This easy Santa Fe chicken recipe is loaded with black beans, corn, Ro-tel tomatoes, southwest spices, and melty cheese. It's ready in just 30 minutes!
Why you'll love it
I'm a big fan of bold southwest flavors, and it's what makes this chicken skillet recipe next-level tasty! This quick dish comes together quickly on a busy weeknight, and the beans, corn, and melty cheese make it extra hearty and filling.
I wanted this easy Santa Fe chicken recipe to be fuss-free and use everyday ingredients. Using canned corn and beans makes it even easier. It's bright and cheesy and has the best seasoning. It's a simple chicken dinner with great flavor, and picky eaters will enjoy it too.
What you'll need
- Chicken - we're using two chicken breasts sliced into four thinner cutlets for faster and more even cooking
- Garlic powder and chili powder - along with salt and pepper, it infuses flavor directly on the chicken. Most varieties of chili powder are fairly mild.
- Olive oil - for pan frying
- Onion - I like sweet (Vidalia) onions
- Tomatoes - the original variety of Rot-el has tomatoes and green chilies with a kick
- Black beans and corn - standards in Tex-Mex dishes
- Smoked paprika - one of my favorite ways to add a hint of smoky flavor
- Cheese - we're using Mexican blend for all that cheesy, golden goodness
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha's favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- I love oven-proof skillets because they're so versatile, and I use them in many of my recipes. This is the skillet I used for this recipe. Any fairly deep oven-proof skillet will work just fine.
- If you're ever unsure if chicken is cooked, you can get an inexpensive instant read digital meat thermometer. They're super easy to use, and you won't have to worry about over or undercooked chicken again.
How to make Santa Fe chicken
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven. Slice the chicken into four cutlets, and season with salt & pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder. Pan fry until golden, and transfer to a plate. Sauté the onion, and then add in the Rotel, beans, corn, and smoked paprika.
Let it heat through, and scrape up the browned bits. Return the chicken, and spoon some of the tomato mixture over top. Sprinkle the layer of cheese. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese has melted. Top with fresh cilantro if using.
- If the chicken is sticking during the pan-frying step, let it cook a little longer so it naturally releases. This can happen sometimes, especially if you use a stainless steel pan and don't get it hot enough.
Substitutions and variations
- Original Rotel is fairly spicy, so use the mild version if that's an issue for you.
- If you don't have Rotel diced tomatoes, you can use regular ones, but I suggest adding a can of green chilies as well. The 4 ounce size would work great. You can get mild or hot ones.
- If you can't access those, try adding a chopped jalapeno pepper if you want some heat or a poblano pepper or two for milder spice.
What to serve with Santa Fe chicken
- The dish is quite filling on its own, but rice goes very well with it.
- Or serve it with a side salad. I love this Black Bean Corn Avocado Salad with Rice for similar tasty flavors.
- You could even cut the chicken up and serve it in tacos with some sour cream and other taco fixings.
Leftovers and storage
- Store any leftover chicken for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- For best results, reheat in a saucepan over a low heat until warmed through.
- I don't recommend freezing leftovers.
I hope you will like this Santa Fe chicken! Please leave a star rating and review below. Questions? Let me know in the comments. You can also find me on Instagram.
Santa Fe Chicken Skillet
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 (10 ounce) can Ro-tel diced tomatoes & green chilies drained
- 1 (14 ounce) can black beans drained & rinsed
- 1 (12 ounce) can corn drained
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup Mexican cheese blend
- Fresh cilantro chopped (optional, to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 400F and move the rack to the middle position.
- Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so you have 4 thinner cutlets. Season both sides with the garlic powder, chili powder, and salt & pepper.
- Add the oil to an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add the chicken and cook for about 3-4 minutes/side until lightly golden. Take the chicken out of the pan.
- Add the onion to the skillet and sauté for 5 minutes or until it's softened and lightly browned.
- Stir in the Rotel tomatoes, beans, corn, and smoked paprika. Let it heat through for a couple of minutes, and be sure to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the chicken back in and spoon some of the tomatoes/beans/corn onto the chicken. Sprinkle the cheese over top of everything (I concentrate it on the chicken).
- Place the skillet in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (165F) and the cheese is nice and melty. You can broil the cheese for a few minutes at the end if you want it to be browned (watch it doesn't burn!).
- Top with fresh chopped cilantro if using, and serve immediately.
- This is the Le Creuset skillet pictured. If your skillet isn't oven-proof, for step 6 you can either transfer the skillet contents to a baking dish or simply keep cooking the chicken in the skillet (cover it with a lid so the cheese melts).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on July 2, 2020. It's been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!