Monterey Chicken – Spend With Pennies

Monterey Chicken is one of those restaurant menu items that are even better made at home!

This Chili’s copycat recipe has tender, juicy chicken breasts baked in a tangy bbq sauce and topped with cheese, bacon, and tomatoes!

close up of plated Monterey Chicken

What is Monterey Chicken?

Monterey chicken is so popular is the perfect combination of southwestern bbq flavors.

  • No need to fire up the grill for that savory, baked-in flavor. One dish means easy cleanup, too.
  • This homemade version is even better because the chicken is thicker and juicy (but it won’t break the bank!).
  • A quick main dish, it goes from the oven to the table in less than 35 minutes total. Perfect for last-minute company or when the budget is tight.
  • Monterey chicken is a waist-watching, health-conscious meal prepper’s delight.
  • Make in advance and use for Chicken Burritos, Chicken Taquitos (baked or fried), in a sandwich, on top of a salad, topped on a mound of garlic mashed potatoes, or served casserole-style over Spanish Rice.

ingredients to make Monterey Chicken

Ingredients and Variations

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts come out juicy and flavorful in this recipe. Choose pieces equal in size for even baking. Chicken thighs can be used in place with no changes needed.

If you’d like to use split chicken breasts (bone-in) or even drumsticks, remove the skin and add an additional 20 minutes to the cook time.

We love a blend of cheddar cheeses but of course, Monterey Jack cheese or Colby jack is a great option in this recipe. Truly, any combination of shredded cheese will work.

Use a dark BBQ sauce in any flavor (we love hickory smoked). If you’d like to add extra flavor, stir some garlic powder or chili powder into the bbq sauce.

Toppings for Monterey Chicken add a pop of freshness and flavor. Sliced green onions and diced tomatoes are favorites. A sprinkle of cilantro and some pickled jalapenos are a welcome addition!

adding ingredients to dish to make Monterey Chicken

How to Make Monterey Chicken

This quick and easy dinner comes together in 1, 2, 3!

  1. Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper, toss in bbq sauce, and bake casserole dish.
  2. Top with cheese and broil (as per recipe below).
  3. Sprinkle with toppings and serve.

PRO TIP: Drizzle a little Ranch dressing over the entrée before serving.

What to Serve with Monterey Chicken

Monterey chicken is such an easy main dish to pair with sides and salads! Try it with Cilantro Jicama Slaw (use this instead of lettuce on a sandwich or in a wrap). A tasty Cucumber Onion Salad or a Classic Macaroni Salad make great side dishes.

For veggies, try something fresh like Easy Oven Roasted Asparagus, Parmesan Roasted Broccoli, or some simple Steamed Carrots.

Monterey Chicken cooked in a casserole dish


Keep leftover Monterey chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat portions in a skillet or an air fryer, or use in any of the recipes above. Freeze cooked and cooled chicken in zippered bags with the date labeled on the outside for up to 4 weeks. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating or eating cold.

Southwestern-Style Chicken Dishes

Did you make this Monterey Chicken? Leave us a rating and a comment below! 

Monterey Chicken

Monterey Chicken is a restaurant-style entree with classic bbq flavor and a cheesy tomato topping!

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  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and toss with half of the bbq sauce. Spread the remaining bbq sauce into the bottom of the 9×13 pan or 2.5 qt baking dish.

  • Add the chicken to the dish and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165°F in the thickest part.

  • Top with shredded cheese and broil for 1-2 minutes or until melted.

  • Sprinkle with tomatoes*, bacon bits, & green onions, and serve.

*Try using salsa in place of tomatoes for a spicier alternative.
Add your favorite toppings from ranch to sour cream, jalapenos or cilantro.
Chicken thighs can be used in place with no changes needed. If you’d like to use split chicken breasts (bone-in) or even drumsticks, remove the skin and add an additional 20 minutes to the cooking time
Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Freeze in zippered bags for up to 4 weeks. Reheat in a skillet or in the air fryer until heated through. 

Calories: 503, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 57g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 174mg, Sodium: 1295mg, Potassium: 1120mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 635IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 183mg, Iron: 2mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Chicken, Main Course

Cuisine American

plated Monterey Chicken with writing
Monterey Chicken on a plate with writing
baked Monterey Chicken in a casserole dish with a title
plated Monterey Chicken with a title
top view of Monterey Chicken in the dish and plated with a title

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