Baked Queso Chicken goes beyond flavor. You’ll need a whole new word to describe it. How can you talk about this golden-brown chicken marinated in classic Tex-Mex spices and truly convey its depth of deliciousness? Or the sautéed veggies on top and the toasted, creamy, tangy queso? We’ll need a whole new language to talk about Baked Queso Chicken. Listen to your taste buds as you take your first bite. They’ll know how to speak it.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), skinless and boneless
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, optional, diced
  • 2 cups queso sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, optional, for garnish

Directions

Step 1 –Position an oven rack to the top shelf.

Step 2 –Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 3 –In a large resealable plastic bag, add the chicken breasts, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the cumin, the chili powder, the paprika, the garlic powder, the oregano, the salt, and the pepper.

Step 4 –Press the air out of the bag and seal it tightly.

Step 5 –Press the marinade all around the chicken to coat completely.

Step 6 –Let the chicken marinate for at least 15 minutes and up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 7 –In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining oil until it sizzles, about 2 minutes.

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Step 8 –Add the chicken to the hot oil and sear until it is browned and almost, but not quite, cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Step 9 –Transfer the seared chicken to a plate.

Step 10 –In the same skillet, add the onion, the tomato, and the jalapeño and sauté until soft, about 2-3 minutes.

Step 11 –Add the chicken back to the skillet and top it with the sautéed vegetables.

Step 12 –Spread the queso sauce evenly over each of the chicken breasts.

Step 13 –Bake on the top rack until the queso turns golden-brown and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 20-25 minutes.

Step 14 –Serve garnished with the cilantro.