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Chicken Ranchero

This chicken ranchero is a Mexican-inspired dish made of a delicious combination of tender chicken strips, onions, bell peppers and a zesty tomato-based sauce. Super flavorful, this dish is hearty, satisfying and can be made mild or spicy. Serve it with tortillas, tostadas, or over rice.

Chicken ranchero in a silver skillet with a large wooden spoon.

What Makes This Recipe So Good

  • Chicken ranchero is super easy to prepare. You’ll cook everything in one single pot, and the dish is ready to eat in less than 45 minutes. It’s a great recipe to make a big batch of to serve a big crowd.
  • It’s jam-packed with flavor! Tender chicken, onions, fresh bell peppers, all cooked in a tomato-based sauce, then finished with fresh lime and cilantro. The seasoning is simple but effective, and you can adjust the spice level to your liking by adding more jalapeño, cayenne pepper or hot sauce.
  • It’s very versatile and can be served in a variety of ways, as is, as tacos with tortillas, as an enchilada filling, on top of a tostada, or simply over rice. You can add many toppings of choice. From sliced avocado to guacamole, sour cream, queso fresco or Mexican-style cheese or extra jalapeño.

Chef’s Tips

  • Don’t overcook the chicken breast. Try to cut the strips or slices about the same thickness so they cook evenly. When cooking the chicken at the beginning of the recipe, cook it just until just browned and when it doesn’t show any pink anymore. You’ll re-add the chicken at the end in the sauce where it’ll finish cooking all the way. Chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165° Fahrenheit.
  • Let the sauce take time to thicken. It will take about 15 minutes, but keeping the sauce simmering at a low boil with the onion, peppers and spices will develop a ton of delicious flavors.
  • Store any leftovers for up to 4 days in an airtight container refrigerated.
Chicken ranchero on a tostada with queso fresco, avocado, peppers, onions, and jalapeno.

More Delicious Mexican-Inspired Recipes

Chicken ranchero in a silver skillet with a large wooden spoon.

Chicken Ranchero

Strips of juicy chicken breast, onions, bell peppers, jalapeño, and a zesty tomato-based sauce make a delicious, budget-friendly Mexican chicken entrée you can serve over rice, cauliflower rice, salads, tortilla chips, tortillas, or tostadas.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Recipe Makes: 6 servings


  • cutting board
  • sharp chef's knife
  • paper towels
  • Large skillet
  • tongs
  • large plate (or large bowl)
  • large wooden spoon (or silicone spatula)


For the Chicken

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2-4 chicken breasts depending on size)
  • salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Vegetables

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced white onion (approximately 1 small onion)
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced green bell pepper (approximately 1 medium bell pepper)
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced red bell pepper (approximately 1 medium bell pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper (1 small pepper seeds removed, pepper minced)

For the Sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 ½ cups canned crushed tomatoes (do not drain)
  • salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (more or less to taste)

Serving Suggestions (All Optional)

  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • tostadas (or tortillas of choice)
  • cooked rice (white, brown, or Mexican rice)


  • Place 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts on cutting board. Using sharp chef's knife, cut chicken breasts into long strips approximately ½-inch wide. Note: if chicken breasts are especially thick, slice breasts in half horizontally first to create thin cutlets, then slice cutlets into strips.
  • Once all chicken breasts have been sliced into strips, pat strips of chicken dry on all sides with paper towels. Generously season all sides of each strip of chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set chicken aside.
  • Place large skillet on stovetop over medium-high heat. When skillet is warm, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat oil, swirling and tilting pan occasionally to distribute oil across entire surface, until oil is hot and shimmery.
  • When oil is ready, add seasoned strips of chicken to skillet. Work in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding skillet.
  • Cook chicken 2 to 3 minutes, then flip chicken over and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, or until chicken is opaque on both sides.
  • Transfer sauteed chicken to large plate or bowl and set aside. Repeat process with any remaining uncooked strips of chicken.
  • Once all chicken has been cooked, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet. Heat skillet over medium-high heat, swirling and tilting pan occasionally to distribute oil across surface.
  • When oil is hot and shimmery, reduce heat under skillet to medium. Add 1 cup thinly sliced white onion, 1 ½ cups thinly sliced green bell pepper, 1 ½ cups thinly sliced red bell pepper, and 2 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper to skillet and stir to incorporate.
  • Sauté vegetables, stirring frequently, 7 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Once tender, add 3 cloves garlic. Stir to incorporate then sauté until garlic is just fragrant, approximately 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Pour 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth into skillet and stir to incorporate, scraping bottom of skillet with spoon or spatula to loosen any browned bits of food that may have stuck to pan.
  • Add ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon chili powder, 1 ½ cups canned crushed tomatoes, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to skillet. Stir to incorporate, then increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to gentle boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat under skillet to medium. Simmer sauce 12 to 15 minutes or until liquid has reduced and sauce has thickened.
  • When sauce has thickened, return strips of chicken to skillet. Stir to incorporate then simmer chicken in sauce 5 minutes or until strips are cooked through completely.
  • Remove skillet from heat. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro and stir to incorporate.
  • Divide chicken ranchero into preferred portion sizes and transfer to serving bowls or plates. Serve immediately with shredded cheese, sour cream, tostadas, and/or cooked rice as desired.


  • Jalapeño Pepper: For more heat, remove the stem of the pepper but leave the core and seeds intact. Mince the pepper and seeds well before using them in the dish.

Recipe costs provided are approximate. Actual cost per recipe & serving will vary by location, store, brand, etc. Approximate cost shown does not include costs for any optional ingredients.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 224kcal | Protein: 26g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 805mg | Total Carbs: 12g | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Added Sugars: 0g | Sugar Alcohols: 0g | Erythritol: 0g | Allulose: 0g | Net Carbs: 9g | Vitamin C: 91mg | Calcium: 45mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes. Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used. To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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Recipe by Cheryl Malik

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