Salsa Verde Chicken (3 Ingredients!)


THIS SALSA VERDE CHICKEN RECIPE IS healthy, easy and STAND ALONE DELICIOUS MADE WITH ONLY 3 INGREDIENTS!


This Salsa Verde Chicken is tangy, flavorful with just the right amount of kick.  It can be served on a bed of rice  with veggies or instantly transforms salads, burritos, quesadillas, tacos, etc. into drool worthy meals in minutes.  You will love having this juicy, tender Salsa Verde Chicken on hand for all those busy nights to amp up your dinner routine!    I’ve included stove top and grilling instructions for fabulous indoor chicken or grilling smoking deliciousness as well as tons of ideas of how to use this Salsa Verde Chicken to create a meal. 

up close of sliced salsa verde chicken on a cutting board

If you have been following my cravings for any time at all, you know salsa verde is one of my favorite flavors and ingredients.  Its bright, fresh, tangy, zesty, flashy flavor infuses everything with a fiesta flair from my Salsa Verde Pepper Jack Macaroni and Cheese, to my Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas  (READERS FAV!).  While those recipes are meals, I wanted to create a simple Salsa Verde Chicken Recipe that was, easy, convenient, versatile and of course, sensationally delicious.

far away of two pieces of salsa verde chicken sliced on a cutting board

Salsa Verde Chicken Recipe

What  I discovered was that unlike my Slow Cooker Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken that needs a bevy of additional spices along with the salsa verde because the flavor gets diluted in the slow cooker, this marinated Salsa Verde Chicken recipe didn’t need a thing!  Simply combine olive oil, salsa verde and chicken – that’s it!  The salsa verde is already a robust blend of ingredients, so all of the work is done for us!

Since making this Salsa Verde Chicken recipe, I have been obsessed.  I have been using salsa verde chicken in everything  – from burrito bowls, to zoodle bowls with roasted tomatoes, to salads.  It really is miracle chicken ideal for when you’re craving flavor but don’t feel like cooking.  YAY for easy Salsa Verde Chicken!

up close showing how to make salsa verde chicken by cooking salsa verde chicken in a skillet

LOOKING FOR MORE SALSA VERDE RECIPES?

WHAT IS SALSA VERDE?

Salsa Verde literally means “salsa green” in Spanish and is a green salsa made of:

  • tomatillos
  • serrano chile peppers or jalapeno peppers
  • onion
  • garlic cloves
  • cilantro
  • lime juice
  • ground cumin
  • salt

For this Salsa Verde Chicken recipe you can use my homemade Salsa Verde Recipe below or store bought.  I have made it with both, and they were both delish.

three pieces of Salsa Verde Chicken in a skillet with limes and cilantro

HOMEMADE SALSA VERDE RECIPE

  • 1 1/2 lbs. tomatillos husked, rinsed and dried
  • 1-2 serrano chiles or 1-4 jalapeno peppers see notes on spice level
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped into 8 sections
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  1. Preheat the broiler to high with a rack about 6 inches below the heat source. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Cut the tomatillos in half and add to baking sheet along with onions, garlic and peppers. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat. Place the tomatillos cut side down. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until the tomatillos are charred in some spots, flipping the peppers and garlic over half way through. Remove peppers or tomatillos if they become too charred before the rest of the pan is done. Alternatively, you can char your veggies on a grill for additional smokiness.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, chop stem(s) off peppers and remove seeds (save seeds separately but don’t add to blender). Add seeded peppers to blender along with all of the sheet pan contents including any remaining juices. Add cilantro, lime juice, cumin, salt and coriander.
  4. Pulse or puree until salsa reaches desired consistency, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and stir in seeds, a little at a time, for a hotter salsa. Season to taste with additional lime juice and salt if desired.
  5. Chill salsa in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Salsa will thicken in the refrigerator. 
Store salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.
 spoonful of homemade salsa verde for Salsa Verde Chicken

up close side view of salsa verde chicken in a black grill pan

How to Make Salsa Verde Chicken

This Salsa Verde Chicken recipe is s wonderfully delicious but super simple.   I am the first to add extra seasonings to a recipe when I think it needs it, but trust, me this Salsa Verde Chicken really only needs 3 ingredients!   Marinating your chicken is the easiest way to create, tender, juicy, flavor bursting chicken with little prep.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound chicken fillets pounded to an even thickness
  • 1/2 cup Homemade Salsa Verde or store bought, plus more for brushing chicken after it’s cooked
  • 3 tablespoons olive ol divided

DIRECTIONS

  1. Whisk together the salsa verde and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a freezer bag or shallow dish (whatever you are going to marinate your chicken in. Add chicken and toss evenly to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 hours up to overnight (the longer the better).
    up close showing how to make salsa verde chicken by cooking salsa verde chicken in a grill pan

HOW TO COOK SALSA VERDE CHICKEN

You can grill your Salsa Verde Chicken or cook it on your stove.  Both produce delicious results but your grilled Salsa Verde Chicken will naturally boast a smoky flavor and have less cleanup.

Salsa Verde Chicken STOVE TOP DIRECTIONS 

  1. If your marinated chicken has been refrigerated, let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed for 3-5 minutes, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side.
  3. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5-7 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

showing how to make salsa verde chicken by cooking salsa verde chicken in a grill pan

Salsa Verde Chicken GRILLING DIRECTIONS

  1. If your marinated chicken has been refrigerated, let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
  2. Meanwhile, grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375-450°F.
  3. Grill chicken undisturbed for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F.)  The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken.
  4. Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
  1. top up close view of a piece of grilled Salsa Verde Chicken

 

TIPS AND TRICKS for Salsa Verde Chicken

  • I like to use chicken fillets because you get more bang for your marinade buck.  You can also marinate your chicken for less time and still get great flavor when you use chicken fillets.
  • If you don’t have chicken fillets, you can create them by slicing 2 large chicken breasts in half through the equator, like a hamburger bun.
  • You can also use chicken thighs which are inherently juicer.
  • If you use store bought salsa verde, I recommend medium heat instead of mild because the heat will be diluted when you marinate the chicken. Medium salsa verde ensures plenty of flavor in our salsa verde chicken marinade without being spicy.
  • Depending on your time, you can marinate the chicken for 2 hours or let marinate 8 hours.   The longer the chicken marinates, the more tender and flavorful it will become.  That being said, if you are in a super time crunch, then you can marinate your chicken for as little as 30 minutes at room temperature then just be sure to brush with more salsa verde after cooking.

 

slicing salsa verde chicken on a cutting board

IS THIS SALSA VERDE CHICKEN RECIPE SPICY?

The Salsa Verde Chicken has a mild kick but is more flavorful than spicy, so you don’t have to worry about it not being family friendly.  If you want your chicken to be spicier, then brush with additional salsa verde after cooking.

WAYS TO USE SALSA VERDE CHICKEN

Soooo many possibilities when it comes to how to use this Salsa Verde Chicken!  Here are just a few:

  • Salsa Verde Chicken Skillet:  Add some cherry tomatoes to the skillet once you turn your chicken over to saute alongside your chicken. Add some Monterrey Jack cheese on top of your chicken when it’s almost finished cooking to melt to ooey gooey cheesiliciousness.  You can also remove your chicken from the skillet, then add whatever veggies your heart desires to the same skillet and cook, then return your chicken then top with cheese.  Serve with rice/quinoa, etc.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas:  You can chop the salsa verde chicken and add it to enchiladas OR you can shred your chicken. To shred your chicken, add 1 cup water or chicken broth to the pan after you have flipped your chicken over from browning the other side and cover.  Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes on low or until tender enough to shred.  Add Salsa Verde Chicken, cheese and sour cream to tortillas, roll and place into a lightly greased casserole dish.  Top with additional salsa verde and cheese (or for a creamy version use this enchilada sauce) and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F or until hot and bubbly.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos:  Pile Salsa Verde Chicken into soft tortillas or hard taco shells along with cheese, lettuce, salsa, guacamole and sour cream.  If using hard tacos, then bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F or until cheese is melted then add toppings.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Fajitas: Slice chicken into thin strips.  Stir fry onions and bell peppers with some salsa verde, salt and pepper.  Serve the chicken and veggies wrapped in a warm tortilla with sour cream, pico de gallo/salsa and fresh lime.
  • Salsa Verde chicken Salad: Toss Salsa Verde Chicken, black beans, fresh corn, bell peppers, avocado, Monterrey Jack cheese and sunflower seeds with some lettuce and drizzle with Cilantro Lime Dressing or  with Tomatillo Avocado Ranch.

salsa verde chicken on top of a salad

  • Salsa Verde Chicken Quesadillas: sandwich the Salsa Verde Chicken and cheese in tortillas and bake, grill or melt cheese on the stove.  You can include any filling ingredients from corn to black beans to zucchini to peppers.  Serve with a healthy dose of sour cream, salsa and guacamole.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Burritos: Wrap Salsa Verde Chicken, rice, black beans, lettuce, sour cream and guacamole in a large tortilla.  You can also transform them into Wet Burritos.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Burrito Bowl: Pile the chicken on a bed of rice with black beans, tomatoes, lettuce and tortilla chips with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice:  Stir rice, black beans, chicken, cheese, sour cream and desired amount of salsa verde and bake.  See my awesome Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice recipe here.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Pasta:  Roast a pint of cherry tomatoes for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.  Add tomatoes, Salsa Verde Chicken and desired amount of salsa verde to cooked pasta.  Stir in some sour cream for a creamy version. You should also try my Salsa Verde Chicken Macaroni and Cheese – so good!

brushing salsa verde chicken with salsa verde after it is cooked

WHAT DO YOU SERVE WITH SALSA VERDE CHICKEN?

If serving your Salsa Verde Chicken plain, here are a few ideas what to serve with it:

  • RICE or QUINOA.  This Salsa Verde Chicken is delicious with plain rice/quinoa or Cilantro Lime Rice. You can toss the chicken with the rice along with additional salsa verde.
  • BEANS.  I usually cook my black beans with my rice, so you instantly have rice and beans :).
  • CORN.  It is also delicious served with corn in all its varieties from simple salt and pepper corn to Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing to Grilled Corn on the Cobb.
  • SALAD.  Serve it on the side or on top of my Southwest Salad –  or Southwest Orzo Salad – yum!
  • ZOODLES.  As I’ve  mentioned before, my favorite way to it Salsa Verde Chicken is with roasted tomatoes and zoodles.  I then add additional salsa verde to my bowl to make a “sauce.”
  • FRUIT SALAD.  Every meal needs a fruit!  Serve your salsa verde chicken with Pina Colada Fruit Salad, Perfect Fruit Salad or a simple side of pineapple, grapes, etc.
  • CHURROS.  Because churros and chocolate sauce.

 

sliced salsa verde chicken on a cutting board

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

 

up close of sliced salsa verde chicken on a cutting board

Salsa Verde Chicken (3 Ingredients!)

This Salsa Verde Chicken recipe is healthy, easy, tangy, flavorful with just the right amount of kick.  It can be served on a bed of rice  with veggies or instantly transforms salads, burritos, quesadillas, tacos, etc. into drool worthy meals in minutes.  You will love having this juicy, tender Salsa Verde Chicken on hand for all those busy nights to amp up your dinner routine!   I’ve included stove top and grilling instructions for fabulous indoor chicken or grilling smoking deliciousness as well as tons of ideas of how to use this Salsa Verde Chicken to create a meal in the Notes. Check the post for what to serve with Salsa Verde Chicken.  
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken fillets pounded to an even thickness
  • 1/2 cup Homemade Salsa Verde or store bought, plus more for brushing cooked chicken
  • 3 tablespoons olive ol divided

Instructions

MARINADE

  • Whisk together the salsa verde and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a freezer bag or shallow dish (whatever you are going to marinate your chicken in. Add chicken and toss evenly to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 hours up to overnight (the longer the better).

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS

  • Let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed for 3-5 minutes, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 3-5 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing or chopping. Brush cooked chicken with desired amount of salsa verde glaze. Serve with rice/zoodles, in tacos, salads, enchiladas, burritos, burrito bowls, etc.

GRILLING DIRECTIONS

  • Let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting). Meanwhile, grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375-450°F.
  • Grill chicken undisturbed for 4-6 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 160 degrees F.)
  • Remove chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing or chopping. Brush cooked chicken with desired amount of salsa verde glaze. Serve with rice/zoodles, in tacos, salads, enchiladas, burritos, burrito bowls, etc.

Notes

TIPS AND TRICKS 

  • I like to use chicken fillets because you get more bang for your marinade buck.  You can also marinate your chicken for less time and still get great flavor when you use chicken fillets.
  • If you don't have chicken fillets, you can create them by slicing 2 large chicken breasts in half through the equator, like a hamburger bun.
  • You can also use chicken thighs which are inherently juicer.
  • If you use store bought salsa verde, I recommend medium heat instead of mild because the heat will be diluted when you marinate the chicken. Medium salsa verde ensures plenty of flavor in our salsa verde chicken marinade without being spicy.
  • Depending on your time, you can marinate the chicken for 2 hours or let marinate 8 hours.   The longer the chicken marinates, the more tender and flavorful it will become.  That being said, if you are in a super time crunch, then you can marinate your chicken for as little as 30 minutes at room temperature then just be sure to brush with more salsa verde after cooking.

WAYS TO USE SALSA VERDE CHICKEN

Soooo many possibilities when it comes to how to use this Salsa Verde Chicken!  Here are just a few:
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Skillet:  Add some cherry tomatoes to the skillet once you turn your chicken over to saute alongside your chicken. Add some Monterrey Jack cheese on top of your chicken when it's almost finished cooking to melt to ooey gooey cheesiliciousness.  You can also remove your chicken from the skillet, then add whatever veggies your heart desires to the same skillet and cook, then return your chicken then top with cheese.  Serve with rice/quinoa, etc.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas:  You can chop the salsa verde chicken and add it to enchiladas OR you can shred your chicken. To shred your chicken, add 1 cup water or chicken broth to the pan after you have flipped your chicken over from browning the other side and cover.  Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes on low or until tender enough to shred.  Add Salsa Verde Chicken, cheese and sour cream to tortillas, roll and place into a lightly greased casserole dish.  Top with additional salsa verde and cheese (or for a creamy version use this enchilada sauce) and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F or until hot and bubbly.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos:  Pile Salsa Verde Chicken into soft tortillas or hard taco shells along with cheese, lettuce, salsa, guacamole and sour cream.  If using hard tacos, then bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F or until cheese is melted then add toppings.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Fajitas: Slice chicken into thin strips.  Stir fry onions and bell peppers with some salsa verde, salt and pepper.  Serve the chicken and veggies wrapped in a warm tortilla with sour cream, pico de gallo/salsa and fresh lime.
  • Salsa Verde chicken Salad: Toss Salsa Verde Chicken, black beans, fresh corn, bell peppers, avocado, Monterrey Jack cheese and sunflower seeds with some lettuce and drizzle with Cilantro Lime Dressing or  with Tomatillo Avocado Ranch.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Quesadillas: sandwich the Salsa Verde Chicken and cheese in tortillas and bake, grill or melt cheese on the stove.  You can include any filling ingredients from corn to black beans to zucchini to peppers.  Serve with a healthy dose of sour cream, salsa and guacamole.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Burritos: Wrap Salsa Verde Chicken, rice, black beans, lettuce, sour cream and guacamole in a large tortilla.  You can also transform them into Wet Burritos.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Burrito Bowl: Pile the chicken on a bed of rice with black beans, tomatoes, lettuce and tortilla chips with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice:  Stir rice, black beans, chicken, cheese, sour cream and desired amount of salsa verde and bake.  See my awesome Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice recipe here.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Pasta:  Roast a pint of cherry tomatoes for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.  Add tomatoes, Salsa Verde Chicken and desired amount of salsa verde to cooked pasta.  Stir in some sour cream for a creamy version. You should also try my Salsa Verde Chicken Macaroni and Cheese - so good!
 
 

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6 Comments

  1. Susan says

    Hi Jen, you are by far my favorite food blogger. Not only are your recipe always reliable and delicious, but the amount of attention to detail you spend on tips and tricks and details in your post is phenomenal and very much appreciated! Thank you for making me look good in the kitchen!

    • Jen says

      Aw, thank you so so much Susan for your wonderful comment! I am honored and flattered I am your favorite food blogger! I absolutely love sharing what I do and what I’ve learned so I’m happy to hear it is appreciated! Thank YOU!

  2. Beka says

    Hi Jen, I love all your chicken marinades, I can’t wait to try this one too! We have loved every recipe we have tried from your site.

    • Jen says

      Hi Beka, that is awesome you have loved all my recipes so far – I think you will love this one too! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for making my recipes!

  3. Allie says

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks for all your work to get the right taste. You are awesome!

    Question: Instruction #3 it states to brush cooked chicken with desired amount of salsa verde glaze. The glaze is what’s leftover in skillet after cooking the chicken?

    Thank you,
    Allie

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome! And yes, you are exactly right! You can also brush it with additional salsa verde straight form the jar for even more flavor.