Chipotle Salsa Baked Chicken

Dear restaurant chain by the same name, thank you for making chipotle a household word! (And for helping to teach people how to say it correctly—”chee POAT leh”.) I love cooking with chipotles—smoked, dried, red jalapeños—especially those packed in adobo sauce.

In this recipe we are making a simple salsa with fire roasted tomatoes, onions, lime juice, and chipotles packed in adobo, coating chicken breasts with the sauce, topping them with melty jack cheese, and baking them in the oven in a casserole dish. So easy! And so versatile.

Chipotle Salsa Baked Chicken

First, chiles in adobo last a long time in the fridge, many months once you’ve opened the can, so you don’t have to stress about using them up right away. Second, this dish has lots of sauce, which tastes great with rice, pasta, tortillas, even chips. Third, it makes great leftovers.

This chicken bake is very similar to my salsa verde baked chicken, but with a smokey chipotle salsa instead. It’s a little on the acidic side with the lime juice and adobo, and tastes great with avocados to cut the acid and the heat.

While I usually serve it with rice, it’s also surprisingly good with penne pasta. In fact I could see making this again as a pasta casserole, just chop up the chicken to bite sized pieces, toss with cooked pasta and the salsa, sprinkle with cheese and bake until the chicken is cooked through.

Chipotle Salsa Baked Chicken

A big shout out and thank you to my friend Gaby Dalkin, from whose chipotle salsa recipe I (barely) adapted this one.

Chipotle Salsa Baked Chicken Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

This casserole produces a lot of sauce! Use it to spoon over rice or pasta, or for dipping tortilla chips.

Yum

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes (or canned whole or crushed tomatoes if fire roasted are not available)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup, packed, chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 chipotle chili peppers in adobo, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (less or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), trimmed of excess fat, cut into 3-inch wide pieces
  • 4 ounces grated or sliced Monterey jack cheese

Serve with or over

  • Avocados
  • More chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Rice
  • Pasta

Method

1 Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, chipotle peppers and adobo, lime juice and salt in a blender or food processor.  Pulse a few times so there are no more large chunks of anything, but not so much so that the salsa is completely smooth.

2 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken pieces in a casserole dish, just large enough to fit them all in a single layer (about 8x10-inches).  Spread the chipotle salsa over the chicken pieces, turning the chicken pieces to coat them all over with the salsa.

chipotle-salsa-baked-chicken-method-1 chipotle-salsa-baked-chicken-method-2

3 Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes (30 minutes for thighs). Remove the foil, and sprinkle or layer the cheese over the chicken. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes more.

Serve over rice, pasta, or with tortillas on the side, along with chopped avocado, more cilantro, crema fresca or sour cream.

Variation: This is a bake-in-the-oven recipe. You could easily adapt the recipe to the stovetop this way:  sear the chicken pieces first in a little olive oil, remove the chicken, add the onions to the pan, cook them till soft, add the garlic and chiles, cook a little longer, add the tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, and salt, then add the chicken, coat the chicken with the sauce, bring to a low simmer, cover, cook for 25 minutes, sprinkle with cheese, cover and cook for a few more minutes until the cheese is melted.

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Links:

Homemade salsa with tomatoes and chipotle from What's Gaby Cooking

Chipotle chicken tacos from Lisa Fain, the Homesick Texan

Chipotle chicken and corn chowder from Brown Eyed Baker

Chipotle Salsa Baked Chicken

Showing 4 of 73 Comments

  • Bronwyn

    Yuuuuuum! Might have to go hunting for chipotle chilli in New Zealand.

  • Julie

    Wow! This looks amazing! I’m just wondering if it’s fairly spicey with the chipoltes and adobo. The way you have the ratio of ingredients, is it fairly hot?

  • Christine

    My favorite way to help use up those cans of chipotles is by adding a chopped pepper or two to barbecue sauce when making pulled pork (or chicken) sandwiches. Top with a little vinegared slaw and YUM.

    This looks great! I just made your chile relleno but stuffed with a black bean and corn mix instead of the chorizo. So good! Thanks.

  • Amy

    Yum! This looks amazing! I think I will have to use the stove top method because my food processor broke, and I ordered a replacement part, but they only sent the lid, not the latch attachment so it still won’t work! ARGH. This is frustrating me to no end in case you can’t tell, lol. I never realized how much I used that dang thing until I couldn’t use it.

    My husband doesn’t like chicken breast, though, do you think I could use a mix of breasts and thighs?

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