Cheesy Jalapeño Chicken Skillet

Looking for a fast and easy one pan dinner? This 30 minute cheesy jalapeño chicken skillet fits the bill!  A little spicy, a little cheesy, a little creamy, and a whole lot of deliciousness!

cast iron skillet with chicken topped with avocados and jalapenos

Let’s take a break from all the desserts and baked goods (hello, caramel pecan turtle brownies!) for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.  Here’s what we love so much about this cheesy jalapeño chicken skillet:

One pan.  Under 30 minutes.  Serve with a simple salad or roasted broccoli for an easy, fast dinner.  Done.

We are allllllll about the quick and easy dinners right now.  Working full time from home while watching kids?  I need to maximize the amount of time I have to work and minimize the amount of time standing over the stove.

And this cheesy jalapeño chicken skillet totally fits the bill.

a piece of chicken on a spatula getting lifted out a of a cast iron skillet

How easy is this? So easy.  Buy thin chicken cutlets or cut chicken breasts in half and pound down to roughly 1/2-inch thickness.  

Season with classic Tex-Mex spices: chili powder, chipotle powder, smoked paprika, Mexican oregano, cumin.  Sear for a few minutes to cook.

Add in corn (fresh is great in summer, but frozen makes this a perfect year-round dinner), red onion, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, jalapeños, garlic, and a little lime juice.  Saute until the corn starts to brown just a little.  Stir in some cream cheese for creaminess.

seared chicken with spices on a creamy corn and jalapeno mixture

While we’re on the topic of jalapeños, let’s talk about how to control the spice level.  I know lots of people are spice-averse, or cooking for little kids.  It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

Peppers are spicy because they contain capsaicin, the chemical compound responsible for that tasteless, fiery heat.  Capsaicin is concentrated in the inner pith (the white rib part) of the peppers.  While it is commonly thought that seeds are responsible for heat, it is actually the pith that should be removed to tame spicy peppers.

Love spicy?  Add an extra jalapeño!  Only like mild heat?  Remove the pith from one or both of the peppers.  Not into heat at all?  Omit the jalapeños from the corn mixture; it’s plenty flavorful on its own, especially paired with just a little chili powder on the chicken.

shredded cheese on seared chicken breasts before broiling

Add the chicken back to the skillet, pile on some shredded cheese, and pop under the broiler.  Top with some freshly sliced avocado and a drizzle of sour cream, if you wish.  Ta-da!  Dinner is ready.

And you have just enough time while the chicken is cooking at the beginning to pull together a salad or roast some broccoli in the oven  Which basically makes this the perfect weeknight dinner.

One pan, 30 minutes, time for your veggie side.  Winner winner, cheesy jalapeño chicken skillet dinner.

cast iron chicken skillet dinner with avocados and drizzled sour cream

Tips and Tricks for the best Cheesy Jalapeño Chicken

  1. Use chicken cutlets or chicken breasts that are no more than 1/2-inch thick; if thicker, pound for a thin, flat, even layer.  Thicker chicken breasts will take longer to cook and wind up tough and dry along the edges.
  2. For extra smooth, melty cheese, use a block of cheese and shred by hand.  For an extra shortcut, store-bought shredded cheese works too, it’s just not quite as smooth.
  3. To lower the spiciness of the dish, remove the pith (the white ribs) of the jalapeño peppers – or omit altogether, for the really spice averse.
  4. No broiler?  After adding the chicken back into the skillet, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 additional minutes to melt the cheese.

More Easy Chicken Dinner Recipes:

Cheesy Jalapeño Chicken Skillet

Cheesy Jalapeño Chicken Skillet

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Looking for a fast and easy one pan dinner? This 30 minute cheesy jalapeño chicken skillet fits the bill!  A little spicy, a little cheesy, a little creamy, and a whole lot of deliciousness!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets or boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half and pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced into rounds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar, Monterrey jack, or Mexican blend cheese
  • avocados, cilantro, and sour cream for garnish (if desired)

Instructions

  1. Add chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, Mexican oregano, chipotle pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper to a bowl and mix well. Dry the chicken with a paper towel and cover all sides of the chicken with the spice mixture.
  2. Preheat a cast iron skillet or other large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once hot and shimmering, add the chicken to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through, then remove to a plate.
  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the skillet, followed by the corn, red onion, cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic, and lime juice.  Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and corn is golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Add in the cream cheese and continue to stir until fully melted.
  4. Add the chicken back into the skillet and top with the shredded cheese.  Broil under high for 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is melted.
  5. Serve with avocado, additional sliced jalapeños, sour cream, or chopped cilantro.

Notes

  1. To reduce the spiciness level of the dish, remove the pith (ribs) of the jalapeño peppers.
  2. Freshly shredded cheese will melt more smoothly than prepurchased shredded cheese (but shredded cheese works in a pinch!).
  3. To melt the cheese without a broiler, cover the skillet with a lid and heat for 2-3 minutes until cheese melts.
  4. Leftovers can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 566Total Fat: 33.7gCarbohydrates: 25.2gProtein: 43.5g

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one pan cheesy chicken dinner with jalapenos in a cast iron pan

This Cheesy Jalapeño Chicken Skillet recipe was originally published on 10/06/2017.  It was republished on 05/28/2020 with new text and pictures.