A healthy baked chicken recipe featuring chicken topped with Ranchero sauce and Monterey Jack cheese. Perfect for weeknight dinners and healthy eating!
LOVE AT FIRST BITE
I was first introduced to this dish at a Tex-Mex dive my husband and I used to frequent when we were dating. It was a difficult choice between other favorites like crispy Chicken Flautas and Verde Enchiladas, but this Ranchero Chicken typically took precedence when ordering.
WHAT IS RANCHERO CHICKEN?
Ranchero Chicken features pounded-out, flat chicken breast (similar to Monterey Chicken), smothered in a tomato-based ranchero sauce. The dish was perfect for slicing, topping with a little avocado, wrapping up in a toasty flour (or corn tortilla), and completely devouring.
WHAT’S IN IT?
- Chicken Breasts
- Taco Seasoning
- Ranchero Sauce
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- Tortillas, Avocado, and Cilantro (for serving)
BAKED CHICKEN WITH RANCHERO SAUCE AT HOME
Once our kiddos came to be, going out to eat became more of a chore than a luxury, and our Tex-Mex dive days were over, but my love for that ranchero chicken was never-ending. So I did what any foodie longing for a long-lost favorite would do: I replicated it at home. And, it turns out this is an easy Tex-Mex recipe to replicate at home.
HOW TO MAKE RANCHERO CHICKEN
It starts with an easy homemade ranchero sauce, made using canned tomatoes, a few sautéed veggies and smoky spices. Then chicken breasts are pan-seared, and baked for a short time in the oven, smothered in the sauce, just soaking up all the ranchero goodness, and topped with melty Monterey Jack cheese. If you’d like to avoid the pan-searing and baking altogether, you can make a replica of this dish in Slow Cooker Chicken Taco form!
- Prep the Chicken – On a large work surface, pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, drizzle it with oil, and rub with seasoning.
- Sear Chicken – Add oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat, and sear the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. You’ll find helpful tips for perfectly pan-searing chicken in this article (if needed), Pan-Seared Chicken.
- Assemble In the Casserole Dish – Add store-bought or homemade ranchero sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish, and nestle the chicken into the sauce. Ladle a generous spoonful of sauce over each breast, and top with Monterey Jack cheese.
- Bake – Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the aluminum foil and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Serve alongside sliced avocados and warm flour or corn tortillas, and enjoy!
Now, I am not the only one who gets pumped up over ranchero chicken. The husband loves it, and the kiddos do too. It’s an easy family weeknight dinner, and one I highly recommend to any lover of Tex-Mex cuisine. Enjoy.
A baked chicken recipe featuring chicken, quick and easy ranchero sauce, and cheese.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil, separated
- 2 tablespoons TAK's Tex-Mex Spice Blend or taco seasoning
- 2 - 3 cups homemade or store-bought ranchero sauce (Easy Ranchero Sauce Recipe)
- 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro optional
- 1 avocado sliced, for serving (if desired)
- 12 flour or corn tortillas for serving if desired
Preheat oven to 375° and have ready a 9x13" baking dish.
On a large work surface, pat the chicken dry, drizzle with 1 tablespoon Canola oil and sprinkle with Tex-Mex seasoning. Rub all over to evenly adhere to both sides of the chicken breasts.
Add 2 tablespoons of Canola oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Transfer seared chicken to a large plate and set aside until ready to use.
Add 1 cup of ranchero sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Ladle a generous spoonful of ranchero sauce over each breast, and top with Monterey Jack cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Carefully remove the aluminum foil and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. Allow to cool slightly and serve alongside sliced avocados and warm flour or corn tortillas. Enjoy.
Pair Baked Chicken with Ranchero Sauce with: