Fiesta chicken and rice is the perfect easy Southwestern recipe! It’s packed full of creamy chicken and bell peppers and then it’s all topped off with melted shredded cheese.
This fiesta chicken recipe is fun and delicious. It’s seasoned just right. The chicken is so juicy and flavorful. Then there’s that creamy sauce, which is just so much better than you could imagine. It’s like a creamy flavor overload!
Serving it over rice just takes it to the next level. It kind of reminds me of a burrito, without the wrap, and the fresh cilantro is definitely the “cherry” on top for this recipe.
One of my favorite parts about this recipe is that it doesn’t take much time at all, you’ll have it on the table in less than 40 minutes. Plus, it got thumbs up all around from our whole family, so I’m sure it’ll be popular with yours, too!
The funny thing about this recipe is that it came about as a recipe test for a Chicken Fajita Casserole I was working on. Since it’s more of a one pot meal than a casserole, I kept working on the casserole recipe, but I couldn’t get this version of it out of my head. It was so good that I knew I had to share it with all of you! So, that’s how our version of fiesta chicken was born.
To make this creamy Tex-Mex inspired chicken, we’ll start by making our taco seasoning. For that you’ll need chili powder, ground cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and crushed red pepper flakes.
In addition to the seasoning blend, you’ll also need chicken breasts, olive oil, butter, red bell peppers, onion, chicken broth, cream cheese, and freshly shredded cheddar cheese.
How To Make Fiesta Chicken
Start by making the homemade taco seasoning blend, then use part of that along with the oil to coat the filleted chicken. Saute the chicken in an oven-safe skillet, and then shred it once it cools.
Saute the bell peppers and onions, then mix in the remaining spice blend. Add in the chicken broth and cream cheese, and mix until it’s melted. Then mix in the sour cream and some of the cheddar cheese.
Next, you’ll mix in the shredded chicken. Then top it with cheese and bake it until the cheese has melted. Serve it over some hot rice and top it with fresh cilantro. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
What Type Of Chicken Should I Use?
I opted for air chilled boneless skinless chicken breasts because it’s what I always keep on hand. Feel free to swap that for chicken thighs though. I do recommend using air chilled chicken because it has a better texture than water chilled chicken.
Boneless skinless chicken also keeps this recipe quick and easy, but you can definitely swap it for bone-in chicken if you’d like (you’d just have to adjust the cooking time and cook the chicken until it’s reached an internal temperature of 165 F on an instant read meat thermometer).
Depending on the texture you prefer, you can skip the shredding of the chicken if you’d like. Instead, you can cut it into slices or into 1/2″ chunks.
This is also a great recipe to use up leftover chicken (especially leftover rotisserie chicken). Just break the cooked chicken up into the size pieces you want, then saute it in the skillet with the oil and half of the spice blend. That will heat the chicken, crisp it up, and season it with all of those amazing Tex-Mex spices.
What To Serve It With
I love serving this as a rice with a side of long grain white rice, brown rice, or my super easy Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice. You could also serve it with yucca or an easy chopped salad. It also makes a great filling for quesadillas, burritos, taquitos, enchiladas, and tacos. No matter what you decide to serve it with, I definitely recommend topping it with some fresh salsa, like this easy Pico de Gallo!
If you want to bulk this recipe up a little bit, you could just adding some canned black beans, canned corn, fire roasted tomatoes, or RO-TEL. If you want to add a little heat, you could add a can of green chilies. Bulking up with some of these other vegetables is a great way to make this recipe stretch to feed a larger family!
Freezing, Reheating, and Storing
Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat it, warm it up in a skillet on the stove, or in a microwave (it’s great for meal prep!). I don’t recommend freezing this dish because of the dairy in it.
Keep In Touch
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
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If you love the flavors of the taco spices in this recipe, be sure to check out our entire Mexican recipes section! Some reader favorites are:
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper (stems and seeds removed, cut into 1/4” thick slices)
- 1 medium orange bell pepper (stems and seeds removed, cut into 1/4” thick slices)
- 1 medium red bell pepper (stems and seeds removed, cut into 1/4” thick slices)
- 1 medium yellow onion (thinly sliced)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3 ounces cream cheese (room temperature, cubed, 1/3 of a brick)
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)**
- 2 Tablespoons diced fresh cilantro
- 2 cups cooked long grain white rice (optional, recommended for serving)
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Divide the seasoning blend in half, reserving 1 1/2 Tablespoons for the chicken, and 1 1/2 Tablespoons for the sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
- In a medium bowl, combine half of the spice blend with the olive oil.
- Using a sharp knife, butterfly the chicken all the way through so you have 4 even fillets. Add the chicken to the oil and spice blend, and coat the chicken evenly.
- Heat a large oven safe skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until golden brown. About 3 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reads 165 F on an instant read meat thermometer.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, and let it cool for about 5 minutes before shredding.
- Turn the heat down to medium, and melt the butter in the skillet. Once the butter is melted, add the peppers and onions and saute. Give the bottom of the skillet a good scraping with a wooden spoon to lift up all the leftover flavor from sauteing the chicken. Saute the vegetables for about 5 - 7minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.
- Shred the chicken. The easiest way is by using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the chicken into the bowl and turn the speed to low, let the chicken shred for about 30 seconds.
- Once the peppers and onions have softened, mix in the rest of the fajita spice blend. Then add the chicken broth and the cream cheese, and mix until the cream cheese has fully melted (around 5 minutes). Once the cream cheese is melted, mix in the sour cream and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, then mix in the shredded chicken.
- Cover the chicken mixture evenly with the remaining shredded cheese and bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Plate the rice, and add the fiesta chicken over top. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve!
*This chili powder is a spice blend sold in the USA and Canada. It’s not the same thing as chili powder sold in the UK or other parts of the world (where it’s pure chili powder instead of a spice blend). Chili powder from other parts of the world cannot be used as a 1:1 replacement and would be way too spicy.
**It’s important to use freshly shredded cheese. The cheese that comes pre-shredded is coated in a starch to prevent the shreds from sticking together, but that starch stops the cheese from melting very well.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442Total Fat: 32.2gCarbohydrates: 10.4gFiber: 2.3gSugar: 5.2gProtein: 28.9g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate. This was calculated without the optional rice and assuming 6 servings.
Creamy fiesta chicken is flavored with homemade taco seasoning and it’s the perfect delicious quick meal!