Southwest Chicken Skillet

$6.76 recipe / $1.69 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.82 from 162 votes
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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! Except this Southwest Chicken Skillet only takes about 30 minutes! #nolies

Originally posted 5-16-2014, updated 10-16-17

top view of southwest chicken skillet with wooden spoon

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 Southwest Chicken 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.” 

Other Topping Ideas

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!!

Close up of southwest chicken skillet with wooden spoon

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Southwest Chicken Skillet

4.82 from 162 votes
If you're looking for a quick and easy dinner, this Southwest Chicken Skillet is it! Precooked chicken makes this dinner possible in about 30 minutes.
If you're looking for a quick and easy dinner, this Southwest Chicken Skillet is it! Precooked chicken makes this dinner possible in about 30 minutes.
Servings 4 to 6
Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 25 mins


  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice* ($0.33)
  • 1 cup salsa ($0.65)
  • 1.5-2 cups precooked shredded chicken** ($3.50)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.49)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder*** ($0.30)
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth**** ($0.23)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese ($1.00)
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced ($0.26)


  • In a large skillet, combine the rice, salsa, chicken, black beans (drained), chili powder, and chicken broth. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
  • 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 15 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).
  • After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, and let it rest with the lid in place for 5 more minutes. Finally, 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.

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*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 1/2 of a store bought rotisserie chicken.
***Chili powder is not red chile powder. Chili powder is a mild blend of spices used to season chili. While some brands are a tad spicy, I use McCormick, which is mild.
****I used Better Than Bouillon Brand soup base to make my broth


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 546.45kcalCarbohydrates: 70.58gProtein: 40.9gFat: 10.98gSodium: 1529.23mgFiber: 13.6g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!Top view of a bowl of southwest chicken skillet with a fork on the side

How to Make Southwest Chicken Skillet – Step by Step Photos


Southwest Chicken Skillet Ingredients in skillet

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, 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.

Chicken broth being poured into skillet with other ingredients

Add 1.75 cups of chicken broth.

Top view of southwest chicken skillet cooked

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 15 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.

Top view of southwest chicken skillet cooked

After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit for 5 minutes without removing the lid. Finally remove the lid and 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.

Shredded cheese sprinkled on top of skillet and melted

Fluff it up with a fork to mix everything back together. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over top, then place the lid back on top and allow the steam to melt the cheese. Once melted, sprinkle the green onions over top.

Close up of southwest chicken salad with wooden spoon scooping some out

And that’s it! you’re ready to dig in.

Bowl of southwest chicken skillet with fork in it

Now that I have some pre-cooked shredded chicken in my freezer, I can have this Southwest Chicken Skillet ANYTIME I WANT! Woot!

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  1. I added maybe a cup of frozen corn, topped with Mexican shredded cheese, sour cream, and diced avocado. Hubs and I ate it with tortilla chips. So good!

  2. Very good!
    I saw an opportunity for this to be a rice cooker meal and it worked well. Throw everything in the rice cooker and just wait for it to tell you it’s done. My favorite kind of recipe

  3. I made this recipe and my family loved it! I didn’t have salsa on hand, so I used a can of Rotel tomatoes instead. I also added a bag of frozen corn and we put it on tortillas to stretch it even farther. We were able to get two big family meals out of this recipe that way and will be making again soon!

    1. Oh, I had Rotel and salsa and thought about swapping out and saving the salsa for later. It’s good to know the Rotel will work if I’m ever out of salsa!

  4. This was the kind of delicious where I had to come and review immediately after I finished eating it. Used rotisserie chicken breast, and made some small tweaks: used 19oz of beans since that’s the size the cans seem to come in Canada, used salsa verde because it’s my favourite, and about 1/4 cup of the broth was vegetable since I used up all the chicken broth. I left the cheese off so I can add it as I take servings for lunch through the week. Will top with some plain Greek yogurt when I have my next serving!

  5. Made this tonight. We used canned chicken and canned turkey as we’re trying to rotate our emergency pantry. You absolutely should not use brown rice (as stated, but imma rebel) haha, took FOREVER but it did turn out … eventually. I can’t leave well enough alone so, I added frozen corn, frozen spinach cubes, peas, small amount of salt and pepper, cumin and garlic powder and then close to when the rice was done, I added a whole diced onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Then covered in cheese as directed and served with curtido (Salvadoran saurkraut of sorts … it is definitely worth the effort to make this and add it as a side) We ate it with tortillas and it was amazing. I love pantry and freezer meals and I want to thank you for posting such an amazing recipe. White rice is now on the grocery list so when I make it again, I have it on hand.

  6. So we had to substitute for what we currently have on hand such as veggie broth and using green salsa instead of red but wwoooaahhh was this delicious! Family is feeling under the weather so needed an easy meal and this was it.

    Thank you for always being there with a delicious meal!

  7. I absolutely LOVE this recipe! I can’t rave about it enough. It’s so versatile, delicious, simple, and budget friendly!!

    I’ve used both rotisserie chicken (with chicken stock) and taco-seasoned ground beef (with beef stock). I’m convinced it could be just as tasty w/out meat too! I have added some combination of mild green chiles, diced tomatoes, and frozen corn in too. I always add some garlic powder and cumin as well and I think it really brings out some tasty flavors.

    I have served it in hard taco shells or with crunched up chips mixed in. Top it with sour cream, lettuce, and/or avocado and you have yourself a delicious southwest style meal!

  8. So good. So easy. Definitely a keeper. I made exactly as per recipe, but reading some of the comments definitely gave me some ideas. I am cooking only for myself, so having something I can freeze in smaller portions is a real bonus. I had already made and frozen my chicken so won’t be doing that this go round, but definitely next time! 

    I know a lot of your recipes are aimed at young singles and/or busy households with hard to please kids. I’m none of those. I live in a senior community where meals that I don’t like (but still have to pay for) are provided. This leaves me cooking for myself more often than I’d like. Also, being a senior, I don’t often have the energy to whip up a meal just because I don’t like what’s being served in the dining room. I’m much happier if I can reach in the freezer and pull something out that I made on a day when I was feeling peppier. LOL

    To date, I haven’t made anything from this site that I didn’t like. Thank you!!!