas go, you can use your favorite store-bought salsa or make your own.  Personally, I like to make mine with salsa verde. No taco seasoning? No problem. You can make your own with chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and dried oregano.

What to Make with Leftover Salsa Chicken

Once it’s cooked, it can be shredded, which makes it easy to enjoy in different meals throughout the week. 

Can You Make Salsa Chicken Ahead of Time?

Reheating leftovers is super easy, so cooking the recipe in its entirety is best. Let the baked salsa chicken cool, then cover and refrigerate.  Reheat, covered in foil, in a 375ºF oven until warmed through, about 20 minutes.

Salsa Chicken Recipe

For an even tastier salsa chicken, use salsa verde to perfectly season and spice up this weeknight chicken dish.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes to 45 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 cups

    chunky salsa or salsa verde, divided

  • 2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 2 tablespoons

    taco seasoning

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons

    neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable

  • 1 cup

    shredded cheese, such as cheddar, Mexican blend, Monterey jack, or pepper jack

  • 4

    medium scallions

  • 1/4 bunch

    fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Arrange an oven rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF. Meanwhile, spread 1/2 cup of the salsa on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish.

  2. Season 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons taco seasoning. If your taco seasoning doesn’t include salt, season chicken with kosher salt. Heat 2 tablespoons neutral oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, about about 2 minutes per side.

  3. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Cover with the remaining 1 1/2 cups salsa. Bake until the chicken is nearly cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, thinly slice 4 medium scallions (about 1/4 cup). Coarsely chop the leaves and tender stems of 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro until you have 1/4 cup.

  4. Let chicken cool for at least 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the scallions and cilantro before serving.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: If you don’t have taco seasoning on hand, season your chicken with 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers chicken in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: Cheesy Baked Salsa Chicken