This easy Salsa Chicken is guaranteed to satisfy everyone at your dinner table! Juicy chicken breasts are rubbed with taco seasoning and roasted in a baking dish with chunky red salsa, tender black beans and gooey cheddar cheese.
Cheesy Salsa Chicken Bake with Black Beans
Tacos and baked chicken breasts are the first dishes that come to mind when I think about classic family dinners. They're easy, they're versatile, and you know that everybody will be more than happy to devour them. This salsa chicken combines those flavors in the most drool-worthy way imaginable!
Made with taco seasoning, salsa, black beans, and plenty of cheese, "salsa chicken" is just another term for "heaven in a casserole dish." Astonishingly, you only need six ingredients to make it happen! Minimum effort, maximum flavor. Because that's how we roll around here.
What You'll Need
Here's everything that goes into the salsa chicken itself – I like to serve it with soft flour tortillas, chopped cilantro, sour cream and fresh lime wedges to round out the dish but you could also simply it with Mexican rice or over a bed of crispy lettuce. Don't forget to scroll down to the recipe card for full amounts.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Feel free to use chicken thighs instead if you'd like (just increase the bake time by a couple of minutes if needed). Bone-in cuts require a much longer cook time.
- Taco seasoning: You can use a packet from the store or try our easy homemade taco seasoning.
- Olive oil: This will be used to brown the chicken before it's baked
- Chunky red salsa: Half will be spread into the bottom of the baking dish and half will be poured overtop the chicken.
- Black beans: Drained and rinsed.
- Shredded cheddar cheese: We love the gooey cheesy finish for this dish.
How to Make the Best Salsa Chicken
From seasoning the chicken to loading on the toppings, every step of this recipe is super simple. Let's get started!
Heat Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F.
Trim & Season Chicken: Trim the chicken of any excess fat and rub taco seasoning on all sides of each breast.
Brown Chicken: Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken breasts and brown them on both sides. Each side should take 1 to 1 1⁄2 minutes to brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
Spread Half of Salsa Into Baking Dish: Pour half of the salsa into a 9x13-inch casserole dish and evenly spread it out to coat the bottom.
Add Black Beans: Sprinkle the black beans over the salsa in an even layer.
Add Chicken, Remaining Salsa & Cheese: Place the chicken breasts on top of the black beans, cover them with the remaining salsa, then evenly sprinkle on the shredded cheddar cheese.
Cover & Bake: Cover the dish with foil and bake it for 25 minutes.
Uncover & Finish Baking: Remove the foil and bake the chicken for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the chicken has reached 165 degrees F when tested with a digital meat thermometer.
Let Rest: Remove the casserole dish from the oven and allow the salsa chicken to rest for 5 minutes.
Enjoy! Top the dish with chopped cilantro, then serve it with tortillas, sour cream and lime wedges.
Can I Prep It Ahead of Time?
Good question! To prepare your salsa chicken in advance, assemble everything in the baking dish as usual, but leave off the cheese. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. Let it sit at room temperature while you preheat the oven (about 20 minutes), then add the cheese and increase the cook time by 10 minutes.
You can also store your prepared salsa chicken in the freezer for up to 3 months. In this case, you should wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap before you add the foil. Thaw it out in the refrigerator overnight, then follow the same process we just went over.
Want some easy ways to ensure the success of your salsa chicken? I've got your back!
- Consistency is Key: If your chicken breasts are all different sizes, they're not going to cook at the same rate. Try to select even-sized breasts – if you can't, pound them with a mallet to make sure they all have the same thickness.
- How Do I Know When My Chicken is Done? I recommend using an instant-read meat thermometer to check the doneness of your chicken. Its internal temperature should register at 165°F, but you can take it out a few degrees earlier since the chicken will continue to absorb heat for a bit.
- Don't Skip the Resting Time: Once your chicken has finished cooking, it's important to let it sit undisturbed for at least 5 minutes so the juices get a chance to redistribute. If you cut into it before then, the meat won't be as tender and juicy.
- Serve it Up: The suggested sour cream, cilantro and lime juice add bright, fresh flavors to complement the salty, savory salsa chicken. I encourage you not to omit them!
Add-Ins & Variations
This meal is just as versatile as the dishes that inspired it. If you're looking to switch things up, you can't go wrong with any of the options below.
- Substitute a chunky green salsa or salsa verde for the red salsa
- Use a mixture of smooth salsa or picante sauce and a can of fire roasted tomatoes
- Add more veggies to roast with the chicken
- Use a different seasoning blend
- Change up the type of cheese and try monterey jack, pepperjack, or even mozzarella instead.
- Add cooked rice to make this even more of a casserole style dish.
- Use different beans like pinto beans or even red kidney beans instead of black beans.
You don't need any other dishes to make this salsa chicken a complete meal, but you can totally add some anyway! If you decide on one of the following sides, you'll be very glad you did.
- Pair with Roasted Ranch Potatoes: Made with red potatoes, olive oil and dry ranch dressing, you're going to adore these easy Roasted Ranch Potatoes. They taste amazing alongside this Mexican-style chicken!
- Serve with Zucchini Salad: A citrusy Zucchini Salad loaded with pine nuts, garlic and fresh herbs? It doesn't get more refreshing than that.
- Pair with Mexican Street Corn: Fresh corn on the cob is smothered in a smooth chili lime sauce and charred to perfection on the grill in this must-make side dish. It's Grilled Mexican Street Corn at its finest!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
This dish will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container – and don't transfer it to the fridge until it has cooled completely.
Before you warm up your leftovers, chop or thinly slice the chicken to promote even heating throughout the dish. Large portions should be reheated in a skillet over medium-low heat until the chicken reaches 165°F. Individual servings can be microwaved for 90 seconds, plus additional 10-20 second bursts as needed.
Can I Freeze Salsa Chicken?
Yes – simply cut up the chicken ahead of time and freeze individual portions in their own heavy-duty storage bags. Frozen salsa chicken lasts for up to 2 months. Thaw it out in the fridge overnight before you reheat it.
More Easy Dinner Ideas
Loving this hearty chicken dinner? With the recipes below, you might just discover your next family favorite.
Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
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For the Salsa Chicken
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 30 oz chunky red salsa divided
- 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- chopped cilantro
- sour cream
- lime wedges
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Trim the chicken breasts of any excess fat and rub taco seasoning on all sides.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is heated and shimmering, add the chicken breasts and brown on both sides, 1 to 1 1⁄2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Pour half of the salsa into a 9x13-inch casserole dish and evenly spread to coat the bottom. Sprinkle the black beans over the salsa in an even layer.
- Place chicken breasts on top of the black beans, cover with the remaining salsa, and evenly top with shredded cheddar cheese.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Remove the casserole dish from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
- Top with chopped cilantro and serve with tortillas, sour cream, and lime wedges.
- Meal Prep: Assemble everything in baking dish except for cheese. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, then add cheese & increase cook time by 10 minutes.
- Storage & Reheating: Refrigerate cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Before reheating, chop or thinly slice chicken to promote even heating throughout. Large portions should be reheated in a skillet over medium-low heat until chicken reaches 165°F. Individual servings can be microwaved for 90 seconds, plus additional 10-20 second bursts as needed.
- Freezing: Cut/slice chicken ahead of time and freeze individual portions in separate heavy-duty storage bags for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.