This Santa Fe Chicken Recipe is made with seasoned chicken breasts smothered in black beans, diced tomatoes, sweet corn, and yummy melted cheese. An easy 30-minute one-skillet weeknight dinner loved by the whole family.
I haven’t wanted to cook much lately. I’m blaming it on the changing weather and busier than usual schedule, but whatever the reason, this delicious chicken Santa Fe skillet has been a real lifesaver. And the whole fam loves it (despite Octavian who is still refusing to eat beans of any kind).
Simple and super flavorful, it’s basically like smothering chicken breasts in a warm and cheesy southwestern bean dip.
Scroll down to the recipe card below and you’ll see that I whipped together my own southwestern chicken seasoning made with garlic powder, onion powder, ancho chili powder, salt, and pepper. Not at all spicy, so perfect for anyone with a hungry tummy. Of course, a little cayenne pepper or hot sauce will satisfy anyone who prefers a little kick with their dinner.
Also, any store-bought taco seasoning will also work you have a favorite brand or if you’re short on time (because aren’t we all sometimes?)
Finally, I highly recommend serving this cheesy Santa Fe chicken with easy cilantro lime rice, homemade salsa, and a big scoop of guacamole.
How to Make Chicken Santa Fe
Chicken breasts are usually pretty thick. Unfortunately, when we cook chicken breasts in a hot pan, by the time they’re cooked all the way through, they’re dry and chewy. To avoid this we’re slicing them in half lengthwise (or butterflying) to make two thinner chicken breast halves, or cutlets.
From here you’ll need to mix together the homemade southwest seasoning or grab your favorite store-bought stuff.
Season the chicken all over and sear both sides until the chicken is golden and nearly cooked.
Remove the chicken breasts to a clean plate. In the same pan, add a little more olive oil and cook the onions until softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the chicken back to the skillet, top each chicken breast with some of the bean mixture, and smother with shredded cheese (I highly recommend adding as much, or as little, cheese as you’d like).
Cover with a lid and continue to cook over medium-low until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through, or (even easier), transfer skillet to a preheated oven and cook until chicken is cooked and cheese is melted.
As written, this Santa Fe chicken recipe is high in fiber and protein and is completely gluten-free. If you wish to make it dairy-free, omit the butter and the cheese.
Additions and Variations
- Chop and fry some bacon after you’ve cooked the chicken breasts. Remove from the skillet to drain on a paper towel and return to the skillet at the same time as the chicken breasts.
- Replace the chicken breasts with four boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Get creative with the vegetables. Try adding diced bell peppers, zucchini, olives, or even some kale!
Looking for more delicious chicken recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe
- Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
- Easy Baked Pesto Mozzarella Chicken
- Thai Chicken Curry Noodle Soup Recipe
- Garlic Mushroom Chicken Thighs
- Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Breasts (No Breading!)
Have you tried making this Easy Santa Fe Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Santa Fe Chicken Recipe
- 2 large chicken breasts - cut in half lengthwise (or 4 chicken breast cutlets)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil - divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large onion - diced
- 5 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can corn - drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans - drained (not rinsed)
- 1 (4.5 ounce) can green chilies
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ lime - juiced
- 1½ cups Mexican cheese mix - shredded
- Fresh cilantro - to garnish
- Pat each chicken breast dry with paper towels and slice them in half lengthwise to make four thinner chicken breast cutlets.
- In a small bowl combine the garlic powder, onion powder, ancho chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Generously season both sides of each chicken breast cutlet (see notes).
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter to a large 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear each side for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until golden and nearly cooked through. Remove the chicken to a clean plate and set aside.
- To the same skillet set over medium heat add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
- Stir in the tomatoes, corn, black beans, green chilis, ground cumin, lime juice, and any leftover seasoning mixture that was not used to season the chicken breasts. Mix well to combine. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Return the chicken back to the skillet, scooping some of the bean mixture over the top of each chicken breast. Sprinkle the cheese over each chicken breast.
- Cover and continue to cook over medium-low heat until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through, OR, place in a preheated 350°F oven until chicken is cook through and cheese is melted (chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F).
- Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro and lime juice.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
Cathy Starkweather says
I omitted the corn and added whole grain rice instead. Very good and will make this again! It’s slightly different from the Santa Fe chicken recipe I’ve made for 30 years.
This was so delicious. I had to alter a few things based on what I had in my pantry but it was a big success with my family. Next time I think I’ll shred the chicken and make nachos!
Jessica Randhawa says
Thanks for the delicious feedback Shanna 🙂
Have you tried making this in an Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi?
Jessica Randhawa says
I have not tried this recipe in a pressure cooker yet. But if you try it please let me know how it turns out 🙂
So I decided to try it in my Ninja Foodi. I made a couple changes. I cut the chicken into 1″ pieces and I didn’t have any ancho powder, so I substituted smoked paprika. I followed the directions until #5, all in the Foodi. I added everything, including the chicken and pressure cooked it for 10 minutes in high. It was delicious.
Jessica Randhawa says
Awesome – I am glad it worked out. Thanks for the delicious feedback 🙂