This Santa Fe Chicken recipe is brimming with favorite flavors of the southwest. Juicy boneless chicken breasts, black beans, tomatoes, corn, spicy Mexican food flavors with melted Monterrey Jack cheese on top. A fast easy dinner (ready in less than 30 minutes) perfect for busy weeknights.
Easy Santa Fe Chicken is a flavorful meal that’s always a crowd pleaser. It will become one of your favorite recipes for a quick meal for weeknight dinner and one to keep in regular rotation! With only 5 minutes of prep time and less then 30 minutes total time, it’s a favorite delicious dinner with bold flavors.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Boneless skinless chicken breasts. Use four chicken breasts each approximately 6 ounces in weight for a total of 1 1/2 pounds. Choose chicken breasts of similar size so they cook evenly in the same amount of time. Larger chicken breasts will require some additional cooking time.
Canned diced tomatoes. You’ll need one 14.5-ounce can. Regular or petit diced tomatoes can be used.
Canned black beans. One 15-ounce can (drained and rinsed) or 1 1/2 cups homemade black beans can be used.
Sweet corn kernels. One cup of fresh, canned or frozen and thawed corn can be used.
Monterey Jack cheese. You’ll use 1 cup. You can shred it yourself or use cheese that has been already shredded for a time saver.
How to make Santa Fe Chicken
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl mix together ½ teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.
STEP 2. Sear chicken
Lightly salt and pepper the chicken and season chicken with the garlic-paprika mix (photo 1).
Heat an oven proof* non-stick large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and heat.
Place chicken in the skillet and cook the chicken breasts until lightly golden, around 3 minutes per side (photos 2). Transfer to a plate and set aside (photo 3).
STEP 3. Cook remaining ingredients
In the same skillet heat the remaining olive oil. Add the chopped red onions and cook until softened and slightly translucent, around 3-4 minutes (photos 4-5).
Add the diced tomato, black beans, corn and the remaining seasonings (photos 6-8): 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder. Stir to combine. Cook 5 additional minutes, stirring periodically as it simmers (photo 9).
Return chicken breasts to the pan and spoon some of the sauce on top of the chicken (photo 10). Remove from heat.
STEP 4. Bake
Add the shredded cheese on top (photo 11) and bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and is bubbly (photo 12). Serve immediately for best result garnished with torn fresh cilantro (optional).
NOTE: if using a skillet that is not oven proof, transfer mixture to a small baking dish that will fit the chicken in a single layer.
Stir in some cream cheese. To give this great recipe some creamy tangy flavor, stir in some cream cheese at the end before serving.
Add red bell peppers. For some more color and flavor add some chopped red pepper when sautéing the onions.
Add toppings. Serving the recipe as made is perfection but you can also add toppings if desired too! Shredded iceberg lettuce, sour cream, green onion, lime wedges to squeeze on some lime juice etc.
Love it super spicy? Add some cayenne pepper or chili powder. Taste it before adding more spices to be sure not to make it overly spicy.
Want some tangy flavor? Stir in some mild green chilies along with the beans, tomatoes and whole kernel corn!
Shred the chicken. The cooked chicken can be shredded for using in tacos, burritos, burrito bowls too! Serve with corn tortillas or flour tortillas. Great for a leftovers option. Shredded chicken could be used on tortilla chips for nachos. Or over a rice mixture (white rice or brown rice).
Santa Fe Chicken Salad. Use the leftover chicken chopped over greens!
Can’t find smaller chicken breasts? The size of boneless chicken breasts can vary widely making 6-ounce breasts difficult to find. If needed you can cut larger breasts into a smaller size. The most important thing is to ensure they are all approximately the same size and thickness so they will cook evenly in the same amount of time.
Start with an ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven if possible. The recipe starts on the stove top and ends in the oven to melt the cheese on top. Plan to start the recipe with a skillet or Dutch oven that can be used in both locations. Or transfer the mixture to a baking dish before adding the cheese and placing in the oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Allow it to cool fully then freeze in an airtight freezer bag or container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. It can be stored in individual portions too.
Sure! Just swap in the same amount.
How to Store
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave before serving. Or use the Variation to shred the chicken to create a tasty mixture to use in lots of recipes (for lunch or dinner recipes) or for meal prepping.
Santa Fe Chicken
- 4 6- ounce skinless boneless chicken breasts roughly 1 ½ pounds
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder divided
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika divided
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- 1 14.5- ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 15- ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup sweet corn kernels fresh, canned or frozen and thawed
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a small bowl mix together ½ teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken and season with the garlic-paprika mix.
- Heat a large oven proof* non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and heat. Cook the chicken breasts until lightly golden, around 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- In the same skillet heat the remaining olive oil. Add the chopped red onion and cook until softened and slightly translucent, around 3-4 minutes.
- Add the diced tomato, black beans, corn and the remaining seasonings: 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder to the pan. Stir to combine. Cook 5 additional minutes, stirring periodically as it simmers.
- Return the chicken breasts to the pan and spoon some of the sauce on top of the chicken. Remove from heat.NOTE: if using a skillet that is not oven proof, transfer mixture to a small baking dish that will fit the chicken in a single layer.
- Add the shredded cheese on top and take to the oven. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.