Monterey Chicken Skillet

Written by Beth - Budget Bytes

It used to really irk me when recipes called for “pre-cooked chicken.” I was like, “What the huh, who has pre-cooked chicken laying around?” But then I kind of warmed up to the idea of grocery store rotisserie chickens, okay maybe “became addicted” would be more accurate than “warmed up to.” So, if you’re a rotisserie chicken fan or otherwise have some pre-cooked chicken around, you definitely have to try this Monterey Chicken Skillet.

Originally posted 11/3/14, updated 7/10/18

Monterey Chicken Skillet

Top view of Monterey Chicken Skillet sitting on a blue striped napkin with a wooden spoon

What is Monterey Chicken?

This quick skillet pasta is a take on a recipe that I’ve seen floating around the web for years, Monterey Chicken. It’s a unique combo of tomatoes, green chiles, BBQ sauce, cheese, and bacon. Sounds strange, but there are so many good things going on in this dish that you really never get a dull bite. There’s just a LOT of flavor. As usual, I turned it into a pasta dish to help stretch out the cost… Because chicken, bacon, and cheese aren’t exactly cheap.


I used a little rotisserie chicken, went light on the cheese, and only included the bacon because I happened to have some left over in my freezer. Honestly, I think the BBQ sauce and cheese carry the flavor here, so if you don’t want to spend on the bacon you could skip it and still get a great meal. The Rotel tomatoes (diced tomatoes with green chiles) can be kind of spicy, so if that’s not your ticket, you can use plain diced tomatoes instead (a 15 oz. can is okay).

So, ready to see how easy this is? Let’s go…

Smoky BBQ sauce, salty bacon, and creamy Monterey Jack cheese come together in this quick, one-dish Monterey Chicken Skillet.
Print Recipe Grocery List Favorites
4.55 from 53 votes

Monterey Chicken Skillet

Smoky BBQ sauce, salty bacon, and creamy Monterey Jack cheese come together in this quick, one-dish Monterey Chicken Skillet. 
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 4


  • 2 cups shredded pre-cooked chicken (1/2 rotisserie chicken) ($3.50)
  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chiles) ($0.99)
  • 1/2 lb. fusili pasta ($0.63)
  • 2 cups chicken broth ($0.30)
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce ($0.36)
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese ($1.24)
  • 3 slices bacon ($0.92)
  • 2 green onions, sliced ($0.17)


  • Place the chicken, pasta, and Rotel tomatoes (undrained) in a large skillet. Add two cups of chicken broth and stir to combine. Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid, turn the heat on to high, and let it come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes, giving it a quick stir every 5 minutes or so.
  • Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet until brown and crispy. Drain the cooked bacon on a paper towel, then crumble into pieces.
  • After simmering for 15 minutes, the pasta should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed. If the pasta is still firm, let the skillet simmer for 5 more minutes. If the pasta is tender, but there is still a lot of liquid in the skillet, let it simmer without a lid for 5 more minutes.
  • Once the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed, drizzle the BBQ sauce over top. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the BBQ sauce and cover the skillet with the lid. Leave the heat set on low and let the skillet sit for five minutes to melt the cheese. Once the cheese is melted, top with the crumbled bacon and sliced green onions, then serve.


If you can't find Rotel tomatoes, you can use one 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes instead. If canned diced green chiles are available on their own, they can be added as well.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
Tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!


Serving: 1 ServingCalories: 580.83 kcalCarbohydrates: 46.93 gProtein: 42.15 gFat: 24.53 gSodium: 2083.13 mgFiber: 2.03 g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.

The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products we use and love. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of a forkful of Monterey Chicken Skillet with full skillet in background

How to Make Monterey Chicken Skillet – Step by Step Photos

Can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles

Before we begin, let’s take a second to talk about Rotel. Rotel is a brand of canned diced tomatoes with green chiles that is available in most U.S. supermarkets (usually 10-oz. cans). If you can’t find Rotel, you can use a can of plain diced tomatoes, or a can of diced tomatoes plus a can of diced green chiles. Original Rotel is spicy, so consider that, although I’ve seen other brands that use mild green chiles so you get the flavor of the chile without the heat.

Rotel, dry pasta and shredded chicken in skillet on stove top

Anywho, put that can of Rotel in a skillet (undrained) along with two loosely packed cups of pre-cooked chicken and 1/2 lb. of pasta.

Chicken broth added to skillet with other ingredients

Add two cups of chicken broth then stir everything together well. Place a tight fitting lid on the skillet, turn the heat on to high, and let it come to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Make sure that it is still simmering on your lowest setting and if it isn’t turn the heat up just a smidge. Also, make sure to stir it once every five minutes or so just to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom.

Frozen Bacon, ready to chop and cook in separate skillet

While the skillet is simmering, cook the bacon. I happened to have a half package of bacon left over in my freezer, so I cut that in half and froze the remaining 1/4. So, the portion I used is roughly equivalent to 3 slices. If I hadn’t had the bacon, I probably would have skipped it and still been happy with the dish.

Browned bacon pieces in skillet on stove top

Brown the bacon in the skillet, then drain it on some paper towels. Once it’s cooled, crumble it into pieces.

BBQ Sauce poured on top of cooked skillet

After the skillet has simmered for 15 minutes, the pasta should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed off the bottom. If the pasta is not yet tender, let it simmer for another 5 minutes (with the lid). If it’s tender but there’s still quite a bit of liquid, just let it simmer for a few minutes more WITHOUT the lid, to help the moisture evaporate. Once the pasta is tender, drizzle about 1/3 cup of BBQ sauce over top. It’s easy to go overboard here, so keep it kind of light (I went a little too far I think).

Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese sprinkled on top of skillet

Then sprinkle one cup of shredded Monterey jack over the BBQ sauce. Replace the lid and let it sit for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted (I still have the heat on low).

Finished skillet sitting on blue stopped napkin with a wooden spoon on the side

Once the cheese is melted, you can turn off the heat and top the skillet with sliced green onion and the crumbled bacon. Hellloooooooo!

Wooden spoon scooping out a spoonful of pasta mixture

Yeah, I was in the mood for indulgent today. :P