Southwest Chicken Chili Bake

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This Southwest chicken chili bake is a flavorful blend of tender chicken, vibrant bell peppers, and aromatic spices, all cooked to perfection in a rich, tangy salsa verde sauce.

Creamy white beans and fresh cilantro add texture and freshness, while a bubbling layer of melted cheese tops it all off. It’s a flavorful, comforting chili that combines the zesty spirit of the Southwest with the heartiness of a classic chili.

Southwest chicken chili in a cast iron pan topped with avocado and chopped green onion.

What Makes This Southwest Chicken Chili Bake so Good?

The secret to this chili’s deliciousness lies in the bold chili flavors and the tender, juicy chicken. Here’s what makes it oh-so-good:

1. Spice: A blend of chili powder, cumin, and paprika adds layers of smokiness and warmth. The spices work harmoniously to create deep, rich flavors.

2. Fresh Ingredients: The use of fresh ingredients like diced yellow onions, bell peppers (red or green), and minced garlic ensures a burst of natural flavors.

White chicken chili in a bowl topped with avocado and green onion.

3. Salsa Verde: With its tangy tomatillo goodness, salsa verde brings a unique twist to this chili. It provides a refreshing, slightly tart counterbalance to the hearty chicken and beans.

4. Beans: White beans, such as Cannellini or navy beans, bring creaminess and texture to the chili. They soak up the flavors and add a volume to each spoonful.

5. Cheese: Who could forget the bubbly cheese on top? Whether you choose cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack, or a combination of them all, the cheese’s gooey goodness makes this chili.

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Cooked chicken chili in a cast iron pan with a wooden spoon in it.

Let’s Get Cooking – How to Make This Easy Chili Bake

Step 1: Sauté the Chicken and Onion
Start by heating up some avocado oil (olive oil works too) in a large oven-safe skillet. Add in the bite-sized chicken cubes and diced onion, letting it all sizzle until the chicken is nicely browned on the outside.

Step 2: Spices
In the same pan, toss in the bell peppers and minced garlic. Sauté until they’re soft and aromatic. Then, sprinkle in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper and let it cook some more.

Step 3: Rice and Salsa Verde
Next, stir in the basmati rice, allowing it to toast briefly in all that flavorful goodness. Pour in the salsa verde, chicken broth, and water and cover. Let it all simmer for 15 ish minutes, until the rice is cooked to perfection.

Step 5: Cheese
Now, it’s time for the best part. Remove the pan from heat and sprinkle a generous layer of shredded cheese on top. Bake in a preheated oven until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown on top. Scoop, top, and enjoy!

Two bowls of white chili with spoons in them, topped with avocado and green onions.

Ideas to Fancy Up Your Southwest Chicken Chili

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of additions to elevate your Southwest chicken chili:

  • Corn: A handful of sweet corn kernels will provide an extra burst of sweetness, crunch, and color.
  • Avocado Slices: Creamy avocado slices make a fantastic topping, adding a cool contrast to the spicy warmth.
  • Sour Cream: A dollop of sour cream (or Greek yogurt) will creaminess and a pleasant tangy flavor to the chili. It can also mellow out the heat if it’s too spicy.
  • Jalapeños: Turn up the heat by adding one seeded and chopped jalapeño during cooking. You can also top this chili bake with fresh sliced jalapeños.

Need other skillet meal ideas? You’ll love this Easy Skillet Lasagna too – it’s delicious!

What you’ll love about this recipe

  • One-Pan: The convenience of cooking this chili in a single pan is a true blessing. It minimizes the cleanup, making it perfect for those busy weeknights when you’d rather spend more time savoring your meal than doing dishes.
  • Flavorful: While this recipe is super easy to prepare, it doesn’t skimp on flavor. The combination of spices, fresh ingredients, and salsa verde create robust white chili.
  • Hearty: This chili is a complete, hearty meal in a bowl. With protein-rich chicken, fiber-packed white beans, and fluffy basmati rice, it offers a balanced combination of nutrients that’ll keep you full and satisfied.

How to store and Freeze This Chili Bake

Leftovers are inevitable with this delicious chili bake. To store, let the chili cool completely, and transfer it to an airtight container. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For longer storage, consider freezing it – it freezes great. Portion out servings in freezer-safe containers and store for up to 3 months. You can also ladle the chili into Ziplock bags, leaving a little room at the top for expansion, lay flat and freeze. This will save space in your freezer.

A bowl of chicken chili with a bite on a spoon.

With its vibrant flavors and hearty textures, you’re going to absolutely love this Southwest chicken chili bake. The combination of bold spices, fresh ingredients, creamy beans, and of course, that cheesy finish, makes it a meal that’ll fill you up annnnd warm you from the inside out. Change up your chili routine this season with this easy one-pan Southwest version and let me know what you think!

White chicken chili in a cast iron pan with a spoon in it.

Southwest Chicken Chili Bake

By: Kristine Underwood
This southwest chicken chili bake is a flavorful blend of tender chicken, vibrant bell peppers, and aromatic spices, cooked to perfection in a rich, tangy salsa verde sauce. Creamy white beans and fresh cilantro add texture and freshness, while a golden, bubbling layer of melted cheese tops it off. It's a flavorful, comforting chili that combines the zesty spirit of the Southwest with the heartiness of classic chili.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Soup, Stew, & Chili
Cuisine American
Servings 6 bowls
Calories 438 kcal


  • 2 TBS avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 bell pepper (red or green, chopped)
  • 3 tsp minced garlic (or 3 cloves minced)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • sea salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup basmati rice (white)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups salsa verde
  • 1 can white beans (Cannellini or navy beans, drained)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack, or a combination)
  • avocado and green onion (for topping)


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a large cast iron or oven-safe skillet, heat avocado oil over medium-high heat.
    2 TBS avocado oil
  • Add cubed chicken and chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown chicken on all sides.
    1 pound chicken breasts, 1 yellow onion
  • Add the chopped bell pepper, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and the spices are fragrant.
    1 bell pepper, 3 tsp minced garlic, 1 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, sea salt and black pepper
  • Add rice, water, and chicken broth and heat to boiling. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
    1 cup basmati rice, 2 cups water, 1 cup chicken broth
  • Stir in the salsa verde, beans, and cilantro and stir to mix well.
    2 cups salsa verde, 1 can white beans, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • Remove from heat, sprinkle the cheese over the top of the chili. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and slightly brown on top.
    1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • Serve chili in bowls and top with avocado, chopped green onion, lime juice, and sour cream.


Serving: 1 bowlCalories: 438kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 29gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 970mgPotassium: 835mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1712IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 210mgIron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. This is why I love fall and winter so much; delicious chili bakes like this one. And being able to make it all in a single pan is wonderful. Great chili!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much, Mimi! I couldn’t agree more, I love everything about it. So glad to hear you enjoyed the chili!

  2. This flavor packed and comforting chili bake is a perfect meal for my family. I love that you use salsa verde in this recipe. It gives the chili an unexpected, fabulous flavor.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much, Kathleen! Yeah, I like to change things up occasionally – haha! I’m thrilled you loved the chili!

  3. We had this chili bake for dinner last night and it was incredible! So easy to make and perfectly comforting!5 stars

    1. So glad to hear it, Tayler! I appreciate the review very much!

  4. My family loves Mexican and Tex Mex food. This recipe is a keeper that I will make again and again, plus it’s a one pot meal to make it extra easy.5 stars

    1. Mine too Mairead! We just love it. Thank you so much for the kind review, I’m so happy you enjoyed the chili bake!

  5. Yum! This was such an easy and flavorful comfort meal! 5 stars

    1. I love to hear it, Rebecca. Thank you so much! Really glad you enjoyed the chili!