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 52 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. Hi there! Absolutely love your work.

    When you say 1 cup of salsa, what exactly do you mean? Im aussie so not particularly clued in haha.


    • In the U.S. salsa is a slightly cooked mixture of tomato, onion, jalapeńo (usually), and other southwest spices. Salsa can be “fresh” (uncooked), but the type I used for this recipe is store bought salsa from a jar, which is usually cooked and a bit more saucy. I hope that helps!

  2. Tyler says:

    Holy moly this is amazing! I didn’t have any cheese at hand but had all of the other ingredients! Fantastic and super easy! Thanks for sharing!

  3. JoAnna says:

    Our under 10 (years old) crowd loved this, thank you!

  4. Made this last night! I didn’t have precooked chicken, so I used 3 bone-in chicken thighs. I browned the thighs really well on both sides in the skillet, then took them out and poured off most of the fat, then added the rest of the ingredients. Once everything was nicely distributed I nestled the chicken back in the pan and let everything simmer. After 30 mins I pulled the chicken out, shredded it with two forks, then added it back to the pan and fluffed/stirred the rice. I think I will do it this way in the future, even though it’s a bit more work, because chicken thighs don’t overcook and you get the added flavor from cooking the chicken and rice at the same time. And really, it didn’t actually take much longer since I prepped the other ingredients while the chicken browned. Every other part of this recipe was so easy, and it made a ton of food. I can’t wait to eat my leftovers for lunch!

  5. Jimmy says:

    I tried making this tonight, and my rice was all burnt at the bottom of the pan while there was still stock at the top. I had it on the lowest heat possible so that it was just about simmering.

    How could I prevent this from happening next time?

    • It sounds like you may have a very thin pot or one that doesn’t conduct heat well? Or maybe your particular stove just doesn’t go down very low. :(

  6. Jenni says:

    I really enjoyed this recipe! It was easy to make, delicious, filling and gluten free! I think you could substitute things in the recipe pretty easily as well as far as using different types of beans, meat or tofu or other meat substitute. Delicious with Crystal hot sauce on it! Thanks Beth. :)

  7. Carissa says:

    I have all these ingredients and cooked brown rice that I would like to get rid of. Any suggestions on how to alter this recipe with cooked rice?

    • Oh, yes, that would be so much easier. I would just mix the ingredients (minus the broth) and heat them over medium or medium-low until heated through. The end! :) The only difference is that using uncooked rice you’ll have a bit more flavor because the broth, salsa, and chili powder kind of cooks into the rice and flavors it.

  8. Hannah says:

    So I’ve made this a few times more or less as the recipe calls for, and it’s amazing, simple, quick–everything I want in a mid-week recipe.

    Last night, though, I had no pre-made shredded chicken and that sounded like a lot of work (it was a lazy night…) so I used shredded beef. For shiggles I put in beef broth rather than chicken broth. The only salsa I had was less-spicy-more-fruity.

    The beef flavor overtook the salsa for the most part, so rather than the spicy flavors I’ve gotten from making the recipe as-written, I got something that was much more hearty (beefy, if you will) with undertones of sweet and spice. Definitely just as delicious, though!

  9. Denise M says:

    Yum. I added 1/2 chopped yellow onion. Added Sour cream then sprinkled chopped green onion on top of individual serving. My 17 yr. old went back for 2nds.

  10. So good! I added some frozen corn to bulk it up a little bit more and nixed the cheese. Ate leftovers in a quesadilla with some monterrey jack, and it was even better the next day!

  11. Amanda says:

    I made this for dinner tonight! I added some frozen sweet corn after reading some earlier suggestions, and considering both my husband and I are vegetarians, I subbed your normal chicken for some Quorn brand “chick’n cutlets” and it was amazing! I love all of your recipes that I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a lot of them) and have used Quorn in several with fantastic results every single time.

  12. Denise says:

    This says to use chili powder but not the red chili powder only the kind used to spice chili. Can you please be more specific? I have red chili powder but I have no clue what spices make up the powder used to spice chili??? Can you please help?! Thanks

    • Here’s a link to the product. It’s a common spice sold in the U.S., but I have a lot of readers from over seas, so I always put that note in there. :) I’ll add the link to the recipe, too.

  13. Gian says:

    Hi Beth! First comment on your website after trying a few of your great recipes. Keep up the awesome work!

    Question: If I’m buying raw chicken breasts, how many should I get to fill the 2 cups after cooking and shredding?

  14. Such a tasty and FAST recipe! Only changes were to add extra broth (because my stove is touchy and tried scorching my rice before it was done), and I added sliced black olives when I added the green onions. It was done fast and so good, I actually ate TWO plates. lol Will be experimenting with other flavors as this has actually jambalaya style feel to me… :)

  15. Reija says:

    awesome recipe!

  16. Matt G says:

    I used diced tomatoes with chilies instead of salsa and avocados instead of green onions. Wow, this is an EASY tasty dish. I have your book, thanks for everything you do Beth!

  17. Emily says:

    I made my own pulled chicken (I had some boneless skinless breasts in the freezer) with half a packet of taco seasoning, then added the rest of the packet to the skillet. I also swapped the black beans for pinto beans, and as a result the dish was not as pretty as the original. But it was delicious!! And the recipe made a TON of food. I will definitely make this again.

  18. Darren says:

    Hmm, my dad can’t eat beans do to them not agreeing with his health, so I wonder if I can take those out and sub in, say, celery and carrots?

    • I’m not sure if celery and carrots would fit the southwest theme, but if you like them, it’s worth a shot! :)

    • Lynne says:

      I used a can of corn, a green pepper and a red pepper instead of beans. Worked well.

  19. Meredith says:

    I’m a pretty bad cook but I made this super easily and I think I died and went to food heaven while I was eating it. 10/10 cooking this all the time

  20. Becca says:

    This recipe is AMAZING! It’s soo yummy, my boyfriend and I love it. I went with the suggestion from the other comments and used medium/hot salsa for more flavour and I also added in some corn. I didn’t have any precooked shredded chicken so I quickly cooked some, but I also added some spice to the chicken for extra flavour and it was great! So easy to make and so tasty, best recipe ever. :)

  21. Karen says:

    YUMMY!!! I knew by the smell of things while I was cooking that it would be good, but I had no idea it would that delicious. The only changes I made was a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (no salsa), and added a package of taco seasoning. We will eat the leftovers in soft tortilla shells tomorrow. Super tasty! Thanks Beth!

  22. Jenny says:

    This is so good I ate myself into a super food coma. this will be a new staple! I added Serrano pepper and leeks.

  23. I made this last night and it turned out well! I actually ended up doing it the crock pot. I had dried black beans on hand, so I tossed those in before I went to work. I drained them when I got home, and it occurred to me that I didn’t really have to dirty a skillet, so I just tossed the chicken and salsa in the pot with them. About two hours before we planned to eat, I added the rice and stock, then tossed to cheese in right before dinner. Worked great! Solid week night meal.

  24. Ann F says:

    OMG! The family devoured it. Another hit!

  25. Jessica says:

    I picked up a rotisserie chicken yesterday with the impending snow storm and made this for dinner. It was delicious! This will definitely be making its way into our rotation and it would be great wrapped in a tortilla and eaten as a burrito. Thanks for another great one Beth!

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