Grilled Salsa Verde Pepper Jack Chicken

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Grilled Salsa Verde Chicken with Pepper Jack — The EASIEST salsa verde marinade keeps this chicken so juicy and tender!! Melted pepper Jack cheese on top takes an already awesome piece of chicken and makes it that much BETTER!!

Grilled Salsa Verde Chicken with Pepper Jack — The EASIEST salsa verde marinade keeps this chicken so juicy and tender!! Melted pepper Jack cheese on top takes an already awesome piece of chicken and makes it that much BETTER!!

If you’re a fan of salsa verde, you’re going to love this salsa verde chicken recipe. Since the salsa has green tomatillos, onions, garlic, and I added lime juice, those Mexican-inspired flavors are imparted into this tender and juicy chicken.

Because of the salt content in salsa, it does an awesome job to help keep the chicken moist.

The chicken itself is delicious, but I couldn’t resist putting slices of pepper Jack cheese on top. That melty, gooey cheese locks in even more flavor and drives home a Tex-Mex vibe that you won’t be able to resist.

Mexican-meets-Tex-Mex with salsa verde and melted pepper Jack — count me in all the way! 

Grilled Salsa Verde Chicken with Pepper Jack — The EASIEST salsa verde marinade keeps this chicken so juicy and tender!! Melted pepper Jack cheese on top takes an already awesome piece of chicken and makes it that much BETTER!!

Ingredients in Salsa Verde Chicken Marinade

Yes, you can marinate chicken with salsa verde! With marinades, I like to keep things simple, fast, and easy. After all, that’s what grilling should be about.

And this one is no exception, especially thanks to a jar of store-bought salsa, which delivers tons of flavor and no work on my part.

This marinade simply includes:

  • Salsa verde (I use Trader Joe’s)
  • Olive oil
  • Lime juice
  • Cumin
  • Pepper

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Want To Make Your Own Green Salsa?

I’ve got you covered with this easy 1-Minute Tomatillo Avocado Salsa. If you want to use it as a marinade, leave out the avocado. But if you’re going to use it over your tacos or with chips, then keep the avocado in!

Grilled Salsa Verde Chicken with Pepper Jack — The EASIEST salsa verde marinade keeps this chicken so juicy and tender!! Melted pepper Jack cheese on top takes an already awesome piece of chicken and makes it that much BETTER!!

How to Grill Salsa Verde Chicken

  1. Add the marinade ingredients to a large zip-top bag.
  2. Place the thinly sliced chicken breasts in the bag and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. 
  3. Then, fire up the grill and cook the chicken until done. Make sure to discard the marinade in the bag; since it had raw chicken in it, you can NOT reuse it. 
  4. Top it with cheese, let it melt, and serve it up!

Pound the Chicken Breasts Thinly!

If you’re using chicken breasts that are normal thickness instead of using chicken cutlets (also called butterfly chicken breasts), then use a meat tenderizer mallet to pound the chicken to a uniform thickness. I cannot stress how important this is so the thicker side of the chicken breast isn’t still raw and the other thinner side is charred.

Grilled Salsa Verde Chicken with Pepper Jack — The EASIEST salsa verde marinade keeps this chicken so juicy and tender!! Melted pepper Jack cheese on top takes an already awesome piece of chicken and makes it that much BETTER!!

Recipe FAQs

Do I Have To Add Pepper Jack Cheese?

In a word, no. But why not is what immediately comes to mind. If it’s a dairy allergy or you just don’t like cheese, of course feel free to omit it. However, it’s worth noting that the recipe as written is naturally gluten-free.

I used pepper Jack slices from Trader Joe’s but if you can’t find sliced pepper Jack, feel free to use regular Monterrey Jack or sliced mozzarella will also melt nicely.

How Long to Marinate Chicken Before Grilling? 

I like to marinate my chicken overnight for the full and tenderizing effects, but if you’re running short on time, even 30 to 60 minutes will do.

What Temperature & How Long Do You Grill Chicken?

The grilled salsa chicken needs to cook for about 9 minutes over medium-high heat. Flip the chicken about halfway through to ensure even cooking.  

Why Do I need to use thinly sliced chicken breasts?

As a shortcut, I used thin-sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts (aka butterfly chicken or chicken breasts that have been cut in half vertically). Their thinner size makes for faster grilling times and much more even cooking.

This recipe would be even faster with chicken breast tenders or sometimes called breast cutlets or medallions, but as it is with the thin-sliced breasts I only needed to grill them 5 minutes per side and they were done.

Many times with large chicken breasts on the grill, I struggle to keep the outside from becoming overly dark before the interior is fully cooked through but with either thin-sliced or breast tenders, you don’t have to worry about that. 

Can this recipe be made without a grill?

If you love the sounds of this recipe but don’t have a grill, follow the basic oven baking instructions that I do for my 20-Minute Oven Baked Lime Cilantro Chicken. Top it with cheese after it’s cooked, return it to the oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts, garnish, and serve!

Grilled Salsa Verde Chicken with Pepper Jack — The EASIEST salsa verde marinade keeps this chicken so juicy and tender!! Melted pepper Jack cheese on top takes an already awesome piece of chicken and makes it that much BETTER!!

Sides for Grilled Salsa Verde Pepper Jack Chicken

Storage and Reheating Instructions

In the fridge: Let the chicken cool before storing in an airtight container. It will last up to 5 days.

To reheat: Warm leftover chicken in the microwave at 30-second intervals.

Recipe Video Tutorial

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4.84 from 59 votes

Grilled Salsa Verde Chicken with Pepper Jack

By Averie Sunshine
The EASIEST salsa verde marinade keeps this chicken so juicy and tender!! Melted pepper Jack cheese on top takes an already awesome piece of chicken and makes it that much BETTER!!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients  

  • 1 ½ pounds thin-sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts, I had 4 breasts
  • 12 ounces salsa verde, I use Trader Joe’s
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices pepper Jack cheese, or as desired
  • fresh cilantro finely minced, optional for garnishing
  • lime wedges, optional for serving

Instructions 

  • To a large zip-top plastic bag, add all ingredients except the cheese and cilantro, seal, and smoosh around to evenly coat chicken.
  • Place bag in fridge for at least 30 minutes, or overnight, to marinate.
  • Lightly oil grill grates and preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken, place chicken on grill, and grill for about 5 minutes on the first side with lid closed, flip and cook for about 4 minutes on the second side with lid closed, or until chicken is cooked through
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, add one slice of cheese to the top of each chicken breast, or as necessary, close the lid, and wait for about 1 minute, or until cheese has melted.
  • Optionally garnish with cilantro and optionally serve with lime wedges. Season, to taste, as desired with additional salt, pepper, salsa, etc. if desired.

Video

Notes

Chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 412kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 41g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 128mg, Sodium: 1518mg, Potassium: 852mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 760IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 176mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Originally posted May 18, 2020 and reposted with updated text May 26, 2023.

4.84 from 59 votes (46 ratings without comment)

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. The chicken WAS moist and tender, but overall it was very bland. The cheese and salsa don’t provide nearly enough salt to make this dish taste as good as it could. Unless you are sodium restricted, season each side of the chicken breast with kosher salt just prior to putting it on the grill.

    1. I assume that people will add salt, to taste, when serving/eating their food if it doesn’t have enough salt to begin with with the salsa + cheese. Many readers are very critical of added salt when there’s two salt-containing ingredients so I hesitate to call for more. However, I did just incorporate and call out 1 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste if desired. I love salt. But not everyone does. So it’s definitely a balancing act.

  2. Im currently marinating the chicken, but just now realized that this is a grilled recipe. How do I do this in an oven instead?