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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!

You may also enjoy this flavorful Creamy Southwest Chicken or Skillet Salsa Chicken next.

a skillet with santa fe chicken

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
ingredients in prep bowls for santa fe chicken

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.

pan frying chicken and onions in a cast iron skillet

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.

making rotel, corn, and bean sauce for santa fe chicken and adding cheese to skillet

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.

Pro tip

  • 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.
a plate with santa fe chicken and white rice

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.

a skillet with santa fe chicken
4.92 from 59 votes

Santa Fe Chicken Skillet

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!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 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).


Calories: 448kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 39g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 94mg, Sodium: 839mg, Potassium: 997mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 503IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 207mg, Iron: 3mg

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.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

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!

Hi! I’m Natasha.

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4.92 from 59 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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  1. Dani says:

    5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! I used chicken thighs, since that’s what I had on hand, and served with cilantro lime rice & avocados. Soooo good! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Natasha says:

      You are very welcome, Dani!

  2. Hannah Warn says:

    5 stars
    I absolutely LOVED this meal. I cooked it without any modifications except for mild rotel so my toddler could eat it. When it was finished I topped my plate with sour cream and pickled jalapenos and it was perfect. It also seems to get even tastier as leftovers!!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy it was a hit, Hannah!! 😀 Thanks for your review!

  3. Mandi says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! My husband is a very picky eater so I opted to spice our taco Tuesday up.. he loved it.i added the hot rotel & additional green chilis 💕

    1. Natasha says:

      Fantastic!! 😀 Thanks, Mandi!

  4. Lynn W says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe this evening and thought it was really good. It comes together quickly and can be done on the stove top just like Natasha said it could be cooked that way. My husband thought it could be a little spicier so next time I will use the medium rotelle tomatoes.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Lynn!! Yes – very easy to give it a little more kick. 😀

  5. Heather says:

    Hi! Want can I do if I don’t have an oven safe skillet?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi Heather! There’s a note in the recipe card: “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).” Enjoy!

  6. Terry Martin says:

    I cooked this tonight. Broken up corn tortillas and put it in the sauce.

    I did not have rotela tomatoes. So I added a couple of tablespoons of salsa. Worked out good.

    We enjoyed it very much and came together quickly

    Will make again

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad you liked it, Terry!

  7. Mariam says:

    Hi Natasha – I’m just wondering if you think this would work with a bag of frozen Southwest Vegetables in place of the canned beans and corn? (C&W makes a blend of corn, black beans peppers and onions). I will be making this for two, and don’t want to use just half a can of each.

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi Mariam! I think that should work just fine. Let me know how it goes!

  8. Richard P Smolinski says:

    5 stars
    Super easy and tasty

    1. Natasha says:

      Thanks, Richard!!

  9. Erin Conder says:

    5 stars
    My family asked that I add this to our regular rotation. It was a hit! I loved how quick it came together.

    1. Natasha says:

      That makes me happy, Erin!! 😀

  10. Donna says:

    I put the chicken in a crock pot and shredded it, so good