With perfectly seasoned saucy black beans, this Southwest Skillet Chicken is a quick and delicious 30-minute dinner the whole family will love!
Table of contents
- Why you'll LOVE this southwestern chicken recipe:
- Southwestern chicken breast toppings:
- How to make Southwest chicken and beans:
- Recipe pro-tips:
- Q: Can you make chicken and black beans with chicken thighs?
- Q: Can you make this southwest chicken recipe with other beans?
- What to serve with southwestern chicken breast and black beans:
- How to store and reheat leftovers:
- Dietary adaptations:
- Tools needed to make this recipe:
- More easy chicken dinner recipes:
Chicken: one of the most popular dinner time proteins! It's satisfying, low in fat, high in protein, and so versatile. You can season it any number of ways and the flavor will still be on point.
As many ways as I like to take my chicken recipes, I'm particularly into the Southwest direction lately. It's savory, light, versatile, and all-around perfect for the warmer months.
This chicken with black bean sauce has been one of my favorite recipes to the Southwest flavor profile so I figured it's about time I shared it.
Tender and juicy chicken is spiced with cumin and oregano before being topped with a garlicky black bean sauce that I just can't get enough of. Serve this chicken over hot rice and with your favorite toppings and the whole family will be happy with this healthy dinner!
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Why you'll LOVE this southwestern chicken recipe:
- Quick - 30 minutes to dinner?! Sign. Me. Up. This dish is a winner on any busy weeknight, not to mention Taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo!
- Simple - with just a few steps and common pantry ingredients, this chicken with black beans and rice is a great one to whip up when you don't feel like slaving with a difficult recipe but are looking for the satisfaction of a great meal.
- Flavorful - black beans, garlic, Mexican seasonings, and chicken broth come together for a saucy and flavorful sauce that makes the tender and juicy spiced chicken even that much better. This dish is truly a flavor experience!
- Nutritious - high in lean protein, fiber, and other nutrients, this is an easy meal you can feel good about enjoying and feeding to your family.
- Gluten-free and dairy-free - enjoy a meal that naturally has no gluten or can be just as tasty without sour cream and shredded cheese as it is served with it.
- Chicken - either breasts (cut in half through the thickest part of the chicken) or chicken cutlets are best for this recipe.
- Black beans - canned black beans or fresh cooked black beans both work.
- Onions - minced yellow or white onions. They add dimension and savory flavor to the black bean sauce.
- Chicken broth - reduced sodium chicken broth is best. Regular sodium chicken broth can work as a substitute, but reduce the salt to ⅛ teaspoon (or omit entirely) if doing so.
- Minced garlic - fresh minced garlic will provide the best flavor but bottled minced garlic can work in a pinch.
- Lime juice - fresh lime juice is better than bottled, but bottled also works just fine. The lime juice works to accentuate the flavors in the bean sauce and chicken; it's an ingredient not to be missed!
- Spices - salt, cumin, Mexican oregano (see notes below), and ground red pepper.
- Olive oil - extra virgin olive oil is best for flavor but pure olive oil also works.
A note about oregano: the best oregano for this recipe is Mexican oregano. It has a stronger flavor that isn't as sweet as the common oregano found in grocery stores here in the States, Mediterranean oregano. Mexican oregano can be found in some grocery stores, specialty spice shops, and on Amazon.
Southwestern chicken breast toppings:
You can top this chicken skillet with almost any of the toppings you like to put on tacos or other Mexican dishes. Here are some of my favorites:
- Sour cream
- Shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Lime wedges
- Salsa or pico de gallo
- Black olives
How to make Southwest chicken and beans:
For the complete recipe and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Season the chicken with the seasonings.
- Sauté the chicken until cooked through, flipping halfway through the cooking time. Remove the chicken from the pan.
- Return the pan to the heat. Sauté minced onion in the oil until just translucent.
- Add the garlic to the onion and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the black beans, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, salt, and ground red pepper to the onion mixture. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat and simmer the black bean mixture until reduced but still saucy.
- Add the chicken to the black bean sauce. Squeeze lime juice over the chicken and black beans and heat until warmed through.
- Serve the chicken and beans with hot rice, shredded cheese, additional lime, cilantro, or any of your favorite toppings!
- Cook the chicken through completely before removing from the dish. When we return the chicken to the pan with the black bean sauce, it will just be to reheat the chicken, so it will need to be completely cooked before then.
- Use Mexican oregano if possible. Though I usually don't like to be too particular and like to have recipes be as accessible to as many readers as possible, this is one of those situations where the flavor is going to be that much better with Mexican oregano (vs. Mediterranean oregano, which is standardly sold at major grocery store chains in the use). It adds a more authentic Mexican flavor to the dish and takes this recipe from good to great.
Q: Can you make chicken and black beans with chicken thighs?
You can make this recipe with boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of the chicken breasts or cutlets. The chicken thighs may take less or more time to cook through, so test the internal temperature of the chicken (the safe cooking temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit) before removing the chicken from the pan.
Q: Can you make this southwest chicken recipe with other beans?
Yes! You can certainly make this rice with beans and Southwest chicken with other beans. Canned or freshly cooked pinto beans or navy beans would both be delicious.
What to serve with southwestern chicken breast and black beans:
Though this black beans and chicken dish is delicious on its own, I usually like to serve it with hot steamed rice and my favorite taco-inspired toppings (see my list above!). I also like to round out the dish a vegetable dish or two:
- Steamed or roasted broccoli
- Spicy southwest salad (made without the chicken)
- Air fryer green beans
- Broccoli slaw
- Steamed carrots
- Roasted or air fryer zucchini
How to store and reheat leftovers:
- Refrigeration: store leftovers in covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- Freezing: leftovers can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. For best results, thaw the chicken completely in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheating: reheat the chicken and beans covered on medium heat in 45 second - 1 minute intervals, or until the chicken is heated through.
Made as-is, this recipe is naturally gluten-free and processed sugar-free.
To make this recipe dairy-free, serve the chicken without sour cream or shredded cheese.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
More quick chicken dinner recipes:
- Orange Marmalade Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Bites
- Thai Green Chicken Curry
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Peanut Butter Chicken Curry
- Crispy Herbed Panko Chicken
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Thank you so much for your feedback and support of Mae's Menu!
Southwest Chicken with Black Bean Sauce
With perfectly seasoned saucy black beans, this Southwest Chicken Skillet is a quick and delicious 30-minute dinner the whole family will love!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1.25- 1.5 lbs. chicken cutlets or chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise through the width of the breast
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- ¾ teaspoon Oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Black bean sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1, 15 oz. can black beans (undrained)
- ¾ cup low sodium Chicken broth
- ¾ teaspoon Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Pinch - ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (according to spice preference)
- 1 small lime, juiced
- Shredded Mexican cheese blend, to serve
- Sour cream, to serve
- Hot steamed white rice, to serve
- Optional, to serve: cilantro, lime wedges, sliced jalapeño, salsa or pico de gallo, black olives, or other favorite toppings
- Heat a large (12-inch) non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano and add the chicken to the skillet.
- Cook the chicken for 8-9 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the chicken is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken from the pan.
- Return the pan to the heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Add the minced onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you cook, or until the onion is just translucent.
- Add the garlic to the onion and sauté for another 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously, or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the black beans, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, salt, and ground red pepper to the pan. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the head to medium-low. Simmer for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the bean sauce has thickened but is still saucy. If at any point the beans start to stick to the bottom of the pan, reduce the heat to low.
- If you haven’t already, reduce the heat to low. Nestle the chicken into the bean sauce. Squeeze the lime juice over the chicken and the beans. Heat the mixture on low for 1-2 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through.
- Serve the chicken hot over hot steamed rice with the black bean sauce ladled over. Garnish with shredded Mexican cheese blend and/or sour cream if desired.
1. Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. They also can be frozen in a freezer safe bag. For best results, thaw the dish completely in the refrigerator before reheating on medium heat in the microwave.
2. Boneless skinless chicken thighs can substitute for the chicken breasts.
Serving Size⅕ of the recipe without rice or cheese
Amount Per Serving Calories 444Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 147mgSodium 732mgCarbohydrates 32gFiber 7gSugar 2gProtein 40g
This nutrition breakdown is just an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dietitians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
This recipe sounds AMAZING! Can't wait to try it. I would like to make the chicken in the slow cooker? Would this be possible? Also, I only have a 16oz bag of dry black beans. Should I pre cook the whole bag and then use it to make the black bean sauce? Thanks so much for your help!
Mae's Menu says
So sorry for the late response-- just now seeing this! I haven't made the recipe in the slow cooker so can't make any promises. If you do, you will want to brown the chicken in a skillet before adding it to the slow cooker. I would cook the recipe on low for at least 4-6 hours. Also add some extra chicken broth or water (1/2-1 cup?) so it doesn't dry out. And yes, I would pre-cook at least 1 cup of the black beans before adding them to the recipe! I prefer cooking my black beans in the Instant Pot (if you have one)!
Good luck and hope you enjoy the recipe!