Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken and Rice Bake

This Chicken Rice Bake is a fun twist on the family classic! Perfect for busy weeknights or when family and friends come over for dinner!

10 minute prep Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken and Rice Bake bursting with cheesy sweet heat the whole family will go crazy for. 

Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken Rice with cheese on top in a pan with a serving on a wood spoon

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

While Homemade Salsa usually gets all the love, have you tried Salsa Verde?!!  It’s fresh, bright, tangy, with a kick from the jalapenos or serrano peppers. It is stand alone delicious like in my 3 Ingredient Salsa Verde Chicken or I love pairing it with honey like in my Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas and many more because it is more tart than red salsa.

These chicken enchiladas continue to be one of my most popular recipes, receive rave reviews and pin like crazy so I thought it time I spin all of the palate pleasing sweet and spicy flavors of those enchiladas into an uber quick and easy rice bake that is sure to become another family favorite – especially when you don’t feel like stuffing and rolling tortillas.

Like in my enchiladas, your cooked chicken (you can get rotisserie, or whatever you have on hand), gets marinated for 10 minutes in salsa verde, honey, lime and a handful of my favorite Mexican spices such as cumin, smoked paprika and chipotle pepper.  If you have been following along, you will notice I use a lot of the same spices in my Mexican dishes, so if you don’t have them all on hand, they are definitely worth collecting. I promise you will use them again and again!

In 10 short minutes, the chicken soaks up mega flavor and you are ready to add your cheese, green chilies, corn and sour cream.  Mix it all together, (it will look kind of “wet” which is how it should be) top with more cheese and bake.  Easy peasy!

And cheesy

Spicy honey lime enveloped layers of  chicken and rice.  One of my favorite flavor combinations with one of my favorite texture combinations. Win.  Win.

Salsa Verde  Honey Lime Chicken and Rice Bake.  Easy never tasted so complexly delicious.

Ingredients for This Chicken and Rice Bake

This oven baked chicken and rice casserole comes together with minimal ingredients (most of which are spices!).

  • Chicken breasts: I used meal prepped cooked chicken breasts for this recipe, but feel free to buy a rotisserie chicken from the store.
  • Rice: You’ll need cooked long grain rice or brown rice for this recipe.
  • Salsa verde: Homemade or store-bought works!
  • Sour cream: Use full-fat sour cream for the most flavor (but light works too).
  • Shredded cheese: I used a blend of Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheese.
  • Canned corn: I’m sure frozen corn would work too, just be sure to thaw and drain before mixing into the casserole.
  • Mild diced green chiles: Use spicier chiles for extra heat.
  • Honey: Balances out the heat from the spices.
  • Lime juice: Freshly squeezed or bottled juice will work.
  • Spices: I used a mixture of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and more!
Top view of Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken and rice casserole with cheese on top in a white casserole dish garnished with parsley.

How to Make Chicken and Rice Bake

This cheesy chicken and rice bake couldn’t be simpler to make! Here are the basic steps:

  1. In a very large bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Add cooked chopped chicken and let marinate 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix cheeses together. Then, add 2 cups of the cheese, salsa verde, rice, sour cream, green chilies, and corn to the chicken and marinade. Stir until evenly combined.
  3. Add chicken/rice mixture to a 9×13-inch casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot in the center then broil until cheese is golden.
Showing how to make Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken by marinating the raw chicken in a stainless steel bowl.

Tips for Making Chicken and Rice Casserole

  • Cheese: mix up the flavor profile by adding your favorite cheeses. 
  • Rice: use any kind of rice you’d like. Just note that it should be cooked before being added to this casserole.
  • Chicken: chop or shred the chicken. Do whatever you prefer!
  • Salsa: I LOVE salsa verde, but you cold try experimenting with other salsas.

Recipe Variations to Try

  • Make it vegetarian: I love this oven baked chicken and rice as is, but you can easily make it veggie by omitting the chicken and adding in 2 cans of black beans (drained).
  • Make it spicier: Amp up the cayenne pepper in this dish and / or use spicy diced green chiles.
  • Add veggies: I kept things simple and added just corn to this dish. But feel free to add roasted veggies, other canned veggies, beans, etc.
Showing how to make Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken by mixing cheese, corn, salsa verde, chicken in a bowl.

Can I Prep This Chicken and Rice Bake in Advance?

Yes! You can assemble the casserole, cover it with foil, and store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours before baking it off.

How to Store Chicken and Rice Bake

Store leftovers of this cheesy chicken and rice bake in the fridge in an airtight container. Leftovers will last up to 5 days.

How to Reheat Chicken and Rice Casserole

I recommend reheating leftovers of this chicken and rice casserole from scratch in the oven or in the microwave. If reheating in the microwave, you may want to add a splash of water to the dish so that the rice doesn’t dry out.

Can I Freeze Chicken and Rice Bake?

Yes! Let cool to room temperature, then seal inside a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. It’ll last up to 3 months frozen. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight.

Side angle of Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken rice with cheese on top in a white casserole dish showing the layers.

What to Serve with Chicken and Rice Casserole

This cheesy chicken and rice bake is a meal-in-one complete with protein, veggies and grains. So, you call dinner done or serve it with any of these additional sides:

Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken and rice with cheese on top in a white casserole dish with a serving on a spoon.

Looking for More Chicken and Rice Recipes?

Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken and Rice Bake

Servings: 6 -8
Total Time: 40 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked long grain rice or brown rice
  • 2 cups Homemade Salsa Verde (or storebought like mild Herdez)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 15 oz. can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 4 oz. can mild diced green chilies

10 Minute Marinade

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tsp EACH onion pwdr, garlic pwdr
  • 1/2 tsp EACH salt, smoked paprika, cumin, chipotle pwdr
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for more heat)

Optional Garnishes

  • Tortilla chips
  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • Avocados

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • In a very large bowl, whisk together the 10 Minute Marinade ingredients. Add cooked chopped chicken and let marinate 10 minutes.
  • Mix cheeses together and add 2 cups cheese, salsa verde, rice, sour cream, green chilies, and corn to the chicken and marinade. Stir until evenly combined. It will seem a little “wet” which is normal. Add chicken/rice mixture to a 9 x 13 casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until hot in the center then broil until cheese is golden.
  • Serve with desired garnishes.

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47 Comments

  1. Karrie says

    I made this with a rotisserie chicken I picked up at Costco. It was as good as the enchiladas that were its inspiration, and went together so quickly. I will definitely make this again. Thanks again for another tasty creation!

    • Jen says

      Awesome Karrie! so glad to hear you liked them as much as the enchiladas! and you are so welcome, I love an appreciate eater :)!!

      • Salma says

        Hi there so does the rice goes in the oven cooked or uncooked

        • Jen says

          Hi Salma, the rice should be cooked. You measure 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice, cook it and then add it to the casserole – sorry for the confusion!

    • Jen says

      It had been forever for me too but now I can’t stop craving it 🙂 I hope you can make it soon and satisfy your cravings! Thanks Thalia!

  2. Meredith says

    Can this be prepped ahead of time? Say, a day in advance so all you have to do it pop it in the oven?

    • Jen says

      Hi Meredith! I have never tried it with this particular casserole, but I don’t see why not! I would recommend letting it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking if you have the time.

  3. Johanna says

    Hey I was wondering if you put their Marinade in with the rest of the stuff or just the chicken?

    • Jen says

      Hi Johanna! You marinate the chicken for 10 minutes in the Marinade then add the rest of the ingredients to the Marinade along with the chicken and mix to combine. Hope that helps!

        • Katie Nielson says

          I don’t usually write recipe reviews but this one was delicious! My whole family loved it and the flavor was seriously better than any restaurant. I will be adding this to my favorites list for sure!

          • Jen says

            Thank you so much for your awesome comment Katie! I’m thrilled it’s a new repeat favorite!

  4. Teri B. says

    Made this tonight and it’s A-MA-ZING! I added 1/2 of a finely chopped red bell pepper (it needed to be eaten and I thought it would make the dish look pretty). Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. I used brown rice and we topped it with fresh cilantro. I bought sour cream, but the dish so flavorful that no one used it. Hubby had two huge servings. Definitely a keeper. THANKS!

    • Jen says

      YAY! So happy everyone loved it – and when the hubby has two huge servings – that’s a huge compliment! Thank you so much for letting me know! I love the addition of red bell pepper and that you used brown rice – mmmm! Thanks Teri, I hope you find more to love here!

  5. Jordan says

    In the oven right now!! I cannot wait. I shredded my chicken instead and also added black beans to the mix. Extra Sour Cream please!!! It also made me really want Chipotle as I was mixing.

    • Jen says

      Hi Jordan, I hope you loved this as much as your enthusiasm while in the oven – love it! Love your addition of black beans as well. Hope it gave you the Chipotle fix you were craving 🙂

  6. Amanda Z says

    We just had this for dinner tonight and it was delicious!! This dish is bursting with flavor, I love the marinade. It didn’t even need any of the toppings, but I couldn’t resist some crunch on top so I used some tortilla chips. Thanks for a great dinner!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Amanda! I am so happy you loved it – and yes, a little crunch is always an excellent idea! 🙂

  7. Mady says

    Can you give me a measurement for cooked rice? I have some left over and want to use it up but wasn’t sure how much? Thanks so much! I’m excited for dinner tonight!

    • Jen says

      Hi Mady, it should be approximately 4 cups cooked rice. Enjoy!

      • Mady says

        Thanks so much! This was delicious! What a great combination of spices and flavors! PS So fun to discover that you’re a member, I am too!

        • Jen says

          You are so welcome! thank YOU for letting me know how much you enjoyed it – yay! And yes, LDS through and through 🙂 – so happy to meet another friend 🙂

  8. Julia Stevens says

    I was wondering if you could sub quinoa for the rice. And if so, would you use the same ratio and bake the same?

    • Jen says

      Hi Julia! I have to admit I never cook with quinoa and am not an expert because my husband is not a fan. That being said, I am pretty sure you can substitute with the same baking time and it should still be delicious but I can’t guarantee it will be perfect. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

  9. Layne says

    I’ll have to make this again soon! Next time I’ll cook the rice first, haha.

    • Jen says

      So sorry about that Layne – and a burnt finger to go with it! ah! I hope they will make up for it when you make them for real :)!

  10. Jenny Trimble says

    Oh my goodness this is delicious, thank you for sharing! On another note. I know your in-laws and they’re awesome! You married into a great family.

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Jenny, I am so happy you enjoyed it! And what a small world! I agree I married into the best family – I am SO lucky 🙂

  11. Marta says

    I loved this dish and I added one can black beans rinsed! A delicious recipe and thanks for sharing

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Marta, so happ you enjoyed it! and your addition of black beans sounds delish!

  12. Whitney says

    Love this recipe! So good, just one quick question, what do you serve with it?! I’m terrible at picking sides to go with stuff and this has everything I usually serve with Mexican dishes. Thanks for the help.

    • Jen says

      Hi Whitney, I am so happy you love this recipe! I would serve it with any fruit and a simple green salad with either ranch or chipotle ranch or even tomatillo ranch. You could add sesame seeds or tortilla strips as well as avocado to the salad to make it more “Mexican’ in feel 🙂 Hope that helps!

  13. Lynn says

    Wowzers! The flavours in this casserole are amazing! How do you come up with such wonderful recipes?! I only added 8 oz. of the salsa verde because that is all I had left in the bottle and, for our tastebuds, it was simply perfect. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thanks for all of your creativity, I always look forward to receiving your latest recipe in my inbox!

    • Jen says

      Hi Lynn, thank you so much for making my day! I LOVE hearing that you look forward to receiving my recipes in your inbox – yay! and I’m so happy this is another keeper! I hope you continue to find more favorites here!

  14. Mary says

    Do you think I could somehow turn this into a freezer meal?
    Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Hi Mary, I think this should freeze great! I would assemble it without the cheeses on top and then add the cheeses and bake when ready to serve. Hope this helps!

  15. Diane Decker says

    I’m thinking that any of your basic chicken recipes that use marinades would work in this dish. I like to work from foundation recipes and change it up with different flavor profiles. This looks like one that should work with any marinade. What do you think?

    • Jen says

      Hi Diane, yes I think it would work with different marinades and be delicious! Always fun to mix things up!

  16. Ashley says

    Do you think cauliflower rice would substitute well?

    • Jen says

      Hi Ashley, riced cauliflower doesn’t soak up moisture or liquid the same way so you will get a different texture but overall yes, I think it will work!

  17. Jen says

    Hi!
    I am having the sister missionaries over for dinner tonight, and guess what I am baking??? This is one of my favorite dishes, one that I always know will be a favorite! I love the combination of tart and sweet, and as I add onions, black beans and a we bit of olive oil (when cooking the chicken), the fact that it (technically) includes all five food groups 🙂
    Thank you so much for posting such a delicious dish!

    • Jen says

      That’s awesome Jen! I love hearing this honey lime chicken is a favorite and your customizations sound delish! I hope you had a wonderful night and I’m sure the sisters appreciate your service!

  18. Kathleen says

    It would’ve been helpful if you had corrected the recipe adding a step/instruction to cook the rice. What a waste of time & money .

    • Jen says

      Hi Kathleen, I’m sorry the recipe didn’t work out for you but it says “cooked” rice directly in the ingredients – not sure how to make it more clear.

  19. Melissa says

    Oh you’re a lifesaver – I was halfway through making your Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas which I LOVE and then realized I had no tortillas. A bit of frantic clicking on your site brought me here and I did have rice so all was not lost. It was super tasty, thank you!! That honey lime marinade is one of my favorite things!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Melissa, I’m so glad this rice bake came to the rescue! It’s an older recipe so I lover seeing it still get some love!

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