Looking for a recipe to wake up those taste buds? This easy Creamy Cilantro Chipotle Chicken will do the trick! You’ll love these juicy, pan-seared chicken breasts flavored with a spicy sauce made of aromatics, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, and heavy cream.
ONE-SKILLET CREAMY CILANTRO CHIPOTLE CHICKEN
Chipotle peppers are seriously delicious! They’re actually jalapeno peppers that have ripened past the usual green and even red stages, and are then dried. This gives them a higher-than-usual level of spiciness and a deep, earthy, smoky flavor as well.
This recipe uses a little chipotle pepper to craft a wonderful Southwest sauce that’s full of cream, cubed butter, shallot, and garlic. It’s so amazing on chicken!
IS THIS CHICKEN RECIPE SPICY?
This recipe is definitely on the spicy scale, but how spicy it actually turns out is up to you! I recommend using a single chipotle pepper, chopped, and you can also add a teaspoon of the adobo sauce that the peppers come in. That will create a moderately spicy dish.
If you’re sensitive to the spiciness of peppers, you can reduce the chili and adobo to one-fourth of that, or even less, and test from there. You can also decide to leave out the adobo or the chili and make it your own!
- Chicken: This recipe uses 4 boneless skinless, chicken breasts, about 1/2-inch thick. You can also substitute about six boneless, skinless thighs, opened out flat. Remember that chicken thighs remain more moist and have a slightly less compact texture than white meat.
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive Oil: For sauteing. I recommend using a lighter olive oil for sauteing, as extra virgin olive oil does not taste as good after being heated.
- Shallots and Garlic: Mince or finely chop the shallots, and mince the garlic or put it through a garlic press.
- Broth: I use low-sodium chicken broth, but you can definitely substitute vegetable broth, homemade broth, or even bone broth.
- Heavy Cream: You can use half-and-half if you don’t have heavy cream. The final texture and flavor will be slightly less creamy and rich.
- Butter: You’ll need 1 tablespoon butter, cut up into several cubes. Salted or unsalted is fine, just be careful not to over salt the dish if you use salted butter.
- Fresh Cilantro: 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish.
- Canned/Jarred Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: You’ll need 1 chipotle pepper from the jar or can, finely chopped, plus the optional teaspoon of adobo sauce.
HOW TO MAKE CHIPOTLE CHICKEN
- Season and Cook the Chicken. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and then heat some olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add chicken to the hot oil, and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Saute the Aromatics and Add the Chicken Broth. Set the skillet back over medium-high heat, and add in the rest of the oil. Stir in the chopped shallots and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Then add the chicken broth; stir and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
- Reduce the Sauce and Add the Cream and Butter. Bring the sauce to a boil. Allow the sauce to boil, gently, for 10 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Then reduce the heat and whisk in the heavy cream, followed by the butter cubes, one at a time. Whisk well after every cube of butter so that it incorporates completely into the sauce.
- Flavor the Sauce and Add the Chicken. Now that the sauce is almost done, stir in the tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro, the chopped chipotle pepper, and adobo sauce (if using). Taste the sauce for salt and pepper, and adjust accordingly. When the sauce is complete, add the chicken breasts back into the pan. Remove from the heat, garnish, and serve with lime wedges.
TIPS FOR PERFECTLY COOKED SKILLET CHICKEN
- Season chicken breasts after patting dry: I always season my chicken before putting it in the pan. But if you try sprinkling seasoning on moist chicken right out of the packaging, much of it may fall off or slide off. Try patting the chicken with paper towels before seasoning, to remove some of the excess moisture.
- Make sure your chicken pieces are the same size: When cooking chicken breasts in a skillet, you can get the most juicy and tender results by using fillets that aren’t too thick. I recommend using ½ inch thick breast fillets for this dish. If yours are too thick, try butterflying them open, or pounding with a mallet or the underside of a heavy jar until they’re the correct thickness.
- Give the chicken time to cook before flipping: Another good tip for cooking juicy, well-browned chicken breast is to place it in the hot pan and then leave it. Don’t try to turn it, move it, or wiggle it in the pan until it’s actually time to cook the other side. Placing it in the hot oil and leaving it alone helps the chicken to cook evenly and not stick to the pan.
WHAT GOES WITH CHIPOTLE CHICKEN?
- Elated about Elote: I love starting off a spicy meal like this with a fun appetizer like Elote, a delicious Mexican street food of corn on the cob with awesome toppings!
- Saucy Side Dish: It’s also great to serve this chicken with a side that can benefit from the delicious sauce: try my Creamy Mashed Cauliflower or some simple Cauliflower Rice!
- Cranberry Crush: A dinner this good deserves a killer dessert! And these amazing Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes are. That. Dessert.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT LEFTOVERS
- To refrigerate: Store the leftover chicken along with the sauce in an airtight container. This chicken will keep for up to 3 days. (It’s not recommended to freeze this dish, because the cream sauce will separate and become grainy after thawing.)
- To reheat: Place leftover chicken and sauce in a covered skillet over medium heat, and cook until just heated through.
More Chicken Breasts Recipes
Tools Used in this Recipe
CREAMY CILANTRO CHIPOTLE CHICKEN
- 4 (about 1 pound) boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1/2-inch thick
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, cut up into several cubes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce, (optional)
- fresh lime wedges, for serving
- Pound chicken breasts to about a 1/2-inch thickness, then season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1-½ tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken to the hot oil and cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Use an Instant Read Thermometer to check for doneness; chicken is cooked through when internal temperature registers at 165˚F.Remove from pan and transfer chicken to a plate; set aside and keep covered.
- Set skillet back over medium-high heat and add in remaining oil.
- Stir in chopped shallots and garlic; cook for 1 minute.
- Gradually add in chicken broth; stir and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
- Bring mixture to a boil; continue to boil, gently, for 10 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to about ⅓ cup.
- Reduce heat to medium and whisk in the heavy cream.
- Add butter, few cubes at a time, stirring after every addition until butter melts. If you want a creamier texture, add the remaining tablespoon of butter.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, chopped chile pepper, and adobo sauce. If you like, you can add more cilantro.
- Taste the sauce for salt and pepper, and adjust accordingly.
- Add chicken back into the pan; cook for 1 minute, or just enough to heat through the chicken.
- Remove from heat.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.