This Ancho Chicken is a slightly spicy version of tender chicken breast, tasting like a delicious spicy barbecue. It’s perfectly complemented by a sweet fresh corn salsa.
Add your own favorite toppings to make tacos, burritos, tostadas or enchiladas. It’s so easy to make this Mexican food inspired dish that you’ll want to make it every week.
- What is Ancho Chile?
- Can I make my own Ancho Chile Powder?
- Your Favorite Toppings
- Fresh Corn Salsa
The most important part of this ancho chicken is the array of spices. Making the spice blend is the first step.
What is Ancho Chile?
Ancho chiles start off their lives as poblano peppers. Poblanos are fairly mild and I use them frequently. Because they grow so well in this Arkansas heat, I usually substitute poblano for bell peppers in many recipes.
Unlike fresh poblanos, ancho chiles are the dried and smoked version. They have a rich smoky sweetness that works especially well when mixed with other peppers. For this recipe, I’ve included chipotle for some extra heat.
Can I Make My Own Ancho Chile Powder?
I’ve made my own chile powder. It’s really easy. You can start with dried chiles. Always wash them and let them dry first. You don’t know where those chiles have been!
Have a browse at all
We have two identical coffee grinders; one is for coffee beans and the other is dedicated to grinding peppers and other dried ingredients.
Ben from Fox Valley Foodie has a post on making your own dried ancho chiles then grinding them.
What Is Chipotle Chile?
Here’s another fun fact. Chipotle is the dried, smoked version of jalapeño!
Chipotle not only adds another level of delicious smoky flavor, but it has a lingering heat. Unless you get too much, it’s not going to burn your tastebuds. It’s meant to warm up the dish without overpowering it. It’s what turns the barbecue sauce taste to a spicy barbecue taste.
Why Sear The Chicken?
I like to sear the chicken in order to keep as much of the spice blend on the chicken as possible. The pan searing traps the delicious seasoning on the chicken.
Once you make the spice paste, you can add the chicken and paste to a bag. Roll everything around in the bag to completely cover. Marinate for about an hour.
Can I Use Frozen Chicken?
Since this recipe requires that you rub in a spice blend, I don’t recommend that you use frozen chicken. The spices won’t adhere well.
If you have don’t have thawed chicken, place the frozen chicken in a bag then place in a large bowl of cool water. It will thaw fairly quickly. Mine only took 30 minutes.
Can I Use Chicken Thighs?
Yes, you can use chicken thighs. Follow the same instructions with the spice paste and marinating.
As with the chicken breast, you don’t want it to get dried out so be sure to use a meat thermometer to keep an eye on it.
Your Favorite Toppings
Burrito and taco bowls have become really popular in the last few years. It’s a way to avoid the high carb tortillas. Use whatever toppings you usually love on a traditional burrito.
I like to include rice and beans. Sometimes I’ll add tomatoes and lettuce. Radishes and red cabbage add a punch of color. Always crema and queso fresco.
Fresh Corn Salsa
One fun thing I threw together especially for this recipe is a corn salsa. Use fresh corn and cut it from the cob. It helps to hold the cob over a bowl or deep pan while cutting so your corn doesn’t fly everywhere.
Saute the cut corn in a little oil with tomato, jalapeno and onion. This turned out to be a delicious addition.
It was sweet and crunchy; a perfect complement to the sweet and spicy barbecue style flavor of the chicken.
If you don’t have corn on the cob, use about 1 ½ cups of frozen corn, thawed.
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For more information, be sure to check the recipe details in the attached 24Bite® post.
- Heavy Skillet with Cover
- Medium Saucepan
- Meat Thermometer
- 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon Knorr Tomato Powder
- 1 teaspoon Ancho Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Chipotle Powder, or omit, if you want less spicy
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 ¼ pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, full breast pieces, or tenderloin strips
Fresh Corn Salsa (optional)
- 2 Corn on Cob, fresh, husks and silks removed, kernels cut from cob
- 1 medium Tomato, seeds removed, chopped
- 1 medium Jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, diced
- ¼ large Onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and all spices. Add olive oil and carefully mix and press, to form a paste.
- Place the chicken in a bag, then pour in the spice paste. Massage the bag to cover all pieces of chicken with the paste. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least one hour.
- Place marinated chicken in hot heavy skillet, making certain there is no overlapping. Sear for about 5-7 minutes for breasts or 3-4 minutes for strips. Check to make sure you can see that the surface has darkened a little. Flip each piece with tongs.
- Reduce heat to medium and cover with lid. Cook until chicken reaches 165℉. Check often. The time will depend on the size of the pieces of chicken; about 5-7 minutes for breasts or 3-4 minutes for strips. Remove the chicken as soon it reaches the correct temperature. You don't want it to dry out.
Fresh Corn Salsa (optional)
- Place olive oil in skillet. Add corn, tomato, jalapeno, onion and salt to skillet. Stir well and cook at medium high for about 5 to 8 minutes, until onion and jalapeno are fragrant.
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