Salsa Verde Chicken Bake

While the chicken is cooking, prepare some rice or quinoa to serve with the chicken. The recipe produces a lot of sauce which will go well with the sides.

You could easily make this with boneless, skinless chicken thighs as well. You may need to cook them just a few minutes longer than the breasts.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 3/4 cups (1 15-ounce jar) tomatillo salsa verde
  • 4 ounces grated Monterey jack and/or pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Cut chicken breasts and line baking dish with them: Cut the chicken breasts into halves.

Line a 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole baking dish with the chicken pieces. Try to cover the bottom as completely as you can with the chicken.

3 Cover the chicken pieces with the salsa verde. Cover completely, there should be no exposed chicken or it will dry out.

4 Bake in a 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, use it. The chicken should be removed from the oven when the internal temperature of the breast meat reaches 150°F.

5 Sprinkle cheese over the chicken, increase the oven heat to 400°F and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, enough time for the cheese to melt and the sauce to get bubbly.

Remove from oven. Serve immediately. Spoon over cooked rice or quinoa. Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips for crunch if you would like.

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  • Steve

    Love this recipe and have made it quite often…..the time though does not work. To get the chicken to 165 takes much longer than indicated.


  • Pamela

    My family loved it! I will definitely make it again.


  • Suzie

    So simple and delicious! Lovedit.


  • Stefny

    I put in the sautéed onion, jalapeño and garlic. Very flavorful. Will do again. Just needed more cook time then broiled the cheese.


  • Amanda

    I made this tonight, it was super tasty, and really hit the spot.
    I sautéed some onion, jalapeño, and garlic in a pan and added it to the bottom of my dish prior to adding the chicken. I also seared the chicken breast before baking.
    We ate it with the Easy Black Beans and Rice that we eat ALL THE TIME from Simply Recipes.
    This is going into my weekly rotation.


  • Angela

    This sounds wonderful and I am excited to make it, I live in a 55+ community and each month we have a dinner in the community center. My question is, I would need a large quantity to make, so what is your opinion if I were to cut up my raw chicken in chunks, bake as directed, but before adding cheese, have say a 9×11 glass baking dish with precooked rice on bottom, then pour over baked chunk chicken and salsa, then add cheese and place back in oven, remove and put chopped cilantro and green onion over top, would you advise a mix of both thighs and breast, do you think this way would work too?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Angela, that approach sounds good! You’re really just assembling and then baking to melt the cheese. A mix of thigh and breast meat should work fine.

  • Patricia

    I made this and my husband loved it . Make sure you use tomatillio salsa verde


  • Catherine

    Looks great. Could you cook in crock pot?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Catherine! We haven’t tested it in the crockpot yet, but yes, I think it would work. I’d suggest cooking the chicken breasts for 2 to 4 hours and topping with cheese toward the end.


    My family loves this easy recipe.


  • Brie

    This looks delicious! Do you think I’d need to increase the cooking time if using boneless/skinless thighs instead of breasts?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Brie, it might take another 5 minutes? Maybe or maybe not. Boneless thighs cook pretty quickly.

      • Brie

        Thanks so much, Elise! I’m planning on making this for my salsa-verde-loving husband for lunch tomorrow!

  • geena

    this recipe has been in my daughter in laws family for ages. (brazil)
    we use boneless thighs comes out perfecto!!!
    thank you for reminding me, that’s what is for dinner tonite!

  • Dia

    I made this just the other day. It was too good. I layed corn tortilla shells on top. Then white sharp cheddar and put it back in the oven at 400 degrees for 5 mins. Delicious!

  • Stacy

    This is an easy weeknight supper that tastes delicious and makes my whole family happy. A keeper! Thank you!

  • Andy Y

    Great recipe! Lots of flavor, not a lot of fat! I used Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde, served over brown rice, with some beans on the side. Wonderful , hearty meal, easy to do and not bad for the waistline.

  • Byron

    This was great! My modifications were
    1. put a layer of chopped onions/cilantro on top of the salsa
    2. split it into 2 serving dishes and cut portions for 2
    3. Served with totopos, guac, beans and some extra cilantro and onions
    This was a total success!!!!
    Next time I’ll try this with halibut

  • Sandy S.

    This is such a winner! Hard to believe that something so quick and easy can be so good. I have made if with green enchilada sauce as well as with salsa verde with equal success. I have also added a layer of 1/2 onion (diced) and 1 medium size yellow squash cut into fourths length wise and then 1/4″ slices sprinkled over the chicken before adding the sauce. Very good if I do say so.


  • Mary Dettmann

    This recipe is a certified Dettmann family favorite. I make it often and each time it is so moist and full of flavor. Left overs freeze well.

  • Sarah Martin

    I’ve made this dish at least 200 times since it was first published. I use Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde. It’s always really satisfying.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  • Laura

    So easy but SO good! Disagree that internal cooking temperature for chicken noted by another poster should be 165 degrees; 150 degrees as directed by recipe yields moist, juicy chicken. Anything more and chicken is dry, tough, and tasteless. We never cook ours past 150 degrees at the most. THANKS, Elise!

    • Dave C

      Chicken recipes all say 165 because that is the temp necessary to kill salmonella, a common bacteria found in raw chicken.

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Dave, it’s all a matter of the amount of time at a certain temperature. 165 will kill the bacteria immediately. In this recipe, we remove the chicken from the oven at 150F, but then we put it back in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, sufficient time to kill the bacteria, even if the chicken temp doesn’t rise to 165F during that time period. You only need 2.8 minutes at 150F to kill the bacteria. (Check out the Pasteurization Time for Poultry chart in Kenji’s article on sous vide chicken breasts at Serious Eats:

  • Michelle Ma Bell

    I made this last night and it was as advertised. Simple and delicious. I served it with rice and canned organic black beans that I dolled up with onions, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Winner winner chicken dinner!

  • David

    I tried this recipe and it was a big hit! We arrived in the early evening at our cabin. Cold, a bit of snow, but into the oven went the chicken. So delicious and quick. A perfect meal on a cold Friday night! I had no cilantro, but a sprinkle of sliced green onion and it looked like a million bucks!

  • Daniel

    Just thought I should say that the safe internal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees not 150 degrees.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Daniel,

      Yes of course! After the chicken is tested for 150 degrees it goes back in a very hot oven for 5 to 10 minutes, which should be plenty of time to get it up to temperature.

  • Rita fairbairn

    Can I use chicken breasts with bone in and skin on, when baking, then remove skin and bones and add the cheese?
    Thank you,

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Rita, hmmm, good question! Seems like it could get rather messy. If you try it that way, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  • Michelle

    Loved it, but add cream cheese with chives under the verdes and it is wonderful!!! Thanks!

  • Terri

    So fun to find this recipe (I googled salsa verde chicken)! I had leftover avocado tomatillo salsa verde and it worked perfectly in this dish. Quite delicious! My spice loving husband thought it was amazing. Thank you for posting this keeper recipe!

  • Fran

    Just made this last night to rave reviews. Love that it’s so quick and easy. Served it with Trader Joe’s Cuban black beans and lime rice.

  • Lois Coulter

    I just noticed this recipe and thought it looked good even though my husband won’t eat chicken. I read the comment that this works well with pork chops, too, instead of chicken. Sounds like a nice dinner for 3 or 4 persons. I’ll save it to my time line. Thank you!

  • AnnieJ in VT

    I made this using Stubbs Salsa Verde. Fabulous! Beware, though, Stubbs is quite spicy. This is easy, quick to put together, and tastes great with a side of corn.

  • Steph

    This recipe was the result of a “what do I have in the kitchen” search. I am really pleasantly surprised at how great it is, especially with the fresh salsa verde from the local Mexican market. Thanks– it’s a keeper!

  • Diane

    Made the dish tonight and I was underwhelmed. It was not special.

  • Lauren

    This is very good. The chicken stays moist and tastes delicious with the green salsa!

  • MariaElena

    I love this recipe! When I make it I mix boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs. I cut them into similar size pieces, season with salt, garlic powder and bake as directed above. I then take the chicken out, let it cool a bit, and then cut it up with some kitchen scissors. I then put the cheese on top and put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes. I serve it over brown rice and black beans. Very, very good!

  • beth

    Made this for dinner tonight, hubby and I both really liked it.

  • JoeInMD

    This was great! I made it Monday, then took the leftovers to work today. I’m good and full, but still wishing I had more!

  • Stephanie

    Made this tonight. Of course it was super easy AND everyone in my family ate it – which is saying a lot.

  • Jane in MA

    I have made this twice already! The first time was as directed (it was absolutely wonderful–had it with warmed tortillas, but will try over rice next time). Then, I needed a Mexican-esque (wow, what a word) dish for a family gathering and thought I’d try this recipe in a slow cooker. It was good, but not as good as the first time. I think I overcooked it, actually. (I cooked it for about 4 hours on high.) I took the pieces out and shredded them, then put back into the sauce (with some cheese) in the slow cooker on warm for people to serve themselves at a kind of taco bar setup. People loved it, but I preferred the oven method. Thanks again, Elise!

    Regarding the dishware–Arabia Valencia–if you are desperate for it you can find some on Ebay, and some at those china/flatware replacement companies. It is lovely, but wow…$$$ since it’s out of production!

  • Anita

    Made this last night – it is absolutely delicious and so very easy to make. I used chicken thighs and cut it up into bite-sized pieces. Had it over your mom’s spanish rice – YUMMY!! Will most definitely be making this again!

  • Sally

    This was delicious! I didn’t have any Monterey Jack in the house, so used cotija instead. It was very tasty.


  • Sandy

    Can’t wait to try this, we love green salsa. For those that said it took longer to cook the chicken, remember to let the chicken sit out for awhile to loose some of the chill from the refrigerator. This will also help the doneness be more uniform.

  • Linda

    I sent this off with my newly graduated son and his buddies on a ski trip – he is now the master chef! We also found that the chicken took more like 40 minutes to get to 150’F. Really a great addition to our recipe collection.

  • Mary

    Loved this recipe. Served with rice, warmed black beans in a little chicken broth and cumin, diced avocados, tomatoes, and grated cheese. Topping with the fresh cilantro makes it even better! Am wondering if you could try this with red salsa? Just looking for the easy middle of week dinners!

    It’s worth a try! Let us know how it turns out for you if you make it with red salsa. ~Elise


  • Sierra

    Delish! Made this (and your Mom’s famous Spanish rice) for dinner tonight. My 15-month old and I loved both, and lots leftover – hooray!

  • Raluca

    Great easy recipe! Made it tonight, and everyone asked for seconds. I’m telling all the school moms about your site…every recipe I’ve made so far has been easy & delicious. You should publish a book.


  • Erin

    Made this tonight, and it was very simple and tasty! I used pepper jack cheese. Perfect weeknight dish!

  • Mary Morris

    This took way longer than your recipe suggested, maybe because I covered the chicken breasts with a 32 oz. can of green salsa in an 8 x 8 pan, set on a cookie sheet in case of overboiling. It was just one of those nights when one of us had to get out early, and I was counting on the recipe for a couple of nights for the two of us. – Mary

  • Susan

    Very easy and very tasty! I used the cheese I had on hand, which was the local store brand of Mexican blend shredded cheese. Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely repeat this! :)


  • Jenny

    Just made this, it is fantastic! So easy and yet so good. Used a generous amount of pepperjack and sharp cheddar, served over Mexican rice from scratch, chopped romaine and cilantro and sour cream. YUM!

  • Scott

    Mmmmmmm….simple and easy! We had three breast halves and a lot of salsa/juice leftover, so we chopped up the remaining breast half, tossed the unused rice into the salsa/juice/chicken mixture and will be stuffing whole wheat tortillas tomorrow night!

  • Chris Howard

    I just wanted to let you know that I made this dish this week. I decided to go with a pound and a half of boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts (I find thighs to be more flavorful and less fussy). Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. The chicken came out tender and delicious and not spicy. We served it over some rice with a side salad for a quick, healthy midweek meal. Thank you so much!

  • Julia

    I made this dish last night and there’s just one word for it…YUM! I thought I’d have a little left for lunch, didn’t happen, we just licked the bowl clean. Excellent

  • Geraldine Saucier

    I made this for dinner and everyone loved it. The chicken was moist, tender, and full of flavor. This recipe is a keeper.

  • Shannon

    This was so easy and delish! We served it with brown rice and roasted broccoli.

  • Erin

    This was wonderful! Easy, inexpensive, low in calories, and delicious!! A big hit with the mom and boyfriend!

  • Amy L.

    Made this last night for dinner… Topped it with sour cream, it was delish! It’s not often you find an easy weeknight meal that is also really really good. Thanks for posting, this will go into my monthly rotation.

  • Karyn

    Made this last night – so easy and so good! I served with quinoa and a salad of chopped red/green peppers, cubed cucumbers & avocado, and sliced scallions tossed with lime juice and salt. Thanks!

  • Thamon

    I made this with pepperjack cheese and it was very good. I will definately make it again!

  • KariVery

    This dish screams “Serve me with cornbread” …. so I shall!

  • monty

    This is good good good. We make this with a whole pork butt and a quart of spicy salsa verde. Slow cook it in a dutch oven or crock pot until it falls apart. Most yummy.

  • ricardo m

    I wanted to ask who ever wrote the recipe, how do you make the green sauce?, and why you pull the chicken out of the oven at 150 degrees, that chicken will not be cooked all the way, it is extremely dangerous to pull chicken at less than 165 degrees. I am just trying to prevent anyone from getting sick.

    There is a link to the green sauce in the ingredient list. You pull out the chicken at 150°F so that you can sprinkle cheese over it and return it to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. It will continue to cook and the chicken’s internal temperature will continue to rise. If you wait until it’s 165°F before pulling it out the first time, it will be quite overcooked by the time the dish is actually done. ~Elise

  • Susan

    I make this with half an onion roughly chopped and a clove or two of garlic. A few pickled peppers add a nice kick. Pork chops are a good replacement for the chicken too.

    For sides, try black beans, refried beans, Spanish/Mexican rice, corn tortillas, corn on the cob/frozen corn….we even like crispy baked potato wedges with it.

  • Tee Sims

    YUM! Made this morning by throwing into the crockpot and then baking in the oven to melt the cheese. Simple, quick, and tasty. A perfect combo. Now, if I could only get my tomatillo plants to produce…Any suggestions?

    Tomatillo plants need company for pollination. Make sure you are growing more than one plant. ~Elise

  • Jess

    Suggested sides for this?

  • Bobby Boy

    Salsa Verde Chicken is always a winner, but please consider utilizing the skin! Roast or crisp up the chicken breasts with the skin and deglaze to render the flavor. Remove the skin (optional) before adding the Salsa Verde. This will add depth to the flavor.

    Can’t do it that way with this recipe, but what we did do is crisp up the skins in a skillet on the stove-top, sprinkled with chipotle powder and salt. Then chopped them and sprinkled them on top of this dish, or put them in a warm tortilla for a chicken skin taco. ~Elise

  • Dan Krauss-Kowalchuk

    Sounds like the bomb. As with most recipes with canned salsa verde in them, I would suggest the addition of some roasted and deseeded jalapeño or pablano. As a side note, this is my first comment on this site, but it is by far and away THE BEST food blog out there. Amazing depths of flavor, as well as a great combo of easy and more ambitious dishes.

    Thanks Dan! ~Elise

  • Tallen

    The recipe looks great but can you tell me about the plate? Who makes it and what is the pattern?

    That’s Arabia Valencia (you can Google it). The pattern has been discontinued unfortunately, it’s so lovely. Hand painted cobalt blue. ~Elise

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I’ve made chicken with salsa verde in the slow cooker. Of course, everything is better with cheese on top, so thanks for the inspiration.

  • Marsha

    I have done something very close to this. I put 2-3 chicken breasts in a crock pot along with sliced onion and jarred Salsa Verde. Put on low for 8 hours and it turns out really good. We normally then fill warmed whole wheat tortillas with this yummy goodness along with Monterrey Jack cheese. Add some black beans on the side and you are good to go!