Salsa Chicken Casserole

$8.58 recipe / $1.43 serving

I’m still all about these easy, one dish dinners. This one is very similar to the ultra popular Taco Chicken Bowls, but it’s made in the oven and takes about an hour, as opposed to eight in a slow cooker. The directions go something like this: dump, stir, cover, cook, eat, be happy.

One little jar of salsa adds so much flavor to this dish that I almost feel like it’s cheating and the little bit of cheddar on top really made it rich and satisfying. Next time I might even try a little dollop of sour cream! Either way, this recipe was a no brainer to make and a definite tummy pleaser!

I used a couple Budget Bytes tricks to make it more affordable. As usual, I used reconstituted bouillon for the broth instead of canned chicken broth. I’ve also been buying big 2lb. bags of shredded cheese and then dividing them into four freezer bags (2 cups each, the same size as normal bags of shredded cheese) and this really saves me a lot. Then there’s the chicken. I still only buy my chicken breasts on sale. I can usually get them for $1.99/lb. (sometimes less!) if I really keep an eye out. I know not everyone will be able to find this deal, but it’s worth mentioning and looking out for!

Salsa Chicken Casserole

Salsa Chicken Casserole

4.9 from 39 reviews
salsa chicken casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $8.58
Cost Per Serving: $1.43
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked rice $0.33
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (thawed) $0.52
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans $1.39
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar salsa $1.99
  • 1 cup chicken broth $0.15
  • ½ Tbsp chili powder $0.10
  • ½ tsp oregano $0.03
  • 2 large (1.5 lbs.) chicken breasts $2.99
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese $0.94
  • 2 whole green onions, sliced $0.17
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drain and briefly rinse the black beans. Add the dry rice, black beans, corn, salsa, chicken broth, chili powder, and oregano to an 8×8 inch casserole dish. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into three pieces each. Push the chicken pieces down into the rice salsa mixture in the casserole dish. Try to push them down as far into the liquid as they’ll go. Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil. Bake for one hour.
  3. Take the casserole dish out of the oven, test the rice with a fork to make sure it is tender. If it is not, recover the dish, return it to the oven, and bake for 10-15 minutes more. When the rice is tender, sprinkle the cheese over top and return the casserole to the oven for a few minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Add the sliced green onions on top after baking and serve hot.
Notes
If your chicken and frozen corn are still partially frozen, the casserole will take longer to cook. So, make sure they’re both thawed before hand.

Salsa Chicken Casserole

Step By Step Photos

dumpAdd the rice, beans, corn, and salsa to an 8×8 casserole dish. BUT, drain and rinse the beans first and thaw the corn first. I didn’t thaw my corn and it slowed my casserole down.

seasoningAdd a cup of chicken broth to give the rice enough liquid to cook in (it will also get some liquid from the salsa). I decided after the fact to add a little extra chili powder and oregano, but you don’t have to stir the other ingredients together first. Stir those spices right in.

chickenCut each chicken breast into three pieces. My chicken was still partially frozen (I forgot to put it in the fridge the night before). If it was completely thawed, I would have flattened these pieces out a little bit more.

nestle chickenPush the chicken pieces down into the rice mixture – probably more so than I did here (I learn as I go, too).

bakeCover the casserole dish tightly with foil to hold all the steam in, and bake it in a preheated 375 degree oven for one hour. After an hour, use a fork to test some of the rice and make sure that it’s tender. If it’s not, simply recover the dish and bake a little bit longer (10-15 minutes). If your chicken and corn were thawed (unlike mine), you probably won’t need to put it back in the oven.

cheese onionsOnce you know the rice is fully cooked, sprinkle some cheese over top and pop it back in the oven for just a few more minutes to melt the cheese. Then, when it comes out, add the sliced green onions on top. The end!

closerWant to look closer? Why not! nom.

Salsa Chicken CasseroleEasy dinners make me happy.

168 Comments

  1. Teri Grady says:

    Yum! I just finished eating dinner, hubby going back for thirds! Keeps saying “Wow! This is really good!”

    Those with complaints about rice. Remember ovens are all different and elevations can be a huge factor,…you must learn to adapt. I live in the desert, below sea level and I have a crappy oven. I know that when I make a rice in the oven I need more liquid. If a recipe calls for 1 cup, I put in 1 1/4 cup.

    Those who have issues with raw chicken when you have already cooked the chicken for 40 minutes. Um…. Do not uncover the dish…Beth said cover the dish for 1 hour, then check.

    Great dish, Beth. Thank you so much!

  2. Lynsay says:

    I also followed the instructions exactly and the rice still isn’t cooked after 1 1/2 hours. :( disappointing.

  3. Jessica says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. Didn’t change a thing and it was exactly what I’d hoped it’d be! Added a dollop of sour cream and feasted. Best of all, it was just for two so an 8 dollar dinner will last for a few meals. Thanks Beth!

  4. Michelle says:

    I love this recipe! I used the “Knorr Mexican Rice” sides pack because I had no rice me at the time and it worked perfectly! I had no problems with the rice cooking. Thank you!

  5. I absolutely love this recipe! It’s super easy to make and there is so much flavor and it’s great for leftovers!!! Thank you!

  6. adam says:

    The people who had raw chicken and uncooked rice at an hour in were doing something wrong. My chicken was way over 160 degrees in about 40 minutes but the rice wasn’t soft enough till about 50 minutes. Our oven does cook a little hot but not that much.

  7. Mandy says:

    rice still not cooked after 2 hours in the oven. Had to make my family grilled cheese instead.

  8. Danielle says:

    I made this tonight and it’s delicious! I did double it for my family of 5 and cut the chicken into medium size chunks. I cooked it in a large rectangular casserole dish and it was done in an hour and fifteen minutes. The only thing I changed was to use 4 cups of chicken broth (for a doubled recipe) so the ratio of liquid to rice would be 2:1. Don’t leave out the scallions! They add a nice pop!! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. Sara says:

    Do you use minute rice? That is what I have on hand. I don’t usually make casseroles with rice, but am so confused by all the varying comments about if it gets done or not.

    • I did not use minute rice. I’m not quite sure why some people have had such a hard time getting the rice to cook through.

      • Susan says:

        Indian Basmati rice is the PERFECT rice to use for this recipe. The Basmati rice doesn’t take as long to cook and it turns out soft and fluffy. Just remember to cover the casserole while it is cooking. I added about 1/4 cup extra chicken broth.

    • Denise says:

      I used brown minute rice when I made it and it came out great!

  10. Sabrina Duncan says:

    Would this recipe call for the rice that takes like 25 minutes to cook or could I use minute rice?

  11. Cassandra says:

    How would substituting quinoa for the rice work out?

    • Hmmm… I’m not sure because it cooks different and much faster. That would take some experimenting before I could suggest a substitution method.

  12. YuMM! Making this right now! I threw in some orange bell pepper (use up what I’ve got!) and cumin because I’m a cumin addict. Can’t wait for this to come out of the oven. Love your site and have tried a bunch of your recipes! Thanx. :)

  13. Emily says:

    Can I prepare this and cook this in advance then freeze the whole casserole and re-heat it again a few days later? I’m looking for make ahead freezer casseroles. The crockpot takes too long!

    • I think it would work better if the cooked casserole was frozen in portions. It might take a very long time to reheat from frozen in the oven if kept whole.

  14. Rockys Mom says:

    Has anyone made this a day or two ahead of time and not put the cheese on until almost through cooking? It looks like a great motorhome meal that I can make and cook on arrival.

    Thoughts?

  15. Cathy T says:

    I doubled the recipe and added an extra cup of water. I also added a can of green chilies. I seasoned the (cubed) chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper–before adding to dish. It was great! Thanks for posting!

  16. Rachel says:

    One of the best recipes we have tried in awhile, and so easy for a busy evening! My husband and I love spicy food, so I did add a little chili powder/chipotle dry seasoning to the chicken before baking for a little extra kick, but an hour in the oven cooked this perfectly and it is even better for leftovers today! Thanks for the great recipe!

  17. Blanca Noemi Perez says:

    Wonderful recipes, and great for the budget!! I’m really enjoying this site!!! Thanks again !!!

  18. I would love to make this but I do not have green onions nor can I have beans, will use low sodium broth because on dialysis & have to watch certain nutrients. Do you think this will still be good? Thanks

    • Well, that’s a lot of changes, so it definitely won’t be the same. :) Whether it’s good or not might be a matter of personal opinion.

  19. sarie says:

    Thanks for sharing. This was so easy! It turned out great. My family loved it.

  20. LaShawn says:

    This was pretty good..I added a dolip of daisy sour cream and that really made it taste good! However Next time I will season the chicken. It tasted a bit bland.

    • Susan says:

      I added some daisy sour cream, too! If you poke a bunch of holes in the chicken with a fork it will absorb more of the flavor from the salsa and also tenderize the meat.

  21. First and last time I have used this sight for a recipe. First I made this exactly as instructed and it does not fit in an 8 x 8 pan. Ran over and made a huge mess in my oven. Second, after an hour the rice wasn’t even close to being done and the chicken in the middle was still raw! This was just a frustrating and messy recipe. Not worth the trouble. Too much time needed to cook and especially for clean up.

    • Diana says:

      Yes, this was my experience as well. It took literally 2 hours to cook which made for a late dinner for my hungry fam. Everything was raw at the 1 hour mark. I feel it may cook closer to the 1 hour mark if it were in a 9×13 pan.

      Overall the flavor was very good, but I would add salt next time. I used homemade canned salsa, organic free range broth, and organic beans and corn.

  22. Kris10 says:

    Love this recipe. My fiancé loves it! I started making it today when about 20min into baking my power went out :( I moved it into metal baking dishes, covered it in foal and threw it on our grill for 45 min. It came out great.

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