This healthy baked salsa chicken recipe is a delicious and complete meal, made in just one dish with almost no prep work! It’s incredibly easy to make, with only a few simple ingredients from the fridge and pantry! As an added bonus, it’s Gluten Free friendly.
Why We Love It
The name of the dinner game? Easy! Life never seems to slow down anymore, so simplified recipes are sometimes the only way I can get my family fed every night.
It’s also why this Salsa Baked Chicken is the MVP of busy weeknights. This a dump and start recipe, meaning all you need to do is assemble (or dump!) all the ingredients in the baking dish, then set it in the oven to cook. Beyond that, there’s absolutely no prep work or extra dishes required.
And maybe it’s just me, but it’s really satisfying when you can take a few simple ingredients and throw together a fabulous dinner with only minutes of hands-on time. Just grab your ingredients, and this chicken & rice dinner all comes together in about 45 minutes total.
Because you can actually cook your main protein, the chicken AND your side dish, the rice, at the same time in the same dish! The rice and beans cook together, using flavorful broth and salsa as the liquid, right underneath the chicken. Then you just smother the chicken in a little extra salsa and cheese, and voilà! Dinner is done!
But best of all, salsa chicken can be easily customized to your tastes and dietary restrictions. So if you like things spicy, use a hot salsa. If you prefer no heat, choose a mild salsa or a salsa verde. If you’re avoiding dairy, omit the cheese. And if you’re Gluten Free, check the label on every ingredient for Gluten Free certification, and you’ll be good to go!
You can also add extra veggies (I like to toss a cup of frozen bell peppers or frozen corn into the rice), or bake it up and enjoy it exactly the way it is. It’s all your call!
- Chicken Breasts. For extra flavorful and tender chicken, use my Fajita marinated chicken breasts.
- White Rice.
- Chicken or Vegetable Broth.
- Black Beans.
- Salsa. Choose any sugar free salsa, however spicy you like it.
- Cheese. Use either queso fresco, shredded white cheddar, or a Mexican blend of cheeses (pictured!).
- Taco Seasoning. You can use homemade taco seasoning or your favorite store-bought mix.
- Olive Oil
The great thing about this recipe is it’s SUPER customizable! Add extra vegetables by tossing a cup of diced onions, fresh or frozen diced bell peppers, carrots, corn, or kidney beans into the rice mixture.
Step by Step Instructions
- While the oven preheats, add your oil, rinsed rice, beans, broth, and half of the salsa to your baking dish. If you’re adding any extra veggies, this is the time to do it! Give the rice mixture a quick stir, then lay the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle with the taco seasoning. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and very carefully peel back the foil. Pour the remaining salsa on top of the chicken, then top with the cheese. Cover the baking dish again and set the baking dish back in the oven.
👉 Important! Always use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken breasts has reached 165°F (74°C), per USDA!
The beautiful thing about this dish is that the chicken will be cooked through and the rice should be perfectly tender right around the time the cheese gets good and melty. Is melty a word? It should be! All that’s left to do is sprinkle with a little cilantro and dig in!
- Storing leftovers: Transfer your leftovers to an airtight container or zip top bag. Store in the refrigerator and eat within 3-4 days.
Making this recipe? I’d love to hear about your experience.
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Baked Salsa Chicken and Rice
- 2 lbs. chicken breasts
- 1.5 cups rice
- 1 cup salsa divided
- 2.25 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 15 ounces black beans about 1.5 cups, rinsed and drained
- 1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 cup shredded cheese of choice, I recommend cojita, cheddar, or Mexican blend
- 1 Tablespoon minced cilantro
- 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Pound the chicken breasts to a uniform thickness. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer under cold water, until the water runs clear. Open the can of beans and rinse well.
- Add the oil, rice, beans, broth, and half of the salsa to a shallow baking dish. Stir to combine. Lay the chicken breasts on top of the rice mixture, and sprinkle with the taco seasoning.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and set in the oven to cook for 35 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and carefully peel back the foil. Pour the remaining half of the salsa on top of the chicken, then top with the cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and set back in the oven to cook for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and carefully peel back the foil. Test the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165°F (74°C).
- Sprinkle the chicken with cilantro. Remove the chicken breasts and use a fork to gently fluff the rice. Serve immediately.
- If you have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten, be sure to check every ingredient for official Gluten Free certification!