Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken

Juicy chicken tenders smothered in a spicy sauce, covered with caramelized onions, and topped with Pepper Jack Cheese. A delicious and easy dish for your family any night of the week.

When going out to eat, I always search for the chicken dishes on the menu. I believe I could eat chicken about five days a week and never tire of it. There are just so many ways to prepare chicken — chicken and dumplings, chicken and dressing, sticky chicken, buffalo chicken, chicken wings, and the list goes on. However, one dish I absolutely love is Smothered Chicken.

Cooking Caramelized Onions

There are many ways to prepare smothered chicken. Most seem to have caramelized onions in common. Now there is something about cooking onions in a skillet. The smell alone has me drooling long before this meal is complete.
To Caramelize onions, slice onions, and place in prepared skillet. Cook over medium heat until brown in color, transparent and tender. This process usually takes at least 15 minutes. The longer you cook the onions, the better they taste. As a tip, I usually start the onions at the same time I start the chicken and cook the onions the whole time the chicken cooks.

Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken
Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken

Don’t Have Time to Caramelize Onions

If you are in a hurry to get dinner on the table, I completely understand. Cook onions in a prepared skillet until they are tender and translucent. Then continue with the recipe as stated. The caramelization will add more flavor, but the dish will still be delicious.

Choose the Best Cheese

I always tell folks to use their favorite cheeses in the dishes they make. But for this dish, you want to use good meltable cheese. I have found that Swiss cheese, Colby cheeses, and Mozzarella cheese work the best. My favorite cheese for this recipe, however, is Pepper Jack cheese. It seems to deliver that added punch and provides a great tasting dish every time.

How to Make Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken

Bake chicken tenders in the oven.
While the tenders are baking, caramelize the onions and make the sauce.
Once the chicken has cooked, dip each tender in wing sauce, top with onions and cheese.
Place under the broiler and broil for 3-4 minutes. Watch closely!
There are several steps involved in this recipe, but they are so worth it in the end. This dish is a winner every time.

Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken
Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken

Cooking Tips for Smothered Chicken

Start your chicken first. The time will depend on the size of your chicken tenders. Chicken is done when the largest tender reaches an internal temperature of 165. It usually takes about 25 minutes for the chicken to cook.
Start cooking the onions as soon as you start the chicken. The longer the onions cook, the better.
While the onions and chicken cook, make the sauce and shred the cheese.
Shred your own cheese. You can buy pre-shredded cheese, but shredded cheese always melts better and is super gooey.
Dip the tenders in the sauce covering completely.
Place chicken tenders close together in the baking dish before you top with onions and cheese. This will help keep the good stuff from falling off in the dish.
Watch closely while the cheese is melting under the broiler. Do not walk away.
Serve extra sauce on the side. For me, I like to drizzle more sauce on top of my smothered chicken.

How to Store Leftover Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken

If you have any leftovers by chance, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-4 days. Then, reheat in the microwave or the oven. Drizzle with any leftover sauce as well—Yummy for an easy lunch option. This also makes a fabulous wrap.

Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken
Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken

Side Dishes to Serve with Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken

Creamy Coleslaw
Sauteed Mushrooms
Southern Fried Green Beans
Crispy Fried Okra
Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is an easy weeknight meal and also one you can certainly serve to guests. It is fantastic and loaded with lots of flavors. Enjoy!

Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken

Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken

Gina Abernathy
Juicy chicken tenders smothered in caramelized onions and pepper jack cheese.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 1 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese shredded


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Season tenders as desired. I usually sprinkle with lemon pepper and garlic powder. Cook tenders in the oven until done. Tenders are done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. The tenders usually take 25 minutes. Carefully drain the juice from the pan.
  • While tenders are cooking start onions. In 3 tablespoons oil, saute onions until tender and caramelized. Set aside.
  • While the tenders are cooking, mix buffalo wing sauce, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepot on the stovetop. Bring to a simmer. Turn off heat. Set aside.
  • After tenders are done, dip each tender in wing sauce coating well and return to the baking pan. Place tenders touching in the baking pan. Add onions to the top of tenders and cheese. Place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes and broil until cheese has melted. Adjust broiling time as needed and Do Not walk away. Watch closely.


See notes in post on How to Caramelize onions. 
Keyword Pepper Jack Smothered Chicken

Love onions? Be sure to check out this recipe– Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese.

Like Pickled Onions? Be sure to check out this recipe for Pickled Onions.


    1. Hi Sandra,
      The buffalo wing sauce comes in a bottle. It’s usually found on the same aisle with the ketchup, steak sauce, and bbq sauce. Thanks for the comment. Have a great day. Gina

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