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 63 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. Paige Wellington says:

    Would this recipe work with short grain rice and just using plain water instead of chicken broth?

    • Short grain rice may require a different rice/liquid ratio and it will definitely have a different end texture, since short grain rice is much more sticky.

  2. Aiden says:

    I NEVER comment on things like this, but I had to after making this for dinner tonight. It’s incredible, like the inside of the best burrito you’ve ever tasted! I could easily have eaten half the amount it made.. but on the upside, I know what I’m having for the next 3 nights now!

    Cheers for a great recipe :)

  3. Droz says:

    Is there a reason (other than the fact that the meat needs to be shredded) that I can’t use fresh chicken? It seems that the recipe’s cook time is long enough to cook chicken, but probably won’t be shreddable…


    • You definitely can. I’d sauté it in the skillet before adding the rest of the ingredients, just to make sure it’s cooked through. And I think I’d cut it into small pieces. :)

  4. Hein says:

    Hi Beth,

    Love this recipe and have made it multiple times. I was just wondering if it can be doubled? Would the timing remain the same?

    • Hmm, it’s hard to say. It should stay relatively the same, but it may depend on the size and shape of the skillet that you use and how well it distributes the heat.

  5. Lesley Maple says:

    Wow, this was great! I cut up 12 oz of chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and sauteed it with cumin and chili powder before introducing the rest of the ingredients. As a commenter mentioned, I served it in flour tortillas. O.M.G. Delicious.

  6. lisab says:

    Yes, this was very good. I did saute some onions and garlic.

  7. Fritzwilliam says:

    The recipe came out great and was a hit with the family.

  8. Working Mom says:

    Thanks! Great, easy dinner. I added corn I had on hand which was good, too.

  9. Judy says:

    This was so good and easy after a long day at work. I used my own chicken broth but did forget to add salt to compensate for better-than-bouillon. I usually add 1/2 t. salt per cup. One I added the salt, the flavors really shined. The dish surprises with flavor from such simple ingredients. I’d like it a little soupier, so I thought I might try half a cup of rice next time.

  10. Kayla says:

    Oh my word. So simple and easy. I had to chang mine around a little to the ingredients I had on hand,but i will definitely be making this again. Great recipe.

  11. Melissa says:

    This is so tasty inside a tortilla.

  12. I didn’t have a lid to my large skillet. I’m a college student. Instead, I cooked the rice on less liquid (mostly chicken stock) in a rice cooker and added it to the ingredients in the skillet. I had the skillet going with all the ingredients while the rice cooker was working. Everything came together nicely this way.

    Also, green chiles are a great addition to this recipe.

  13. Vanessa says:

    I have chicken breast in the freezer, I know what I will be making this week with them :D Looks Delish!

  14. Molly says:

    This sounds delicious! Can you sub uncooked quinoa instead of rice?

    • I have seen similar recipes made with quinoa, although the liquid to quinoa ratio may be different than it is for rice.

  15. Jasmine says:

    OMG this came out AMAZING!!! will be making again and again

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