Salsa Fresca Chicken Bake is a must-have quick and easy chicken recipe with a homemade salsa fresca topping. It promises a light, yummy dinner.
This chicken bake calls for cutting up the chicken before serving. Not only does it make the meal go further, but it’s nice to have bite size pieces of chicken that are ready to eat once it is out of the oven.
What is Salsa Fresca?
Salsa fresca, also known as pico de gallo, is a chunky salsa great for dipping. Full of fresh ingredients like tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and lime, it is also great for serving on tacos, burritos and more. This delicious topping is perfect for cooking flavorful chicken.
Salsa Fresca Chicken Ingredients
This Mexican dinner recipe makes good use of on hand ingredients. Here is the full list of ingredients you may need from the grocery store (see the recipe card below for exact amounts):
- Chicken: I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but chicken breast would also work for this recipe.
- Tomatoes: Roma or hothouse work year round but grape or heirloom or any in season tomato could be used. Canned, diced tomatoes will not taste as fresh but could be used in a pinch.
- Sweet onion: red or yellow onion can be substituted.
- Jalapeno: for a spicier dish more jalapeno or jalapeno with seeds can be used. For a non-spicy dish green bell pepper can be substituted.
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime zest
- Lime juice: You can substitute the lime juice for lemon juice. This will always taste better with fresh squeezed limes, but you can also use juice from concentrate if you need to.
- Garlic powder
- Granulated sugar
- Black pepper
- Olive Oil
- Pepper Jack cheese: For a non-spicy dish mozzarella or monterey jack can be substituted.
How to Make Chicken with Salsa
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the diced tomatoes, sweet onion, jalapeno and cilantro.
Add the lime juice, lime zest, ½ teaspoon salt, garlic powder, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and mix well to make a chunky salsa fresca. Allow to sit while preparing the chicken.
Place chopped chicken in an 8×8 inch pan and sprinkle with the olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and cumin. Ensure an even spread of spices by gently mixing the chicken in the pan and then smooth the chicken into an even layer.
Pour the tomato mixture evenly over the chicken and top with the pepper jack cheese.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Garnish with fresh cilantro (optional) and serve hot.
Leftovers should be stored in a covered container, in the fridge for 3-5 days. While cooked chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months, this particular dish will not freeze well due to the amount of liquid from the chicken and salsa fresca. Chicken should always be reheated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before eating.
What to Serve with Salsa Fresca Chicken Bake
This dish tastes delicious over rice or pasta and topped with additional salsa fresca, avocados or sour cream. I would recommend doubling the salsa fresca portion and keeping half to top it with! Recommended side dishes include tortillas, tortilla chips, warm bread or garlic bread. For a carb-free option it can be served over cauliflower rice, spring mix or other greens.