This Chili’s copycat Monterey Chicken recipe brings a restaurant favorite right home to your kitchen. You are going to love the combination of grilled chicken, sweet barbecue sauce, smoky bacon, and melted cheese, garnished with fresh tomatoes and chives.

This cheesy BBQ Bacon chicken is tender, juicy, and flavor-packed! Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is to make this crowd-pleasing dinner recipe.

Chili's copycat Monterey Chicken, loaded with bbq sauce, melted cheese, diced tomatoes, and green onions

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

We love one-pan chicken dinners like our Pizza Chicken, Chicken Marsala, and of course, this Monterey Chicken. They are a ‘sure thing’ at the dinner table and leftovers are rare.

Monterey Chicken Video

Watch Natasha transform the flavors of grilled chicken, zesty barbecue sauce, smoky bacon, and gooey Monterey jack cheese into the ultimate comfort food; Monterey Chicken.

Monterey Chicken Recipe

My husband Vadim’s first job was at Chili’s. While working there, he wore many hats- from busser to cook, he even served as a trainer. Chili’s was also where he took me on our first date – I think he was ‘flexing’ by taking me to where he worked, but it is a sweet memory for us.

One of our favorite dishes on the Chili’s restaurant menu was this Monterey Chicken. It is essentially a grilled chicken breast, smothered with BBQ sauce, topped with bacon and melted cheese, and finished with diced tomatoes and green onions.

I had so much fun recreating this Chili’s copycat recipe at home for all of you, especially because they no longer have this classic favorite on the menu. I was transported back to those sweet beginnings. You can read more about our love story in my new cookbook, Natasha’s Kitchen.

Why You’ll Love Monterey Chicken

  • Quick and Easy – This recipe is easy to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknights. With just a handful of ingredients, you can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes.
  • Make-Ahead Meal – Need to have a completely simple dinner without compromising taste or resorting to takeout? You can easily prep this chicken dinner ahead.
  • Picky Eater Approved – Monterey Chicken is a crowd-pleaser. It’s a dish that both kids and adults enjoy- chicken, cheese, bacon, barbecue sauce, and fresh tomatoes— What’s not to love?
Monterey Chicken topped with bacon, bbq sauce, cheese and tomatoes in a skillet

Ingredients

This easy recipe is a simple way to elevate a basic chicken breast in seconds. Layered with simple ingredients, the combination of sweet, tangy, and smoky flavors in Monterey Chicken is reliably delicious.

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts – you can use 2 large chicken breasts and cut them into 4 cutlets or pound out 4 smaller chicken breasts.
  • Barbecue sauce – look for a sweet and thick barbecue sauce.
  • Bacon – Applewood smoked bacon was used in Chili’s restaurant dish, which adds a savory, smoky flavor and crispy texture. You can cook the bacon in a skillet, or make Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon.
  • Cheese – we combine shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese.
  • Tomatoes (diced) -fresh and juicy, they provide a burst of fresh flavor and color.
  • Green onions – generously sprinkled on top for garnish and extra flavor.
Ingredients for Monterey Chicken, boneless chicken breasts, crispy bacon, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, garlic powder, salt, pepper, barbecue sauce, diced tomatoes, and chopped green onions

Pro Tip:

Use the flat end of a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken into thin pieces. If you do not have a mallet, you can use anything heavy, like a saucepan, or a rolling pin.

How to Make Monterey Chicken

  • Cook Bacon – Cook bacon until browned and crisp (on the stovetop, or make either Oven-Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon), so it’s ready when the chicken comes off the grill.
  • Prep Chicken – Pound the chicken between two layers of plastic wrap until it reaches an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. Season all over with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Grill Chicken – Preheat the grill or large oiled oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken to the preheated grill or skillet and cook on the first side until nicely browned or charred, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and brush the cooked side with barbecue sauce. Once the chicken approaches an internal temperature of 165°F, flip it again and brush the second side with BBQ sauce. Once it reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer, remove from heat. If using a stovetop skillet, you can keep the chicken in the oven-safe skillet, or transfer it to a 9×13 casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet.
  • Layer and Broil – Brush the top of the chicken again with barbecue sauce. Top with bacon, then sprinkle with cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  • Garnish and Serve – Serve warm, garnished with diced tomatoes and chives.

Grill or Stovetop?

You can either grill the chicken or cook it on the stovetop in a large skillet. The grill will give you the smoky flavors and charring that is closer to the restaurant-style Monterey Chicken, but an oven-safe skillet works just fine in a pinch or if the weather is not cooperating.

What to Serve With Monterey Chicken

No matter what you serve this with, the Monterey Chicken is the star of the show so you can pair it with simple sides such as:

Monterey Chicken topped with melted Monterey jack cheese, tomatoes, crispy bacon, and chives. Served with mashed potatoes on a plate.

Make-Ahead

  • Prep-Ahead: Coat the cooked chicken breasts with BBQ sauce, cook the bacon, shred the cheese, and chop the tomatoes and green onions the night before. Assemble this Monterey Chicken dish and pop it in the oven to broil when you are ready to serve.
  • Refrigerate Leftovers: Refrigerate cooled chicken in an airtight container. According to USDA guidelines, cooked chicken can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Store cooked and cooled chicken in a freezer-safe container. We recommend waiting to add cheese and tomatoes until you are ready to reheat and serve.
  • To Reheat: Thaw completely in the refrigerator, then place in an oven-safe dish. Bake covered with foil at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Garnish as instructed.
Chili's copycat Monterey Chicken, loaded with bbq sauce, melted cheese, diced tomatoes, and green onions in a skillet

If you missed out on Chili’s Monterey Chicken during its menu run, I hope you will try this irresistible copycat recipe and discover why it captured our hearts. It’s so easy to make and is incredibly flavorful.

More Restaurant Copycat Recipes

It’s always a treat to recreate restaurant-quality meals, especially when you could make them even better at home, for a fraction of the cost. We’ve compiled a selection of our favorite copycat recipes for you to try:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Monterey Chicken Recipe (VIDEO)

4.94 from 16 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Monterey Chicken is topped with melted Monterey jack cheese, tomatoes, crispy bacon, and chives. Serve this Chili's copycat meal with creamy mashed potatoes right in the comfort of your own home.
This Chili's copycat Monterey Chicken recipe brings the grilled chicken, tangy BBQ, smoky bacon, and gooey cheese restaurant favorite home to your kitchen.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Broil Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 4 servings
  • 4 small chicken breasts, boneless, skinless (1 1/2 to 2 lbs)*
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup BBQ Sauce, divided, preferably a sweet and thick variety
  • 8 slices applewood smoked bacon, not thick-cut
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup diced tomatoes, to serve
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onions, to serve

Instructions

  • Cook bacon until browned and crisp (either on the stovetop, or make either Oven-Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon), so it’s ready when the chicken comes off the grill.
  • Pound the chicken between two layers of plastic wrap until it reaches an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. Season all over with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Preheat the grill or a large oiled oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken to the preheated grill or skillet and cook on the first side until nicely browned or charred (about 3-4 minutes). Flip and brush the cooked side with barbecue sauce. Once the chicken approaches an internal temperature of 165°F, flip it again and brush the second side with BBQ sauce. Once it reaches 165°F on a thermometer, remove from heat. If using a stovetop skillet, you can keep the chicken in the oven-safe skillet, or transfer it to a 9×13 casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet.
  • Brush the top of the chicken again with barbecue sauce. Top with bacon, then sprinkle with cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  • Serve warm, garnished with diced tomatoes and chives.

Notes

*I used about 1 3/4 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts to make this recipe. You could also use 2 large chicken breasts and cut them in half lengthwise for a total of 4 cutlets.

Nutrition Per Serving

1serving Serving521kcal Calories17g Carbs37g Protein33g Fat12g Saturated Fat4g Polyunsaturated Fat13g Monounsaturated Fat0.1g Trans Fat128mg Cholesterol1261mg Sodium664mg Potassium1g Fiber13g Sugar435IU Vitamin A4mg Vitamin C235mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Monterey Chicken Recipe (VIDEO)
Serving Size
 
1 serving
Amount per Serving
Calories
521
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
33
g
51
%
Saturated Fat
 
12
g
75
%
Trans Fat
 
0.1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
13
g
Cholesterol
 
128
mg
43
%
Sodium
 
1261
mg
55
%
Potassium
 
664
mg
19
%
Carbohydrates
 
17
g
6
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
13
g
14
%
Protein
 
37
g
74
%
Vitamin A
 
435
IU
9
%
Vitamin C
 
4
mg
5
%
Calcium
 
235
mg
24
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Monterey Chicken
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 521

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Susan Hollier
    April 23, 2024

    I made this for dinner today, and it was absolutely delish! I served Au Grautin potatoes, asparagus and salad as sides. I will definitely be making Chicken Monterrey again!
    Thank you, Natasha! 😊

    Reply

  • Nancy
    April 16, 2024

    Oh, Natasha! This is so good! I was a little intimidated at first, but once I got the chicken cooking, it was as easy as you said it was. Thank you!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 16, 2024

      That’s wonderful, Nancy!

      Reply

  • Brittany Blackburn
    April 15, 2024

    Solid recipe, everyone enjoyed it. The recipe was easy to adjust for the kids that don’t like barbecue sauce and still have the full version for the rest of us.

    Reply

  • Dorraine Wilcott-Nault
    April 11, 2024

    Absolutely wonderful & easy. Very healthy & low fat.
    Where do I buy the thermometer you used?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 12, 2024

      Hi Dorraine, you can find our favorite kitchen tools in our Amazon Affiliate Shop HERE under my kitchen tools section. We LOVE using it!

      Reply

  • Dennis Toth
    April 11, 2024

    Hi everyone
    Yes I saw sharky eating bacon. This is a great recipe.
    Best Wishes to everyone
    Your friend from Canada
    Dennis

    Reply

  • Fivi Siordia
    April 10, 2024

    I’m sorry if this question was asked before. Will it still be delicious if I use chicken thigh fillets?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 10, 2024

      Hi Fivi! Chicken thighs should work just. You’ll just use a food thermometer (Amazon affiliate link) to check for doneness, they can take a little while longer to cook depending on thickness or if you’re using bone in thighs.

      Reply

  • Janet miller
    April 9, 2024

    It was lovely thank you so much for your super recipes.
    Banana bread a firm favourite xx

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 9, 2024

      You’re very welcome, Janet! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Mk
    April 8, 2024

    Hi Natasha!
    Can you please please make the veggie burger from Cheesecake Factory? But instead of frying it, can you bake it? So it’s a healthier version. The veggie burger is so so delicious

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 8, 2024

      Hi Mk, I haven’t tried that but that’s a tough sell for me to move beyond a regular hamburger. One of these days I’ll need to venture out and do a meatless burger… maybe.

      Reply

  • Tito Figueroa
    April 7, 2024

    This recipe was one of the more easy ones to prepare but what a flavor bomb explosion when you take that first bite!! loved the cheese bbq and tomatoes. That took the chicken to a whole different stratosphere. Will make it again for sure!!!

    Reply

  • Keegan
    April 7, 2024

    Do you have any recipes for catfish? Would be interesting to see some recipes on here for wild game such as venison, catfish, etc.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 7, 2024

      Hi Keegan! I do not not. I’m sorry. Thank you for the suggestion.

      Reply

  • Wendy
    April 6, 2024

    Excellent dish. Easy and so tasty. Will make again. I may try it with chicken thighs next time.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 6, 2024

      I hope you love it even more next time Wendy! Thank you for your awesome review.

      Reply

  • Luann Simila
    April 6, 2024

    I saw Sharkey for the first time. He was scarring down bacon.

    Reply

  • C R
    April 6, 2024

    Would love to see a copy cat recipe for Chili’s Paradise Pie! Please!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 6, 2024

      Thank you so much for that suggestion, CR!

      Reply

  • Nana G
    April 6, 2024

    Sharky was seen eating the bacon as you placed it on top of the chicken. Recipe looks delicious and I am also a Chili’s fan.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 6, 2024

      Thank you for watching, Nana!

      Reply

  • Deb Edwards
    April 6, 2024

    Just to inform you… Chili’s DOES still have this!! (at least in my state) It is not on the menu they give you, but it’s on a ‘Special Menu’ button on the wait staff computer when ordering. You must ask for them to go check, and it always surprises them. We go once a month and get it every single time. It’s as yummy as ever. Though your recipe is spot on! Thanks

    Reply

  • Tara G
    April 6, 2024

    Our new favorite recipe! So happy I found it because my youngest actually loved t! He is picky lol.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 6, 2024

      That’s great, Tara!

      Reply

  • Sha
    April 6, 2024

    This is better than the restaurant bought! So easy yet delicious and juicy!

    Reply

  • Rita Noel
    April 5, 2024

    You and Chef Billy Parisi are the best! You both come up with some amazing recipes!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 5, 2024

      Thank you so much!

      Reply

  • Kim
    April 5, 2024

    Love your recipes your recipes are like home cooked and my family enjoy different things I make

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 5, 2024

      Aww, that’s the best! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • jess
    April 5, 2024

    I love ordering this dish whenever I see it on the menu when I go out to eat, and I am super glad that I can now make this from home! thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe!

    Reply

As Featured On

Never Go "Hangry" Again!

Get weekly updates on new recipes, exclusive giveaways plus behind the scenes photos.