A Healthy Southwest Chicken Casserole Recipe that is so easy to make! This Mexican Chicken Casserole is perfect for a one-pan dinner.
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We are so obsessed with easy dinners in our house, but we also like meals that are healthy and high in protein, and lower in salt.
For so long, I didn’t think casseroles were a good fit for our family because so many are high in salt and use canned creamy soups (loaded with preservatives and mystery ingredients).
However, I then discovered that you can easily make casseroles with much better ingredients (like our Healthy Spaghetti Squash Casserole).
This southwest chicken casserole with black beans is simple, yet so tasty and will be one of your family’s go-to’s for an easy weeknight dinner!
Need more ideas for dinner? Check out these 40+ Healthy Dinner Recipes.
Why we love this Spicy Chicken Casserole Recipe
This is such an easy and delicious meal and we love it for so many reasons:
- One Pan – This cheesy southwest chicken and rice casserole is made in the casserole dish that it is cooked in, which means fewer dishes and less clean-up!
- High Protein – This casserole has 35g of protein per serving!
- Easy To Make – Everything cooks in the same casserole dish with very minimal ingredient prep! You also don’t have to cook the chicken before because it fully cooks in the recommended time. As easy as a crockpot dinner, but made in only an hour!
Ingredients for the Best Mexican Chicken Casserole
To make this southwest chicken casserole, you’ll need:
- white rice
- chicken breasts
- chicken broth
- black beans
- frozen corn
- jarred salsa
- cheddar cheese
- minced garlic, chili powder, and paprika
Here’s a link to the casserole dish we used
You can find substitutions for all of these ingredients below in the green shaded substitutions box.
How to make Healthy Southwest Chicken Casserole
- In a casserole dish, add white rice, minced garlic, onion, and chicken broth and stir together.
- Then add chicken breasts, black beans, corn, salsa, chili powder, and paprika. Make sure to keep the rice on the bottom and covered.
- Top with cheese and cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
- Then bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Enjoy this cheesy southwest chicken and rice casserole with tortilla chips or a watermelon mojito!
SUBSTITUTIONS FOR SOUTHWEST CHICKEN CASSEROLE
This casserole is very versatile. Here are some ways to customize it:
Chicken: Chicken thighs or chicken tenders could be substituted for chicken breasts in this recipe. Cooked chicken can also be substituted. I’d use about 3 cups! Keep the cook time as is so the rice cooks.
Beans: Black beans can be substituted with pinto or kidney beans.
Salsa: Any brand of jarred salsa will work in this recipe.
Garlic: If you don’t have fresh minced garlic, substitute with 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
Onion: If you don’t have fresh onion, substitute with 1 teaspoon onion powder
Corn: Corn is optional.
Cheese: Cheddar cheese can be substituted with Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese. You can also omit it if you are dairy-free.
Rice: You can’t substitute brown or short grain rice in this recipe. It will not work. Different types of rice cook differently.
Southwest Chicken Casserole FAQ
Yes, you can. This Mexican chicken casserole calls for raw chicken. It fully cooks in the recommended time. Cooked chicken can also be substituted.
Yes, but we do not recommend it, because we’ve found it can get mushy
Is it best to store this casserole in the refrigerator or freezer?
Refrigerator: You can store this southwest casserole in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezing: You can freeze this recipe, but we do not recommend it. We’ve found it can get mushy once thawed.
Reheating: This Mexican casserole tastes great when reheated! You can reheat in the microwave, in the oven set at 350°F until the center is cooked through, or sauté on the stove.
It’s better to store this casserole in the refrigerator and enjoy fresh.
Make Ahead: We don’t recommend mixing the ingredients for this casserole together the night before baking. The rice will absorb the broth and it can mess up the texture.
What is the best way to reheat this casserole after its been frozen or refrigerated?
You can reheat in the microwave, in the oven set at 350°F, or sauté on the stove until the center is cooked through.
How to serve this Spicy Chicken Casserole
This cheesy southwest chicken and rice casserole is a delicious and complete meal on it’s own.
It’s also great:
- with a salad on the side
- with a watermelon mojito or strawberry mojito
- or with pineapple salsa on top.
Other healthy casserole recipes:
Here are some of our other healthy casserole recipes that we think you would love:
Love chicken? If so – here are some of our other favorite healthy chicken recipes!
Southwest Chicken Casserole
- 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1.5 lbs chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup black beans cooked, rinsed & drained
- 1 cup frozen corn defrosted
- 16 oz jarred salsa
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large casserole dish (12×9), lay down white rice, minced garlic, onion and chicken broth. Stir until combined.
- Add chicken breasts, black beans, corn, salsa, chili powder and paprika on top. Try to keep the rice on the bottom and covered so it can cook correctly.
- Top with cheddar cheese.
- Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
- Bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Important Note: This is not an authentic Mexican recipe. My goal is always to share recipes that are a bit healthier and made with affordable, accessible ingredients so everyone can enjoy them regardless of their food allergies or dietary restrictions.
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