Southwest Chicken Skillet

$5.21 recipe / $1.30

So, you remember how much you love those Taco Chicken Bowls? And how they’re so easy because you just pour everything into the slow cooker and press go? Well guess what… You can do it in a skillet, too! (and in about 30 minutes)

As long as you have some precooked chicken, whether from a store bought rotisserie or some shredded chicken that you made yourself, those yummy taco chicken bowls are about a half hour away from being in your belly. This skillet version may even be a bit easier because there’s no need to cook the rice separately—it cooks right along with the beans, salsa, and other goods in the skillet. It’s ridiculously simple and it’s so tasty that today after I ate some for lunch I said, “I wish I had ten more bowls of that.” 

I don’t know why beans, rice, and salsa are so good together, but I hope I never stop discovering new ways to eat them together. This is my favorite way so far. If you want to make it even more fancy, you can experiment with more toppings, like sour cream, diced avocado, or cilantro. Maybe even some crispy tortilla strips for crunch? Yum!!

Southwest Chicken Skillet

Southwest Chicken and Rice Casserole

4.8 from 36 reviews
Southwest Chicken Skillet
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $5.21
Cost Per Serving: $1.30
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice* $0.33
  • 1 cup salsa $0.88
  • 1.5-2 cups precooked shredded chicken** $0.93
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans $1.08
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder*** $0.30
  • 1¾ cups chicken broth**** $0.23
  • 1 cup shredded cheese $1.20
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced $0.26
  1. In a large skillet, combine the rice, salsa, chicken, black beans (drained), chili powder, and chicken broth. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
  2. Place a tight fitting lid on the skillet, turn the heat on to high, and let the skillet come to a full boil. As soon as the skillet comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure it is simmering the entire time, turning the heat up slightly if needed (you should be able to hear it simmer quietly).
  3. After 30 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid, and fluff the mixture with a fork. All of the liquid should be absorbed and the rice should be tender. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese over top, replace the lid, and let it sit for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Meanwhile, slice the green onions. Sprinkle the green onions over the melted cheese and serve hot.
*Brown rice can not be directly substituted for white rice in this recipe. Brown rice requires more liquid and a longer cooking time than white rice.

**I used chicken that I bought on sale and shredded myself.

***Chili powder is not red chile powder. Chili powder is a mild blend of spices used to season chili.

****I used Better Than Bouillon Brand soup base for my broth

Southwest Chicken Skillet


Step by Step Photos

Southwest Chicken Skillet ingredients

First step – so easy. In a large skillet combine 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice, 1 cup salsa, 1.5-2 cups of shredded chicken, 1 (15oz.) can black beans (drained), and 1 Tbsp chili powder. Try to use a heavy skillet with a thick bottom because that will help the rice cook evenly and help prevent it from scorching on the bottom.

Add Chicken Broth

Add 1.5 cups of chicken broth, then stir everything together well. You really want to make sure the rice is evenly distributed throughout the skillet. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let it come to a full boil. As soon as it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer undisturbed for 30 minutes. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. Turn the heat up just slightly if it stops simmering, but keep it as low as possible to prevent the rice from scorching or sticking to the bottom.

Simmered Skillet

After 30 minutes, remove the lid. It should look like this – all of the liquid is absorbed and if you dig down with a fork to where the rice is, it should be tender. Most of the meat and beans will be on top and the rice will be underneath… You can turn the heat off at this point.

Fluffed Rice

Fluff it up with a fork to mix everything back together. 

Shredded Cheese

Add a cup of shredded cheese (your favorite kind) and place the lid back on top to let the residual heat melt the cheese. I used a “taco cheese blend” but I’m thinking pepper jack or regular monterrey jack would also be fab!

Sliced Green Onions

While the cheese is melting, you can take a quick second to slice the green onions. Sprinkle them over the melted cheese and now you’re ready for dinner!

Southwest Chicken Skillet

Now that I have some precooked shredded chicken in my freezer, I can have this ANYTIME I WANT! Woot!


  1. De Anna says:

    Has anyone tried to make this in a cast iron skillet? Anyone try it with uncooked chicken? Love some feedback!

    • Jess says:

      Very similar to mine except I use about 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts with southwest seasoning (Mrs.Dash is a great one-no salt) then when almost done I add the salsa (16 oz jar), chicken broth, black beans, rice and I also use green chilis.( Have used bell peppers, onion and corn before different ways and love both versions.)
      Cover then cook till rice is done. Delicious. So this one sounds easier and quicker-which is always a plus – I just happened to like my chicken getting seasoned while I cook it-tastes awesome.

  2. Robert says:

    I added one teaspoon cumin, one tspn smoked paprika, one tspn salt, one tspn smoked chipotle peppers. Topped with the onions plus fresh cilantro leaves and diced tomatoes. When I make this again I’ll up the chicken stock to two cups but cook for the same amount of time.

  3. Charleen says:

    Another awesome dish. Will make again & again.

  4. Sheryl says:

    Super quick, easy and delicious recipe! I picked up a rotisserie chicken and added a can of corn to bulk it up. I did have to stir quite a bit to prevent sticking and add more broth to the pot I used since I didn’t have a heavy-bottomed one. The results were delicious and everyone went back for more. Will make again soon!

  5. Liliana says:

    OMG! I just made this and it is incredible! I made my own salsa (I´m from Mexico so it´s prohibited to use store bought haha no it´s not) and added a serrano pepper to give it an extra kick and it turned out AWESOME! I can´t believe this only uses one pot, I love this recipe to death. Thank you!!

  6. Katharine says:

    My only disappointment in this came from not having a tight fitting lid for my skillet. I had to simmer the mixture for a lot longer for the rice to finally cook. Next time, I’ll just cook it separately in my rice cooker.

    Overall, the flavor is pretty good. I added a bunch more spices & herbs: smoked paprika, chile powder, Mexican oregano, cumin, black pepper, salt, garlic powder. Next time I might add a couple diced serranos.

  7. I think I screwed something up… the rice didn’t really cook properly, but overall pretty good.

  8. Justin says:

    I can burn water (ask if you’re curious), and I was able to make this pretty easy. However, I think I used too weak of salsa as it didn’t have much bite left after cooking, and it was brilliant with hot sauce.

    How would you recommend I do to add heat to this dish next time I cook it up?

    Thanks again for putting this up, as I’m both a visual learner and a numbers guy, so I was able to grok this easily!

    • An easy way to add heat to any dish is to add a pinch (or two) of cayenne pepper. That should take care of it. :) OR, you could slice up a jalapeno and add that in the beginning, although that might be a little more difficult to control the level of heat.

  9. This recipe jumped out at me so I decided to have a go. Here in the UK the ingredients came to £8, *but* I have enough to make about three meals – two really big ones – so it’s still very good value. I substituted spring onions for green onions and red kidney beans for black beans.

    The bit in point one about using a heavy skillet is a great piece of advice – I used a nondescript metal pot and ended up with a layer of burned rice. That’ll teach me to skimp on kitchenware.

    Taste-wise it’s surprisingly mild. I wolfed it down too quickly to remember the taste but I think I was expecting it to be really hot. I didn’t add any sauces or olive oil and the result was a bit dry, so perhaps I overcooked it. From prep to plate took about forty minutes in total and I like the easiness – “dump ingredients in pot, wait” – so I’m probably going to be absolutely sick of this in a week, ’cause it’s all I’m going to eat!

    • Yep, the flavor in this dish really depends on what type of salsa you get. So if you get a mild salsa, it probably won’t taste like much. Experiment with different salsas and you might get more flavor next time. :)

    • catherine says:

      jfyi spring onions and green onions are the same thing just different names depending on which side of the pond you live. like courgettes and zucchini and eggplant and aubergine…

  10. Gabby says:

    This looks absolutely delicious and I plan to try it later in the week! However, would it work to substitute pinto beans for the black beans in the recipe? I’m not much a fan of black beans, but I don’t have enough experience cooking with beans to feel confident in just subbing them out.

  11. Barb says:

    Can you use minute rice in this or will it get too mushy.

    • You’d definitely need to adjust the amount of liquid, but I’ve never used minute rice so I’m not sure how to adjust it. :(

    • david r says:

      i used 10min brown rice yesterday night and it was delicious

  12. Erwin says:

    What kind of salsa did you use? It looks like Pace

    • I don’t remember specifically, but I tend to just buy the generic store brand. So, unless there was something else on sale, it was generic. :)

  13. Kendra says:

    I’m the oldest sibling in a large family, so when I make this I usually double it and add a can of corn, then serve with tortillas or cornbread. The only problem I have with this recipe is that the leftovers somehow manage to disappear before I can pack any up for lunches.

  14. drek says:

    Can’t wait to try the recipe. I just wanted to comment that the app you use, Ziplist, it seems like they no longer support their Android app. I don’t know if you’ve had similar issues, or with the iPhone app, but maybe consider switching services so that we can all use it? Thanks!

  15. Reyna says:

    This was the most brilliant way to use up the rest of my thanksgiving left.

    Fantastic recipe!

  16. Marycris says:

    I did this last night and love it! simple and easy to do yet the result if amazing.. juicy & delicious

  17. I want to make this!

    but for increasing the rice, do you just increase the broth proportionally?

    • Yes, you’ll absolutely need to increase the broth, so if you increase the rice by 50%, increase the broth by 50% as well.

  18. Nicola says:

    I made this tonight using a pot (I dont have a skillet) and it came out beautifully. Great recipe Beth, once again!!

  19. I’m just preparing this for the second time in two weeks – it’s a new favourite. Like many of your recipes, it’s so easy to alter the ingredients to suit your pantry! I only had about a cupful of chicken, so I’ve chucked some frozen corn in there to bulk it out… just waiting for the cheese to melt & it looks and smells amazing!

    I also love that it only uses one pan, and if you chop up your spring onion with scissors, you don’t even need to wash a chopping board afterwards!

    Thanks Beth, you are an absolute marvel!

  20. Made this for my friends after I returned from a vacation to the US and was recommended this website- even with UK food prices I was able to keep it under £5 ($8)! Fed two servings to three people. I have recently been diagnosed with a gluten and lactose intolerance and have been finding it a little difficult to transition, however this was so quick and easy to make (not to mention TASTY)- I just replaced my cheese with a lactose-free alternative.

  21. I’m curious what the point is of using cooked chicken when the recipe cooks long enough to just have used raw? I don’t usually have leftover cooked chicken around with five kids. But I like the recipe. Think I could just chop up raw chicken breast and throw it in. Any thoughts?

    • Yep, I was just trying to use up my pre-cooked and shredded chicken from another blog post. :) If you chop your raw chicken up small enough, it should definitely cook through in the amount of time that the skillet cooks.

  22. Donovan says:

    I’m a longtime reader, and now cooked a meal from your recipe. I must say, the end result was exceptional, I did not have a chance to make shredded chicken, so I cooked the chicken and diced up beforehand. From there I added all the ingredients together and let it cooked as the recipe stated. The only thing I forgot was the green onions but my stomach grumbled and I decided to have a plate with avocados and tortillas. I look forward to making this another time and I have a lot of leftovers. Thanks!

  23. I just want to say that this recipe was sooo delicious. My boyfriend and I are really picky eaters and we also both hate doing dishes. This was made in 1 pot(!) AND satisfied both of us. I could eat this for days! Thank you :)

  24. mike says:

    let me also state that this recipe is gluten free! which has helped me in my gluten free stint.

  25. Bilgefisher says:

    I have cooked this almost weekly since your post. On occasion I cook a double batch. While its sitting I also cook up a dozen eggs. Makes for excellent breakfast burritos. We were able to make a full meal for 4, with 2 left over dishes and 10 breakfast burritos off that double batch. This is a huge time saver for me. Thank you.


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