This salsa chicken recipe has tender pan-fried chicken that's smothered with salsa and melty cheese. It's super easy to make and will be your new favorite way to jazz up chicken!
I think you'll also like my Beef Taco Skillet and Easy Chicken Taco Soup for more Mexican-inspired recipes.
Why you'll love it
What can I say? Chicken and salsa and ooey, gooey Mexican-blend cheese make for a pretty irresistible weeknight dinner. In just 30 minutes it's on the table. I think everyone can appreciate a new and creative way to enjoy chicken to change it up.
Probably my favorite part of this cheesy chicken recipe is how much sauce it makes. The seasonings in your fave kind of tomato salsa play so well with the hot and bubbly cheese topping. As far as Mexican-inspired dishes go, this one is a winner!
What you'll need
- Chicken - we're using four boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise so they cook faster and more evenly
- Garlic powder and chili powder - along with salt & pepper, it's to season the chicken directly. Note that while chili powder is generally mild, some varieties can be hot.
- Flour - it helps get a nice browning on the chicken in a short amount of time
- Butter and olive oil - for pan frying
- Chicken broth - to add moisture and more savory flavor to the sauce
- Salsa - use a jar of your favorite variety!
- Cheese - we're using Mexican blend
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha's favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- I use my Le Creuset oven-safe skillet to finish the chicken in the oven.
- Use a sharp chef's knife to cut the chicken into cutlets.
- This is my favorite measuring cup set to accurately measure ingredients.
- A pair of kitchen tongs makes it easy to flip and serve the chicken.
- An instant read thermometer will tell you when it's 165F and cooked perfectly.
How to make salsa chicken
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven. Cut the chicken lengthwise to make four thinner cutlets. Sprinkle on the garlic and chili powder along with salt & pepper, then dredge in flour. Pan sear them, then transfer to a plate. Deglaze the skillet with the broth, and then pour in the salsa.
Return the chicken to the pan, and let the sauce bubble gently. Spoon a little over the chicken, top with the cheese, and pop it in the oven until melty. Broil carefully if desired, add extra salt & pepper if needed, and top with cilantro if using.
Substitutions and variations
- If you like it spicy, add some cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or use a jar of hot salsa instead.
- Instead of seasoning the chicken as suggested, try my Homemade Taco Seasoning to amp up the flavor even more.
- You could chop up some avocado and scallions too for topping if you wish for a pop of freshness. And even add a dollop of sour cream if that's your thing!
What to serve with salsa chicken
- This recipe makes plenty of sauce, so it's perfect for serving over rice or even with tortillas or some crusty bread to scoop it up.
- These Mashed Potatoes or Asparagus are great veggie sides as well.
- If you're looking for a salad pairing, try my Black Bean Corn Avocado Salad with Rice that has a zesty lime dressing.
Leftovers and storage
- Store any leftovers of this pan fried chicken in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Reheat over a low heat on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through.
- I don't recommend freezing this one.
If you gave this easy salsa chicken recipe a try, please leave a star rating and review below! Talk to me if the blog post didn't answer any questions. Find me on Instagram.
Skillet Salsa Chicken
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Flour for dredging
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 (14.5 ounce) jar salsa use your favorite kind
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Fresh cilantro, chopped to taste (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F and move the rack to the middle position.
- Cut the chicken in half lengthwise so you have 4 thinner cutlets. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the garlic powder, chili powder, and salt & pepper, then coat them in flour.
- Add the butter and oil to an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, sear the chicken for 3-4 minutes/side until lightly golden. Take the chicken out of the pan and set it aside.
- Add the chicken broth to the pan and scrape up any brown bits. Stir in the salsa.
- Add the chicken back into the pan and let the sauce start to bubble. Spoon some of the salsa over the chicken and sprinkle the cheese over top.
- Place the skillet in the oven and let it cook for 5-7 minutes (chicken will cook through completely and the cheese will melt). Optional: broil it for a couple minutes (watch it carefully).
- Serve with fresh chopped cilantro if desired. Season with extra salt & pepper as needed.
- If your skillet isn't oven-proof, for step 5 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).
- If your chicken breasts are smaller, no need to cut them in half lengthwise, but you will need to increase cooking time. If you're unsure about whether chicken is cooked, always use a meat thermometer to ensure it's 165F in the deepest part.
- 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 November 1, 2019. It's been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!
This dish is really flavorful and about as easy as it gets. Thanks for the yummy recipe! Make it with Tacodeli salsa.
I'm so happy you liked it, Laura!
Made this tonight. It is awesome and yet so easy. I skipped the flour and puréed the salsa (I have a picky eater who doesn’t like the texture of tomatoes). It was a hit!
I'm so happy you guys enjoyed it!! 🙂
Nina kelley says
Easy to make quick ,I love this receipt !
Thank you, Nina! So glad you liked it! 🙂
Made this tonight - Oh my!! So good!! Meant to top with sour cream as others did, but forgot and didn't even miss it. Thank you for sharing this recipe - I will definitely be making this one again!
I'm so happy you liked it!! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to write me a review, Christina!
Jacqueline Rodriguez-Mathurin says
Made your skillet Salsa chicken tonight with my own twist, but the basic ingredients were used - it was delicious!
I used pre cooked chicken breast left over from the weekend BBQ - found a salsa recipe online and went from there! Made the salsa, placed the chicken in the sauce and stewed it in my clever chef for 45mins, transferred into oven dish, topped with mozzarella and grilled till nice and brown!!
thank you for sharing I will definitely be doing more of your recipes! I only found you today on Insta and already i'm in awe! Luckily being a home cook in lockdown I had all the ingredients to hand.
Kind Regards - Jacqueline @jaxhomecooking, I've already posted a picture...lol
Sounds good to me!! I'm so glad you found me! 🙂
Can this be used with boneless thighs?
Sure! Just double check that it's properly cooked thorough (165F). 🙂 I find chicken thighs need a little more time to get tender.
Made this last night. Was a big hit! I made it with half salsa and half marinara because I had an open jar. Served with Mexican rice and sour cream on the side. Easy and delicious. Will definitely make it again. Not one of those recipes that you try and just make once.
That's great to hear!! Thanks for leaving me a review! XO
This was amazing. Followed instructions and cooked in cast iron pan. Served with diced avocado, pan fried potatoes (seasoned with chile powder) and sauteed zucchini. Hubby went back for more sauce♡
Great!! 🙂 Sounds like a delicious meal!
Jacki Everett says
A quick easy make. I used half jar salsa and a half a jar the black bean corn salsa smothered it with cheese it was fantastic I put out tortillas and rice Family loved it! Cleaned up while I was in the oven so the end clean up was simple! Thank you for the recipe!
I'm so happy it was a hit!! 🙂 You're welcome!
So good. A big hit. Served it over rice with a dollop of sour cream. Will definitely make again. Thank you!
Wonderful!! You're welcome! 😀
Great recipe, giving it a try now. You may want to do a google search on cooking tomato based dishes in cast iron skillets. In short, the acidity breaks down the seasoning.
I've heard that, but it's a myth 😉 It's fine as long as your cast iron pan is well-seasoned (and mine is).
This is one of my favorite dishes - quick and easy and does not require many ingredients when you’re stuck [...]
Hi! I'm so pleased you like it and it's getting you thru being stuck at home haha. (I edited your comment because bloggers are being told not to use buzzwords associated with current events because it may impact search engine rankings).
Sorry about that- we love it!
Loved it! Thank you!
Yay!! Thanks for letting me know!
THIS DISH WAS SO GOOD. I've needed easy recipes for dinner during this [...], and this was so perfect. Everyone loved it.
I am so happy you all liked it!! 🙂 I had to edit your comment because bloggers aren't supposed to use buzzwords associated with the current state of events let's call it (Google can ding us in search rankings apparently).
Made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious. Used three chicken breasts halved for four people and have one piece leftover. I served it over rice. Two of my kids aren’t huge salsa fans, so I probably could have used less salsa. The best part was the chicken. It was delicious. Super flavorful and did not dry out at all. I will definitely be cooking chicken that way again! Thanks for the recipe.
I'm so happy you liked it!! Thanks for letting me know, Emily!
Terry Chapin says
I’m hooked on saltandlavender.com !
So happy to hear it, Terry! 🙂 I appreciate your comments/recipe ratings!
We all loved this. Thank you for an excellent recipe. My kids are 8 and 12. Big fans plus was easy.
Wonderful! You're very welcome! 🙂
Tracy Cordon says
All of the recipes on salt and lavender are amazing! They are the easy and delicious meals I’ve been searching for all my life as a wife/mom. My whole (super picky) family loved salsa chicken!
Aww so glad to hear it! Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment! ❤️
Love this dish!! Easy to make and yummy!
Yay!! So glad to hear it, Gemma!
Elise Walden says
I made this tonight and it was not only fantastic, it's pretty quick to make...My picky teenagers actually complimented me for once! I used a store bought jarred roasted tomato salsa (gave it a smoky richness) added extra cheese for gooey yumminess and served with rice with black beans. Def will make this again. YUM!!
That's awesome!! So glad the teenagers approved! Thanks so much for leaving me a comment!
Another hit at our household! Easy and flavourful!
Excellent! I am so happy to hear it! Thanks for leaving me a comment! 🙂
Did you use Pace Picante sauce?
Nope... I think I actually used the Safeway generic brand for this recipe, but I typically buy Newman's Own salsas.