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This baked salsa chicken recipe transforms super simple ingredients into an easy meal for Mexican night — much like juicy baked chicken breast, but with a mouthwatering flavor boost from salsa, spices, and melty cheese.
It’s one of those perfect chicken recipes that can use up an extra jar of salsa in your pantry! I’ll show you how to make the best chicken and salsa in the oven, easy pairing ideas, and even methods to make it in your Crock Pot or Instant Pot if you prefer.
What Is Salsa Chicken?
Salsa chicken usually includes seasoned chicken baked in salsa with other added toppings like cheese. Some recipes add ingredients to a baking dish, while others sear chicken on the stovetop or cook it in a tabletop appliance, like a slow cooker. No matter how you cook it, it’s an easy weeknight meal that everyone can enjoy!
Why You’ll Love This Baked Salsa Chicken Recipe
- Zesty salsa flavor
- Tender chicken with saucy tomatoes and gooey cheese
- Simple grocery store ingredients
- 10 minutes prep time
- Freezer friendly
- Easy to use and pair with so many dishes (or enjoy all on its own)!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for chicken recipes with salsa, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs, but cooking time will vary slightly.
- Spices – Including sea salt, smoked paprika, cumin, and black pepper. You can easily substitute store-bought or homemade taco seasoning if that’s what you have on hand.
- Olive Oil – I prefer to use extra-virgin olive oil, but feel free to substitute any neutral cooking oil you like.
- White Onion – You can substitute any onion you wish.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic makes a big difference in taste for this recipe, but you can use jarred minced garlic to save time. If you need to substitute garlic powder, use 1/2 teaspoon and add it to the chicken with the other spices.
- Tomato Salsa – Use your favorite store-bought brand, or make homemade fresh tomato salsa in minutes for even zestier flavor.
- Shredded Cheese – Including a blend of cheddar cheese and white cheddar cheese. You can substitute monterey jack, Mexican blend cheese, or any semi-hard cheese that melts easily.
VARIATION: Salsa verde chicken!
To make chicken salsa verde, simply trade the tomato salsa for an equal amount of your favorite salsa verde.
How To Make Salsa Chicken In The Oven
This section shows how to make this chicken with salsa recipe, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Season. Season chicken breasts with spices.
- Sear. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook on both sides until golden. Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm.
- Cook onions. Reduce heat, and add onions and garlic to the pan. Cook until the onions are softened and beginning to brown. Return chicken to the pan over the onions.
- Add salsa and cheese. Pour the salsa over the chicken, and mix well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese on top.
- Bake. Bake in a preheated oven until cheese is bubbly and chicken is fully cooked.
Alternate Cooking Methods
I have a different slow cooker salsa chicken recipe in my first cookbook, but below are instructions for converting this recipe for the Crock Pot or Instant Pot.
Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Recipe
Slow cooker salsa chicken is a hands-off alternative if you want to skip stovetop cooking! To make a recipe for crockpot salsa chicken, follow these steps:
- Add onions and garlic to the bottom of the slow cooker and layer chicken on top.
- Season, top with salsa, and cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Scoop out any excess liquid with a ladle, if desired.
- In the last 10 minutes, you can add cheese and cover again to melt.
Instant Pot Salsa Chicken
To make salsa chicken Instant Pot friendly, follow these steps:
- Season chicken. Sear the chicken or onions in oil in the pot if desired, but it’s not necessary. (If searing, remove chicken before proceeding.)
- Add enough salsa to coat the bottom of the inner pot. Add chicken on top and pour remaining salsa on it.
- Adjust the steam release knob to sealing position, then cook on high pressure for 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken. Release pressure naturally for 10 minutes, followed by quick release for any remaining pressure.
- Scoop out any excess liquid with a ladle, if desired.
- Add cheese and cover again until cheese melts.
Leftover chicken can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can reheat in the microwave, or in the oven at 350 degrees F.
Can You Freeze Salsa Chicken?
Yes, you can freeze this chicken salsa bake for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
What To Serve With Salsa Chicken Recipes
What goes with salsa chicken? There are SO many options! Try it with these other mains, serving ideas, and sides:
- Toppings – You can serve the chicken as-is (which is what I ended up doing — time wasn’t on my side that day!), but Mexican toppings are amazing over it. Try jalapeno slices, sour cream, fresh cilantro, sliced black olives, diced red onions, and homemade guacamole or avocado slices.
- Nachos – Serve on top of your favorite tortilla chips and add your favorite nacho fixings.
- Tacos – Make traditional tacos with your favorite tortillas (jicama tortillas would be delicious here!) or use it as the main protein in a healthy taco salad.
- Easy Stuffing – Add to burrito bowls, use in quesadillas (I love it with almond flour tortillas), or add to chicken stuffed peppers.
- Mexican Sides – Pair salsa chicken with conventional rice or black beans, or try it alongside cilantro lime cauliflower rice, avocado corn salad, or cilantro lime taco slaw for a fresh alternative.
More Healthy Baked Chicken Recipes
Healthy chicken doesn’t have to be boring! Change it up with these easy recipes that cook hands-off in your oven.
Salsa Chicken Recipe
This baked salsa chicken recipe combines seasoned chicken, zesty salsa, and melty cheese for an easy weeknight meal. Ready in 30 minutes!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 (adjust to scale recipe)
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Season the chicken with salt, smoked paprika, cumin, and pepper.
In a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook for 4-8 minutes per side, until golden. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the onions are soft and starting to brown. Return the chicken to the pan over the onions.
Add the salsa to the skillet and mix well to coat the chicken in salsa.
Bake salsa chicken in the oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the chicken is cooked through.
Serving size: 1 chicken breast with salsa
Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.
Total Carbs 11.3g
Net Carbs 8.7g
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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