This Cheesy Salsa Chicken and Rice Bake is a Mexican-inspired recipe perfect for an easy dinner night menu. With this 30 minute meal, you can have a filling dinner ready in no time.
This recipe is a variation of my Easy Salsa Rice side dish. In this version, I turned it into a full meal. I love this 4 ingredient salsa chicken rice casserole so much that it's usually on the menu at least once a month.
This is a one-pan meal that's perfect for busy weeknights when you want a delicious dinner without spending hours in the kitchen. We combine tender chicken, flavorful salsa, creamy cheese, and fluffy rice into one harmonious casserole.
It's a family-friendly dish that's loved by all, making it the perfect solution for a no-fuss dinner that's both delicious and convenient.
🍯 Why This Recipe Works
- You can add to it! I often add in canned corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, or anything else on hand just to stretch it a little further.
- The leftovers can be repurposed. I enjoy taking salsa chicken bake leftovers (assuming there is any) and turning them into a burrito bowl or serving it up in my cheesy bean and rice burritos.
- Perfect for leftover shredded chicken. Have chicken leftovers from the night before or some rotisserie chicken on hand? This recipe is perfect for using it up.
Chunky salsa- You'll need some red salsa to add flavor to this recipe. I love to use chunky red salsa, but you can use smooth salsa if preferred. Also, you can choose which heat level you'd like (I use mild).
Quick Minute Rice- Using fast cooking rice will help us to get dinner on the table much more quickly.
Cheddar cheese- Use pre-shredded cheese or cheese that you shred yourself, and sprinkle it over the top for a nice topping and cheesy goodness.
Chicken- You'll need some already cooked chicken for this recipe, so using leftover chicken works best. Shredded or diced chicken is fine.
- Canned corn
- Black beans
- Green onion
- Diced tomatoes
For specific ingredients and measurements, please see the recipe card below.
🔪 Instructions for Cheesy Salsa Chicken and Rice Bake
Step 1: Bring salsa and water to a boil in a medium sized pot.
Step 2: Stir in quick cooking rice.
Step 3: Add the lid and remove it from heat.
Step 4: Let stand 5 minutes.
Step 5: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
Step 6: Spread the salsa rice into the baking dish into an even layer.
Step 7: Top with cooked chicken.
Step 8: Sprinkle cheese and additional toppings over the top of the chicken.
Step 9: Bake for 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted.
🍴 Recipe Tips
The salsa is liquid enough that it helps to provide moisture for the rice despite not being water. For best flavors, I recommend using a salsa you already know and love as not every kind is made the same as another. I usually opt for a chunky style because the added bites of diced tomato are always pleasant.
This recipe is fast, simple, and can be 100% on the stovetop with a large enough pot. Just make the rice as directed, top it with cheese and chicken and then close the lid until the cheese is melted and the chicken is heated through.
💭 Recipe FAQs
I have not tried this salsa chicken recipe with a Verde salsa but I can picture it tasting rather delicious if used. Let me know in the comments if you try it. I'd love to hear about it!
This salsa rice recipe uses white quick minute rice as it needs less liquid and time to cook. Other varieties could be used but they won't end up the same as the cooking time and the liquid ratios would need to be adjusted. Long grain rice will also end up starchy if not properly rinsed.
The spiciness of salsa rice depends on the type of salsa you use. Mild salsa will result in a milder dish, while hot salsa will make it spicier.
❤️ More Delicious Main Dish Recipes
If you tried this Cheesy Salsa Chicken and Rice Bake, please leave a ⭐️ star rating and share your feedback in the 📝 comments section below. I would truly appreciate it!
Cheesy Salsa Chicken and Rice Bake
- 4 cups White Quick Cook 5 Minute Rice ($2.56)
- 2 cups Water ($0.00)
- 2 cups Chunky salsa ($1.88)
- 1-2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded ($2.00)
- 1-2 cups Cooked chicken, diced or shredded ($1.44)
Optional toppings suggestions:
- Green onions, chopped
- Black beans
- Tomatoes, diced
- In a medium sized pot, bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of salsa to a boil.
- Stir in quick cooking rice and place the lid on the pot.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
- Spread the cooked salsa rice in the baking dish.
- Top the rice with your shredded or diced chicken.
- Sprinkle cheese over the top and any additional toppings if desired.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the chicken is heated through.
- Serve warm.