This Southwest Chicken Bake is one of my go-to weeknight meals. It is wholesome, ridiculously delicious, and takes just ten minutes of hands-on time. You will love how easy it is to make ahead so that dinner is ready to pop in the oven at the end of a busy day. This recipe does have a kick to it thanks to the jalapeno, garlic, and onion, but lends itself easily to adjusting individual portions for picky little ones.
I have a soft spot for anything with Southwestern flavors, and this Baked Southwestern Chicken is just about the perfect weeknight meal.
If I'm in the mood for something rich and creamy, I'll often drizzle this with a little sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. It is just the right balance for the heat of a jalapeno.
It is so fast and easy to throw together, leaving you time to spend with the family while it is cooking in the oven.
Baked southwest chicken is also great for meal prep.
Delicious meals don't get any better than this healthy southwest chicken.
Ingredients for Making This Southwest Chicken Recipe
- Seasonings: Onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, and salt add just the right amount of kick. You could also add in garlic powder or fresh ground black pepper if you like.
- Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breast, but chicken thighs would work as well.
- Oil: Use olive oil or avocado oil. I do not recommend extra-virgin olive oil in this recipe.
- Cheese: Shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese are both nice here.
- Tomatoes: I used sliced tomatoes, but you could top the chicken with halved cherry or grape tomatoes if you like.
- Onion: Red onion is nice here.
- Garlic: Feel free to adjust the amount to your liking.
- Jalapeno: If you don't like heat, you can seed and dice the jalapeno. Make sure you get the white part from the jalapeno is that is where some of the heat comes from.
- Lime: Lime juice adds a final pop of flavor
- Use both or either for a garnish.
Tips & Tricks
- If you have time, salt the chicken the day before and let it sit overnight covered in the refrigerator. The salt will denature the proteins of the chicken and help the breasts to retain more moisture when cooking. (Yay to no more dried-out chicken breasts!)
- Invest in an instant-read thermometer so that you never have to worry about whether your chicken is done. According to the USDA, the chicken should be at least 165 degrees F. I like to pull it from the oven at 160° F. Cover with foil and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Short on time? Season the chicken with taco seasoning in place of the spices.
Frequently Asked Questions
I recommend taking it out when it is about 160 degrees, which is 5 degrees shy of the recommended temperature. This is because the temperature will continue to rise as it sits in a hot pan, and taking it out a touch early will ensure that it is not overcooked.
I would cook it for 30 minutes to 35 minutes, making sure that you have an instant-read thermometer to ensure it is the right temperature.
Yes, it can be prepped up to one day ahead of time and cooked just before serving.
Tools Needed to Make Southwest Chicken Breast
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- Instant Read Meat Thermometer
- Small Bowl
- Baking Dish
Store leftovers in the refrigerator in a sealed container for three or four days.
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Southwestern Baked Chicken
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 3 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tomatoes sliced thin
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 6 cloves garlic sliced thin
- 1 jalapeño sliced thin
- 1 lime juiced
- Cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- In a small bowl, mix together onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika and sea salt.
- Place chicken in a baking dish and brush with olive oil. Sprinkled evenly with spice mixture.
- Sprinkle with cheese and top with tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapeño.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until cooked through.
- Squeeze lime juice over chicken and garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions.