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Under 30 Minutes

Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Cool, buttery avocado makes a soothing salsa -- a palate-pleasing contrast to spicy meats, such as these cayenne-rubbed chicken breasts.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Source: Everyday Food, January 2008


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks


  1. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.

  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.

Reviews (57)

  • MissFire 24 Mar, 2015

    This was really good. Very clean and flavorful with very few ingredients needed.
    The only thing I will for sure do differently next time is broil or grill the chicken instead of frying.

    I would love to try adding cilantro and tomato to the avocado and onion after reading the reviews. I'm sure they would only compliment the recipe in flavor and aesthetics .

  • MissFire 24 Mar, 2015

    I did have to use more than the requested seasonings though. The amount in this recipe did not cover 2 large breasts.

  • FlourGirl 25 Feb, 2014

    Very quick and with delicious, fresh ingredients. Due to personal preference, I added cilantro, roma tomato, and pickled jalapeno to the avocado salsa. And, like another reviewer, used shallot instead of red onion (it's what I had; and it turned out lovely!) I will most certainly make this one again. I love the flavor of cayenne pepper and may increase the amount next time. :)

  • admattai 13 Feb, 2014

    Just made this recipe for dinner, it's delicious and comes together so quickly! Will make again soon :)

  • Kelly Braucht 2 Nov, 2013

    Wow was this amazing! LOVE everything about it. The salsa on top is what MAKES this disk. Its now going into my rotation

  • echosvox18 21 Sep, 2013

    I have been making this recipe for almost a year. I originally made it as printed and loved Martha's version, however, I can't really handle eating any kind of raw onion too often. I now make the chicken with a little more cayenne as we like it a little spicier. After it rests, I slice it down and serve over romaine or butter lettuce tossed in a simple champagne vinaigrette dressing and some sliced tomatoes. The avocado is served on the side for those who want it. And they do- Thanks, MS!

  • Connie S 6 Aug, 2013

    I LOVED this recipe!!! I used Penzeys Barbecue 3000 spice on the chicken instead and it was amazing! Will be making this many more times! Has great flavors, tangy and zingy!!

  • midwestmommy 16 Jun, 2013

    This was SO good. I used 1/2 t cayenne and 1/4 t chili powder and also replaced the red onion with a large minced shallot. This is definitely on our list of favorites that we will make again and again.

  • Fluteloops8 21 Apr, 2013

    Wonderful recipe!!!!! Very flavorful and tasty.

  • Harper3 8 Apr, 2013

    Made this recipe for the first time on my husband's birthday; it was great it will be add to our monthly menu, but I only made a small change ...I added Roma tomatoes to the onions with the lime that really gave it a great touch.

  • sheradactyl 18 Mar, 2013

    This recipe is fantastic. I've made it at least 5 times since I found it a few weeks ago, mostly for my bf but for my mom and stepdad as well. It's a huge hit with everyone! I use a LOT more cayenne than the recipe calls for because I like it hot (it was not spicy at all with 1/4 tsp), and even then the avocado cools it quite a bit. Leftovers are great sliced up in tacos too.

  • nafa 6 Mar, 2013

    I am always looking for new recipes to spice up my dinner routine. This chicken with avocado looks delicious. Can't wait to try...

  • mythical laughter 20 Jan, 2013

    This was wonderful! The creamy cool avocado balanced the cayenne really well. I went a little heavy on the spice since my husband likes it. Will definitely make again.

  • spudugan 30 Nov, 2012

    Loved this. Used about a 1/4 of the red onion per others suggestions. Fast, easy and flavorful. Served on bed of rice.

  • Nicole Hiromoto 27 Nov, 2012

    Love avocado

  • kallie1 28 Mar, 2012

    Really good. Be sure not to put too much lime juice in. Once again, my family loved it. I used creole seasoning, because my family isn't too big on spicy foods and I thought cayenne would be too much.

  • calming_baker 2 Mar, 2012

    I made this recipe and took the advice of some on here to add more cayenne than the recipe calls for as it did seem like a really small amount.. Huge mistake. It felt like my kitchen had been at a protest and had been pepper sprayed....well I imagined it would feel like that. I could not stop coughing and had watery eyes for about a 1/2 hour. The salsa was really good though. I would make this again but I think I will try it with some chilli and cumin rub next time.

  • Dalfin 22 Sep, 2011

    I made this recipe last night to add variety to my Atkins diet menu, IT WAS AWESOME. I added more cayenne and pepper to the chicken seasoning and I added Cumin and a little bit of oregano to the salsa. It will be a weekly addition to my diet.

  • pattipoopidoo 28 Jul, 2011

    One of my FAVORITE recipes from EDF. I use more Cayenne pepper about a TBSP. I cook my chicken on a really high heat for about 8 mins per side, so the chicken is browned with a crispy finish. The avocado salsa is sublime, so simple, and really cools off the heat of the cayenne.

  • nohat 26 Jul, 2011

    The picture is a lie. There is no way that is just 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Try more like 1 tablespoon, or more. Also, cooking boneless chicken breasts 8 to 10 minutes on a side results in hard overcooked chicken on the outside. Instead, you'll get much more tender chicken if you cook it for 4 minutes on a side and finish in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Also, the flavor level of this dish is really low. I added half a jalapeño and cilantro to the salsa to give it a kick of flavor.

  • jacseamit 13 Jul, 2011

    This is a perennial favorite. It's very easy to make, but it's so colorful, flavorful and healthy, your dinner guests think you slaved all day for them. It's also a real crowd-pleaser. I've even adapted it for vegetarians by using the same ingredients on grilled tofu or chicken substitute patties.

  • mariano1230 4 Jul, 2011

    Chicken was good, didn't like the avocado salsa and I like Mexican food.

  • HulaGirlGold 17 Apr, 2011

    The best! Of course I modified the salsa and added shrimp and cilantro. I modified the rub and added garlic salt. A party HIT with young and old!

  • teakapalmer 1 Apr, 2011

    It is one of my favorite "go to" recipes. I even compliment the cook when I make it!

  • PalomaK 20 Mar, 2011

    I made this today and it was sooo good! But fresh cilantro really added a great flavor! really really good!!!

  • yarena 7 Feb, 2011

    Added a tbsp. of Splenda to the onion-avacado salsa so my kids would eat.....YUM!!!

  • melpy84 29 Sep, 2010

    Very good. Very easy. I had to get rid of some corn too so I sauteed 2 cobs worth in a pat of butter and added it to the avocado mixture also with one roma tomato. I cut up the chicken and served it all over some lettuce with a quick drizzle of olive oil.

  • citygirl67 30 Aug, 2010

    I just made this tonight with some Spanish rice and lettuce with white vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Very delicious. Will definitely make this again.

  • tamaramontreal 17 Aug, 2010

    This recipe is so easy to make! If someone doesn't like red onions, substitute for tomatoes.

  • Bree19234 20 Jul, 2010

    This was to die for! It was very simple but it looked beautiful and tasted even better! My husband couldn't stop eating it. Can't wait to make it again! Two thumbs up for this recipe.

  • phalterman 8 Apr, 2010

    Very tasty. I was out of red onion, so added yellow onions.. they were a bit strong, however, i did add cilantro and green onion to it as well. Still extra tasty, i cant wait to try it with red onions..

  • KarissaM 6 Apr, 2010

    The great thing about this recipe is that it tastes great and you really don't need a recipe after you make it once... you can just estimate everything since it is so simple and has so few ingredients. I served it with black beans and a rice pilaf. I used only about 1/4 of a red onion and still thought the onion taste was very strong so next time I will use even less. This is a great tasting, easy recipe!

  • pies4me 10 Mar, 2010

    This is pretty good using tilapia as well! Wild rice as a side dish yum!

  • utahjet 5 Jan, 2010

    Easy and Delicious! Loved the Avocado mixture combined with the Cayenne Rub. Go easy on the Red Onion if you're looking to go out that night!!!

  • TriDeltQT 13 May, 2009

    Coming from someone who is not a chef, I found this dish to be really easy to make. I thought I was a healthy and refreshing dish. Everyone has their own palate so donn n n n n n t be afraid to add more lime or avocados if you would like it. Word of advice though, I donn n n n n n t think this is meant to have when you have company because your guest will leave your house with major onion breath, ha ha.

  • TriDeltQT 13 May, 2009

    Coming from someone who is not a chef, I found this dish to be really easy to make. I thought I was a healthy and refreshing dish. Everyone has their own palate so donn n n n n n t be afraid to add more lime or avocados if you would like it. Word of advice though, I donn n n n n n t think this is meant to have when you have company because your guest will leave your house with major onion breath, ha ha.

  • MlleGena 28 Apr, 2009

    Not very spectacular.

  • wandawoman 12 Apr, 2009

    Great recipe, very flavorful. i took the advice of another commenter and used fish instead of chicken, as my husband does not eat meat, but will eat fish. Very yummy, quick to make and the avocado salsa is tasty!

  • zoomerman7 2 Mar, 2009

    This is my go to quick meal. It is flavorful and has great color and texture. It is a must try!!

  • mjmatthe 27 Jan, 2009

    This recipe is delicious! I'm always looking for new sides to go with it. The meal is so guilt-free, so I feel bad when I add cheese quesadillas or anything too rich. I saw someone did rice and black beans, which is a great idea.

  • krunyen 20 May, 2008

    This dish is absolutely fabulous! I've made it many times. It's super easy too! I will have to try tiffanyburns panini suggestion! Sound super yummy!

  • tiffanyburns 21 Mar, 2008

    This is a favorite and a crowd pleaser to be sure! Leftovers are scrumptious when you cube the chicken and put it with asiago dressing and provolone inside a ciabatta and grilled on the Panini Press. Add the avocado salsa after grilling and another crowd pleaser is served.

    Note: we found the onion amount to be overwhelming and used 1/3 of an onion, doubled the cayenne (couldn't hardly feel the heat with the recipe amount), used 2 avocados and added a handful of chopped cilantro. Yum!!!

  • erinye 14 Mar, 2008

    This was soooo good. I decided to go with more cayenne and less salt. That really seemed to make the cooling avacado salsa pop. Accompanied by brown rice and black beans, it was a meal enjoyed by everyone in the house.

  • rachelinraleigh 4 Mar, 2008

    I replaced the chicken in this recipe with sea bass and it was awesome! We ate the same meal two days in a row because we loved it so much. My husband is still raving about the flavors!

  • rachelinraleigh 4 Mar, 2008

    I replaced the chicken in this recipe with sea bass and it was awesome! We ate the same meal two days in a row because we loved it so much. My husband is still raving about the flavors!

  • twoladybugs 24 Feb, 2008

    This was amazing! My family really liked it! Though I divided the rub to be 1/3 cayenne pepper, 1/3 onion powder, 1/3 garlic powder as I have two preschoolers and all cayenne would be too much. I also carmelized the red onion and I served it over brown rice. Delish! I'll definitely make it again!

  • icensnow 22 Feb, 2008

    This dish is absolutly delicious! I've made it three times already because my family keeps asking for more!

  • ashleyverner 19 Feb, 2008

    This was so delicious! I've made it twice, and the avocado compliments the spicy cayenne perfectly. I also added garlic and sauteed the onion with garlic before cooking the chicken. We don't like raw onions, so this was a good fit for us. Instant family favorite!

  • andreena 7 Feb, 2008

    I made this last night and it was SOOO GOOD!! I added chicken bullion, fresh garlic, and onion powder to the cayanne for more flavor. I served it with pinto beans instead of spicy black beans because the chicken is spicy enough!!

  • Boshelbo 6 Feb, 2008

    I made this a few weeks ago and I'm making it again tonight. Wow, this is delicious! I added cilantro

  • ggparkjen 6 Feb, 2008

    Made this the other easy and it turned out great. One thing I might add is that the chicken breasts took a little longer to cook than stated, simply because they were so thick. After getting a nice crust on each side, I lowered the heat a tad to so that they would cook through without burning on the outside. Also, I served this with some whole-wheat tortillas. Will definitely make this again!

  • jenny717 5 Feb, 2008

    This was great! Very easy to make. I doubled up on the spices as I had pretty big chicken breasts, go easy on the cayenne, it was quite spicy. I paired it with spicy black beans and some Corona's. Delicioso!!!

  • Brixie 21 Jan, 2008

    We eat a lot of spicy food in our family and this made everyone as happy as could be! Yum!

  • lastoffa 20 Jan, 2008

    I made this for my family and it went together so easily and tasted so good. I actually cooked the chicken on a contact grill and it worked great.

  • meghanorourke 18 Jan, 2008

    My friend made this for a dinner party. Less than a week later I whipped it up for my husband. It's quite a versatile dish -- perfect for the quick weeknight dinner; also a fabulous choice for entertaining. My favorite part, I have to say, is that it is the easiest dish ever to make-- just don't overdo it on the cayenne! Tastes like you spent hours cooking it when you (really) threw it together in a half hour. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Perfect pairs: black beans, cornbread, and MANGO margaritas!

  • etawalker 13 Jan, 2008

    This was a big hit with my family, including my picky children. I will definitely make this again. It was simple enough for a weeknight dinner, but good enough to serve to company. The salsa is wonderful and is a great accompaniment to the chicken. HIGHLY recommend!

  • CSW 8 Jan, 2008

    This was a real hit with my meat loving husband, very good and refreshing. Will definitely do again.

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