An EASY cheesy Rotel Chicken Bake is exactly the satisfying, super-fast meal you’ll want on busy weeknights. Simple spices, cheese, and Rotel tomatoes combine with tender chicken breasts in a hands-off baked chicken dinner that only takes you 5 MINUTES to get in the oven. With countless possibilities for sides and the cheesy, salsa flavor that the whole family will love, you’ll be the hero of dinner time with minimal effort.
Rotel Chicken Bake – The EASY Way!
Chicken bakes are a go to in my house for a reason – they are always delicious and even better EASY. This Rotel chicken bake is definitely both of those things in one super quick, ultra kid-friendly recipe. It will literally take you 5 minutes to put it in the oven, but when you pull out cheesy, tender chicken breasts, it will be hard to believe it was so stress-free!
Bonus – it is super easy to customize too. Just switching up the Rotel or the cheese is a fast way to make it exactly how YOUR family likes it, without any extra effort. Your kids will love it and you will definitely love the fast, one-dish cleanup.
What is Rotel?
If you have never tried Rotel tomatoes with green chilies, you are totally missing out! They’re a Texas based brand that make canned diced tomatoes with green chiles. They make a few different varieties including original, mild, spicy, and cilantro lime. You can find them near the other canned tomatoes in almost any grocery store. They are an absolute go-to for adding quick, super flavorful tomatoes to tons of dishes.
Why I LOVE this recipe!
- So Fast! – At most you will have to slice a chicken breast or two. The rest is just season, layer, and bake! Easy!
- One Pan – It all bakes in one dish that makes clean up a breeze after dinner.
- Tastes Great – The BEST part about this Rotel chicken bake is the flavor! Everyone will gobble up the juicy cheesy chicken.
- Versatile Leftovers – The flavors in this easy Rotel chicken are super easy to repurpose into another meal like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc!
- Family friendly – In addition to being a huge time saver for busy families, it is also a dish that will make everyone happy, from the picky eaters to the hungry teenagers.
What to Serve with a Cheesy Rotel Chicken Bake
Since this dish has the classic flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine, it will pair well with many traditional or spiced up side dishes. There are both classic options and some healthy options to keep it light.
Side Dish Ideas
- Green Salads – add avocado, shredded cheese, corn, and top with my jalapeno ranch dressing as a perfect, healthy side for the Cheesy Rotel Chicken Bake.
- Grains – My easy Mexican rice or chipotle cilantro lime rice are so perfect to under cheesy Rotel chicken!
- Potatoes – Easy extra creamy or green chile cheddar mashed potatoes would both be so good!
- Baked asparagus – super easy, tasty, and healthy.
- Vegetable medleys – Cajun roasted veggies or Mexican Roasted Veggies are both super flavorful and can roast in the oven with your chicken bake.
- Beans – Simply seasoned canned black beans, Mexican crock pot refried beans, or crock pot black beans are all super tasty with this cheesy, easy chicken dinner.
- Buttermilk cornbread or Mexican cornbread – both pair with the flavors in this dish.
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This Rotel Chicken Bake recipe is as simple as promised! Just one pan and 5 minutes of prep for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Chicken Breasts – I like using chicken breasts for the Rotel Chicken Bake, but any boneless skinless chicken will do. If you are using tenderloins or cutlets, the bake time will be less so check it early to avoid overcooking it.
When choosing any chicken, make sure you are beginning with even sized pieces. You can easily slice the chicken in half or pound out the thicker spots so that they are even and will bake evenly.
- Rotel – I love the classic Rotel! But you can use any brand of canned tomatoes with green chiles. If you like you could also use the fire-roasted, Mexican style, Hot, or really any variety of Rotel!
- Shredded Cheese – I keep it simple with shredded cheddar, but you can definitely use a Mexican blend, Monterey jack, or pepper jack for some spice. Just choose a cheese that will get gooey and melty!
- Spices – A blend of chili powder, cumin, salt, and garlic powder make this whole dish sing.
- Optional Garnishes – Top the Rotel Chicken with one or more based on your family’s preference! Chopped, fresh cilantro, green onions, or sour cream will garnish for added flavor and color.
- Use Same-sized Chicken breasts – To make sure the chicken in your Cheesy Rotel Chicken Bake will be juicy and perfect, it is REALLY important to start with pieces that are the same thickness and size.
Butterfly or slice large ones in half to make them even and quicker to cook. Or you can simply pound the thicker parts with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin so they are same width. I recommend covering the chicken with plastic wrap before pounding to keep everything clean.
- Use a Large Casserole Pan – Another key tip to even cooking is a large pan. You want to use a casserole dish, or oven safe pan with sides, that allows you to lay the chicken breasts in flat, without overcrowding or layering them. A pan that is too small will make the chicken bake take longer to cook.
- Drain the Rotel – Your Rotel chicken bake will be tasty if you forget this step, but I highly recommend draining the tomatoes before adding them to the chicken. Leaving them undrained will create a more watery sauce since the chicken releases moisture while it bakes too. Draining off the excess liquid will give you a saucier final product.
- Bake Covered – We personally love the ooey, gooey flavors of this this Rotel chicken bake. It’s just full of cheesy goodness! Getting that stringy, melty cheese is done by baking it covered until the last 10 minutes or so. BUT, if you like the idea of crisp cheese instead, bake it uncovered the whole time! Both are super tasty!
- Don’t overcook – One of the main reasons for dry, stringy chicken is overcooking. For this recipes it is as simple as not leaving it in the oven too long! After you’ve remove the foil, let it bake for 5 more minutes, then check the temperature with a meat thermometer if possible so you pull them out at the perfect 165°F.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Use Chicken Chunks – Cubed chicken pieces will not only make your easy Rotel chicken bake faster, but it makes serving quicker too. Just scoop and serve!
- Pre-shredded Cheese – Grate it yourself ahead of time, or just buy a package of your favorite pre-shredded cheese to make assembling this so much faster.
- Use a spice blend – If you have taco seasoning or Mexican blends in your cupboard they can add big flavor super fast without measuring separate spices. My homemade fajita seasoning would be a great option to season a Rotel chicken bake super easily. Swap in 1-2 teaspoons to coat all the breasts.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Spicy Rotel Chicken Bake – Make as directed but add a pinch of cayenne to the seasoning blend, or swap out original Rotel with the Hot variety, and use pepper jack cheese on top.
- Loaded Cheesy Rotel Chicken Bake – Make as directed, mixing in 1/2 cup corn and 1/2 cup black beans to the rotel before topping with cheese.
- Creamy Rotel Chicken Bake – Mix 4 ounces of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of sour cream with the drained Rotel tomatoes, then proceed with the recipe as directed!
Freezer Meal Instructions
Making this Rotel chicken bake recipe into a freezer meal is simple! Follow the steps below and you can store this recipe in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Season the chicken breasts and add the drained tomatoes over the top.
- Store in a freezer safe bag or freezer friendly container.
- When ready to cook, thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.
- Drain off any excess liquid.
- Top with cheese and bake as directed in the recipe.
Rotel Chicken Bake Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making easy Rotel chicken, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to a month
Here are a few ways to repurpose those leftovers and give them a delicious makeover!
- Rotel Chicken Nachos – Spread tortilla chips on a sheet pan and sprinkle chopped up Rotel chicken on top. Add more cheese, and other toppings like beans, corn, olives, and jalapenos. Bake at 350°F until the cheese is melted and serve.
- Rotel Chicken Quesadillas – Combine chopped leftovers with extra shredded cheese between two flour tortillas. Crisp in a warm skillet on both sides until the cheese is melted and everything is hot. Slice into triangles and serve immediately with some sour cream to dip!
- Rotel Chicken Stuffed Peppers – Chop up leftovers and combine with either white or brown rice at a 1:1 ratio. Add a splash or two of chicken broth if it seems dry. Half bell peppers and remove the stems, ribs, and seeds. Place in a casserole dish and fill with the chicken and rice mixture. Top with more cheese and bake covered for 35-40 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
- Rotel Chicken Burritos– Combine leftover Rotel chicken with leftover rice and beans in a pan to warm through. Lay out a large tortilla and add the chicken mixture topped with salsa or cheese, the fold.
- Rotel Chicken Fajitas – Cook up a quick pan of my sautéed peppers and onions with my fajita seasoning mix. Combine with re-warmed Rotel chicken leftovers and rice in small flour tortillas for a quick and easy dinner.
More Chicken Bake Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my easy chicken recipes recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- Monterey Chicken Bake
- Million Dollar Chicken Bake
- Creamy Artichoke Chicken Bake
- Loaded Santa Fe Chicken Bake
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Cheesy Rotel Chicken Bake
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 10 ounces ROTEL tomatoes with green chiles (1 can) drained
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- freshly chopped cilantro
- freshly chopped green onions
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
- Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder. Season both sides of the chicken breast and lay flat in a large casserole dish.
- Drain the ROTEL and then spoon it over the chicken breasts to evenly cover them. Top with cheddar cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (165˚F internal temp.)
- Top with your choice or freshly chopped cilantro or green onions and serve warm!
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)