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 18 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. Mike says:

    I made this last night, and while it turned out awesome (I added some white onion to the mix along with a dash of cumin) I think I need better cookware. Maybe 1/3 or 1/4 of the rice was undercooked when the 30 minutes were up, and keeping it on longer didn’t help as it only made the already cooked rice even mushier.

    The undercooked rice was still edible, though. I think the culprit is the stock pot I’m using, all the undercooked rice was isolated to one region of the pot so maybe if I rotated the pot during cooking? I got the same results when I tried the chorizo and sweet potato skillet recipe from awhile ago too.

    Or maybe I should just finally give in and buy a heavy-bottomed deep skillet.

  2. Jen W says:

    This recipe has quickly become a staple in our household– it’s so easy and tasty! I found it a bit dry and under-flavored the first time I made it, following the recipe, but it’s so simple, I was determined to work it out. The next time I added a half-cup more liquid, a small can of ‘mexicorn’ (it’s a green giant product, I think) and half a white onion and was really pleased with the results.
    Thanks for the great base recipe! I feel like this is one you can really switch up depending on what you have on hand and feel like eating that night!

  3. Becky says:

    I’ve been out of college for 10 years (this recipe is featured in the 10 college friendly recipes email) and I am definitely making this tonight. Stopping to get a rotisserie chicken I’ll use the extra to make chicken salad wraps for lunch tomorrow! in fact, i’ll probably be making at least half of the recipes listed in the email over the next couple of weeks lol they sound so yummy!

  4. Wiotch says:

    Just finished making this with shredded Oaxaca cheese, and it’s so much food!!! Haha, I think I’m gonna put this in tortillas tomorrow for lunch. Glad to hear it freezes well :)

    • Wiotch says:

      Sorry this comment was supposed to go in the thread for the chorizo sweet potato skillet.

  5. Charissa says:

    WOW I am super impressed with your website! I also am a nerd when it comes to numbers so I absolutely love what you are doing here! (I shamefully admit that I do the same thing but with games where you grow food and cook dishes, and I figure out which ones will bring in the most profit) I tried this recipe tonight with stuff I had on hand. I didn’t know you could cook rice with a bunch of other things simmering in there. It’s opened up a whole world for me! lol
    The only meat I had was a roll of turkey sausage so I cooked that up and threw it in there. How could I go wrong adding more delicious flavor, right? It turned out so good. My only complaint about the dish is my own fault. I subbed brown rice and used too much liquid and then overcooked the rice while trying to get it to evaporate. Trial and error. Thanks so much for your hard work–I will definitely be passing on this valuable resource!!

  6. Danyel says:

    I don’t like beans but I kept them in anyway. Super good. I probably put in a little more chicken than it called for, after poaching it in broth and using the resulting stock/broth in the recipe later. I also added a dash of dried ancho and chipotle chile to boost it up. I would probably add a spoonful of sour cream to the top if I had some. At under $6 for supplies, this is definitely a keeper.

  7. I made this for dinner tonight, and it was super tasty. It really does only take 5 minutes to put together! :D

  8. Tiffany says:

    SO GOOD! I didn’t have any salsa so I just threw a can of rotel, onion, lime juice and salt and pepper into the blender for a quick fix. We loved it :)

  9. Sian says:

    I made this and then put it into flour tortillas, fried them in a dry pan to crisp them up like a delicious, crispy burrito. Absolutely lovely and a big hit with all the Mexican food lovers in my house :)

  10. Matt says:

    I have made this twice and love it. I was wondering if it can be frozen in separate servings (once it has cooled) or will it comprise the texture?

    • Yes, it can be frozen in individual servings. I find that it freezes really well with no noticeable texture changes. :)

  11. Tammi says:

    This was so good my husband even ate the BEANS, which I have caught him hiding under napkins before. This is in the keeper file for sure.

  12. From the standpoint of someone who is much less than adept in the kitchen, I really loved this recipe! I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions to give it a little more kick, besides jalepeños? We are making it (again) tonight & will try the cayenne pepper. I know absolutely nothing about herbs & spices when it comes to cooking, so share your wisdom please! :)

    • Yep, try adding a dash of cayenne pepper along with the chili powder in the beginning. Also, you can try using a spicier salsa and topping it with pepper jack cheese. :)

    • I bet this would take a little can of chipotle peppers in adobo really well.

    • Wiotch says:

      Have you considered making your own green salsa? I used my homemade salsa for this skillet, and I got just the right amount of kick I wanted because I could control the amount of chilies in the salsa. If you can get a hold of some tomatillos in your area at an affordable price, homemade salsa verde is amazing and surprisingly easy to make :)

  13. That Girl says:

    I just made this with brown rice in my rice cooker & it was delicious! I upped the broth to accommodate the brown rice, but I shouldn’t have since I used a rice cooker. Oh well! Now I know for next time.

  14. Katie says:

    This recipe sums up everything I love about your site. I had the ingredients on hand, it came together within minutes, and was totally and utterly scrumptious. My boyfriend and I didn’t even have to pause our movie marathon, and cleanup was a breeze.

  15. Cesia says:

    Is this something I could make with raw chicken in a rice cooker? I have a bunch of skinned thighs I’d like to use up and I wondered if cooking the chicken along with the rice would require more liquid or less – any thoughts? (Loved the SW steak bowls which I had last week, btw!)

    • I don’t think you’ll need to adjust the water any. Meat actually has quite a bit of water in it and it usually lets off water as it cooks, but not enough to have to reduce the amount needed to cook the rice. :)

  16. Shayna says:

    Like always, amazing. Best text mex thing i ever made. Im never using that over processed over salty taco seasoning again because this was SO much better and had such a more authentic flavour. We had it in a torillia and avocado and sour cream but it would be really good on its own too. My fav part is that it requires very little effort. All you have to do is cook the chicken and put everything together in the pan and leave it.. checking on it every now and then of course. I added more water occasionally because I thought the mixture was getting too dry but I used a skillet without a lid so the water evaporated a lot. Also i added some cayenne for a spicy kick.. all around great recipe!

  17. Shelby says:

    Any ideas for a substitution for the cheese? I have a lactose intolerant SO.

  18. Bonnie says:

    I just came upon this website recently and made two of your dishes already. They were delicious. This has been such a goldmine to find. Thank you!

  19. Leah Szczepanski says:

    I have made this recipe twice now, and I’m making it again tonight. The first time, I followed the recipe exactly and found that while it boiled dry after about 20 minutes and was a little burnt on the bottom, it was still delicious. The second time I used 1-3/4 cups of chicken broth and it was perfect. I am making it again tonight, but this time with shredded chicken thighs that I cooked on my slow cooker, and I am also using a salsa verde, and possibly adding some corn. As someone who normally hates rice, I am very glad to have found a recipe with rice in it that I enjoy eating.

  20. Marcy says:

    This was delicious!

    I made it with a few alterations: I used diced pieces of ham steak instead of chicken and added some diced jalapenos (for extra heat). I also added a few corn kernels.

    Definitely a new go-to recipe for me!

  21. Looks delicious. Did your chicken taco bowl. I’m wondering where you get your salsa? The cheapest where I shop is $2.99. So a cup is gonna be half of that. Just curious how I could save there

    • Thank you! You found a math error for me. It was a large jar of generic, store brand salsa for $2.35 with just over 2.5 cups in volume. Looks like when I was calculating the cost per cup using the tablespoon serving size on the label, I miscalculated by a factor of 2! It should be $0.88 per cup. Fixing now. Thanks!!

  22. Merrick says:

    This turned out really well except that my rice was slightly crunchy :( I also noticed that when all the ingredients were combined with the broth before cooking, mine looked way less liquidy than yours. I used 2 cups chicken – do you think I should just up the amount of chicken broth to 1 3/4 cup or so?

    • Yes. I actually made it a second time just the other night with 1 3/4 cup broth and it worked REALLY well, so I think I’m going to update the recipe. :)

  23. Love this! FYI – I used instant brown rice and simmered for around 20 minutes (maybe actually a minute or two too long), just make sure you check in on it.

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