Mexican Chicken with Cheese Sauce

Spicy Mexican Chicken with Creamy Cheese Sauce


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, and queso blanco)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional for garnish)
  • Lime wedges (optional for serving)


  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Season the Chicken: In a small bowl, combine the ground cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Rub this spice mixture evenly over both sides of the chicken breasts.
  3. Sear the Chicken: Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken breasts and sear for 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  4. Bake the Chicken: Transfer the skillet with the seared chicken breasts to the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  5. Prepare the Cheese Sauce: While the chicken is baking, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until it forms a smooth paste (roux). Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and heavy cream, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
  6. Add Cheese and Chilies: Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the shredded Mexican blend cheese until melted and smooth. Add the diced green chilies and stir until well combined. Keep the cheese sauce warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve: Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Spoon the warm cheese sauce generously over each chicken breast. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if desired. Serve with lime wedges on the side for squeezing over the chicken.
  8. Enjoy: Serve immediately while hot. This dish pairs well with rice, roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

  • Calories: 450 kcal
  • Total Fat: 29g
    • Saturated Fat: 15g
    • Trans Fat: 0.5g
  • Cholesterol: 155mg
  • Sodium: 770mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 8g
    • Dietary Fiber: 1g
    • Sugars: 2g
  • Protein: 38g

This Spicy Mexican Chicken with Creamy Cheese Sauce is a flavorful and satisfying dish that combines tender chicken with a rich, cheesy sauce. It’s perfect for a special dinner at home or entertaining guests!

To make your Mexican Chicken with Cheese Sauce even more delightful, here are some helpful tips:

Enhancing Flavor:

  1. Toast the Spices: Before adding them to the chicken, lightly toast the ground cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder in a dry skillet over low heat. This enhances their flavors and aromas.
  2. Add Fresh Garlic: Sauté minced garlic in the skillet after searing the chicken breasts. This adds a savory depth to the dish.
  3. Use Freshly Grated Cheese: Instead of pre-shredded cheese, grate your own Mexican blend cheese for a creamier texture and better melting properties.
  4. Add Chipotle Peppers: For a smoky and spicy kick, add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the cheese sauce. Adjust the amount based on your spice preference.
  5. Splash of Lime Juice: Squeeze fresh lime juice over the chicken breasts before serving or add a small amount to the cheese sauce for a tangy twist.

Texture and Presentation:

  1. Crispy Chicken: For extra texture, coat the chicken breasts in seasoned breadcrumbs or crushed tortilla chips before searing.
  2. Bake with Cheese: Sprinkle a little cheese over the chicken breasts before baking them in the oven. This creates a cheesy crust on top.
  3. Broil for Crispy Cheese: After adding the cheese sauce, broil the chicken for a few minutes until the cheese sauce bubbles and lightly browns.
  4. Fresh Herbs: Besides cilantro, consider adding chopped fresh parsley or oregano to the cheese sauce for added freshness.

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Serve with Tortilla Chips: Serve the chicken alongside crispy tortilla chips for scooping up the cheese sauce.
  2. Side of Mexican Rice: Serve with a side of Mexican rice or cilantro lime rice to soak up the delicious cheese sauce.
  3. Avocado Slices: Serve with slices of fresh avocado or guacamole for a creamy contrast.

Preparation and Cooking Tips:

  1. Rest the Chicken: Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after baking before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and keeps the meat tender.
  2. Use a Cast Iron Skillet: For a nice sear on the chicken breasts, use a cast iron skillet. It retains heat well and gives a beautiful golden crust.
  3. Adjust Spice Levels: Customize the spice levels to your preference by adjusting the amount of chili powder or adding a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Cheese Sauce Variations:

  1. Creamy Jalapeno Sauce: Blend canned jalapenos with cream cheese and chicken broth for a creamy, spicy cheese sauce.
  2. Three Cheese Blend: Mix equal parts of cheddar, Monterey Jack, and queso blanco cheeses for a richer cheese sauce.
  3. Herbed Cheese Sauce: Stir in a teaspoon of dried herbs such as oregano or basil into the cheese sauce for added flavor.

Additional Ideas:

  1. Grilled Chicken Variation: Instead of baking, grill the seasoned chicken breasts for a smoky flavor before topping with the cheese sauce.
  2. Vegetable Medley: Serve the chicken and cheese sauce over a bed of sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and zucchini.
  3. Make it Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free flour blend or cornstarch to thicken the cheese sauce if you have dietary restrictions.
  4. Make it Creamier: Stir in a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt into the cheese sauce just before serving for added creaminess.


  1. Garnish Creatively: Besides cilantro, garnish with sliced jalapenos, chopped tomatoes, or a drizzle of Mexican crema for a visually appealing dish.
  2. Serve in Individual Skillets: For a rustic presentation, serve each chicken breast in individual mini cast iron skillets.
  3. Drizzle with Hot Sauce: For those who enjoy spicier flavors, offer a selection of hot sauces to drizzle over the chicken.


  1. Experiment with Different Cheeses: Try using pepper jack cheese for an extra kick of spice or crumbled queso fresco for a lighter, tangy flavor.
  2. Add a Sweet Element: Balance the heat with a touch of honey or agave syrup in the cheese sauce for a sweet-savory contrast.
  3. Pico de Gallo: Serve with a side of fresh pico de gallo salsa for a burst of freshness and acidity.

Preparation Efficiency:

  1. Prep Ahead: Prepare the spice rub and cheese sauce in advance and refrigerate separately. When ready to cook, simply sear the chicken and finish in the oven with the sauce.
  2. Double the Sauce: Make extra cheese sauce to drizzle over side dishes like roasted potatoes or steamed vegetables.


  1. Family-Friendly Version: For kids, reduce the amount of chili powder and diced green chilies to make it milder.
  2. Low-Carb Option: Serve the chicken and cheese sauce over cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles instead of traditional rice.

Handling Leftovers:

  1. Reheating: To reheat leftovers, gently warm the chicken and cheese sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. Add a splash of chicken broth to maintain creaminess.
  2. Freezing: While chicken can be frozen, the cream and cheese sauce are not ideal for freezing due to separation. It’s better to store cooked chicken separately and make fresh sauce when ready to serve.

Tips for Success:

  1. Temperature Control: Avoid overheating the cheese sauce to prevent it from becoming grainy. Use low heat and stir continuously until smooth.
  2. Consistency: Aim for a sauce that coats the back of a spoon without being too thick or too runny.

Beverage Pairing:

  1. Mexican Beer: Serve with a cold Mexican lager or a light ale to complement the spicy flavors.
  2. Margarita: Pair with a classic margarita on the rocks or a refreshing agua fresca for a festive touch.


  1. Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh cilantro and lime wedges for garnish to brighten up the dish and add a burst of citrusy flavor.
  2. Enjoy the Process: Cooking should be enjoyable! Take your time to savor the aromas and flavors as you prepare this delicious dish.

By incorporating these tips, you can elevate your Mexican Chicken with Cheese Sauce to a new level of deliciousness, perfect for any occasion.

Achieving the perfect Mexican Chicken with Cheese Sauce involves attention to detail and a few culinary secrets to enhance flavors and textures. Here are 40 tips to help you master this dish:

Preparation and Seasoning:

  1. Toast Spices: Toast ground cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder lightly in a dry skillet before using. This enhances their flavors.
  2. Marinate Chicken: Marinate chicken breasts in lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt for 30 minutes before seasoning for extra flavor.
  3. Seasoning Balance: Adjust the spice rub to your preference by increasing or decreasing the amount of chili powder and smoked paprika.
  4. Garlic Infusion: Add minced garlic to the spice rub or sauté it with the chicken for added depth.
  5. Citrus Zest: Add a hint of lime or orange zest to the spice rub for a citrusy undertone.

Cooking Techniques:

  1. Sear Properly: Sear chicken breasts over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides for enhanced flavor and texture.
  2. Use Cast Iron Skillet: Use a cast iron skillet for even cooking and to develop a nice sear on the chicken.
  3. Bake to Perfection: Bake chicken breasts in the oven at 375°F (190°C) until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for juicy and tender meat.
  4. Resting Time: Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes after baking to retain juices before serving.
  5. Basting: Baste the chicken with melted butter or olive oil while baking to keep it moist.

Cheese Sauce Mastery:

  1. Roux Technique: Master the roux by cooking flour and butter until golden brown for a nutty flavor base.
  2. Gradual Incorporation: Gradually whisk in chicken broth and heavy cream to the roux to prevent lumps and achieve a smooth consistency.
  3. Quality Cheese: Use freshly grated high-quality Mexican blend cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, queso blanco) for better melting and flavor.
  4. Low Heat: Melt cheese over low heat to prevent it from becoming stringy or grainy.
  5. Creamy Texture: Stir constantly and simmer gently to achieve a creamy cheese sauce without boiling.

Flavor Enhancements:

  1. Chipotle Addition: Add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the cheese sauce for a smoky and spicy kick.
  2. Fresh Herbs: Stir in chopped cilantro, parsley, or oregano into the cheese sauce for freshness and aroma.
  3. Citrus Finish: Squeeze fresh lime or lemon juice into the cheese sauce just before serving for a tangy finish.
  4. Onion Depth: Sauté finely diced onion in butter before making the roux for added depth of flavor.
  5. Tomato Accent: Stir in a tablespoon of tomato paste for a subtle tanginess in the cheese sauce.

Texture and Presentation:

  1. Crispy Topping: Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips or breadcrumbs over the cheese sauce before serving for added crunch.
  2. Browned Cheese: Broil the cheese-topped chicken for a minute to create a lightly browned crust.
  3. Creamy Drizzle: Drizzle extra cheese sauce over the chicken just before serving for an indulgent presentation.
  4. Garnish Gracefully: Garnish with fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, or diced tomatoes for color and freshness.
  5. Serving Style: Serve the chicken and cheese sauce over a bed of Mexican rice or alongside roasted vegetables for a complete meal.

Customization and Variations:

  1. Spice Control: Adjust the level of heat by adding more or less diced green chilies or jalapenos.
  2. Vegetarian Option: Substitute chicken with grilled portobello mushrooms or tofu for a vegetarian version.
  3. Protein Boost: Add cooked black beans or diced cooked bacon to the cheese sauce for added protein and flavor.
  4. Creamy Twist: Stir in a tablespoon of sour cream or Greek yogurt to the cheese sauce for added creaminess.
  5. Dietary Modifications: Use gluten-free flour and broth for a gluten-free version of the cheese sauce.

Efficiency Tips:

  1. Make Ahead: Prepare the spice rub, marinate the chicken, and make the cheese sauce ahead of time for quick assembly.
  2. Double Batch: Double the cheese sauce recipe and freeze half for later use with nachos or pasta.
  3. Quick Reheating: Store leftover chicken and cheese sauce separately and reheat gently on the stovetop or microwave.
  4. Enhanced Leftovers: Use leftover cheese sauce as a dip for tortilla chips or a topping for baked potatoes.

Additional Tips:

  1. Family-Friendly: Adjust the spice level to suit children’s tastes by using mild cheese and omitting spicy ingredients.
  2. Festive Pairings: Serve with a refreshing margarita or a Mexican beer like Corona for a festive pairing.
  3. Saucy Experimentation: Experiment with different cheese combinations like pepper jack or cotija cheese for unique flavors.
  4. Visual Appeal: Serve on colorful plates with a side of fresh salsa or guacamole for a visually appealing dish.
  5. Educational Approach: Involve children in preparing the dish to encourage them to try new flavors and ingredients.
  6. Enjoyment: Cooking should be enjoyable! Experiment with these tips to create your perfect Mexican Chicken with Cheese Sauce and savor every bite.

By incorporating these secrets, you’ll elevate your Mexican Chicken with Cheese Sauce to a restaurant-quality dish that’s bursting with flavor and satisfaction.