20 minute mexican skillet chicken

20 minute mexican skillet chicken | theclevercarrot.com

When time is of the essence, a quick skillet dinner fits the bill in our house.

This particular recipe is one that I keep coming back to; it’s easy, effortless and ready in under 30 minutes.

It’s a mix of ground chicken sautéed with onions, garlic, and a dash of homemade Mexican spice blend from my cookbook.

Plump cherry tomatoes are thrown in towards the end, which melt into the skillet creating a juicy and flavorful sauce. Black beans and fragrant chopped parsley finish the dish.

Use my ingredients as a guide, but choose whatever ingredients you have on hand. Zucchini, bell pepper, corn and scallions would be great additions. For a fun vegetarian version, try swapping out the chicken for meaty portobellos mushrooms, or a mix of interesting field mushrooms. Even two types of beans would be nice…

This was served with leftover cauliflower rice (which adds additional time to the recipe if cooking fresh) but quick-cooking Jasmine rice would work too. The filling is excellent for burritos with Greek yogurt, avocado and sharp cheddar cheese, too!

See the possibilities?

I should also mention that this recipe is naturally gluten free, grain free and paleo friendly (minus the beans).

What are you cooking lately that’s fast, fresh and easy?

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Kitchen Notes

Tips: I do not specify an amount for the Mexican spice blend. Spice blends vary in taste from garlicky, salty, to spicy. The recipe in my book is very flavorful but not overkill. Whatever blend you use, I suggest using a little bit at a time, to taste, until the dish is seasoned to your liking.

Substitutions: You can go crazy here. As mentioned above, use whatever ingredients you have on hand but don’t overcrowd the pan. The idea is to keep it easy on yourself. Plus, too many ingredients will make the dish watery, and nobody likes watery Mexican skillets.

Make-Ahead: This can be made 1 day in advance. Reheat gently in a non-stick skillet or in a pan with a touch of olive oil. Add additional herbs to brighten the flavor.

20 minute mexican skillet chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced into ½-inch pieces (red or yellow)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1¼ lbs ground chicken or turkey, mix of white and dark meat for best flavor
  • Mexican spice blend (from my cookbook) or an all-natural taco seasoning of your choice, to taste
  • 1 cup whole cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, (approximately ½ can, rinsed & drained)
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
* Serve with cauliflower rice or quick-cooking Jasmine rice, optional
  1. In a large 10-inch skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken. Sprinkle with Mexican spice blend and sauté, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and continue to sauté until the tomatoes begin to burst and the chicken is cooked through. Taste, and season with additional spice blend to your liking.
  4. Add the black beans and parsley. Stir gently to warm through.
  5. When ready to eat, serve warm straight from the skillet with cauliflower rice or Jasmine rice, if using.


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    • Emilie says

      Hello friend! Thank you! I really do make this quite often, vary the base recipe with whatever we have, or needs to be used up. Easy & simple! xo

  1. Jennifer says

    I have been into cauliflower rice lately. This sounds perfect with that! I like the Mexican flair and I for sure like quick!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Jennifer! I absolutely adore cauliflower rice. Apparently, Trader Joe’s sells it now too and my local store can’t keep it in stock- people call ahead and reserve their bags. And it’s grilled cauliflower rice ;) The regular version is very easy to make at home (although a bit messy) but worth it. I might try the grilled version this summer!

    • Emilie says

      Hello Chelsea! Aren’t they? Ground turkey would definitely work (there’s a note in the recipe!) but using ground chicken is a nice change. It all works!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Megan! It’s wonderful! Ground chicken cooks quite fast, which is great, and we like to use a mix of white & dark meat for best flavor. But you can use whatever you prefer! Enjoy :)

    • Emilie says

      Hello Mary Ann! Wonderful! This really is a quick and easy meal for when you’re super busy. But the best part really, is that it’s effortless. It takes very little thought to throw together. I hope you enjoy! xx

    • Emilie says

      Hello Cristie! Thank you! I can’t enough of them either- I’m like a puddle by the end of the day. Quick and easy to the rescue! ;)

  2. says

    I love how well you translate your quick and impromptu ways of cooking here on your blog Emilie! Sometimes its easy to forget to focus on the gems you discover everyday as oppose to the fancy things we try to create. Case in point with your gorgeous meal here. Way to keep inspiring! Have a gorgeous weekend friend <3

    • Emilie says

      Hello Jessie! I really appreciate that, you have no idea. This was such a quick creation, I was hesitant to post because it only had one picture. But then I thought, hey! This is real life. And we really do eat this. So, thank you for the vote of confidence! xoxo

  3. Vicki Yosh says

    I can’t wait to make this! It looks amazing. Looking forward to it with a dab of Guac on top!!

  4. says

    I really love the way you write your recipes. They’re so un-intimidating, so informative, and so FUN. I’m 100% down for skillet meals. In fact, I’ve made two this weekend, so far. One-dish meals make cooking so inviting and casual and cozy. Keep these up, Emilie! PS – I’m on round two of my sourdough bread! AND I’m actually babysitting a friend’s sourdough starter, while she is away in Paris for an internship. FUN! AND THANK YOU! Bigtime Xs and Os your way.

    • Emilie says

      Really?! Thank you! It’s so hard to see yourself and how you come across when you’re on the inside, you know? I really appreciate it Jayme. And I’d love to hear more about your skillet meals- I’m always down for new dinner ideas!

      Have fun with your baking adventures! Yay! You must keep me posted. I live for this kind of stuff ;)

  5. Victoria says

    I love your photography! I’ve been following since December and every post is beautifully laid out. I’ve just started my own blog alexandersmom.com creating healthy recipes for children and I would be honored if you checked it out. Thanks! Victoria

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