Cheesy baked salsa chicken will become a new weeknight favorite! With just a few simple ingredients, you won't believe how delicious baked chicken with salsa can be when you follow our tips and tricks for this WHOLE LOTTA YUM dinner dish!
Baked Chicken with Salsa
Making chicken salsa bake by following all of our tips and tricks truly makes the difference between a good recipe and a great recipe! I remember first trying baked chicken with salsa years ago that just had you put all ingredients in a baking pan and put it straight into the oven. And it was really good!
Yet it wasn't until I learned from America's Test Kitchen (I'm a cooking theory nerd and love to understand the science behind cooking), that the BEST way to bake chicken is to actually sear it first on the stovetop and THEN transfer the dish to the oven to finish cooking.
Why you might be asking?
Searing adds depth of flavor, it locks in juices, and frankly, gives the chicken a better texture.
Can you skip this step? Definitely! But if you are able to sear first and then bake, trust me, the baked chicken salsa will turn melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
And, since our baked salsa chicken already has three out of the four food groups right in the pan, you only need one or two quick sides to have a complete meal! We love serving a mix of steamed broccoli, roasted broccoli, cauliflower rice, Spanish rice, a simple salad, or refried beans with our baked salsa chicken.
Why You'll Love This!
- By starting with a nice sear on the chicken before we bake it, we are able to make your cheesy baked salsa chicken crispy and more flavorful!
- Our baked chicken with salsa has only a few simple ingredients and this recipe is as easy as a dump and bake!
- Using a single cast-iron skillet for both searing and baking, this baked chicken & salsa is a one-pan dinner.
- Perfect for those with dietary restrictions, chicken baked salsa is gluten-free, low-carb, and keto-friendly.
If you love baked chicken dinners, then you'll want to also try our green chili chicken bake, chicken divan casserole, chicken fajita bake, and chili verde chicken casserole as well!
On Keto? Grab our FREE keto foods list here OR Snag our Keto Binder HERE
One of the best parts of this recipe is that baked salsa chicken just uses a few common ingredients you might already have in your fridge and pantry!
- chicken breasts - cut into 4 pieces
- cooking oil
- salsa - mild or medium
- taco seasoning (carb-free taco seasoning or one taco seasoning packet)
- Colby Jack cheese - shredded
- optional garnish - cilantro
- Salsa - Use green salsa, tomatillo, or mango salsa instead of red salsa.
- Colby Jack cheese - Substitute different kinds of cheese like a 3 cheese blend, Mexican cheese blend, or cheddar.
While the cheesy baked salsa chicken is designed to be gluten-free, low-carb, and keto, be mindful of the items you select. Packaged taco seasoning will often have hidden sugars, and salsa can as well. When in doubt, make your own or read the labels closely.
As for cheese, we always recommend buying a block of cheese and grating it yourself. Packaged shredded cheese is often coated in a potato starch to prevent sticking and clumping. While it does a good job, it also adds hidden carbs that can hijack your healthy lifestyle.
Step by Step Instructions
Your baked salsa chicken is a super simple dinner that is bursting with flavor! We are going to start with a quick sear on the stovetop before we season and allow the dish to finish in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 375F at make sure the oven rack is in the middle position.
Prep the chicken by cutting the breasts into 4 6-oz pieces, if needed. Breasts come in a wide range of sizes at the grocery store so going off of weight is best. If the chicken breasts are slightly larger than 6 oz, that's totally fine, it might just mean adding a few minutes to the cooking time.
Dry the chicken breasts with paper towels, which helps get the outside of the chicken extra crispy.
Preheat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Sear the chicken breast pieces 5-minutes on each side, until brown and crisp.
If you have a cast-iron skillet you can just make this a one-pan dish and add the remaining ingredients, and then put the entire dish in the oven to finish cooking.
Recipe Note: If you don't have a cast iron skillet, it's totally fine to brown the chicken in any skillet you have and then transfer it to a 9x13 baking dish! Be sure to scrape up all delicious bits and oil in the pan if you make it this way.
Sprinkle the taco seasoning packet over the chicken. It's perfectly fine to let the taco seasoning get in the pan itself because mixed with the cooking juices, salsa, and cheesy goodness, it adds extra flavor to the pan sauce.
Pour the chunky salsa over the top.
Sprinkle the shredded Colby Jack cheese over the chicken.
Bake for 17-20 minutes in the oven, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160F.
To get the cheese extra crispy, as an optional step, broil the chicken for 1-2 minutes.
Let the chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.
Garnish with cilantro and sour cream if desired.
- You can skip the sear and just bake this dish for an extra 10 minutes in the oven.
- If you don't have a cast iron skillet, bake the chicken in any skillet and then transfer it to a baking dish.
- Use green salsa, tomatillo, or mango salsa instead of red.
- For best results, don't use finely shredded cheese--it'll overcook and turn crunchy before the chicken cooks. It always works best to shred your own cheese since pre-shredded cheese adds potato starch which can cause clumping and prevent the cheese from melting as well.
- Substitute different kinds of cheese like a 3 cheese blend, Mexican cheese blend, or cheddar.
- To get the meat the same thickness, having a kitchen meat mallet is handy. While it's ok if some breasts are slightly larger than the others, having them the same thickness will help to make sure they still cook evenly.
- Serve with brown rice and steamed broccoli for an extra healthy meal.
- Bake tender vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, or small broccoli pieces right in the pan.
You can store any leftover chicken & salsa in the fridge in a covered container for up to 4 days.
Depending on your dietary preferences you can serve your baked salsa chicken with a variety of sides including steamed broccoli, cauliflower rice, or a simple salad. You can also add vegetables right into the pan (see recipe tips above) to keep this a one-dish dinner.
Yes, you can freeze your salsa chicken bake for up to 3 months.
To keep this baked salsa chicken dish as low in carbs as possible you'll definitely want to read the labels for the ingredients you're buying to make sure there's no added sugar or hidden carbs. We recommend that you buy salsa without sugar, make your own taco seasoning to have on hand for Mexican dishes, and shred your own cheese since pre-shredded cheese adds starchy carbs.
More baked chicken recipes:
Come connect with us on Instagram! Be sure to tag us (wholelotta.yum) when you make a recipe. You can also find us on Facebook, and Pinterest.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!
And be sure to pin the recipe for later on Pinterest so you can easily get back to it!
V V V
We'd Love to Hear From You!
Have questions or feedback? Please ask questions or post feedback on the post comments.
Tap That Recipe Review Star! Be sure to leave a review after you make the baked salsa chicken recipe or just tap the star rating you'd give the recipe!
Show Us Those Photos! Be sure to upload your baked chicken with salsa recipe photos on the Pinterest pin and/or tag us on Instagram at @wholelotta.yum! We LOVE featuring reader recipes!
Alice Rogers says
Have missed you girls and your wonderful recipes. Hope all is well
during this closed down time. I am 87 years old but still enjoy cooking
healthy food for my husband and myself. Have tried many of your suggestions. I do not do social media so will continue to watch for you on my email. Just an FYI, I could not get the Cheesy Baked Salsa Chicken to print so wrote it out by hand.