Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Corn Salsa
Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls are sure to be a favorite! This recipe combines sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors to create a seriously flavorful chicken bowl! The chipotle chicken marinade is quick and easy to make and goes beautifully with the sweet corn salsa and buttery avocados.
That is some serious flavor right there!
We’re talking about chicken marinated in a honey chipotle mixture that’s slightly sweet, smoky, with a hint of spice, and nothing short of flavorful. It also happens to be one of the best things you can meal prep because it tastes better as it sits.
We’ll start by marinating the chicken and letting it hang out. This recipe is perfect to make on an outdoor grill in the summertime and equally delicious made on an indoor grill pan when you’re living in a tundra in the middle of winter. The marinade for this recipe is inspired by Chipotle’s vinaigrette recipe. We’ve just played around with the quantities to create a marinade rather than a dressing.
The sweet corn salsa is also inspired by Chipotle’s corn, which is totally a fiesta in your mouth. I start charring off a poblano pepper – totally optional. I know some people don’t mind the skin, but if I’m going to make this thing, I’m going to do it right. And then, we add in a squeeze of lemon juice, lime juice, a minced jalapeño, and lots of red onions. You can scoop it up with a tortilla chip, or you can serve it on top of this bowl; either way – it’s fantastic.
Serve it all up on a bed of your favorite rice, quinoa, or grains with slices of buttery avocados. And if you’re about to ask, doesn’t it need a sauce? You could totally do one, but honestly, it’s so flavorful that nope, we actually didn’t need one!
A flavor explosion is coming at you in 3..2…1
Ingredients for honey chipotle chicken bowls
- Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe because that’s what I had on hand. But usually, I prefer to use chicken breasts for my bowls. Needless to say, thighs, breasts, and tenders – any protein cut works for this bowl.
- Chipotle Peppers: I use a can of chipotles that are packed in adobo sauce. You’ll need 1-2 peppers for this recipe, depending on how much heat you want the recipe to have. We usually veer on the side of caution and go with one chipotle pepper, and it’s perfect that way. You’ll also want 1 tablespoons adobo sauce.
- Olive oil: You’ll need a bit of olive oil to add to the marinade. Since the marinade contains plenty of oil, I usually don’t spray my grill pan before cooking the chicken.
- Red Wine Vinegar: Goes into the chipotle marinade for the chicken.
- Honey: Adds a hint of sweetness to the marinade.
- Seasonings: You’ll need onion powder, oregano, salt, and peppers. Most of these will go into the marinade for the chicken.
- Corn: I like to use a bag of frozen corn that I’ll just zap in the microwave. Fresh corn that you char on the grill would be a dream if you’re making this during the summer. It’s one of my favorite additons to this salad.
- Onions and Garlic: Red onions go into the corn salsa, and the garlic is for the marinade for the chicken.
- Peppers and cilantro: I use a couple of different kinds of peppers. You’ll need a small poblano pepper and a jalapeño pepper. I usually remove all the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño before mincing it up. You’ll also want to char your poblano and remove the skin. This is optional, but I do think it gives the salsa a smokey, delicious flavor! You’ll also need a handful of cilantro to add to the corn salsa.
- Lemon and Limes: You’ll need both lemons and limes to add to the corn salsa.
- Base and Toppings: You’ll need cooked rice, quinoa, or your favorite grains to make the bowl. You’ll also need ripe avocados that are diced or sliced. I used regular fluffed brown rice, but you could also make this with cilantro lime rice or Mexican rice for more flavor!
How to make honey chipotle chicken bowls
- Start with the marinade. Add the minced chipotle peppers, adobo, vinegar, honey, oil, garlic, onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper to a jar and shake or whisk it to combine. Pour the marinade over the chicken and let sit for at little as 30 minutes and, ideally, around 4 hours.
- Char the peppers. While the chicken is marinating, you’ll want to cook the rice or grains; you’ll also want to char the peppers and prepare the corn salsa. Place the poblano over an open flame on the stove and keep a close eye on it. You’ll hear the pepper start to pop. The heat blisters the skin, chars, and loosens it. Keep cooking until charred all over. Then place it in a bowl and cover with a lid for 10 minutes before you peel it with a spoon. Then mince the pepper.
- Make corn salsa. Add the defrosted corn, minced poblano, jalapeño, cilantro, red onions, lemon, and lime juice to a bowl. Stir to combine and season with a pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve the bowls.
- Cook the chicken. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook them for 8-10 minutes, flipping the chicken in the skillet around the halfway mark. When the chicken is done, remove it to a cutting board and let it rest for several minutes before you slice or dice it.
- Assemble and serve. Serve up the fluffy rice, tender quinoa, or grains in a bowl topped with diced chicken, a scoop of corn salsa, and slices of avocado. And feel free to top it with chopped tomatoes, hot sauce, pickled onions, or other fresh veggies!
FAQs about this recipe
Yes! The chicken is uber-flavorful and will easily last in the refrigerator for 4 days. I recommend placing the chicken and rice in containers and keeping the corn salsa separate. Add the corn salsa and the avocado to each bowl right before serving.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Honey Harissa Chicken Bowls
- Steak Fajita Bowls with Garlic Lime Rice
- Beef Birria de Res
- Mexican Street Corn Chicken Tacos
- Creamy Mexican Corn Dip
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken (thighs/breasts/tenders)
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (plus 1 tbsp adobo)
- 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon EACH: onion powder AND dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 ½ cups prepared rice, quinoa, or grains
- Lime wedges and cilantro, for serving
- Slices avocados, for serving
- 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen corn
- ⅓ cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1 large poblano pepper, charred, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely minced
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon EACH: lemon juice AND lime juice
- COMBINE: Mince the chipotle peppers finely and add to a mason jar. Combine adobo, vinegar, honey, oil, garlic, onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper in the same jar. Shake or stir to combine.
- MARINADE: Pour the prepared marinade over the chicken and allow it to marinade for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
- POBLANO: Char the poblano under the broiler (or grill) or over an open flame on the stove. Place in a bowl, cover with a lid and let sit for a 10 minutes before peeling and mincing.
- CORN SALSA: Zap the corn in the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds or until the corn is defrosted and slightly warm. Remove and let cool for several minutes. Add the red onion, minced jalapeños, poblanos, cilantro, lemon juice, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine; taste and adjust as desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- COOK: Heat a grill pan over medium high heat and cook the chicken thighs (or breasts) for 8-10 minutes, flipping around the halfway mark, until cooked to 160ºF. Remove to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing or dicing.
ASSEMBLE: Add the desired amount of rice to each bowl. Top with grilled chicken, sliced avocados and serve with lime wedges!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 589Total Fat: 25gCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 6gProtein: 45g
**Nutritional facts include the marinade, however, most of the marinade is discarded.** The nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. To get the most accurate information, please input the ingredients you've used into a nutrition calculator.