Bonanza Chicken Monterey Recipe

Bonanza Chicken Monterey Recipe

If you’re a fan of comfort food classics and have a soft spot for the irresistible combination of tender chicken, gooey cheese, and savory barbecue sauce, then you’re in for a treat. In this article, we’re diving into the world of “Monterey Chicken,” a beloved dish that’s often associated with Bonanza Steakhouse and its copycat recipes. We’ll explore how to make Monterey Chicken at home, whether on the grill, in a skillet, or even in a slow cooker. So, get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we uncover the secrets of this mouthwatering chicken dish.

What is Monterey Chicken?

Monterey Chicken is a classic American dish that combines the heartiness of chicken with the rich flavors of Monterey Jack cheese and barbecue sauce. This delightful concoction is known for its irresistible taste and satisfying texture, making it a favorite among many food enthusiasts. It’s a dish that perfectly balances sweet and savory elements, making it a go-to choice for those seeking comfort food at its finest.

Bonanza Chicken Monterey Recipe
Bonanza Chicken Monterey Recipe

The History of Monterey Chicken

Monterey Chicken’s history is closely tied to the iconic Bonanza Steakhouse chain. This beloved restaurant introduced the world to the delectable flavors of Monterey Chicken as one of its signature dishes. Over the years, the recipe has gained immense popularity and has been replicated in countless kitchens across the country. Today, it stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of American comfort food.

Grilling Monterey Chicken: A Flavor Explosion

Grilling Monterey Chicken adds an extra layer of flavor, with the smoky char from the grill enhancing the barbecue sauce and cheese. To achieve that perfect balance of tenderness and flavor, marinate the chicken for a few hours before grilling. This allows the meat to soak up the marinade, making each bite even more delicious.

Skillet Magic: Monterey Chicken in a Pan

For those days when firing up the grill isn’t an option, the skillet comes to the rescue. Cooking Monterey Chicken in a pan is quick and convenient, ensuring that you can enjoy this tasty dish anytime, even on busy weeknights. Plus, the skillet method results in crispy chicken that pairs perfectly with the gooey cheese and savory barbecue sauce.

Crockpot Convenience: Slow-Cooked Monterey Chicken

If you’re a fan of set-it-and-forget-it cooking, the slow cooker is your best friend. You can prepare Monterey Chicken in your crockpot, allowing the flavors to meld together over hours of gentle cooking. This method yields incredibly tender chicken that practically melts in your mouth.

Monterey Chicken Variations and Toppings

Monterey Chicken is versatile and can be customized to suit your taste. Some popular variations include adding crispy bacon, diced tomatoes, or even avocado slices for extra creaminess. Feel free to get creative with your toppings and make this dish your own.

Sides to Complement Your Monterey Chicken

No Monterey Chicken meal is complete without the perfect side dishes. Consider serving it with classic accompaniments like mashed potatoes, coleslaw, or a fresh green salad. These sides complement the rich and savory flavors of the chicken beautifully.

Bonanza Steakhouse and the Legacy of Monterey Chicken

Bonanza Steakhouse, with its nostalgic salad bar and hearty menu, was an American institution. While many locations have closed their doors, the memory of their Monterey Chicken lives on. For those who fondly recall dining at Bonanza, making this dish at home is a delicious way to relive those cherished moments.

Bonanza Chicken Monterey Recipe

Recipe by Heather Smith


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives

  • 1/4 cup diced green chilies

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Fresh cilantro leaves

  • Sliced green onions


  • Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  •  Heat olive oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes on each side until they develop a golden-brown crust. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, black olives, diced green chilies, chopped cilantro, ground cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  • Place the seared chicken breasts back into the skillet. Pour the Monterey Sauce over the chicken, ensuring it's evenly distributed.
  • Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, and the sauce is bubbling and slightly golden on top.
  • Once the chicken is done, remove it from the oven, and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and sliced green onions. Serve hot, and enjoy your Bonanza Chicken Monterey!

Nutritional Content (Per Serving)

Now, let’s take a closer look at the nutritional content of a single serving of Bonanza Chicken Monterey:

– Calories: 488 kcal

– Protein: 29g

– Carbohydrates: 4g

– Dietary Fiber: 1g

– Sugars: 1g

– Total Fat: 39g

– Saturated Fat: 12g

– Cholesterol: 124mg

– Sodium: 840mg

– Potassium: 412mg

Bonanza Chicken Monterey Recipe
Bonanza Chicken Monterey Recipe


1. Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?

   – Yes, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer. Adjust the cooking time to ensure they are cooked through.

2. What can I serve with Bonanza Chicken Monterey?

   – This dish pairs well with rice, mashed potatoes, or a fresh green salad.

3. Can I make the Monterey Sauce ahead of time?

   – Yes, you can prepare the sauce a day in advance and refrigerate it. When ready to cook, simply pour it over the chicken and bake as directed.

4. Is there a substitute for sour cream?

   – Greek yogurt or a combination of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise can be used as a substitute for sour cream.

5. Is Bonanza Chicken Monterey spicy?

   – The level of spiciness can be adjusted by varying the amount of cayenne pepper. You can make it milder or spicier to suit your preference.

What is the Difference Between Shoyu Chicken and Bonanza Chicken Monterey?

Shoyu Chicken, a beloved Hawaiian dish, stands apart from Bonanza Chicken Monterey due to its unique flavor and cooking method. While Bonanza Chicken Monterey combines chicken, cheese, and toppings, Shoyu Chicken shines with its sweet and savory soy sauce-based marinade. If you’re craving a taste of this authentic Hawaiian delight, the revered rainbow drive in shoyu chicken recipe is worth a try.

Conclusion: Enjoying Monterey Chicken at Home

In conclusion, Monterey Chicken is an easy-to-make, mouthwatering dish that captures the essence of comfort food. Whether you choose to grill, skillet-cook, or slow-cook your chicken, the result is sure to be a flavorful masterpiece. The legacy of Monterey Chicken lives on through copycat recipes, allowing you to recreate this beloved Bonanza Steakhouse dish in the comfort of your own kitchen.

So, the next time you’re craving a delicious and satisfying meal, consider whipping up some Monterey Chicken. With its perfect blend of flavors and endless customization options, it’s a recipe that’s worth keeping in your culinary repertoire. Your taste buds will thank you for it!

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