Mexican Chicken Skillet Bake

When I eat Mexican food, my absolute favorite part of the experience is mixing everything up and eating it all together, forkful by heaping forkful. I want the meat, cheese, veggies and sauce all combined, every time I take a bite. That’s why, when I make Mexican food at home, I prefer to make it skillet-style. Basically, I pop everything in a big ‘ole skillet, top it with tons of cheese, and then bake it into delicious, crispy oblivion.

This skillet is pretty straightforward, as far as ingredients go: it’s got seasoned chicken, bell peppers and onions (the usual fajita suspects) layered over flour tortillas with corn and smothered in a homemade enchilada sauce that’s just spicy enough. It all gets completely covered in cheese, and that’s it! Sometimes, I’ll use green bell peppers, kale and some poblanos to get a springier, greener vibe happening, but there’s really nothing better than a classic, so here’s the recipe for a crowd-pleasing Mexican Chicken Skillet Bake with red enchilada sauce and all the trimmings:

Mexican Chicken Skillet Bake

Course brunch, dinner
Cuisine Mexican, tex-mex
Keyword chicken skillet, enchilada bake, fajita bake
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


For the Chicken & Veggies

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 3 bell peppers I use orange and red
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • olive oil

For the Enchilada Sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 chili chopped (jalapeno works well)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste tomato paste works if you don't want it too spicy!
  • 1 400g can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 450 ml boiling chicken stock

Additional Skillet ingredients

  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 400g can sweet corn kernels drained


For the Chicken & Veggies

  1. Preheat an oven to 180FAN or 375 Fahrenheit.

  2. Place your chicken breasts on a baking tray.

  3. Slice your bell peppers and onion into strips and add those to the baking tray. Note: Keep the veggies and chicken on separate areas of the tray; you'll be taking the veggies off the tray before the chicken is done cooking.

  4. Coat the chicken and veggies in the spices listed in the ingredients section – distribute them evenly. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over everything and stir to coat the chicken and veggies in the spices and oil.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes.

  6. Remove the veggies from the tray and set them aside. There's no need to keep them warm, they'll bake with the skillet later.

  7. Flip the chicken over and bake it another 12 minutes, or until it's fully cooked.

  8. Remove the chicken from the oven and shred it using two forks. Set it aside.

For the Enchilada Sauce

  1. While the chicken bakes, prepare the sauce.

  2. Heat the garlic and chili over medium heat in a sauce pan.

  3. When the garlic and chili are fragrant – which takes about 5 minutes – add the spices and the harissa paste to the pan and stir until the mixture is paste-like.

  4. Add the tomatoes, and stir. Break up the larger chunks of tomato with the bottom of your mixing spoon or spatula.

  5. Let the tomatoes and spices come to a simmer, and then add the boiling chicken stock.

  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer briefly, about 1 minute, and then remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool slightly.

  7. Pour the sauce into a blender, and blend until it's totally smooth. Note: hot liquids expand in blenders, so make sure to vent the top of the blender and cover it with a towel before you begin blending!

Skillet Assembly

  1. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with enchilada sauce.

  2. Add 4 tortillas to over the sauce, allowing them to overlap in the middle.

  3. Add half of the chicken mixture to the skillet, then add half of the veggie mixture to the skillet, and then add half of the corn to the skillet.

  4. Add half of the remaining sauce to the skillet, and then add half of the cheese, taking care to distribute it evenly.

  5. Add the last 4 tortillas, once again allowing them to overlap. Repeat the layering process, first with the chicken, then the veggies, then the corn, then the sauce and finally the cheese.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven (which is still set from when you cooked the chicken and veggies!) for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbling and the edges of the tortillas are crispy. You can broil the skillet at the end for a few minutes to maximize crispiness, if you like! Serve hot!

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