Southwest Chicken Foil Packets

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This Southwest Chicken foil packet camping dinner might be my best creation yet! I’m SO excited to share this camping recipe with you. Foil packet meals are one of my favorite camping dinners to cook over the campfire (or on a grill).

Southwest Chicken foil packet camping meal.

This foil packet recipe has a southwestern flair thanks to flavorful spices, rice, beans, corn, chicken, and loads of melted cheese! It’s bound to become your new favorite.

Southwest Chicken Foil Packet Ingredients

For this foil packet dinner, you’re going to need some very common ingredients that combine to make one simple but delicious meal:

  • Chicken – This meal starts off by marinating chicken. I cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes, and mix in a delicious marinade.
  • Rice – This meal uses pre-cooked rice packets to make things quick at camp.
  • Corn – I use canned corn, but I think you can also use fresh corn cut off the cob, but I haven’t tested that yet.
  • Black beans – Use canned black beans that have been drained and rinsed.
  • Tomatoes – You can use fresh diced tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes with green chiles for even more flavor!
  • Shredded cheese – Melted cheese is what takes this meal to a whole new level! You can use cheddar or a Mexican cheese blend for this meal.
  • Spices – We use taco seasoning in the chicken marinade and in the foil packets.
  • Butter – I always add a little bit of butter to my foil packets.
  • Toppings – I use fresh chopped cilantro and sour cream!
Cheesy chicken foil packet camping dinner.

Tips for Making Perfect Foil Packet Meals

If you’re new to cooking over a campfire, foil packet meals are a great place to start because they’re easy and so delicious!

Camp Kitchen Gear You’ll Need:

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • heavy duty aluminum foil
  • parchment paper (optional)
  • metal tongs
  • fork for eating
  • cooler

I definitely recommend buying “heavy-duty” aluminum foil for these meals because it’s stronger and better for cooking over the campfire. You don’t want your meals to break open all over the fire!

A layer of parchment paper can be used as the first layer of the foil packets if you don’t want to cook directly on the aluminum foil.

You’ll also need a way to flip the foil packets when they’re on the campfire because they’ll be too hot to touch. I like to use metal tongs for this. Don’t use plastic or silicone tongs, they can melt.

These meals are eaten right out of the foil packet, so there’s no need to dirty any plates or bowls.

Add fresh cilantro.

How to Make Southwest Chicken Foil Packets

Marinate the Chicken:

We start by dicing the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.

Mix the chicken marinade, and add it to the chicken. Store in an airtight container in the cooler until you’re ready to assemble the foil packets. Try to marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour but no more than 24 hours.

Once the chicken is in the marinade, assemble and cook the foil packets within 24 hours.

Corn and beans are added to the foil packet.
Adding pre-cooked rice packets.

Make the Foil Packets:

You’ll need 3 pieces of foil and 1 piece of parchment paper (if using) per foil packet.

Layer corn, beans, and rice onto the first layer of parchment paper or foil.

Add tomatoes and marinated chicken.
Add more corn, beans, and taco seasoning.

Use a fork to layer on the marinated chicken, diced tomatoes, and more corn and beans if desired.

Sprinkle a little extra taco seasoning on top.

Butter is added to the hobo packets.
About 1 tbsp of butter is added.

Next, add a little bit of butter to each foil packet. About 1/2 – 1 tablespoon per packet cut into smaller pieces is good.

To fold the packets, bring the two longest edges towards each other and roll them together to create a seal. Then, fold in the sides.

Place the packet seam side down on another piece of foil, and repeat the same folding process. Do this one more time for a total of three pieces of foil per packet.

Fold up the foil packets using heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Cooked chicken and rice foil packet dinner.

Place the packets on top of campfire coals. Cook for 40 minutes, flipping the packets every 10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.

If the chicken is not cooked after 40 minutes, simply keep cooking and flipping the packets until it’s done.

Add finely shredded Mexican cheese to the cooked foil packet.
Re-fold the foil packet dinner so the cheese can melt.

Carefully unseal the foil packets, and while they’re still hot, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.

Loosely reseal the foil packets. The heat and steam are usually enough to melt the cheese.

After a few minutes, open the foil packets back up to reveal the melted cheese! Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Loads of melted cheese in these chicken and rice foil packets.

A Note About Cooking Times:

Cooking times will vary based on how big or small you dice the chicken, how big you make your foil packets, and how hot your coals are.

If you notice that the coals have cooled, simply bring in some new ones to heat things back up until you hear a faint sizzle sound.

You can always take a packet off of the coals and carefully open it up to check on doneness. If it needs more time, simply fold it back up and let it cook longer.

You can also cook these foil packets on the grill.

If you have a gas grill, preheat the grill to 425°F. Once hot, place the packets on the grill.

Cook for about 30-40 minutes, flipping the packets every 10 minutes. As the packets are cooking, you should hear a faint sizzling sound.

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Camp Cooking Starter Kit

Printable camping recipes, a gear checklist, and a camping meal planner so you can go camping with confidence and good food!

    Make Ahead Option

    I think this camping meal is best for your first night.

    In the morning at home, prepare the chicken and mix in the marinade. Store in an airtight container in the cooler on top of the ice.

    Rinse and drain the beans and corn, and store in an airtight container in the cooler.

    That night at camp, all you have to do it assemble and cook the foil packets.

    Cheesy southwestern chicken and rice foil packet meal while camping.

    Southwest Chicken Foil Packets

    Foil packet meals are one of my favorite camping dinners you can make over the campfire. This foil packet recipe has a southwestern flair thanks to flavorful spices, rice, beans, corn, chicken, and loads of melted cheese! It’s bound to become your new favorite.
    Print Recipe
    Prep Time:10 mins
    Cook Time:40 mins
    Total Time:50 mins

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound chicken breast boneless and skinless
    • 2 8.5 oz pre-cooked white rice packets (or about 2 cups cooked rice)
    • 15 oz can of corn, rinsed and drained*
    • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained*
    • 2 tomatoes diced (or a 10 oz can diced tomatoes with chilies)
    • 10 oz fine shredded Mexican cheese blend
    • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • sour cream
    • fresh cilantro

    Chicken Marinade:

    • juice of 1 lime
    • 1.5 Tbsp taco seasoning This is about 1/2 of a taco seasoning packet. Save the rest of the taco seasoning packet for assembly.
    • 3 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

    Instructions

    Marinate the Chicken:

    • Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
    • Mix the chicken marinade, and add it to the chicken.
    • Store in an airtight container in the cooler until you’re ready to assemble the foil packets. Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour but no more than 24 hours. Once the chicken is in the marinade, assemble and cook the foil packets within 24 hours.

    Make the Foil Packets:

    • You’ll need 3 pieces of foil and 1 piece of parchment paper (if using) per foil packet. Layer corn, beans, and rice onto the first layer of parchment paper or foil. This recipe makes 4 foil packets, so divide the ingredients evenly between the packets.
    • Add the marinated chicken, diced tomatoes, and more corn and beans if desired.
    • Sprinkle a little extra taco seasoning on top.
    • Next, add a little bit of butter to each foil packet. About 1/2 – 1 tablespoon per packet cut into smaller pieces is good.
    • Fold the packets: bring the two longest edges towards each other and roll them together to create a seal. Then, fold in the sides. Place the packet seam side down on another piece of foil, and repeat the same folding process. Do this one more time for a total of three pieces of foil per packet.
    • Place the packets on top of campfire coals. Cook for 40 minutes, flipping the packets every 10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. If the chicken is not cooked after 40 minutes, simply keep cooking and flipping the packets until it’s done.**
    • Remove from the fire and carefully unseal the foil packets. While they’re still hot, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.
    • Loosely reseal the foil packets. The heat and steam are usually enough to melt the cheese.
    • After a few minutes, open the foil packets back up to reveal the melted cheese! Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream, if desired. Enjoy!

    Notes

    *I like to open the cans of corn and beans at home so I can easily drain and rinse them. Then, I store the corn and beans in an airtight container in the cooler. If you do open the cans at home, make sure to consume them within 1-2 days. They go bad a lot faster once they’re opened.
    **Cooking times will vary based on how big or small you dice the chicken, how big you make your foil packets, and how hot your coals are. If you notice that the coals have cooled, simply bring in some new ones to heat things back up until you hear a faint sizzle sound. You can always take a packet off of the coals and carefully open it up to check on doneness. If it needs more time, simply fold it back up and let it cook longer.
    Servings: 4 dinners

    Want more foil packet recipes?

    This blog is packed with so many delicious foil packet recipes!

    Check out some reader favorites below:

    If you have any questions about the recipe or would like to leave a review, please comment below!

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    5 Comments

      1. Hi Allen,

        The chicken marinade is:
        – juice of 1 lime
        – 1.5 Tbsp taco seasoning (This is about 1/2 of a taco seasoning packet. Save the rest of the taco seasoning packet for assembly.)
        – 3 Tbsp olive oil
        – 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

        The marinade is listed below the ingredients on the recipe card. I hope you enjoy this one! It’s definitely a favorite of mine 😁

    1. Thank you so much for this recipe! Do you think this would work without the rice? Would it be too mushy?

      1. The rice is great for soaking up some of the liquid, but it might work without it. I think the flavor would still be good! Let me know if you try it!

    2. Hi there. Thanks for this recipe. I’m making it for a camping trip this weekend and am considering assembling the ingredients in the foil and then freezing before moving them to the cooler. I’m wondering if you have done that before and if so would you recommend cooking chicken before assembling packets and then freezing?

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