Easy Mexican Chicken

MEXICAN CHICKEN ON YOUR TABLE IN 10 MINUTES!


This Mexican Chicken is going to blow your mind – and change your life. It’s quick, easy, healthy, exploding with flavor and did I say done in LESS than 10 minutes already? It’s the ideal weeknight meal and incredibly versatile.  You can make Mexican Chicken tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, enchiladas, salads, etc. all with this easy Mexican Chicken!  It also freezes and reheats beautifully for prep ahead dinners you will CRAVE!

up close of easy Mexican shredded chicken with cilantro

Mexican Chicken Recipes

With Easter come and gone, I’m excited to share some more of my easy everyday dinners with you like this Mexican Chicken. This fiesta favorite has been on heavy repeat at our house. It is easy enough for everyday or fabulous for entertaining like Cinco de Mayo!

This Mexican Chicken rivals my Crockpot Mexican Chicken, Salsa Verde Chicken, Chipotle Chicken, Cilantro Lime Chicken and Fajita Chicken – but it’s 10X quicker and easier than them all BUT still just as flavorful.

This Mexican Chicken is the epitome of huge flavor with little effort.  How you might ask?  This recipe starts with shredded chicken, then is generously seasoned with your favorite Mexican seasonings so you get the juicy shortcut of rotisserie chicken with added fiesta flavor.  It’s a win-win with an  unbelievably satisfying payout!  

This Mexican Chicken belongs with my easy Turkey Tacos as the answer to all those busy nights, lazy nights, don’t want to cook nights, “what should I make for dinner?” nights, need something NOW nights but something everyone will LOVE nights.  Check, check, check and check. 

I am so excited for you to try this Mexican Chicken recipe!  And just a note, my favorite way to serve them is piled on corn tortillas with Greek yogurt, salsa and hot sauce – SO easy, so can’t-stop-eating, need 5, 10 delicious! 

up close of Mexican Shredded Chicken in a white bowl for tacos

Ingredients for Mexican Shredded Chicken

This Mexican Chicken recipe is an easy blending of:

  • cooked, shredded chicken
  • chili powder
  • ground cumin
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • smoked paprika
  • dried oregano
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • chicken broth
  • fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • chopped green chiles
  • tomato paste

Aside from the chicken, the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples.  And you can even keep shredded rotisserie chicken on hand in your freezer!

showing how to make Mexican Chicken by adding seasonings to chicken in a skillet

What Chicken is Best?

You can use either rotisserie chicken or make your own shredded chicken with chicken breasts, or chicken thighs.

  • Rotisserie Chicken:  shredded rotisserie chicken is my first choice because it is a mixture of light and dark meat so it’s extra juicy and flavorful.  It is also beautifully tender, delicately seasoned and delicious plain, so it makes a fabulous starting point for our Mexican Chicken recipe.
  • Chicken Breasts or Thighs:  You can make your own shredded chicken with either chicken breasts or chicken thighs so you can always make this Mexican Chicken with what you have on hand.  Chicken thighs will give you juicer, more flavorful Mexican Chicken, but chicken breasts will work as well. 
side view of authentic Mexican Chicken in a white bowl

How to Make Mexican Chicken

Now for what you’ve been waiting for! Let’s see just how easy it is to make this Mexican Shredded Chicken!

First, add shredded chicken to a skillet along with seasonings and stir to evenly coat. 

showing how to make Mexican Chicken by cooking chicken with taco seasonings

Stir in diced tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste and green chilies.  The chicken broth infuses the chicken with moisture and combines with the tomato paste to create a light saucy coating. 

showing how to make Mexican Chicken by adding tomatoes an green chiles to chiicken

Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until heated through.  Add additional chicken broth for moister chicken if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste if desired.

up close of top view of easy Mexican Chicken in a skillet garnished by cilantro

That’s it for the easiest Mexican Chicken of your life!

TIPS AND TRICK TO MAKE MEXICAN CHICKEN

  • Rotisserie Chicken: I like to purchase my rotisserie chicken from Costco because you get almost twice the amount of chicken on one bird for the same price. If you have leftover shredded chicken that you aren’t going to use in this recipe, you can freeze it for later.
  • Different Protein:  Although this is called “Mexican Chicken,” these seasonings and ingredients work well for ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken as well.
  • Tomato Paste: This Mexican Shredded Chicken recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons tomato paste.  I often don’t use a whole can of tomato paste in a week, so I always freeze it by the tablespoon.  To do this, place parchment paper on a small baking sheet or plate – something that can easily fit in your freezer.  Drop tomato paste by the tablespoon on parchment paper a few inches apart in rows then freeze until solid, about 1 hour.  Cut a grid around the tomato paste so each tablespoon has its own parchment square.  Wrap up the parchment paper around the tomato paste and place in a plastic bag.  Freeze for up to 6 months, taking out one tablespoon of tomato paste as needed.
  • Salsa:  If you’re in a bind and don’t have tomato paste, you can replace the chicken broth and tomato paste with salsa, but you’ll want to use less cayenne pepper and possibly other seasonings so the flavor isn’t too strong/spicy.  
  • Spice it up. The spice level as written is not very spicy, just flavorful. If your Mexican Chicken feels like it’s missing something, it is probably a depth of heat.  You will want to taste the chicken once it’s done and add hot sauce to taste or individuals can add hot sauce to their own servings. I personally love additional hot sauce and add it directly to my tacos as opposed to the chicken, and really think it makes all the flavors pop.
  • Double Batch:  This Mexican Chicken is a fabulous recipe to double, or break out your Dutch oven and triple!  Freeze leftovers in portion size bags for a quick thaw and heat dinner.
up close of authentic Mexican Chicken in a skillet with cilantro

HOW TO CUSTOMIZE MEXICAN CHICKEN

  • Add Beans. Add your favorite beans – some refried beans, black, pinto, etc. are all fabulous.  You may need to add additional salt to taste.
  • Add Veggies. You can add any veggies your heart desires from corn, bell peppers, zucchini, sweet potatoes, spinach etc.  You may want to add additional water and tomato paste to coat the veggies as well.
  • Add More Green Chiles: This Mexican Chicken recipe calls for 2 tablespoons mild diced green chiles but you are welcome to add more – even the whole 4 oz. can if you want tangier chicken.
  • Add Salsa: You can add salsa or salsa verde to your chicken for even more flavorful chicken. Just be aware salsa will make your chicken “wetter” which will work better in some applications than others.
  • Add heat: If you want to spice up your Mexican Shredded Chicken other than just adding cayenne pepper or hot sauce, try chopped jalapenos!  For milder heat, you can add poblano peppers and for FIRE heat, you can add habaneros.
  • Add Enchilada Sauce. Add some enchilada sauce at the very end and heat through for saucy Mexican Chicken.
  • Add cheese. Stir in shredded Mexican cheese blend, cheddar or pepper Jack cheese for CHEESY Mexican Chicken.
  • Add rice or quinoa. Stir in cooked rice or cooked quinoa for added texture. If you do this, you may also want to add additional salt and salsa as well.
  • Toppings! Serve with all your favorite toppings from avocados/guacamole to chopped tomatoes, salsa, salsa verde, pico de gallo, chopped lettuce cilantro, hot sauce, etc.
two tongs picking up juicy Mexican chicken

What to Make with Mexican Chicken?

The uses for this Mexican Chicken are endless!  Here are just a few ideas – but remember, it can be as simple as piling on a tortilla with sour cream!

  • Mexican Chicken Tacos: Layer tortillas with cheese and melt in the microwave or oven. Top with black or pinto beans, Mexican Chicken, lettuce and desired toppings such as chopped lettuce, pico de gallo, fresh guacamole, salsa, cotija cheese, sour cream and hot sauce.
  • Baked Mexican Chicken Tacos: Line a 9×13 baking dish with hard taco shells and fill each shell with 2 tablespoons refried beans (optional), followed by chicken and cheese (like this recipe).  Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.  Top chicken tacos with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.
  • Mexican Chicken Salad: Add Mexican Shredded Chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, fresh corn, black beans, cheese (pepper Jack, Mexican Cheese blend or cotija), pepitas or sunflower seeds to large bowl. Serve with Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
  • Mexican Chicken Burrito Bowls: Layer cilantro lime rice with cheese, black beans or pinto beans, chicken, chopped lettuce, and your favorite toppings including crushed tortilla chips and either sour cream/Greek yogurt or I highly recommend either Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
  • Mexican Chicken Burritos: Layer a burrito size tortilla with cilantro lime rice or Mexican Rice, black or pinto beans, cheese, Mexican Chicken, guacamole, sour cream and lettuce.  Serve with additional sour cream and either pico de gallo or homemade salsa.
  • Smothered Mexican Chicken Burritos:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and add a baking rack on top. Prepare burritos by adding a heaping ½ cup Mexican Chicken to each burrito size tortilla, top with desired amount of cheese and roll up burrito style. Place burritos on the baking rack and brush both sides lightly with olive oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cook for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Broil to desired crispiness, flip over and broil the other side until golden.  Remove baking rack and top burritos with your favorite enchilada sauce and cheese and bake until cheese is melted as described in my Wet Burritos or my wildly popular Cheesy Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce like in my Crockpot Smothered Burritos.
  • Mexican Chicken Enchiladas:  Fill tortillas with layers of cheese and chicken and a generous amount of sour cream. Roll up and place in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with red or green enchilada sauce and cheese and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F.  
  • Mexican Chicken Quesadillas:  Layer a burrito size tortilla with Mexican cheese and Mexican Shredded Chicken and grill until golden, cheesy perfection.  Serve with your favs of sour cream, salsa, chopped lettuce, guacamole, etc.
  • Mexican Chicken Nachos:  Pile thick restaurant style tortilla chips with cheese and beans and bake.  Top with chicken and toppings such as jalapenos, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc.
  • Mexican Chicken Fajitas: The last few minutes of cooking, add sliced bell peppers and sauté until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. You may want to add additional seasonings for the added peppers. Pile in a tortilla and top with sour cream, guacamole, lime juice and cilantro.
up close of Mexican Shredded Chicken in a white bowl for tacos

WHAT SIDES SHOULD I SERVE WITH MEXICAN CHICKEN?

The Mexica Chicken will likely be the main attraction and you will want some easy sides to go with it.  I like to serve it with beans, either Mexican Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice (both can be made in the rice cooker), a big green salad or Corn Salad or Southwest Salad and either Perfect Fruit Salad or Pina Colada Fruit Salad.   For a full Mexican fiesta, serve with homemade Churros for dessert!

HOW TO FREEZE MEXICAN CHICKEN

This Mexican Chicken makes great freezer meals!  To freeze:

  1. Prepare Mexican Chicken according to directions.
  2. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Add chicken to a freezer size plastic bag OR portion into smaller size sandwich bags.
  4. Press bag flat, squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  5. Seal, label and freeze for up to 3 months.

How to Reheat Mexican Chicken

  1. When ready to use, defrost chicken in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Remove chicken and reheat in a skillet or in a microwave-safe container in the microwave.
  3. If your chicken seems dry, stir in some salsa.
two tongs picking up juicy Mexican chicken

Looking For More Mexican Dinner Favorites?

up close of Mexican Chicken Tacos

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com


two tongs picking up chipotle Mexican chicken

EASY Mexican Chicken

Mexican Chicken on your table in 10 minutes! This Mexican Chicken is going to blow your mind – and change your life. It’s quick, easy, healthy, exploding with flavor and did I say done in LESS than 10 minutes already? It’s the ideal weeknight meal and incredibly versatile. You can make Mexican Chicken tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, enchiladas, salads, etc. all with this easy Mexican Chicken! It also freezes and reheats beautifully for prep ahead dinners you will CRAVE!
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add chicken along with seasonings and stir to evenly coat. Stir in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and green chilies. Cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Add additional water/chicken broth if chicken seems dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste if desired.
  • Use chicken in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, salads, nachos, burrito bowls, etc.

Notes

HOW TO CUSTOMIZE MEXICAN CHICKEN:

  • Add Beans. Add your favorite beans – some refried beans, black, pinto, etc. are all fabulous.  You may need to add additional salt to taste.
  • Add Veggies. You can add any veggies your heart desires from corn, bell peppers, zucchini, sweet potatoes, spinach etc.  You may want to add additional water and tomato paste to coat the veggies as well.
  • Add More Green Chiles: This Mexican Chicken recipe calls for 2 tablespoons mild diced green chiles but you are welcome to add more – even the whole 4 oz. can if you want tangier chicken.
  • Add Salsa: You can add salsa or salsa verde to your Mexican Chicken for even more flavorful chicken. Just be aware salsa will make your chicken “wetter” which will work better in some applications than others.
  • Add heat: If you want to spice up your Mexican Chicken other than just adding cayenne pepper or hot sauce, try chopped jalapenos!  For milder heat, you can add poblano peppers and for FIRE heat, you can add habaneros.
  • Add Enchilada Sauce. Add some enchilada sauce at the very end and heat through for saucy Mexican Chicken.
  • Add cheese. Stir in shredded Mexican cheese blend, cheddar or pepper Jack cheese for CHEESY Mexican Chicken.
  • Add rice or quinoa. Stir in cooked rice or cooked quinoa for added texture. If you do this, you may also want to add additional salt and salsa as well.
  • Toppings! Serve with all your favorite toppings from avocados/guacamole to chopped tomatoes, salsa, salsa verde, pico de gallo, chopped lettuce cilantro, hot sauce, etc.

WHAT TO MAKE WITH MEXICAN CHICKEN:

The uses for this Mexican Chicken are endless!  Here are just a few ideas – but remember, it can be as simple as piling on a tortilla with sour cream!
  • Mexican Chicken Tacos: Layer tortillas with cheese and melt in the microwave or oven. Top with black or pinto beans, Mexican Chicken, lettuce and desired toppings such as chopped lettuce, pico de gallo, fresh guacamole, salsa, cotija cheese, sour cream and hot sauce.
  • Baked Mexican Chicken Tacos: Line a 9×13 baking dish with hard taco shells and fill each shell with 2 tablespoons refried beans (optional), followed by Mexican Chicken and cheese (like this recipe).  Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.  Top chicken tacos with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.
  • Mexican Chicken Salad: Add Mexican Chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, fresh corn, black beans, cheese (pepper Jack, Mexican Cheese blend or cotija), pepitas or sunflower seeds to large bowl. Serve with Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
  • Mexican Chicken Burrito Bowls: Layer cilantro lime rice with cheese, black beans or pinto beans, Mexican Chicken, chopped lettuce, and your favorite toppings including crushed tortilla chips and either sour cream/Greek yogurt or I highly recommend either Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
  • Mexican Chicken Burritos: Layer a burrito size tortilla with cilantro lime rice or Mexican Rice, black or pinto beans, cheese, Mexican Chicken, guacamole, sour cream and lettuce.  Serve with additional sour cream and either pico de gallo or homemade salsa.
  • Smothered Mexican Chicken Burritos:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and add a baking rack on top. Prepare burritos by adding a heaping ½ cup Mexican Chicken to each burrito size tortilla, top with desired amount of cheese and roll up burrito style. Place burritos on the baking rack and brush both sides lightly with olive oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cook for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Broil to desired crispiness, flip over and broil the other side until golden.  Remove baking rack and top burritos with your favorite enchilada sauce and cheese and bake until cheese is melted as described in my Wet Burritos or my wildly popular Cheesy Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce like in my Crockpot Smothered Burritos.
  • Mexican Chicken Enchiladas:  Fill tortillas with layers of cheese and Mexican Chicken and a generous amount of sour cream. Roll up and place in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with red or green enchilada sauce and cheese and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  • Mexican Chicken Quesadillas:  Layer a burrito size tortilla with Mexican cheese and Mexican Chicken and grill until golden, cheesy perfection.  Serve with your favs of sour cream, salsa, chopped lettuce, guacamole, etc.
  • Mexican Chicken Nachos:  Pile thick restaurant style tortilla chips with cheese and beans and bake.  Top with Mexican Chicken and toppings such as jalapenos, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc.
  • Mexican Chicken Fajitas: The last few minutes of cooking, add sliced bell peppers and sauté until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. You may want to add additional seasonings for the added peppers. Pile in a tortilla and top with sour cream, guacamole, lime juice and cilantro.

HOW TO FREEZE:

  1. Prepare Mexican Chicken according to directions.
  2. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Add chicken to a freezer size plastic bag OR portion into smaller size sandwich bags.
  4. Press bag flat, squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  5. Seal, label and freeze for up to 3 months.

HOW TO REHEAT:

  1. When ready to use, defrost chicken in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Remove chicken and reheat in a skillet or in a microwave-safe container in the microwave.
  3. If your chicken seems dry, stir in some salsa.

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8 Comments

  1. Pam says

    Hi Jen, I was so excited to wake up to this Mexican chicken recipe in my inbox! I have a rotisserie chicken I’ve been wanting to dress up! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes. I love how you use ingredients I always have on hand and elevate them. My family always asks when I’m making one if your recipes and then say, “I know it’s going to be good!” Thank you for all you I do!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your kind words Pam, I’m honored your entire family is loving my recipes! I am excited for you all to try this chicken recipe, I can’t wait to hear what you think!

  2. Maytha says

    Would it be possible to have nutritional value listed for your recipes? We watch our carbs and would greatly appreciate this information.

  3. Jennie says

    Very, very good, adjusted the spices for our tastes. How do I rate the recipe with stars?

    • Jen says

      Thanks Jennie, I’m so happy it was a winner! I don’t have the ratings turned on yet – working on it – thanks!

  4. Vanathi Sethupathi says

    I don’t usually comment on recipe sites but I had to this time because this recipe is just so fabulous! Made it yesterday and the whole family loved it! Thank you!

    • Jen says

      I’m so glad you did, thanks so much Vanathi! I’m so pleased it was a hit with the entire family!