This Green Chili Chicken recipe is an easy, creamy, cheesy skillet dinner on your table in less than 30 minutes!
This Green Chili Chicken is the ultimate, hearty Mexican comfort food that belongs in your easy 30-minute meal arsenal. It’s a simple no fuss, no stress, no think weekday dinner life saver if ever there was one but it’s SO good your family will beg you to make it all the time. This Green Chili Chicken recipe is loaded with tender, juicy Southwest chicken swimming in a lusciously creamy green chili sour cream sauce with the option to add rice and beans. It’s exploding with TexMex flavors and textures made with pantry friendly ingredients with only one pan to wash! Pile this Green Chili Chicken recipe with your favorite toppings – tomatoes, avocados, salsa, tortilla chips, etc. and let the fiesta commence!
GREEN CHILI CHICKEN RECIPE
Don’t you just love a quick and easy skillet dinner? AKA one pan bursting with a symphony of flavors and textures in less than 30 minutes – YES AND YES! Some of my favorites include:
- Thai Peanut Butter Chicken
- Italian Chicken Orzo
- Greek Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Orzo
- Lemon Pepper Chicken and Asparagus
- Mexican Chicken and Rice
- Creamy Chicken and Rice
- Chicken in Coconut Mango Verde Sauce
- And now this Green Chili Chicken!
This Green Chili Chicken recipe was inspired by my Smothered Chicken Burritos with Creamy Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce. That recipe is a readers’ favorite with everyone raving about the adorning green chili sour cream sauce. I wanted to make the sauce the star of its own meal, so, I took the sauce, scaled it up and added chicken tossed in fiesta seasonings, black beans and rice to make it a one-skillet dinner. The resulting Green Chili Chicken is destined to become repeat family favorite for years to come.
REASONS TO LOVE GREEN CHILI CHICKEN:
- Family friendly. Everyone LOVES creamy, cheesy Mexican food! Please the kiddos with the chicken and rice and please the adults with the multi-dimensional, hypnotic sauce.
- QUICK and easy. Toss the chopped chicken in seasonings and brown, simmer the green chili sauce, combine and eat!
- Simple ingredients. This Green Chili Chicken uses pantry staples so you can make it any time – you probably have everything you need right now! Still, it tastes anything but ordinary. It’s an ingenious way to stretch inexpensive ingredients into a comforting new favorite.
- Customizable. Add veggies, add more or less heat, add rice or quinoa or serve over cauliflower rice and customize with all your favorite toppings.
- FLAVOR! The chicken is first seasoned to perfection with hand-picked seasonings then simmered in the sauce so it soaks up the symphony of flavor before the crowning sour cream and cheddar are stirred into the sauce.
What are Green Chilies?
Green chiles are one of my favorite ingredients to cook with! I use them in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, soups, casseroles, pastas, carnitas, barbacoa and more. Not only do they add a tangy, peppery, bright zing but they are SO convenient because they come chopped in a can. But what exactly are these mysterious heroes?
Chopped green chiles in the can are Anaheim chiles with a low to moderate heat level that ranges from 500 to 2,500 on the Scoville Heat Unit scale. They are fire roasted before being chopped and canned for an added layer of smokiness. Mild green chiles add a little zing but are not “hot.” If you purchase “hot” green chiles – then look out for the heat!
INGREDIENTS FOR GREEN CHILI CHICKEN RECIPE
The ingredients for Green Chili Chicken should be pantry staples – if not, everything is easy to pick up at your grocery store. You will need:
FOR THE CHICKEN:
You can use either chicken thighs or chicken breasts depending on personal preference.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs: are dark meat and therefore inherently juicier and hard to overcook. Thighs are the best option for maximum flavor and tenderness because we are not marinating the chicken.
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts: are leaner than chicken thighs but still will work, just make sure to not overcook the chicken or it will dry out.
- Rotisserie chicken and leftover chicken: to use rotisserie chicken, add the chicken rub seasonings directly to the sauce and stir the chicken in at the end of cooking just to heat through.
FOR THE GREEN CHILI SAUCE:
- Butter and oil: I like to use a combination of butter and oil for maximum flavor and the oil helps prevent the butter from burning. Use unsalted butter and quality extra virgin olive oil for best results.
- Flour: thickens the sauce. You can use all purpose flour or gluten free flour.
- Chicken broth: use low sodium chicken broth so we can control the salt.
- Canned mild diced green chilies: make sure you purchase mild green chiles – I have accidentally used the hot chilies before and they are HOT! Mild green chiles, however are more tangy than hot so you don’t have to worry about them making your Green Chili Chicken spicy.
- Canned black beans: you can substitute with pinto beans, kidney beans, cannellini bean or your favorite beans.
- Cheese: I like to use cheddar cheese because the sharp flavor doesn’t get lost and beautifully compliments the Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce. Use freshly shredded cheddar as opposed to pre-packaged cheese so the cheese will melt seamlessly. Packaged cheeses are treated with anti-clumping chemicals which prevents the cheese from melting as well.
- Sour cream: adds delightfully creaminess and tang. You may substitute with Greek yogurt but it’s not quite as magical in my opinion.
- Rice: you can use any of your favorite cooked rice or quinoa.
- Seasonings: chili powder, ground cumin, salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder add our oomph of flavor.
HOW TO MAKE GREEN CHILI CHICKEN
This Green Chili Chicken recipe comes together in minutes! Here’s how to make it:
- Season chicken. Whisk together the chicken seasonings in a small bowl. While the chicken is still on the cutting board, pat it dry and sprinkle with seasonings, toss to evenly coat; set aside. Make sure the chicken is dried well or the seasonings won’t stick.
- Cook chicken. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy bottom skillet over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add chicken and cook until opaque. Browning the chicken that’s coated in spices blooms the spices and unlocks the flavor.
- Add sauce ingredients. Melt butter in olive oil in the now empty skillet. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low then gradually whisk in chicken broth. Add chicken back to skillet along with black beans, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne.
- Simmer sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer while stirring until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add green chiles. Remove from heat and stir in green chilies, cheese until melted then sour cream. Add hot sauce to taste (optional).
- Toppings! Serve over rice or stir in desired amount of rice. Top with optional tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, avocados, etc.
HOW DO I THICKEN THE SAUCE?
The flour combined with the butter/olive oil creates a roux that will thicken the sauce while it simmers. If your sauce isn’t as thick as you like, simply continue to simmer until it reduces and thickens to desired consistency. Keep in mind the sauce will also thicken some with the addition of the cheese and sour cream.
HOW DO I THIN THE SAUCE?
The green chili sauce will thicken more the longer it is simmers. If it simmers to the point of too thick, don’t worry! It is easy to thin by whisking in additional chicken broth or milk. You can do this at any point, even after you’ve added the rice.
WHAT TOPPINGS FOR GREEN CHILI CHICKEN?
Topping your Green Chili Chicken with your favorite garnishes is half of the fun and adds bright, fresh pops of flavor and texture. You can create a toppings bar and let everyone pile on their favorites of:
- Tomatoes: quartered cherry tomatoes or seeded, chopped Roma tomatoes add bright, juicy freshness.
- Pico de gallo: skip the plain tomatoes and top with a spoonful of pico de gallo for a depth of freshness that can’t be beat.
- Avocado: chopped or sliced avocados add a wonderful creaminess.
- Guacamole: use your favorite recipe or my homemade guacamole recipe (amazing!) or you can even use store bought.
- Cilantro: chopped cilantro adds a fresh, earthy, zesty citrus flair.
- Sliced jalapenos: are a fabulous topping for those who want to add some heat.
- Hot Sauce: pass around the hot sauce so individuals can customize the heat.
- Sour cream: I know it’s added to the sauce but I love a fresh dollop to top it all off.
- Lime juice: awakens all of the flavors.
- Tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips: you can’t beat the CRUNCH of salty, chips or strips! You can use store bought or homemade tortilla strips (like in my Chicken Tortilla Soup) or crushed tortilla chips.
GREEN CHILI CHICKEN RECIPE VARIATIONS
This Green Chili Chicken recipe is fabulous as written or feel free to make it your own with different veggies, beans, etc.
- Use ground turkey or beef. Swap the chicken for lean ground turkey or lean ground beef and brown with seasonings. If you choose to use ground turkey, I suggesting adding 2 teaspoons beef bouillon and OMITTING the salt.
- Use other proteins. This Green Chili Chicken is FABULOUS for using leftover proteins – carne asada, chipotle chicken, chili lime chicken, etc. and stirring them into the sauce at the end to warm through.
- Swap rice. You can swap the rice for quinoa, cauliflower rice or lentils.
- Omit rice. I LOVE the texture of rice with this creamy sauce, but you can skip it altogether if you’re going low carb OR serve it over pasta.
- Add vegetables. Add any of your favorite veggies such as bell peppers, zucchini, chayote, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, corn, cauliflower, etc.
- Add fire roasted tomatoes. They boast a wonderful smoky flavor and are sweeter with less acidity than regular diced tomatoes. Most grocery stores carry them but if you can’t find them, then substitute regular diced tomatoes.
- Add olives. Add ½ cup sliced olives for a tart, umami bite.
- Add cilantro. Add cilantro directly into the sauce for an earthy, zesty, citrus flavor.
- Spice it up. Add jalapenos, minced chipotle chile peppers, additional cayenne pepper or hot sauce.
TIPS FOR GREEN CHILI CHICKEN RECIPE
This Green Chili Chicken recipe is pretty straightforward but here is a summary of helpful tips:
- Don’t overcook chicken. For the juiciest chicken, don’t overcook! Brown it in the skillet but let it finish cooking in the sauce.
- Use chicken thighs. Are juicier and more flavorful than chicken breasts.
- Use freshly grated cheese. Only use freshly grated cheese in your because packaged cheeses contain chemicals which keep them from easily melting.
- How cheesy? Feel free to use more or less cheese – it is entirely up to you how cheesy you make your Green Chili Chicken!
- Season to taste. At the end of cooking taste and additional salt if needed. Additional cayenne or hot sauce also really awakens the flavors.
- More or less saucy. The consistency of the sauce will depend on how much rice you add. Want it saucier? Add less rice. Want it less saucy? Add more rice.
- Toppings bar! Half the fun of this Green Chili Chicken recipe is the toppings! You can create a toppings bar so everyone can customize their own servings. Some of my favorites include sour cream, avocados, pico de gallo, and of course crushed tortilla chips or strips!
HOW TO SERVE GREEN CHILI CHICKEN:
This Green Chili Chicken is a simple dish with countless serving possibilities. Let your imagination run wild! Here are a few serving:
- Rice. My favorite classic way to serve Green Chili Chicken is to stir rice directly into the sauce and pile with my favorite toppings.
- Burritos: Layer a burrito size tortilla with Green Chili Chicken (with rice) guacamole, sour cream and lettuce. Serve with additional sour cream and either pico de gallo or homemade salsa.
- Tortas: Slice French-style bread in half horizontally, spread refried beans on each side, top with Green Chili Chicken (with rice), cheese, avocado slices or guacamole, tomatoes slices, pickled red onions, pickled jalapenos, etc.
- Empanadas: Make your own empanada dough or follow my shortcut empanada recipe using puff pastry dough. Instead of the chicken filling, use the Green Chili Chicken with rice.
- Burrito Bowls: Layer cilantro lime rice with cheese, Green Chili Chicken, chopped lettuce, and your favorite toppings including crushed tortilla chips and either sour cream/Greek yogurt.
- Stuffed Peppers: Slice the tops off of 6-8 bell peppers and remove the core/seeds inside. Rub the outsides with olive oil and line in a 9×13 baking dish. Combine Green Chili Chicken with cooked rice and spoon into each pepper. Top with Sharp cheddar then tent with foil. Bake until peppers are tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is bubbly, 10 minutes more. Serve with sour cream or Mexican crema, cilantro, cotija, etc.
- Stuffed Potatoes. Poke holes in washed, dried potatoes. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and lightly brush with oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender and the skin is crispy. Slice open the potatoes, top with Green Chili Chicken and other desired toppings.
- With chips! Of course, Green Chili Chicken is SO good you’ll be wanting to shovel in your mouth with just a spoon – so better yet, down it with tortilla chips!
CAN I PREP GREEN CHILI CHICKEN AHEAD?
Yes! While this Green Chili Chicken doesn’t require much prep, you can still prep everything in advance so your dinner can come together in minutes.
- Prep chicken: trim chicken thighs and chop into large bite size pieces. Toss with seasonings and store in an airtight container.
- Rice: cook rice and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Shred cheese. Prep cheese and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Prep Toppings. Chop tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos etc. and/or make tortilla strips.
Within the next 48 hours, proceed with the Green Chili Chicken recipe without any of the prep!
CAN I MAKE GREEN CHILI CHICKEN AHEAD OF TIME?
Absolutely! This Green Chili Chicken tastes even better the next day as the flavors have time to build and meld which makes it fabulous for make ahead dinners, meal prep or on-the-go lunches.
For meal prep lunches, simply divide Green Chili Chicken between desired number of airtight containers and refrigerate until ready to use. Add toppings to a separate bag or airtight container and place on top.
HOW TO STORE & REHEAT
This Green Chili Chicken makes exceptional leftovers and reheats wonderfully for lunches or dinners.
- How to store: Green Chili Chicken should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When stored properly, it is good for up to five days.
- Microwave: transfer a portion to a microwave safe dish, heat for one minute, stir then continue to heat at 30 second intervals.
- Stove: for larger portions, rewarm gently in a large skillet, stirring often. You may need to add additional chicken broth or milk to thin.
WHAT SIDES GO WITH GREEN CHILI CHICKEN?
This easy Green Chili Chicken recipe is the main event and doesn’t need much of a supporting cast but it is delicious with:
- Cornbread or corn casserole: corn casserole is a tasty, easy, creamy win or add some green chiles and or/ jalapenos to my sweet cornbread recipe and watch it disappear.
- Salad: this creamy Green Chile Chicken pairs well with the contrast of a bright, fresh salad. You can go as simple as a green salad or go big with southwest salad, corn salad or Southwest orzo salad.
- Vegetables: you can jam all your veggies into the salad or serve salad along with or in addition to elote (Mexican Grilled Street Corn – AH-mazing) grilled corn on the cob, baked asparagus, roasted broccoli, roasted cauliflower, roasted Brussels sprouts or roasted butternut squash.
- Fruit: keep it simple and serve this Green Chile Chicken with your favorite fruit such as pineapple, cantaloupe, or grapes or amp it up with any of these fabulous options: pina colada fruit salad, fruit salad with honey lime vinaigrette, grape salad, winter fruit salad, or caramelized grilled pineapple.
- Dessert!: finish off your Mexican fiesta with churros or Tres Leches Cake for the win!
CAN I FREEZE GREEN CHILI CHICKEN?
This Green Chili Chicken freezes well if it is combined with rice. I would avoid freezing if not combining with rice because the dairy can separate. To freeze:
- Let the Green Chili Chicken cool to room temperature.
- Transfer it to an airtight container.
- Label and freeze for 2 to 3 months.
- Defrost in the refrigerator before using.
HELPFUL TOOLS TO MAKE GREEN CHILI CHICKEN RECIPE
- Saucepan: I love my large stainless-steel saucepan when combining one-skillet dishes. It is virtually indestructible, distributes heat evenly, and won’t leech into the food. It is particularly useful when cooking with acidic ingredients like tomatoes or vinegars because the metal won’t react with the acidity. I love both my 10 and 12-inch Le Creuset Stainless Steel Pans with a limited lifetime warranty but this more economical pan also has excellent reviews.
- Rice Cooker: I LOVE my rice cooker and use it all the time – it is pretty much the only way I make rice. Many instant pots have built in rice cookers these days, but if you’re not ready for that big-ticket item, then this reliable rice cooker will always get the job done without any babysitting!
- Cheese grater: I use this kitchen tool constantly because FRESHLY grated cheese as opposed to bagged shredded cheese is always the way to go! Using freshly grated cheese also saves money, tastes better, and MELTS better.
- Quality Knives: a chef’s knife will be your most used kitchen tool by far!Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well. If you’re concerned about moola, please remember that your best chef knives, depending on how hard you use them and how well you take care of them, can easily last 25 years or more. I love my Wusthofbut there are hundreds of less expensive knives with great reviews such as this one.
- Cutting Board: I use my big solid cutting board daily so it’s worth the investment. This extra-large cutting board allows you to prep all your veggies on one surface and the bamboo is easier on knives than plastic.
Want to try this Green Chili Chicken RECIPE?
Pin it to your Dinner or Chicken Board to SAVE for later!
Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes! I am always pinning :)!
©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com
Carlsbad Cravings© Original