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 dinner 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.
Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet
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. You want 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).
Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet
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.
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast $3.99
- 1 tsp chili powder $0.10
- 1/2 tsp cumin $0.05
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
- 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
- 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.02
- 16 oz. jar salsa $1.79
- 15 oz. 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.
*If queso fresco is not available, crumbled feta is a great substitute, or use your favorite shredded cheese blend.
Step by Step Photos
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Now go back to your chicken that was resting while you made your creamy salsa and slice it into strips.
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.
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.