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Air Fryer Monterey Chicken

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Air Fryer Monterey chicken is a fantastic healthier version of an old Chili’s favorite! Chicken breasts covered in barbecue sauce, cheese, bacon and tomatoes or pico de gallo. A super quick and easy dinner option that the whole family will chow down on!

Air Fryer Monterey chicken is a fully loaded flavor bomb that tastes just like sitting in the booth at Chili’s. With this recipe, you can make it skinny-ish in the comfort of your own home in less than 30 minutes

I kind of did a little research (by research I mean I googled and nothing came up in the first 12 results so I gave up) where Monterey Chicken came from. I figured it had to have some sort of back story, but nothing! It’s so good! Have you had it before? Do you know where it originated?

Air Fryer Monterey Chicken with diced tomatoes and green onions

Monterey Chicken from Chili’s is kind of nostalgic for me. When I was a 14 or 15 we had just gotten a Chili’s in our small town. My friends and I immediately made it “our place” to go when we would “go out on the town” in our extra sparkly lipgloss and love spell lotion on Friday night. Going out on the town basically meant we’d get dinner at Chili’s and/or go see a movie and wait for my mom to come get us. I can’t tell you how many laughs were shared over a plate of Monterey Chicken and mashed potatoes. It still makes me think of all those dorky dinner dates I’d share with my friends back then.

Since then, they’ve actually discontinued it as a meal on its own which annoyed the crap out of me so I decided to make it at home instead. I’m super excited to share this recipe for my Air Fryer Monterey Chicken with you because I think you’ll just love it so much!

Let’s make Air Fryer Monterey Chicken!

Chopped tomatoes and green onions on a lime green cutting board f

First we’re going to prep some tomatoes and green onions. This dish is traditionally topped with either chopped tomatoes and onions or pico de gallo. Both options are super delicious. I go back and forth between the two, but decided that I’d keep it simple. It’s also good without the chopped tomatoes too! It’s up to you.

You should prep this part before getting started on the chicken so it’s all ready to go when the chicken is done. Chop up one or two (seeded) Roma tomatoes and about 2-3 green onions. I throw’m into a Tupperware, cover it, and place in the fridge until ready to plate your chicken.

Raw Chicken breasts prepped for Air Fryer Monterey Chicken

Ah, a photo of raw chicken. How delightful!

Grab two large chicken breasts (about 8 oz each) and slice in half so they’re about 4 oz each. Spray each side of chicken with avocado oil spray, mix up 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper, and rub into both sides of chicken.

I prefer using Avocado Oil Spray in the Air Fryer because it’s the best in high temperature situations. It also doesn’t leave a “crusty” film you have to scrub the daylights out of on the Air Fryer pan. You can find Avocado Oil Spray in any ol’ grocery store near where the other cooking sprays are.

Air Fryer Monterey Chicken in the Air Fryer

Be sure to preheat your Air Fryer for about 5 minutes at 360 degrees.

Place chicken (without any BBQ sauce or toppins) in preheated Air Fryer and cook for about 6 minutes.

After the timer beeps, flip chicken, and brush both sides of chicken with BBQ sauce. Top evenly with reduced fat Mexican style shredded cheese, and chopped crispy center cut bacon. It works out to be about one tbsp of BBQ sauce, 2 tbsp of cheese, and 1 piece of bacon per chicken breast.

Continue to cook in the Air Fryer for another 6-8minutes or the chicken temps at 165 degrees. I’ll usually take it out around 162 degrees then let it rest for a few minutes. It’ll finish cooking those few extra degrees while you leave it alone and let the juices redistribute. The exact time really depends on how thick your chicken is. For thinner breasts I would check the temp sooner. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The best way to get yourself properly cooked chicken is by temping it. This thermometer is my tried and true trusty companion.

I use Sugar Free G. Hughes BBQ Sauce most of the time. If you’re not into Sugar Free stuff, totally fine! Sometimes I just use regular since it’s just about one tablespoon of sauce per piece of chicken. Eric prefers it with regular so I just make half a batch that way. Easy to please everyone with this recipe.

I use this Air Fryer and love it! I really appreciate that it’s 7 quart so I don’t have to work in batches.

Finished Air Fryer Monterey Chicken

And you’re all done! Despite the lengthy instructions, this Air Fryer Monterey Chicken really couldn’t be any easier to make!

Top it off (if you choose to) with the chopped tomato and green onion mixture or some pico de gallo!

Air Fryer Monterey Chicken with tomatoes and green onions
Air Fryer Monterey Chicken
Air Fryer Monterey Chicken on a pan

I hope you enjoy!

From my kitchen to yours, Star

Air Fryer Monterey Chicken

Seasoned chicken breasts covered in barbeque sauce, shredded cheese, crispy bacon, and a chopped tomatoa and green onion mix.
Print Recipe
Air Fryer Monterey Chicken on a pan
Prep Time:5 mins
Cook Time:12 mins

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts(about 8 oz each) cut in half to make them about 4 oz each
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (I use G Hughes Sugar Free BBQ sauce, but any kind will do)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Reduced Fat Mexican Cheese (I love the Kroger brand's blend of Reduced Fat colby jack, monterey jack, cheddar, and mozzarella)
  • 4 slices cooked and chopped center cut bacon I use Oscar Meyer
  • Avocado Oil Spray (you can find this in any grocery store near the other cooking sprays. I prefer using this, but any cooking spray will work)

Topping (optional)

  • 1-2 roma tomates (seeded and diced)
  • 3-4 green onions (green and white parts) (diced)
  • you can also do Pico De Gallo on top

Instructions

  • Preheat Air Fryer to 360 degrees.
  • Mix together garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Spray chicken on both sides with avocado oil spray then rub with the spices. Place in the Air Fryer and cook for 6 minutes.
  • Flip chicken over and brush each side with evenly with BBQ sauce then top with cheese and bacon.
    (It works out to be about 1 tbsp of sauce, 2 tbsp of cheese, and 1 slice of center cut bacon per piece of chicken if you want to be super accurate)
  • Continue to cook chicken in the Air Fryer for an additional 6-8 minutes.
    *It really depends on the thickness of your chicken how much longer it will need. I always recommend using a meat thermometor to temp your chicken to determine if its done or not. I take it out around 162ish degrees and set on a plate for a few minutes to finish cooking and let the juices redistribute.
  • If you choose to, top them off with chopped tomatoes and green onions or pico de gallo.

Notes

Serving size: 1 piece of chicken with toppings. 
WW Points: 2
204 calories, 5.7g fat, 2g saturated fat, 3.5g carbohydrates, 0.4g fiber, 0g sugar 41.4g 
*WW Points and Nutritional information figured by using G. Hughes Sugar Free BBQ Sauce if you use a different type of BBQ Sauce please note that the nutritional info and points may change. 
Servings: 4
Author: Star @ the skinny-ish dish
Tried this recipe?Mention @theskinnyishdish or tag #skinnyishdishrecipes!

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93 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve printed but never made this recipe. Now I’m kicking myself. The whole family gave it 5 stars! I served it with your Mexican Street Corn. Great combo and it will be in our regular rotation.

  2. 4 stars
    This was my fist time making this and it was good, except the cheese was really crunchy and kind of hard. Next time I’ll wait and add the cheese and bacon for just the last minute

    1. Hm, might have been the brand of cheese? I’m not sure! Mine is always soft and melty. Sounds like a good plan to wait and add it later just in case!

  3. This looks really good but I would love to know how to cook it in an instant pot or baked in the oven.

  4. Oh my gosh, this looks soooo good! I have many fond memories of this dish as a teen. This is going on the menu for next week for sure!

  5. 5 stars
    A family favorite, and sends me back to me BK (before kids) days when we went to Chili’s on the regular. #top2021

  6. 5 stars
    #top2021 One of my favorite recipes. So incredibly simple and quick, and so tasty. Plus, its all ingredients we usually have on hand! It’s a go-to when we don’t know what to make.

  7. 5 stars
    This is a favourite in my house. Really easy recipe and quick for days where you don’t have much time to cook. The chicken turns out so juicy. Simple, but delish! #top2021

  8. 5 stars
    A weekend favorite! Super easy to make and delicious! Also super low calorie! #top2021

  9. Delicious! Everything cooked up so nicely in the air fryer! Will definitely make again. #top2021

  10. 5 stars
    #top2021
    This was on of my very first air fryer recipes. I had no idea what I was doing, but the directions were so easy to follow and the end result was amazing! The chicken was perfectly cooked and so flavorful! You made me an air fryer convert!

  11. 5 stars
    So good and SO easy! Made this for dinner and my boyfriend kept asking if I was sure this was the “heathy version” lol. It was a huge hit and definitely on our repeat list for meals.

  12. 5 stars
    Made this last weekend and we loved it! I served it with mashed potatoes and green beans and chopped up some grape tomatoesto top the chicken before serving. Will definitely make again!! Next time I will under-cook the bacon a little more than I did as it really crisped in the air fryer. Thanks for another great recipe!

  13. 5 stars
    This was an absolutely amazing dish. My kids ate it and said that is the best dish I’ve ever made.

  14. Delicious!! Go buy an air fryer if you don’t have one! This was my first time cooking chicken in my AF and it was so easy and turned out perfect. So far all of your recipes have been a hit!

  15. 5 stars
    This was my first time using my fryer. I love this chicken so I decided I would give it a try. I can not be happier. I think I’m going to like the air fryer and I definitely love this recipe. I will make this again. Thank you for the recipe.

  16. 5 stars
    This is AMAZING!!! This will become a rotation in our favorites for sure!!! Simple and low in points (blue plan)!

  17. Made this for dinner earlier in the week and will be adding it to my dinner rotation! It was quick and easy to make and was a hit for both my husband and I. This was my first time using avocado oil in the air fryer and it was a total game changer.

  18. 5 stars
    Oh my this looks so good. I have made many of your recipes but this one looks like a new level of awesomeness. I hope to try it soon. Thanks for all the amazing recipes and support you provide to so many. You are awesome!

  19. 5 stars
    This is SO dang good! I love that I usually have most everything on hand to make it! I’m loving my air fryer lately so I love all your recipes for it. Made the ranch carrots the other dang & they were the best cooked carrots I’ve ever had! (I’m usually a raw carrot kinda girl). Thanks for the great recipes!

    @katiemurry

  20. I haven’t tried this yet, but loved that you linked your air fryer! It looks simple enough. Like you I loved the Chili’s version but rarely got it because the nearest restaurant was 2 hours away! We still don’t have a chili’s, so I can’t wait to give this a try.

  21. 5 stars
    This is delicious!!! First time I made this my husband said “add this to the rotation “ Great flavor!

  22. 5 stars
    Mmmm good! This is delicious! I made this as it reminded of a favorite dish that I always ordered in restaurant in CA. This was it! I can’t wait to make again.

  23. This dish is so quick and easy to pull together, it is so delicious and has become a staple in my house!
    @ksicotte

  24. 5 stars
    You MUST try this recipe! This chicken was full of flavor and super EASY to make!! My husband and I LOVED it. This also taught me how easy it is make chicken in the air fryer – so thankful for your cooking advice and tips! @katiejeanesmaroney

  25. 5 stars
    O M G! This is so delicious and so easy to make. I made it 2 weeks ago and my family loved it. I’m making it again tonight. It’s definitely going to be in our rotation on favorite meals!
    Love,
    The skinnish dish fan @jdedman7

  26. This is one of mine and my husbands favorites! His favorite meal at Chili’s is the monteray chicken, and he said this tastes just like it. It’s delicious!

  27. 5 stars
    So delicious
    I was hesitant because my husband doesn’t love bacon. But he liked it! This will be added to our regulars This was also such a quick and easy dish! Keep the delicious recipes coming please

  28. 5 stars
    This was soooooooo good! My husband raved about it. I used Chic Fil A honey BBQ sauce for mine and regular BBQ sauce for his. And I love how easy it was in the air fryer.

  29. New to ww and made this last night for dinner and it was delish! Thanks for a great recipe the whole family can enjoy. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

  30. Made this tonight for my family and it was a huge success! My New Years goal is to find more healthy and delicious meals. My husband kept asking if it was healthy… aside from the little bit of bacon I think it fit the bill… will be adding to our rotation!!! So easy and delicious! Thank you!

  31. 5 stars
    This recipe was AMAZING! It will definitely be in our rotation for meals. I love the family friendly meals that you share. Thanks!

  32. 5 stars
    Sooooooo delicious. I was hesitant because I am not always a BBQ sauce kinda girl.. but it was amazing. Next time I a going to use slices of cheese, because the shreds didn’t seem to stay put very well. Also, will not add the kosher salt as the salt from the bacon was enough for me (The kosher made it too salty for my taste).

  33. 5 stars
    This recipe was amazing! You feel so guilty eating it but it is super low in points and easy to make. I will definitely eat this once a week and make leftovers.

  34. This was such a quick and tasty weeknight meal. My boys loved it!! Making again soon.

  35. 5 stars
    I made this in my air fryer it was delicious. My air fryer is not very big. I would like to make enough for my family. If I put it in the oven what would the temp. and time? Thanks

  36. Hello! Trying this tonight, but interested to know if I place the bacon on top of the chicken raw, or cooked? My sound like a silly question, but I don’t want to mess this up. Thanks!!

    1. It’s already cooked bacon! You can also use real bacon bits and add them on top. I hope you enjoy!

  37. I really don’t want to have to purchase an air fryer, when I already have a convection oven. Can you please tell me how to use this recipe in a convection oven for similar results?
    Thank you

  38. I cannot wait to make this! I loved this meal at Chili’s! I have noticed that my airfryer makes toppings like cheese etc fly off the chicken. Any tips so that doesn’t happen? For example if I try to make a pita pizza it will throw the pepperoni’s off and it drives me crazy. I don’t want the bacon and cheese to fly off.

    1. That is so interesting, JD! I have not had this happen. I will say the cheese gets pretty melty and will slide down onto the pan part of my air fryer, but it doesn’t fly around. I really don’t have any tips for this not to happen, because it hasn’t happened to me. I’m sorry that’s not helpful.

  39. This looks delicious! How do I make it in the oven? I don’t have an air fryer, please HELP!!!

  40. Another fantastic one I made this week. I forgot to mention this in my comment to the one pot smoked sausage pasta dish. Star, we LOVE your recipes. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. Hi, just trying to make sure I have the correct protein grams (I count macros). Is the 41g on the nutritional information for the protein per serving?

    Thank you!

  42. 5 stars
    OMGEE… Just made this dish for the third time in two weeks! It’s so delicious and flavourful it feels like it shouldn’t be so low in points (blue). Thank you for making some kick ass recipes!

  43. 5 stars
    This recipe is incredible! It’s super easy and so flavorful. I’ve made it twice since finding it.. the first time I topped with fresh pico and the second time I diced tomatoes. Both were amazing! I served with rice & veggies.

  44. 5 stars
    Delish! Brings back old memories of eating this at Chili’s. The only thing I didn’t different was use ranch dressing mix instead of garlic powder to add a little different flavor. It was YUMMY and added zero points!

  45. Hi this recipe looks so awesome but I don’t have an air fryer 🙁 can I make it in oven and what would cook time and temperature be?? Thanks so much

  46. 5 stars
    LOVED this dish! As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to make it! It’s super easy to throw together & the instructions were straightforward. The cheese formed a crispy crust which was AMAZING. I topped with the suggested tomato & green onion, plus a little bit of lime. I served with broccoli & black beans and it was as if it was straight from Chilis! Will absolutely be making again!

    1. I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it so much, Erin! I LOVE the cheesy crust that it has too. Thanks so much for stopping back by to let me know that you loved it so much and rating the recipe too. You’re the best!

  47. Please post oven instructions for your Air Fryer recipes. Not all of us have one. Thanks.

      1. I am thrilled to have found your site. Can always use meal ideas that show WW Blue Pts.

  48. 5 stars
    So good! I ate it for Dinner last night & lunch today. Hubby even loved it and he’s not big on eating chicken, unlike me who could eat it everyday. Thanks for a great and easy recipe.

  49. Came out delish. Didn’t have fresh tomatoes so I used canned diced for the topping along with real bacon pieces. So good!

  50. This looks amazing, I can’t wait to try it. As a side note, in your paragraph description, you missed the word “pepper” it just says: “1/4 tsp.”

    1. Thanks for that catch! I swear no matter how many times I read it over to edit. I always miss something. Just fixed it. I hope you enjoy!

  51. 5 stars
    This was SOOO good! I made four pieces, my husband who is very picky (especially when I try new recipes!) ate 2 1/2 pieces and was sad there was not more! Recipe was easy to follow and turned out delicious! We topped it with fresh pico, and avocado slices.

  52. 5 stars
    SUPER EASY and was great!! The cheese got a little crunch on top and it was so flavorful!

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