Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet

$8.55 recipe / $2.14 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.92 from 57 votes
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Salsa is my secret weapon on busy nights. It’s a one stop shop for adding tons of flavor, without having to dice, chop, and measure out a million ingredients. Everything you need is inside that one jar. It just makes weeknight dinners so easy. Give this Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet a try, and you’ll be a believer.

If you’re a fan of my Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Bowls, you’ll probably love this Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet as well. It’s the same flavors, but faster and a little creamier. ;) If you didn’t remember to get the slow cooker going before you left for work in the morning, you can still whip up an almost identical dish in a skillet, in under 30 minutes.

Finished creamy salsa chicken skillet with cilantro and cheese sprinkled over top.

What Kind of Salsa is Best?

You can use pretty much any type of store bought salsa for this recipe, but I’d aim for a thick and chunky variety to keep the sauce thick and give it some texture. Opt for a saucy-type of salsa, rather than a fresh, uncooked, juicy style salsa, which are usually sold in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Chipotle flavored salsa would be awesome, but I’d probably skip fruit flavored salsa (like peach or pineapple).

A bowl full of creamy salsa chicken skillet served over rice.
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Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet

4.92 from 57 votes
A simple jar of salsa is the key to making dinner fast and easy. Just try this Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet and see for yourself.
A simple jar of salsa is the key to making dinner fast and easy. Just try this Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet and see for yourself.
Servings 4
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes


  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast ($3.99)
  • 1 tsp chili powder ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.02)
  • 1 16oz. jar salsa ($1.79)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.59)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels ($0.19)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream ($0.56)
  • 2 oz. queso fresco* ($0.40)
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro or sliced green onions ($0.12)
  • 4 cups cooked rice for serving ($0.70)


  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Place the chicken on a cutting board and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap. Use a mallet or rolling pin to gently pound the chicken to an even thickness (about 1/2-inch thick). This step is very important to make sure the chicken cooks quickly and evenly, without drying out.
  • Combine the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the spices over both sides of the chicken, and then rub it over the surface to make sure it’s evenly coated.
  • Heat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Once the skillet is very hot, add the chicken and cook on both sides until browned and cooked through (about 5 minutes each side. Cooking time will vary with the size of your chicken pieces and type of cookware). 
  • While the chicken is cooking, rinse and drain the black beans. Roughly chop the cilantro or slice the green onions, depending on which you prefer to use.
  • Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean cutting board and let it rest while you prepare the creamy salsa. Turn the burner down to medium low. Pour the salsa into the skillet and stir to dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the black beans and frozen corn kernels and allow the sauce to heat through.
  • To prevent the sour cream from curdling when added to the salsa, first add a few spoonfuls, one at a time, to the sour cream to slowly increase it’s temperature and acidity. Once the sour cream is slightly warm, add it back to the rest of the salsa in the skillet and stir to combine. Turn the heat off.
  • Slice the chicken breast into strips, then place it on top of the creamy salsa sauce in the skillet. Top the skillet with crumbled cheese and cilantro or green onion. Serve over a bed of cooked rice.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


*If queso fresco is not available, crumbled feta is a great substitute, or use your favorite shredded cheese blend.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 587.35kcalCarbohydrates: 74.73gProtein: 39.8gFat: 12.7gSodium: 1616.73mgFiber: 11.88g
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Front view of sliced chicken in the skillet with a creamy salsa sauce.

How to Make Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet – Step by Step Photos

Pound Chicken to even thickness

Pat 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast dry with paper towel. This is going to help it brown up in the skillet and helps keep it from splattering when you pound it out. Place the chicken on a cutting board, cover it in plastic (again to prevent splatter) and gently pound it out to an even thickness. This step is super important because it helps the chicken cook a LOT faster and more evenly. This is especially important for chicken breast, which dries out if cooked too long.

Season Chicken Breast with spices

In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Sprinkle the spices over both sides of the chicken, then rub it in to make sure it’s evenly coated.

Sear chicken breast in skillet

Heat a large, deep skillet over medium. Add 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil to the skillet and swirl to coat. Once the skillet is nice and hot, add the chicken and cook on both sides until well browned and cooked through (about 5 minutes each side, depending on the size of your chicken and the cookware you’re using). Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board to rest. While the chicken is cooking, rinse and drain one 15 oz. can of black beans and roughly chop some cilantro or slice some green onions.

Add Salsa to Skillet

Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add one 16 oz. jar of salsa and stir to dissolve the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.

Add Black Beans and Heat Through

Add your black beans and 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels to the salsa, and heat through (you can turn the heat up slightly, to speed up this process, if needed). Don’t mind my photos, I actually forgot the corn on the day that I photographed this. OOPS.

Temper Sour Cream

Now it’s time to add the sour cream to the salsa mixture, but if you add cold sour cream to a hot acidic mixture, it will curdle, so we’ll slowly bring it up to temp. Add about three spoonfuls of the hot salsa mixture to 1/3 cup sour cream, one spoonful at a time, until the sour cream has warmed up some. 

Combine tempered sour cream with salsa in skillet

Then stir the warmed sour cream into the rest of the salsa mixture in the skillet. Turn the heat off. And just a reminder, if it DOES seize up and curdle, that doesn’t mean it has “gone bad.” It simply means the proteins have clumped. It’s still perfectly safe to eat.

Slice Chicken Breast

Now go back to your chicken that was resting while you made your creamy salsa and slice it into strips.

Finished creamy salsa chicken skillet with cilantro and cheese sprinkled over top

Add your chicken strips to the skillet with the creamy salsa, then top with 2 oz. crumbled queso fresco and some cilantro or green onions.

Side view of creamy salsa chicken skillet

Serve this creamy salsa chicken goodness over a bed of warm rice and love the fact that you can create a delicious dinner so quickly! THANK YOU SALSA.

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  1. Very very very very good. And I used fresh salsa because that’s what I had. I cooked it a little while before adding sour cream. I also used another person’s suggestion of doubling the spices for the rub. I made yellow rice to go with it. My son said, “This is really good, Mom!”

  2. Really great! Making it for the third time tonight. I use vegan sour cream (or coconut cream) and add a little bit of canned chipotle, but otherwise leave it as is :-) I usually serve with rice.

  3. This is a great recipe! Super easy and delish. I like to serve with corn chips rather than rice and use Danish feta instead of queso fresco. Only other changes I make are to double the spice mixture (otherwise I find it’s only enough to coat one side of the chicken) and to add more sour cream.

  4. Start to finish, took me about 30min, as stated. Tastes AMAZING. I’m using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. This is a great spin on my basic burrito bowl or taco night.

  5. We made this last night and its so great!! The chicken is absolutely delicious even on its own, definitely keeping the spice blend and cooking technique for it for future lunches and salads too. Loved this and the portion size was really great, I was stuffed after dinner. Very satisfying and tasty! :)

  6. This was so good and flavorful! Adding the sour cream into the dish instead of plopping it on top was a great alternative! Nice to have a quick and easy recipe on hand, thank you!

  7. This recipe is great, even better than I thought it would be!

    I made some adjustments to make it more affordable: I used a tube of ground turkey instead of the chicken breast (since it’s what I had on hand), a single-serve plain yogurt so I didn’t have to buy a whole tub of sour cream for just 1/3 cup, and I added extra frozen pre-chopped peppers and onions to increase the veggies in the recipe. Also, I chose the cilantro option. Even with my changes the recipe turned out great (although it definitely wasn’t as creamy as it would have been with sour cream).

    This is how much the recipe cost me to make in Canada in November, 2022, shopping at a discount grocery store:
    tube of ground turkey (1lb) – $2.50 (Food Basics sells these in a 4-tube package for $10 in the freezer section)
    16-oz can of No Name black beans: $1.19
    15-oz jar of President’s Choice salsa: $3.29
    single-serve Astro plain yogurt: $0.99
    prepackaged shredded cheese (optional) $4.99 on sale (I splurged!)
    package of No Name frozen corn: $2.00
    bunch of fresh cilantro: $1.29
    package of Selection brand frozen chopped “spaghetti mix” (peppers, celery, carrots, onion): $3.29

    Total cost (excluding spices and rice, which I had on hand): $19.54
    If you omit the cheese: $14.55

    I think this recipe is fantastic and I will be making it again! It will be even cheaper next time since now I have the frozen veg on hand.

      1. Some people like to read the substitutions that others make. She didn’t criticize the dish…

  8. Made this for the first time last night, my husband and I loved it! So easy and quick!
    Lightened mine up by using greek yogurt instead of sour cream and served with cauliflower rice and fajita veggies.

    Used my leftover creamy salsa mixture on my breakfast burritos this morning :)

    1. Could this recipe be a freezer meal? We had it for the first time tonight and loved it! Starting to also prep for baby #2!

      1. Congrats Dakota!! And yes, you can freeze dishes with cream-based sauces as long as they are stored in an airtight container or double-wrapped (first with plastic and then in foil) and completely thawed out in the refrigerator before you reheat them. XOXO -Monti

  9. I made this for the first time tonight. It was so nice not to do any chopping (except for green onions) and still feel like I was cooking and eating a real meal. The only change I made was to use chicken thighs instead of breasts – I never use breasts, thighs are cheaper and I think they taste better – so I skipped the flattening step, and instead of slicing them at the end, I just put them back in the sauce to simmer for a few minutes. I served over brown rice. This is going to enter our regular dinner rotation.

  10. This recipe looks delish but I feel like you should adjust the price based on chicken. I WISH chicken breast was 3.99 a pound lol

  11. Just ate this. Sooo good! And so easy. I served it over cilantro lime rice. I made my chicken in the foreman grill. It never dried out. The sour cream really elevates this dish and brings it into umami territory. I will definitely make again.