Easy Chicken Ranchero

This Chicken Ranchero recipe was inspired by a trip down to South Texas for a family graduation. Quick and easy, this simple Mexican inspired dish can be dressed up or down to suit the tastes and needs of the entire family! The chicken is quickly seared and simmered in a spicy, flavorful sauce that thickens as it cooks…DELISH!

Chicken Ranchero is super easy, quick and healthy meal that’s also low carb and keto friendly that the whole family will love.   BONUS…it also is ready in under 30 minutes and has just a few ingredients, some of which you may have on hand or may be waiting around in the fridge to be used.

Preparing the chicken for the Chicken Ranchero

Casserole dish with Chicken Ranchero

There are a few ways you can go here for this chicken recipe. You want the chicken to be on the thin side so it cooks quickly and stays juicy. My local grocery store sells milenesa style chicken, which are basically thin chicken cutlets. If you can’t find thin chicken cutlets or milenesa, you can slice whole chicken breasts in half crosswise to create a thin cutlet.

Tenderizing Chicken
I used my favorite Jaccard meat tenderizer to pierce the meat so the seasoning quickly flavors the chicken. It also tenderizes and helps the chicken cook quickly!

Depending on how thick your chicken cutlets are, for this chicken ranchero recipe you may need to thin or even the cutlets out with a meat mallet or tenderizer but if I’m in a hurry I just slice them and cook them! But…if I have time, I like to use my favorite meat tenderizer to pierce holes in the meat so the seasoning quickly flavors the chicken. These Jaccard style tenderizers are great for all types of meat like pork chops and steaks…so much better than the old school hammer!  For more information on my favorite kitchen gadgets, click here.

Ingredients for the Sauce

The ingredients for this sauce are simple and you probably have them already in your pantry or fridge! A ranchero sauce is just a spiced up tomato based sauce with onions and peppers and around here, everyone has a special recipe but this one is simple, quick and tastes amazing.

  • White Onion
  • Bell Pepper – Any color will do but I love the color!
  • Lots of Garlic
  • Jalapeño – One pepper halved lengthwise or chop it up
  • Spices – Paprika & Cumin
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Chicken Stock or Bone Broth
The cast of characters for the Ranchero Sauce.

Making the easy ranchero sauce

The sauce for the Chicken Ranchero is made all in one pan by sautéing the peppers, onions and garlic in the same pan the chicken was seared in, then everything goes back in the pan to simmer in the sauce….literally in 30 minutes dinner is ready! The key to this dish is everything is cooked in one pan…so the flavors are effortlessly layered… AMAZING!

How to serve Chicken Ranchero

Chicken Breast with Ranchero Sauce with Queso Fresco

This easy keto friendly and low carb Chicken Ranchero served with some sliced avocado and Mexican Cauliflower Rice…is simply perfect.  I sometimes like to top my chicken with a little Monterey jack cheese or quest fresco and sour cream! To keep it dairy free, serve with avocado or guacamole and use avocado oil in place of the butter. For the carb eaters in the family, like The Cowboy, this Chicken Ranchero can be served with brown rice! A delicious low carb, keto friendly meal in 30 minutes…in one pan…WINNER!

Chicken Ranchero with Queso Fresco

Looking for more keto Tex-Mex or Mexican recipes? Check these out!

Print Recipe
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30 Minute Chicken Ranchero

This easy Chicken Ranchero is a delicious and quick one pan meal that is ready in 30 minutes. Savory, tender chicken in a spicy, quick ranchero sauce….Cowboy and kid approved! Serve over cauliflower rice or spagetti squash!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken, chicken ranchero
Servings: 6
Calories: 210kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter**
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1.5 pounds of thin chicken breast cutlets or milanesa or 3 whole breasts cut in half crosswise into cutlets
  • 1 bell pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow onion halved and sliced
  • 1 half or whole fresh jalapeño** optional **see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt pepper and granulated garlic

Salt, Pepper & Granulated Garlic

    Garnish: Avocado, Monterey Jack or Queso Fresco, Sour Cream, Chopped Cilantro, Lime Wedges

      Instructions

      • Season chicken cutlets on all sides with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Let the chicken sit while you cut up veggies.
      • Combine butter and avocado oil in large skillet over medium high heat to melt butter. When butter sizzles or oil is hot, add chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Chicken will cook the remainder of the way through in the sauce.
      • Add onion, bell peppers and chopped or sliced jalapeno, if using, to same pan, seasing with 1/2 tsp. salt and saute over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add garlic, cumin and paprika and cook for another minute, stirring constantly so garlic does not burn.
      • Reduce heat to medium. Add chicken stock and crushed tomatoes stirring to loosen the bits on bottom of pan. Add chicken back to pan and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until sauce reduces and thickens up. If your using the jalapeno half, add it to the sauce with the chicken, simmer in the sauce and remove prior to serving. Taste the sauce and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve over cauliflower rice and garnish as desired.

      Notes

      If dairy free, use avocado oil in place of butter.
      Be sure to test the heat of your jalapeño before using.  Normally I will simmer half a jalapeño cut lengthwise in the sauce.  When we want it hotter we will slice the whole pepper and sauce the jalapeño with the veggies.  If you want a mild sauce, leave the jalapeño out or use a pepper that’s been seeded, deveined and chopped.
      Nutritional information is approximate and will vary due to ingredients used.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1cutlet | Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 581mg | Potassium: 735mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg




      3 thoughts on “Easy Chicken Ranchero”

      • My husband loves this but is trying to not eat carbs. Is there a veggie dish you think would go well with this?

        • Sorry Brandi…your comment got lost in Neverland!! My favorite is the Chicken Ranchero over cauliflower rice!!! We try to watch carbs to but the Cowboy is not giving up his rice! Good luck!

      • great flavor , definitely a repeat dinner. reduced time (4-5 min) of simmer to avoid over cooking the chicken. stays tender. easy and fun to make. enjoy !

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