Mexican Chicken with Cheese Sauce


Mexican Chicken with Cheese Sauce: A Fiery Delight with a Creamy Twist


Imagine a warm evening, the grill sizzling in the background, and the tantalizing aroma of spices filling the air. This is the essence of our Spicy Grilled Chicken with Creamy Cheddar Sauce. This recipe marries the bold, smoky flavors of Mexican cuisine with the comforting richness of a homemade cheese sauce. Perfect for a family dinner or a summer gathering, this dish is sure to impress with its vibrant flavors and creamy finish.

Ingredients Overview


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts: A lean protein that serves as the perfect canvas for our spicy seasoning blend.
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder: Adds a mild heat and a smoky flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder: Enhances the savory profile.
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder: Provides a subtle sweetness.
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes: For a kick of spiciness.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano: Brings a touch of earthiness.
  • 2 teaspoons paprika: Adds color and a smoky depth.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin: For a warm, aromatic flavor.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt: Balances the flavors.
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper: Adds a mild heat.

Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons flour: Helps thicken the sauce.
  • 2 tablespoons butter: Adds richness and a creamy texture.
  • 1 cup milk: The base for our creamy sauce.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt: Enhances the flavors.
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper: Adds a subtle heat.
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika: For color and depth.
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded: The star of the sauce, providing a sharp, tangy flavor.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions


  1. Prepare the Spice Mix: Mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Season the Chicken: Rub the spice mixture generously onto both sides of the chicken breasts, ensuring an even coating.
  3. Grill the Chicken: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken breasts for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  4. Rest the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes to retain its juices.

Cheese Sauce:

  1. Melt the Butter: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the Flour: Whisk in the flour and cook until it begins to bubble, forming a roux.
  3. Incorporate the Milk: Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Continue to heat until the mixture is hot but not boiling.
  4. Add the Cheese: Gradually whisk in the shredded cheddar cheese until smooth and melted.
  5. Season the Sauce: Stir in the paprika and cayenne pepper. Adjust the salt to taste.
  6. Serve: Pour the hot cheese sauce over the grilled chicken and serve immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

How spicy is this dish?

The level of spiciness can be adjusted by modifying the amount of chili powder and red pepper flakes. As written, it offers a moderate heat.

Can I use other types of cheese?

Yes, you can substitute cheddar with Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or a blend of Mexican cheeses for a different flavor profile.

Can I cook the chicken on a stovetop?

Absolutely. If you don’t have a grill, you can cook the chicken in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Is this recipe suitable for kids?

It depends on their tolerance for spice. You can reduce the chili powder and red pepper flakes to make it more kid-friendly.

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the chicken and cheese sauce in advance. Reheat gently before serving.

Helpful Tips

Tip 1: Use Fresh Spices: Freshly bought spices will provide the best flavor. If your spices have been sitting in your pantry for a while, consider replacing them.

Tip 2: Temperature Matters: Ensure the chicken is at room temperature before grilling. This helps it cook more evenly.

Tip 3: Prevent Cheese Clumping: Grate the cheese yourself instead of using pre-shredded cheese, which often contains anti-caking agents that can affect the sauce’s texture.

Tip 4: Resting Time: Letting the chicken rest after grilling allows the juices to redistribute, keeping the meat juicy.

Tip 5: Sauce Consistency: If your cheese sauce is too thick, add a splash of milk to thin it out. If it’s too thin, let it cook a bit longer to thicken.

Storage and Reheating Tips

  1. Store Chicken Separately: Store the grilled chicken and cheese sauce in separate airtight containers.
  2. Refrigerate Promptly: Store leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking.
  3. Use Within 3 Days: Consume the leftovers within three days for the best taste and quality.
  4. Reheat Gently: Reheat the chicken in the oven at 350°F until warmed through. Heat the cheese sauce in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently.
  5. Add Milk to Sauce: If the cheese sauce has thickened too much during storage, add a splash of milk while reheating.
  6. Avoid Microwaving: Microwaving can dry out the chicken. If you must use a microwave, cover the chicken with a damp paper towel.
  7. Freeze for Longer Storage: You can freeze the grilled chicken for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  8. Reheat on Stovetop: For best results, reheat the cheese sauce on the stovetop rather than the microwave.
  9. Stir Sauce Constantly: Stir the cheese sauce constantly while reheating to maintain a smooth consistency.
  10. Use Fresh Garnishes: If serving leftovers, freshen up the dish with new garnishes like chopped cilantro or a squeeze of lime.

Recipe Secrets

  1. Marinate for Extra Flavor: Let the chicken marinate in the spice mixture for an hour before grilling for even more intense flavor.
  2. Use a Meat Thermometer: Ensure perfectly cooked chicken by using a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165°F.
  3. Grill Marks for Presentation: For beautiful grill marks, avoid moving the chicken too much while cooking.
  4. Double the Sauce: Make extra cheese sauce and use it as a dip for tortilla chips or drizzle over vegetables.
  5. Add Citrus: A squeeze of fresh lime juice over the grilled chicken adds a bright, zesty flavor.
  6. Customize the Spice Mix: Adjust the spice blend to suit your taste preferences. More cumin for earthiness, more paprika for smokiness.
  7. Try Smoked Paprika: For a deeper, smoky flavor, use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika.
  8. Low Heat for Cheese Sauce: Keep the heat low while making the cheese sauce to prevent it from becoming grainy.
  9. Combine Cheeses: Mix different cheeses like Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack with cheddar for a more complex flavor.
  10. Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley for a burst of color and freshness.
  11. Use Heavy Cream: For an extra creamy sauce, replace half of the milk with heavy cream.
  12. Add Jalapeños: For extra heat, add finely chopped jalapeños to the cheese sauce.
  13. Infuse Oil: Infuse olive oil with garlic and brush it over the chicken before grilling for added flavor.
  14. Rest the Cheese Sauce: Let the cheese sauce rest for a few minutes before serving to thicken slightly.
  15. Charred Corn Topping: Add charred corn kernels on top of the chicken for a sweet, smoky addition.
  16. Sautéed Veggies: Serve the chicken with sautéed bell peppers and onions for a complete meal.
  17. Serve with Rice: Pair the dish with Mexican rice or cilantro lime rice for a hearty meal.
  18. Crispy Tortilla Strips: Top the dish with crispy tortilla strips for added crunch.
  19. Spicy Aioli Drizzle: Drizzle a bit of spicy aioli over the chicken for an extra layer of flavor.
  20. Use a Grill Pan: If you don’t have an outdoor grill, a grill pan works just as well for achieving those perfect grill marks.

Additional Sections

Pairing Suggestions

This dish pairs beautifully with a side of Mexican rice, refried beans, or a fresh avocado salad. A crisp white wine or a refreshing margarita complements the flavors perfectly.

Nutritional Information

Each serving of this dish provides a balanced combination of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It’s a flavorful way to meet your daily nutritional needs without sacrificing taste.

Cooking for Special Diets

For a low-carb version, serve the chicken with steamed vegetables or a fresh salad. To make it gluten-free, use a gluten-free flour blend in the cheese sauce.

Enjoy this delightful fusion of spicy grilled chicken and creamy cheddar sauce, and don’t hesitate to tweak the recipe to suit your personal taste. Happy cooking!

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