Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake
This Mexican chicken and rice bake is a one-pan meal that’s loaded with flavor and sure to please the whole family. Made quick and simply with rice, plenty of salsa, corn, black beans, chicken breasts, and lots of cheese, I love to throw this dinner recipe together when I’m short on time or energy but ready for a delicious meal!
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- This simple chicken bake is quick and easy to throw together but full of delicious flavors and satisfying ingredients. Juicy chicken seasoned with taco seasoning on a bed of rice, black beans, corn, and salsa, topped with melty cheddar cheese. Savory, filling, and comforting, all in one.
- It’s a one-pan (…pan? …pot? …dish? One-dish.) meal which means less to clean up all around. I don’t know about you, but this mama is always a fan of less to clean up.
- Like most casseroles, Mexican chicken and rice bakes are fantastic for meal prep. Not only do you have your protein and sides all ready in one dish, but all the ingredients keep and reheat well. Just divvy everything up into individual portions, refrigerate your servings in airtight containers, and heat it all up when you’re ready to eat!
- Be careful not to overcook the chicken during its first round in the oven. If it’s overcooked before you add the cheese, it’s only going to get more overcooked when you put it back in the oven to melt the cheese. Aim for a temperature of around 158° Fahrenheit – cooked through but not quite fully cooked.
- I opted for chicken breasts in my chicken and rice bake, but boneless, skinless chicken thighs will also work. Chicken thighs typically take a little longer to cook, so adjust as needed!
- Change up the flavors every time you make a Mexican chicken casserole just by using different salsas! You can’t go wrong with a classic chunky red salsa, sure. Salsa verde would also be delish, as would a pineapple salsa or a tomatillo and chipotle pepper salsa. You can also make your own – I really love a roasted salsa here!
Add These Casseroles and One-Dish Recipes to Your Arsenal
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
- Sheet Pan Steak and Fries (with Microwave Bearnaise Sauce)
- Cheesy Italian Sausage & Bell Pepper Casserole (Low Carb, Keto)
- Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Sausage
- Sausage & Egg Breakfast Casserole
Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake
For the Chicken
- 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 2 large chicken breasts sliced into cutlets; approximately 2-3 pounds total
- salt to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
For the Rice & Bean Layer
- 2 cups cooked rice white or brown
- 1 15-ounce can black beans drained, well-rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels see Notes
- ½ teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 16-ounce jar salsa any flavor, any brand; 2 cups, divided
- 2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese
To Serve (All Optional)
- sour cream
- crema or queso
- chopped fresh cilantro
- 9×13 baking dish
- Cooking spray
- Cutting board
- rubber or silicone spatula or large mixing spoon
- instant read thermometer
- Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Lightly spray casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Lay chicken breasts on cutting board. Season with plenty of salt and black pepper, then sprinkle ½ tablespoon taco seasoning over chicken. Flip chicken breasts over and repeat on other side. Set aside.
- Add cooked rice, black beans, corn kernels, garlic powder, 1 ½ cups salsa, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to greased casserole dish. Stir well to thoroughly combine all ingredients, then spread mixture out to all edges of casserole dish in one flat, even layer.
- Place seasoned chicken breasts on top of rice mixture in casserole dish. Cover chicken with remaining ½ cup salsa.
- Place casserole dish in preheated oven. Bake uncovered 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken is just cooked-through. Cook time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts. Instant read thermometer should read 158° Fahrenheit.
- Remove casserole dish from oven. Sprinkle shredded cheese over top of chicken, then return casserole dish to oven. Bake uncovered 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
- Remove casserole dish from oven. Divide chicken breasts and rice mixture into servings and top with desired toppings. Serve warm.
- Corn: If using canned corn, be sure to drain liquid and rinse corn kernels very well.
- Cook Time: Your exact cook time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts you use. I recommend using a thermometer of some sort to tell when the chicken is just cooked-through. If you go by visual clues, you risk overcooking the chicken when you put it back in the oven to melt the cheese.
- Make it Low Carb: Replace the rice with cooked cauliflower rice.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.
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