Monterey chicken has the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors. Make this grilled chicken recipe for an easy dinner in just 25 minutes!
This dish is a copycat recipe of the Chili’s menu item that has since been retired. It gets its name from the layer of melted Monterey Jack cheese on top.
Instead of being cooked in a pan on the stove or in the oven, this recipe is for a grilled Monterey chicken.
The chicken is basted several times with BBQ sauce, which creates a sweet sticky layer that’s perfect for holding the cheese, bacon, and vegetable toppings.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Chicken breasts – For even grilling, pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. If they’re extra thick, slice them in half horizontally.
- BBQ sauce – Use a sweeter variety for this grilled chicken recipe. My homemade sauce has a brown sugar base and is extra thick and sticky.
- Monterey Jack cheese – Since this is what gives the dish its name, using a substitute would technically make this something other than Monterey chicken. However, Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, or even Gouda would make great replacements.
- Chili powder – This spice is easy to find at any grocery store, but it’s just as easy to make your own homemade blend too.
- Bell pepper – The original recipe used diced tomatoes instead, so feel free to replace the bell peppers with those or even a different color of pepper.
How to make Monterey chicken
Just grill the chicken breasts with spices and BBQ sauce, melt the cheese over the top, and add the toppings. It’s that easy!
Prep the ingredients
- Chop the green onions and red bell pepper and set aside.
- Slice the bacon into smaller pieces and pan fry until crispy. Then, drain on a paper towel to remove the extra grease.
- Mix together the spices in a small bowl.
Cook the chicken
- Next, rub the chicken breasts with oil and pat both sides with the spice mixture.
- Grill for about 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, flipping them halfway through.
- Brush with BBQ sauce when adding the breasts to the grill, as well as when they are flipped and again when they are done.
Finish and serve
- Then, add a slice of cheese and some bacon to each piece of chicken.
- Close the lid on the grill and let sit until the cheese has melted.
- Transfer to a plate and top with the remaining bacon, green onions, and bell peppers.
- Storage – Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the grilled
chicken for up to 3 months. Then, add the cheese and toppings when reheating.
- Reheating – Heat the chicken in the microwave with a sprinkle of water for moisture. Or, wrap it in foil and pop it in the oven until
the chicken is warmed through.
- Save the bacon fat – Pour the leftover fat into a jar and let it cool, then seal and keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Use it
to fry eggs, potatoes, or anything else that uses butter or oil.
How to slice chicken breasts in half
This is easy to do and a great option if your chicken breasts are extra thick. If the tenders are still attached, you may need to remove those first and save for another recipe.
- Start by placing the meat on a plate or cutting board.
- Gently press down on the top of the chicken breast with the palm of your hand to hold it in place.
- With your other hand, use a sharp knife to cut through the middle of the chicken horizontally.
- Go slowly and keep the knife straight so you end up with two even pieces.
OTHER EASY CHICKEN RECIPES TO MAKE
If you liked the sweet and tangy flavors of this grilled chicken recipe, try my Citrus Honey Grilled Chicken. Or, any of these other recipes are a great option for quick mid-week dinners:
Watch our grilled chicken recipe video below!
Monterey Chicken on the Grill
- Cut the green onion tops and red bell pepper into dice. Set aside.
- Slice bacon into small 1/4" pieces. In a skillet over medium heat cook bacon until crispy. Set aside to drain on a paper towel. (See Note 2)
- In a small bowl mix together the chili and garlic powders with the salt and pepper. Rub oil on chicken and press spices on both sides. Set aside.
- Preheat grill to 350°F. Clean grill grates. Place chicken on grill, baste with BBQ sauce and cook for 4 minutes. Turn, baste with BBQ sauce and cook another 4 minutes and continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F depending on thickness of chicken. Brush again with BBQ sauce.
- Place a slice of cheese on each breast and top with half of the bacon.
- Close the grill and let the cheese melt, about 1 minute.
- Serve with remaining bacon, green onion and red bell pepper sprinkled on top.
- Pound the chicken breasts to about 3/4" to get as even as possibly for even grilling. Or if really large, slice horizontally.
- Save that bacon fat, it's liquid gold! I use it to fry potatoes and other foods to add that extra flavor punch. I store it in a resealable jar in the refrigerator after cooling.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.