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!

  • 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 breasts Chicken 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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  • 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?

    • Carrie Havranek

      Hi Nancy! You could certainly use the marinade as the cooking sauce if you wanted to, but the results would be slightly different of course, and you’d miss out on the benefits that the marinade provides to the chicken ahead of time. However, rest assured, you can follow the recipe as directed and add the chicken and marinade to the pan! The chicken and marinade will get hot enough and be safe to eat. Thanks for your question!

  • 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.


    • Summer

      Thanks for letting me know you loved this dish, Rebecca!

  • 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.


  • 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.