Creamy Chipotle Chicken — When you’re in the mood for rich layers of flavor from chipotle sauce and roasted garlic-infused olive oil, this EASY skillet chicken recipe is PERFECT! There’s lots of creamy chipotle sauce that’s just begging to be sopped up in this family favorite Mexican-inspired recipe!
Creamy Chicken in Chipotle Adobo Sauce
When you’re in the mood for a comfort food, extra saucy and creamy chicken recipe, with layers of flavor, this chipotle chicken made in a skillet is just the ticket. It’s a weeknight family favorite that’s easy to make.
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, along with roasted garlic, tomatoes, and lime juice provide a Mexican-inspired flavor profile. The sauce gets its creaminess and richness from a bit of heavy cream.
Finally, queso fresco and cilantro are the perfect garnishes to complement the dish and help amp up the Mexican vibe in this naturally gluten-free chicken recipe.
Ingredients in Creamy Chipotle Chicken
This fast and easy chipotle sauce chicken recipe comes together with a handful of easy to find ingredients including the following:
- Garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- Chipotles in adobo sauce
- Canned tomatoes
- Lime juice
- White or yellow onion
- Heavy cream
- Queso fresco, optional and to taste
- Cilantro, optional and to taste
How to Make Creamy Chipotle Chicken
To make this south-of-the-border chipotle adobo chicken recipe, follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Add garlic cloves and olive oil to a skillet and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes.
Step 2: Pour out most of the oil in a separate container, leaving some in the skillet.
Step 3: Brown the chicken and remove it from the pan.
Step 4: Brown the onions.
Step 4: In a high-speed blender, combine the roasted garlic, chipotles, sauce, tomatoes, lime juice, salt, pepper, and blend until pureed.
Add this puree to the browed onions.
Step 5: Add the cream.
Step 6: Add the chicken to the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes before serving.
What Kind of Chicken is Best for Chipotle Chicken?
I used boneless skinless chicken thighs for a little bit of extra flavor but boneless skinless chicken breasts are also fine. I recommend using boneless skinless chicken rather than bone-in because they will cook faster.
Additionally, you can also use shrimp or scallops. Note that seafood will cook much quicker than chicken and in just a minute or two they will sear and be cooked through.
Is Creamy Chipotle Chicken Spicy?
I don’t think that the chipotle sauce for the chicken is spicy per se, but there is definite flavor with a bit of a kick but not what I would call spicy.
I used three chipotle peppers with most of the sauce from the can of chipotles in adobo sauce. This adds a nice amount of depth of flavor without it being spicy.
However, if you’re very sensitive to heat, I suggest using one or maybe two chipotles and only a small amount of the sauce from the can.
For those of you who love heat like I do, feel free to use all the chipotles, all the sauce. And if you want to take it step further, add a few shakes of cayenne pepper to kick the heat level way up.
Which Type of Canned Tomatoes Are Best?
In keeping with the spicy topic, I also used canned fire-roasted tomatoes and they are a bit “spicier” than regular tomatoes. I say that in quotes because to me they are not at all spicy but for some they could be potentially.
However, plain diced or crushed tomatoes are fine. Another touch for garlic fans is to use roasted garlic canned tomatoes.
Is All the Olive Oil Required?
In order to roast the garlic and keep it from burning, as well then having enough olive oil to brown the chicken, and then later saute the onions, I recommend using the full one-half cup.
You don’t actually use all of the garlic-roasted olive oil though in the recipe. Only about half of it gets used in the chipotle chicken recipe.
The other half you can keep in the fridge in an airtight container.
Tip: The extra garlic olive is great for sautéing or cooking any other meat. Or drizzle it over a salad or roasted vegetables for an explosion of flavor! It will also boost the flavor in my popular Garlic Butter Chicken recipe.
Do I Have to Use Heavy Cream in Creamy Chipotle Chicken?
It’s hard to have creamy chipotle chicken without cream so you need to use heavy cream or to keep it a bit lighter you can use half-and-half instead.
If you don’t care about the creamy factor, then you can omit the heavy cream.
Tip: Heavy cream (or half-and-half) will tone down the spiciness of the dish. For anyone who is concerned about the spiciness or heat level of the sauce, don’t skip the cream.
What Types of Cheese are Recommended?
I like to garnish my chipotle adobo chicken with queso fresco. It’s a Mexican cheese that perfectly complements the overall flavor profile of the dish and is readily available in almost all well-stocked grocery stores or big box retailers.
However, it’s optional. If you have another cheese you are wanting to use up or want to omit the cheese, that’s fine.
What to Serve with Chipotle Sauce Chicken
Because this is a very saucy recipe, the chipotle chicken practically begs to be served over rice to soak up all that glorious sauce. Pasta, garlic bread, or French bread are also good serving suggestions.
Pair the chicken with a salad such as my Avocado, Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette or Skinny Mexican Bean and Corn Salad for a well-balanced meal.
How to Store Chicken in Chipotle Adobo Sauce
Red-based sauces such as this creamy chipotle sauce always have a way of tasting better as the flavors marry and meld together so this chicken is great as leftovers.
It’ll stay fresh airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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Creamy Chipotle Chicken
- 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ cup olive oil, virgin or extra-virgin
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, or breasts
- 3 chipotles in adobo sauce + all the sauce, or to taste
- one 14-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes*, See Notes
- 2 medium limes, juiced
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup white or yellow onion, finely diced
- ½ cup heavy cream, half-and-half may be substituted
- ½ cup queso fresco, optional and to taste
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely minced; optional and to taste
- Preheat oven to 325F. To a small oven-safe skillet, pan, or ramekin, add the whole garlic, pour the olive oil over the top, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Garlic is done when it's lightly browned, very fragrant, and almost sweet-smelling. Tip - Start checking at 20 minutes since all ovens bake differently so you don't burn it.
- Pour a little over half the oil into a small container and set aside. Place the garlic into the canister of a high-speed blender; set aside.
- Pour about 3 tablespoons into a large skillet, add the chicken, and cook over medium heat. Flip intermittently to ensure even cooking. Tip - Do not crowd the pan. If necessary cook your chicken in batches and set the cooked chicken aside on a platter. After all the chicken has been cooked, remove it; set it aside. Keep the skillet because you will use it in step 5.
- To the canister of the high-speed blender with the roasted garlic, add the chipotles and adobo sauce, tomatoes, lime juice, salt, pepper, and blend until smooth and pureed.** (See Notes)
- To the skillet, add a bit more of the reserved garlic-infused olive oil, onions, and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chipotle and tomato puree to the skillet and stir to combine.
- Turn the heat to medium-low, add the cream, stir to combine, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken back into the skillet, spoon the sauce over the chicken, and allow the chicken to very gently simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes.
- Taste the sauce and check for seasoning balance. If desired, add additional salt, pepper, or for a kick, add a couple shakes of cayenne pepper.
- Serve chicken and sauce over rice, with garlic or French bread, or a salad. Optionally garnish with queso fresco and/or cilantro, to taste.
- Extra chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months. Extra reserved garlic-infused olive oil will keep airtight for at least 2 weeks in the fridge. Tip - he extra garlic olive is great for sautéing or cooking any other meat. Or drizzle it over a salad or roasted vegetables for an explosion of flavor!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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