These Pollo con Queso Zucchini Boats are the PERFECT cheesy weeknight meal! This low carb recipe comes together in about 30 minutes for an easy keto dinner.
Pollo Con Queso Zucchini Boats
You will LOVE these tender zucchini boats filled with a creamy, cheesy pollo con queso! This kid-friendly recipe is a great way of working vegetables into dinner. It’s easy to meal prep, reheats well, and it’s made with common, inexpensive ingredients that aren’t usually too difficult to keep on hand.
This low-carb recipe has just 3 net carbs per zucchini boat and is filling and satisfying! We used our super popular Pollo con Queso recipe and turned it into the perfect opportunity to use up that surplus summer harvest. It goes really well with a refreshing Keto Margarita.
Ingredients for Cheesy Chicken Zucchini Boats
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need for this recipe. For exact measurements, keep scrolling down to the printable recipe card below.
- Olive oil – Extra virgin has the highest smoke point. Avocado oil or vegetable oil will work if you prefer.
- Chicken – Cut into bite-sized cubes. I used boneless, skinless breast because it’s lean and easily available. You could also use thighs or tenders if you prefer.
- Chili powder, Paprika, Garlic powder, Onion powder, Cumin, Oregano, Salt, and Pepper – These are mixed together and added to the chicken. It’s not spicy, but you’re welcome to reduce or eliminate the chili powder if you’re concerned about the level of heat.
- Mild green chiles – These canned peppers aren’t very spicy at all; they just add a great little hint of flavor. If you love some spice, feel free to use the hot chiles!
- Heavy cream and Cream cheese – Start with softened cream cheese for the smoothest, easiest melting cheese sauce. Full fat melts better, but low fat works, too.
- Pepper jack cheese and White American cheese – These give the best combination of flavor and texture! They melt to the perfect consistency, and the pepper jack compliments the spice mixture perfectly.
- Zucchini – Look for firm zucchini, fairly uniform in size and shape. This will help them cook evenly, fit in the baking dish, and be ready at the same time.
How to make pollo con queso zucchini boats
These zucchini boats come together quickly with a cheesy, creamy chicken and cheese filling! Here’s a step-by-step guide for this baked zucchini recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wash and dry the zucchini, then slice them lengthwise. Carefully remove the inside seeds and some flesh of the zucchini, hollowing out the inside to create a “boat” shape. Place these in a 9×13″ casserole dish and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together all of the spices, then set it aside as well.
Using a large skillet on medium heat, warm up the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, add the cubed chicken and sprinkle with spices. Toss to coat the chicken evenly with the spices on all sides. Sear about 3-4 minutes on each side until chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Lower the heat to low, then add the green chiles, cream cheese, and heavy cream to the skillet. Stir as these melt, gradually adding in the shredded cheese in small increments (about a 1/2 cup at a time). Keep stirring the queso, melting the cheese until all is melted and smooth. If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can add a bit of additional heavy cream or milk.
Mix filling & assemble boats
Once you have a smooth, creamy queso sauce, add in your chicken and stir/toss it until every bit is covered in the cheesy goodness. Carefully spoon this filling into the zucchini boats in the baking dish.
Place the baking dish into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. When the zucchini is tender and the cheese has begun to brown on top, remove from oven. Allow the zucchini boats to sit for a few minutes before serving and cutting into so that the pollo con queso doesn’t immediately spill out.
We love serving these zucchini boats with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice! It’s quick, meal prep friendly, and adds a ton of nutrients and flavor. For an appetizer, we like this Avocado Bacon Dip and Keto Chips.
These zucchini boats keep well in the fridge for about 3 days. If you’re making these ahead of time but want to cook them fresh, you could hollow out the zucchini and make the filling, then store them either in separate containers or already assembled for 1 day.
You can reheat these cheesy chicken zucchini boats in several ways; choose the option that best fits your preferences. The quickest option is the microwave — Just reheat in 1-minute blasts at 50% power (100% power will lead to some cheesy explosions). The oven is great for reheating the full recipe if you’re warming food up for a crowd — Try 350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes. If the tops start looking too browned, just cover with foil. The air fryer is quick and perfect if you love crispy bits on the edges — 350 degrees, about 3 minutes.
Can you make zucchini boats in the air fryer?
Yes, if your air fryer is large enough to fit your zucchini boats, you can quickly and evenly cook these! First, cook the hollowed, empty zucchini boats for 3-5 minutes (depending on size of zucchini) at 390 degrees F. Once the zucchini begins to blister, remove it from the air fryer, then fill with pollo con queso. Return to air fryer for approximately 4 more minutes or until zucchini is tender.
Can you freeze zucchini boats?
No, I don’t recommend freezing these pollo con queso boats. The cheese sauce may break during the thawing process, leading to a watery filling that won’t hold up. The zucchini also would become mushy with an unpleasant texture. You can make these up to 3 days ahead of time and store in the fridge instead.
If you love this recipe, you will LOVE these tasty keto Mexican dishes:
- Shrimp Con Queso – This one pan meal tastes fresh and healthy. Best of all, it’s covered with the same cheese sauce you already love!
- Smoked Queso – PERFECT for putting on the grill for a cookout or pool party! No work needed, just let the grill add a great smokey flavor, then stir until smooth.
- Fajita Veggies – This makes a great side dish or full vegetarian meal! Make a Mexican fondue with the queso dip and veggies for a healthy party appetizer.
- Chorizo Queso Skillet – I highly recommend this satisfying, cheesy recipe, especially for a potluck (serve in a slow cooker on warm) or for a game night (with keto chips!)
- Keto Tacos – A melted cheese shell makes these easy, kid-friendly, and very low in carbs!
- Chicken Quesadilla – This is a super packed homemade version of the Taco Bell quesadilla! It even includes the delicious creamy jalapeno sauce that everyone loves.
- 40+ Low Carb Mexican Food Recipes
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 teaspoon EACH chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon EACH oregano, salt, and pepper
- 1 (4-ounce) can of mild green chiles
- 1/4 cup heavy cream + more for thinning if needed.
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1/2 cup white American Cheese
- 4 medium size zucchini
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Wash and dry the zucchini, slice the zucchini lengthwise and carefully remove the inside of the zucchini, leaving about 1/4 of an inch to create a "boat" shape. Place the zucchini in a 9x13 casserole dish and set aside.
- Combine all of the spices in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet to medium heat.
- Add the cubed chicken to the hot skillet and sprinkle with the spices. Toss to coat the chicken evenly on all sides. Brown the chicken 3-4 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the green chiles, cream cheese, and heavy cream, add the shredded cheese in small increments (about 1/2 cup at a time). Continuously stir the queso as the cheese melts until all the cheese has been used. Add additional heavy cream or milk until it reaches your preferred consistency.
- Add the chicken to the skillet and toss in the queso. Spoon the filling into the zucchini boats.
- Bake the zucchini 20 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: Nutrition calculated per zucchini boat
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328Total Fat: 9.1gSaturated Fat: 9.1gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 387mgCarbohydrates: 4.2gNet Carbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1.2gProtein: 31g