For an easy Taco Tuesday alternative, these messy, melty, Chicken Burrito Stacks combine all of your favorite burrito flavors into a stackable bake.
With these deliciously messy chicken stacks, there’s no tedious and time-consuming tortilla filling and rolling required. I’ve replaced the carb-heavy tortillas with just a smidge of seasoned panko. There’s no tortilla ripping and tearing, no ingredient blowouts, and no hassles. And because this recipe uses quite a few prepared ingredients, there’s a lot less prep time. So you can get dinner on the table, fast.
Video: More Great Chicken Stack Ideas
How To Make Chicken Burrito Stacks
Before you begin, preheat the oven and line a sheet pan with parchment or a silicone mat. This is going to get a little messy in the oven, so for easy cleanup, you’ll be thankful the pan is covered. Aluminum foil also works in a pinch.
The panko topping, which goes on last, is actually made first so that it has a few minutes to absorb the flavors that are being added. In a small bowl combine the panko, olive oil, and seasonings until the panko is moist. At first, it will look like there isn’t enough olive oil to moisten the crumbs, but keep stirring and when it starts to look a little bit like wet sand, set this aside.
Unroll the chicken thighs so they are as flat as possible and place them on the parchment-lined sheet pan. You’ll want them at least two inches apart from each other. This is important because as the beans and cheese warm and melt in the oven, they will fall over the sides of the chicken, so you’ll want lots of room between each piece. Divide the remaining salt between each chicken thigh and sprinkle evenly over the tops.
In a medium bowl stir together the refried beans and canned green chilis until well combined. Slather one-quarter of the mixture over each of the chicken thighs, piling it on high and covering every part of the chicken.
For the cheese, I’ve found that large slices of cheddar work best. Grated cheese can be used, but it easily falls off the sides of the chicken stack before it has a chance to melt. I prefer those large, square, thick slices you can get at the deli counter. Or use the pre-packaged cheese slices located in the dairy section of the grocery store.
Add two slices of cheddar to each piece of bean-topped chicken, covering as much of the beans as possible with the cheese. Then sprinkle the seasoned panko on top of the cheese, dividing the panko evenly between each piece of chicken.
Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the chicken registers 165°F when an instant-read thermometer is placed into the thickest part of the thigh.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven and let this stand for about five minutes. You’ll see that some of the beans and cheese have oozed over the side of the chicken, creating this caramelized, crispy-in-some-places halo of flavor all around the chicken. For me, this is the best part, even though it looks a bit messy.
Using a spatula, transfer a chicken stack onto a plate, bringing along with it all of that gooey, caramelized cheese and refried bean topping that melted over the sides. So good!
Complete The Meal
I like to top mine with burrito favorites like pico de gallo, green onion, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.
Cilantro Lime Rice is a great side dish or try this delicious Street Corn Salad. A side of tortilla chips and guacamole is also always welcome. (Plus, the chips help you gather up any stray toppings.)
Podcast Episode About Baking Chicken Burrito Stacks
Listen to me briefly explain how to make these chicken stacks, with great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:Print
For the easiest and healthiest chicken burrito you’ll ever make, skip the tortilla and stack your favorite ingredients on top of chicken thighs.
Serve with pico de gallo, green onions, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 (15 oz.) can refried beans
- 1 (4 oz.) can green chilies
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 8 (4×4-in.) slices cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- In a medium bowl combine panko, olive oil, ⅛ teaspoon of the salt, cumin, and dried oregano, set aside. In a second medium bowl combine refried beans and chilies, set aside.
- Unroll chicken thighs into a flat piece and place each chicken thigh on sheet pan, at least 2-inches apart. Sprinkle each chicken thigh with remaining salt.
- Top each chicken thigh with one-quarter of the refried bean mixture, then two slices of cheddar, and then one-quarter of the bread crumb mixture.
- Place pan in oven. Bake until chicken registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer and bread crumbs are browned, about 25 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven, let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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Two chicken breasts, cut in half, can be used in place of the chicken thighs.