Southwest Skillet Chicken with Beans and Corn


Need something quick and delicious for dinner? This Southwest Skillet Chicken is easy, freezer-friendly, and ready in 35 minutes. Make it with beans, corn, and bell peppers!

Photography Credit: Alison Bickle

I love this recipe because it’s so easy, and leftovers can be transformed into shredded tacos, or a Mexican-inspired chicken chili.

A well-stocked spice drawer means the cumin and smoked paprika marinade comes together in 5 minutes with only a couple of tips of a measuring spoon, a little garlic, and some lime. Chopped peppers, frozen corn and canned black beans round out the dish.

This one-skillet dinner is ready in 20 minutes or less. You can also freeze the marinated chicken for up to 6 months so you have an easy meal at the ready when you need it. Do whatever works for you!

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Chicken Recipe in Skillet with Cumin - womans hand stirring chicken and vegetables with spatula


Boneless skinless thinly sliced chicken breasts, tenderloins or tenders (your grocery store may label them one way or another) are the best choice for this quick and easy skillet dinner.

Their quick cooking time, and small surface area cook faster and deliver more marinade with each bite than thick chicken breast halves.


You need a large skillet to fit all the ingredients into one pan. I wouldn’t go any smaller than a 12-inch skillet (measured across the top).


If you make this on a day when you don’t have the suggested vegetables on hand, don’t worry about it. Serve the chicken with a side salad, tortillas, Cilantro Lime Rice or a vegetable of your choice.

Chicken Freezer Meal - ziploc bag with chicken, herbs and spices


We are all busy which is why I love this recipe. When chicken tenders go on sale, I buy a lot of them. I set aside a little time on the weekend set up an assembly line and make as many bags of marinated chicken as I can. I freeze them flat so they don’t take up much space in my freezer.

Knowing I have a healthy main dish set aside for busy weeknights saves me from picking up a pizza and keeps a few extra bucks in my pocket.

  1. Use a gallon-size freezer bag that you press to seal rather than those with a zipper slide.
  2. Write the date, name of the recipe, and so you can easily find the recipe later.
  3. Add the chicken and marinade ingredients to the bag.
  4. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag and close it.
  5. Smoosh around the chicken until its well coated in marinade.
  6. Lay flat to freeze.

This will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months, and up to 48 hours thawed in the refrigerator.

Not a planner? No biggie! You could still make this whole dish start to finish in one night and have dinner ready in 35 minutes or less.


Southwest Skillet Chicken with Beans and Corn Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


For the marinade:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders, tenderloin, or thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Zest from 2 limes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, from about half a lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the vegetables:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium green pepper
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • Cooked rice or tortillas, to serve


1 Label the bag: Use a sharpie to write the date and title of the recipe on a gallon-sized zip top bag so you can easily find it on when you want to cook it. Alternatively, write the cooking instructions on the bag, and date it.

Skillet Chicken -- hands labeling a zip top bag

2 Combine the ingredients: Roll down the opening of the bag a little just so you don’t accidentally get raw chicken juices on the outside or the zip top. Add the chicken, spices, zest, lime juice, garlic, and vegetable oil.

Remove as much air as possible and seal the bag. Smoosh the chicken around so it’s coated in the marinade.

Chicken Freezer Meal - ziploc bag with chicken, herbs and spices

3 Lay the chicken flat in the freezer and freeze for up to 6 months:

Alternatively, you could skip the freezer and let it marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours and up to two days, then cook it according to the directions below.

Make Ahead Chicken Dinner - four bags of marinated chicken breastsChicken Freezer Meal -- ziploc bags of frozen chicken standing up

 4 Thaw the chicken before cooking: When ready to cook, take the chicken out of the freezer in the morning before you go to work, and it will be ready to cook by the end of the day.

5 Prepare the vegetables: Dice the peppers, dice the onion, measure the corn, and drain and rinse the beans.

Skillet Chicken Dinner Recipes - woman chopping a red bell pepper with a knife

6 Cook the chicken: Set a large skillet over medium heat add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the chicken and any marinade from the bag. If any chicken is folded up, unfold it so it lays flat in the pan. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes, then flip it.

Easy Chicken Freezer Meal with Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - woman pouring marinated chicken breasts out of ziploc bag into skillet Easy Skillet Chicken - woman uses fork to pick up chicken breast and turn it over in a skillet

7 Add the vegetables: Add onions, corn, and peppers. Cover with a lid. Let everything simmer together for about 5 minutes.

Lift the lid and stir the meat and vegetables together. Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes.

Add the beans and cook for another 3 minutes until the beans warm through. The meat is cooked when you slice open a breast and the juices run clear.

Chicken Recipe in Skillet with Smoked Paprika -- woman's hands adding chopped vegetables to skillet with chicken

8 To serve: Put a chicken breast on each plate and top with vegetables. Spoon pan sauces over chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with minced cilantro and serve with tortillas or rice.

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Summer Miller

Summer Miller is the Senior Editor for Simply Recipes based in Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Grit, SAVEUR, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, among others. Her first book is New Prairie Kitchen (Agate Publishing, 2015).

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10 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSouthwest Skillet Chicken with Beans and Corn

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Gen Alcorn

    2 questions which apply to all 4 recipes:
    1) what happens when I used skinless, boneless thighs instead … should I make any changes to the seasonings?
    2) can I use vacuum foodsaver bags instead … any changes need to be made? Thank you.

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  2. Nancy

    I’ve always read that you shouldn’t use any marinade that’s come into contact w/ raw meat w/out first boiling it for up to 2 minutes. I’m nervous that the quick cooking of the thinner chicken pieces and the simmering won’t come up to a safe temp. Am I being way too cautious here? Would just using the marinade as a cooking sauce and not as an actual marinade work as well?

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  3. Rebecca

    This was AMAZING. I added a can of fire-roasted diced tomato to add some additional liquid but otherwise followed the recipe exactly as written. I was worried that I overcooked the chicken cutlets and that they would come out dry – they were so juicy and flavorful! I’ll definitely be making this one again.


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  4. kjill

    We really enjoyed this one, the pre-prepped chicken has so much flavor. I started by cooking the onions and peppers until they had blackened a tiny bit. Removed them and cooked the chicken as specified for a few minutes, topped with the onions and peppers and proceeded from there.


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  5. Marta Rivera

    I like to meal prep so I made a batch of this chicken and froze it. I served this with white rice and it made the fastest, most delicious Monday night dinner. I’ll definitely be making this one again.


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Easy Skillet Chicken - close up of chicken tenders with black beans, corn, and red and green bell peppersSouthwest Skillet Chicken with Beans and Corn