This easy Salsa Fresca Chicken Bake takes 20 minutes of prep and contains 31 grams of protein! It is flavorful, high-protein dinner the whole family will love!

Salsa Fresca chicken bake garnished with cilantro.

Salsa fresca chicken bake is tender baked chicken with basically pico de gallo but chopped more coarsely. It’s so good, I’ve already made it 3 times! And the juices are so delicious, I could eat them by the spoonful.

Our favorite way to serve this dish is with spaghetti! It’s like an instant calorie free sauce! Honestly, it deserves a VIP spot in your lineup of spring and summer chicken recipes.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Bold flavors: Fresh ingredients create a zesty topping that seeps into the chicken.
  • Quick prep: Chop, layer, and into the oven in 20 minutes!
  • High in protein: High protein recipes are trending all over social media and this one delivers 31 grams per serving.
  • Versatile: Pick your spice level and serving style, this casserole shines for hectic nights or impressing guests.

Ingredients for Salsa Fresca Chicken Bake

The ingredient list for chicken with fresh salsa looks long, but it’s simple and mostly made up of basic staples.

Chicken breasts, mozzarella cheese, lime, garlic, garlic powder, taco seasoning, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, oil, salt and pepper.
  • Chicken: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes.
  • Seasonings: I season the chicken with an easy combo of extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and low sodium taco seasoning.
  • Tomatoes: For the best salsa sauce for chicken, use fresh, in-season tomatoes. I prefer tomatoes on the vine, beefsteak, or Roma tomatoes.
  • Jalapenos: I seeded and chopped 4 jalapenos which gave us the perfect level of spice. See below for variations on heat level or substitutions.
  • Onion: You can use red or white onion. I prefer red onion for a pop of color and slightly milder taste.
  • Fresh cilantro: Adds that traditional Mexican flavor.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are essential for the best flavor and aroma.
  • Lime juice: Adds a tangy, refreshing taste. Make sure to use fresh limes and not bottled lime juice.
  • Shredded cheese: I sprinkled with mozzarella cheese but it is more stringy. Next time I would like to try white cheddar or Monterey jack.

How to Make Salsa Fresca Chicken Bake

It takes just 4 steps and less than an hour to make this chicken bake. There is a detailed recipe card below.

Step by step process how to make chicken bake with fresh salsa.
  • Prep: Get ready by preheating your oven to 400 F, then spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Season chicken: Place the chicken in the baking dish then pour in the oil, taco seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Use a spoon to mix it all together until the chicken is evenly coated. Spread it out evenly in the dish, then set it aside.
  • Make the salsa: In a separate bowl, mix together the tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice. Place salsa fresca over the chicken and smooth it out with a spoon. Finish it off with a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Bake: Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Once done, take it out, garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve it with your favorite side dish.

Tips for Best Results

Here are some handy tips to make your salsa fresca chicken bake recipe a breeze!

  • Chop veggies coarsely: This keeps them nice and chunky, spreading all the flavors evenly.
  • Bake uncovered: Leaving it uncovered lets those bold flavors really pop as it bakes.
  • Embrace the juices: Casseroles of this type release lots of flavorful liquid that’s just too good to miss. See serving suggestions below.
  • Make it ahead: Refrigerate chicken with spices, salsa fresca, and shredded cheese in separate bowls for up to 48 hours. Assemble and bake. It might come out even more flavorful due to marinating.
Wooden spoon inserted into the baking dish with salsa fresca chicken bake and juices.

Variations

  • Using chicken thighs: Cut boneless skinless chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces, and the recipe stays the same.
  • Using whole chicken breasts: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts, assemble the casserole the same way, and bake for approximately the same time. Make sure the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165 F with an internal read thermometer.
  • Make it more spicy: For a spicier salsa simply leave the jalapeno seeds in.
  • Instead of jalapenos: If you prefer a milder taste, use poblanos or green bell peppers instead.
  • If not a fan of cilantro: If it’s not your thing, you can omit it.

Serving

I love serving salsa fresca chicken over a bed of spaghetti but it would also be delicious with a side of fluffy basmati rice. Add a fresh salad or another small side to soak up the juices and you’ve got a complete meal that’ll be a hit every time!

How to Store and Reheat

Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container and in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Reheat: Depending on the amount, you can reheat the chicken bake by covering it with foil and baking at 350 F, microwaving for 2-3 minutes, or heating in a skillet over medium-low heat.

Freeze: I usually do not recommend to freeze heavy veggie dishes like this one but since veggies are quite baked already we can do that. Store in an airtight container and freeze for up to a month.

More Chicken Bake Recipes to Try

Looking down on a baking dish with chicken casserole. Fresh jalapenos, limes and cilantro around it.
Salsa Fresca chicken bake garnished with cilantro.

Salsa Fresca Chicken Bake

Salsa Fresca Chicken Bake takes 20 minutes of prep and has 31 grams of protein! It's flavorful, high protein dinner the whole family will love!
No ratings yet
Servings 8 servings
Calories 253
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients  

For Chicken:

For Salsa Fresca:

  • 3 tomatoes coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (4) jalapeƱos seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup red or white onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro finely chopped (leave some for topping)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 lime juice of

For Casserole:

  • 2 cup mozzarella or white cheddar cheese shredded
  • Cooking spray I use Misto

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400 F and spray baking dish with cooking spray.
  • To the baking dish, add chicken, oil, taco seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Using a large spoon, stir to combine and flatten in a single layer. Set aside.
  • In another medium bowl, add tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, cilantro, garlic and lime juice. Mix well and place on top of chicken, leveling with a spoon. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with cilantro and serve with your favorite side dish.

Notes

Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container and in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Freeze: Store in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month.

Nutrition

Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 533mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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