Salsa Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

I think my favorite class during grad school was food science. Once a week, we went to the “lab” (which was a kitchen) and tried all different food experiments! Whether we were comparing different leavening agents or doing an ice cream taste test (yes, that really happened), it was always a good time.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a project I completed in grad school in that very kitchen! We had an assignment to create a menu catering to a specific food allergy. My group was assigned a dairy free meal and we decided to make a tex-mex chicken recipe. Originally, the chicken was cooked in an instant pot and served with quinoa as well as an avocado sauce. I loved the dish! In classic Michelle fashion, I decided to simplify it and recreate it as a staple meal for myself.

I love that this recipe seems fancy since the chicken cooks in a sauce, but it’s actually so easy since that sauce is jars of salsa! The seasoning combo is my favorite blend for chicken, and cilantro lime rice is another easy recipe that feels upscale! Squeezing lime juice into almost anything seems to make it better. You can also serve this recipe with any veggies of your choice – I sautéed some red pepper to go with it.

If you are looking for a crowd pleasing recipe that is quick to prepare and packs a lot of flavor, try this Salsa Chicken! Be sure to tag me on instagram or leave a comment below if you try it!

Salsa Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice

Course Main Course
Servings 4


  • 2 tbsp oil more as needed while cooking
  • 1 package chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 jars salsa
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 tbsp lime juice more or less as desired
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped more or less as needed


  • Place a deep skillet over medium low heat and coat the pan in olive oil
  • place chicken thighs in one layer in the pan
  • season chicken thighs by sprinkling cumin, paprika, cayenne, and garlic powder evenly over all pieces
  • allow the chicken to cook, turning once, so it is browned on each side
  • once chicken is brown, add the salsa to the pan. Cover and let simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 20 mins)
  • cook the rice by adding dry rice to a medium pot, adding 2 cups liquid (water or broth), bringing it to a boil and allowing to simmer covered until tender.
  • add lime juice and chopped cilantro to rice
  • serve chicken and rice together with any veggies you choose