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This easy Monterey chicken recipe has an irresistible combination of flavors! There’s sweet and smoky BBQ sauce, melty cheese, fresh tomatoes, and crispy bacon.

You may also like my Creamy Southwest Chicken or Crockpot BBQ Chicken next.

a skillet with monterey chicken and a serving spatula

Why you’ll love it

The ingredients list is short in this cheesy chicken recipe, yet the way the flavors meld is pretty special. It’s a simple way to jazz up your chicken rotation with a touch of a southwest flair, BBQ sauce goodness, and of course plenty of ooey gooey cheese.

I’m not sure it’s on the menu anymore, but the good news is that if you loved ordering it, you can easily make this copycat Chili’s recipe at home! It’s straightforward, and the chicken comes out so juicy and tender. This kid-friendly meal is sure to go on repeat.

What you’ll need

  • Bacon – crispy bacon makes an amazing savory addition to this dish
  • Chicken – cutting the chicken breasts in half lengthwise helps them cook faster and more evenly
  • Garlic powder – along with salt & pepper, it infuses the meat with more flavor
  • BBQ sauce – use your favorite!
  • Cheese – Mexican blend or Monterey Jack work great!
  • Tomatoes and scallions – for a burst of freshness
ingredients for monterey chicken in prep bowls

Pro tip

Cooking the chicken in the bacon fat infuses more flavor!

How to make Monterey chicken

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

frying bacon in a skillet then cooking chicken in the bacon fat

Preheat the oven. Cut up the bacon, fry until crispy, then transfer to a plate. Leave a couple of tablespoons of the fat in the skillet. Cut the chicken into cutlets, and season them with garlic powder and salt & pepper. Pan fry until golden.

monterey chicken in a skillet before and after topping with fresh tomatoes and scallions

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the BBQ sauce, cheese, and bacon. Cook in the oven for five minutes or so, then broil until hot and bubbly and cooked through. Top with the chopped scallions and tomatoes.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

Substitutions and variations

  • I like using a shredded Mexican cheese blend, but Monterey Jack or even cheddar or mozzarella will work too.
  • Chicken thighs can be swapped for the chicken breasts, but I would sear them for a bit longer.
  • You don’t need to top it with the chopped tomatoes and scallions at the end, but they add a fresh pop.

What to serve with Monterey chicken

Leftovers and storage

  • Store for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Reheat slowly over a low heat on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through.
  • I don’t recommend freezing this due to the cheese and fresh tomatoes.
a plate with monterey chicken and rice

If you made this restaurant-style Monterey chicken, I’d love it if you left a star rating and review below! You can also tag me on Instagram with your creations.

a skillet with monterey chicken and a serving spatula
5 from 2 votes

Monterey Chicken

This easy Monterey chicken recipe has an irresistible combination of flavors! There's sweet and smoky BBQ sauce, melty cheese, fresh tomatoes, and crispy bacon.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce use your fave
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend or Monterey Jack
  • 1 small-to-medium tomato chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions


  • Preheat your oven to 400F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
  • Cut the bacon into small pieces (I do this quickly using kitchen shears). Cook it in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat until crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, and leave about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the skillet.
  • Meanwhile, cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise to make 4 thinner cutlets. Season the chicken pieces with the garlic powder and salt & pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken to the skillet and sear for 4 minutes/side until lightly golden.
  • Once the chicken has been seared, take the skillet off the heat. Spread the BBQ sauce equally over the top of each piece of chicken, then sprinkle the cheese over top, followed by the bacon.
  • Place the skillet in the oven for 5-7 minutes, and then broil for a couple of minutes until the chicken is cooked through (165F) and the cheese is nicely melted.
  • Top the chicken with the tomatoes and scallions, and enjoy immediately with the pan sauce served over mashed potatoes, rice, etc.


  • If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, transfer the chicken to a baking dish for step 4.


Calories: 499kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 121mg, Sodium: 1259mg, Potassium: 773mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 730IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 225mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! Iā€™m Natasha.

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  1. Ann says:

    5 stars
    Delicious – interesting flavor combination with the BBQ sauce & bacon. Will definitely make again.

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s great to hear, Ann!! Thank you!

  2. Leanne says:

    5 stars
    Quick and easy and just what I needed for a Monday night dinner. I was super lazy and used (real) bacon bits, so it was even easier. Delicious!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s awesome!! šŸ˜€ Thanks so much for taking the time to write me a review, Leanne!