Happy Keto or Low Carb Chicken Lio Caliente

Photo of Chicken Lio Caliente in a teal bowl on a yellow plate featuring beans, cauliflower rice, red pepper, green pepper, onion, and cilantro.

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Low Carb Chicken Lio Caliente is a super easy, healthy, one skillet dinner recipe. Basically it’s a chicken mess, a throw together meal, with the flavor of Puerto Rican Cuisine.

Lio Caliente means “hot mess” or “hot trouble.”

Chicken Lio Caliente is really just a Chicken Mess designed to be prepared by a hot mess on a keto diet. It’s super easy to make, especially if you buy frozen ingredients, and it’s quick, perfect for last-second dinners.

Note: the original recipe did not have beans in it. But I’ve been adding beans to it because we eat low carb for a diabetic diet more so than keto, and it really meats up the meal if you have a kid who gets hungry easier than most.

Chicken Lio Caliente

Chicken Lio Caliente

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Easy stove top chicken dinner that's low carb and yummy with Puerto Rican Flavors.


  • 1 lb of chicken breasts, cooked and diced or pulled.
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper (sliced)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (sliced)
  • 1/2 Onion (sliced)
  • A bunch of Cilantro (chopped)
  • 12 oz bag of frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 packet of Sazon
  • Adobo
  • Optional: Can of Beans (not ideal for Keto, very ideal for Diabetic Diet)


  1. In an electric skillet (or stovetop), on medium high heat, dump the bag of chicken breasts. If you're working with a real stick surface (as opposed to nonstick), you can add a TBSP of Olive Oil or butter. Sprinkle generously with Adobo.
  2. Slice your veggies if you didn't already do that, and add the onion, green pepper, and red pepper to the chicken. Stir a bit in between.
  3. Add Cauliflower Rice.
  4. If you opt to add beans, drain and rinse beans (by rinsing, you greatly reduce the sodium), and add that.
  5. Chop up cilantro and add it.
  6. Add the garlic, the packet of sazon, and sprinkle a little more Adobo if you feel the need.
  7. Total cook time for the chicken needs to be about 20 minutes, but if you chopped veggies while it's cooking, then it's ready when your veggies are where you want them. I personally don't like cooking my veggies to a point where they lose color or the vivid brightness of it because I read somewhere that overcooked veggies have less vitamins and nutrients than undercooked, and I have no idea if it's true so just in case...


You may be able to reduce carbs by using fresh chicken instead of frozen. Beans also have carbs, but are considered a Diabetes Super Food according to health sites. I would omit them for Keto, but not generalized Low Carb.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 239Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 96mgSodium 133mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 38g

This generally calculates nutrition automagically and may therefore not be that accurate. If and when I calculate by hand for accuracy, I will leave notes here somewhere about it. Please see Keto Considerations in Blog Post for more info on Net Carbs and reducing them.

Where did I get this recipe? for Chicken Lio Caliente?

I completely made this up, but it’s so unoriginal, don’t be surprised if you see it in 50 gazillion other places. Inspired by the concept of bags of frozen skillet dinners, and the keto diet, I decided to throw together some basic ingredients that you find in Puerto Rican flavors just to make dinner happen, quickly and painlessly, and low carb keto.

I originally was going to call it Chicken Boricua, but when I went to make the Pinterest Pins for it, I forgot what I called it, and so I was going to name it Chicken Mess, but that doesn’t depict Puerto Rico, so I wanted to know the Spanish for mess, but then I typed in Hot Mess like a fingering Freudian Slip, and you know, it sounds fancy.


Really you can just throw together whatever you want in a skillet like this. If you want to make it taste like Puerto Rico, then keep to these ingredients and seasoning.

Ingredients – the sophisticated way

  • 1 – 2 pounds of chicken. Cooked. Cut into strips.
  • 1 green pepper – halved and sliced into strips.
  • 1 red pepper – halved and sliced into strips
  • 1 medium onion – halved and sliced into strips
  • 1 bunch of cilantro – chopped
  • Cauliflower – Chopped / Riced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves – chopped / minced
  • 1 packet of Sazon
  • 2 – 3 tsp to about 1-2 tbsp adobo

Ingredients – lio caliente way

  • 1 bag of Frozen Grilled & Ready Chicken Fajita strips (Tyson or John Soules)
  • 1 bag of frozen red pepper, green pepper & onion (Great Value)
  • 2 fist-fulls of cilantro – really you can just loosely chop up to where a bunch is tied together
  • 1 bag of frozen cauliflower rice
  • 2 tsp of minced garlic from the jar
  • 1 packet of sazon
  • Adobo


As with most stove top recipes, start with the meat. Make sure it’s cooked thoroughly and ready to serve, and then add veggies.

So with Chicken Lio Caliente, you throw in the chicken. Sprinkle with Adobo. I like to cook it at about 250 on my electric skillet for 20 minutes. With lid over it. Mix it every 5 to 10 minutes if you want to avoid burning. Adjust temp as needed.

Then I add veggies. Garlic. Sazon. – when using fresh veggies, I’ll cook the frozen in the microwave and then add it. But when dealing with frozen veggies, just add it all.

Cook until veggies are almost done – covered with a lid.

Then remove lid and cook until it dries up a bit and veggies complete.

Keto Considerations

Apparently, frozen chicken (like the one I recommended above) adds sugar to their chicken giving it about 21 grams of carbs for a pound of chicken. So you can REALLY reduce carbs by using fresh chicken.

If you use the recommended ingredients from Walmart including

  • 1 lb bag of Tyson Frozen Pulled Chicken Breast
  • 1 bag of frozen red pepper, green pepper, and onion sliced
  • 1 bag of frozen cauliflower rice
  • and the rest of the ingredients (cilantro, sazon, garlic and adobo)

That would be a total of 44.5 net carbs for the entire dish, which would be about 11 net carbs per serving. That’s pretty good for Diabetic diet, but pretty steep for Keto.

But if you do…

  • 1 lb fresh chicken cooked and cut/cubed/pulled
  • 1 fresh red pepper sliced
  • 1 fresh green pepper sliced
  • 1/2 fresh onion sliced
  • 1 bag of frozen cauliflower rice (3 cups)
  • rest of the ingredients

Your net carbs are then 25.1 net carbs for the entire dish – about 6 net carbs per serving.


This really serves 4 people, barely if you don’t add cauliflower rice.

Deviant Ideas

This really is just more like a Puerto Rican stir-fry. If you wanted to deviate from this recipe, some ideas to try…

  • Coconut Chicken with pineapples and banana
  • Taco Chicken / Chipotle Burrito Chicken Style
  • Jamaican Seasoning
  • Creole Style

This meal goes great with potato chips – I’m kidding.

Pin It

Chicken Lio Caliente, a hot mess chicken that's so easy to make, a hot mess can make it, one skillet dish featuring the flavors of Puerto Rico: cilantro, culantro, garlic, onion, green peppers, red peppers, Adobo and Sazon
Chicken Lio Caliente, a hot mess chicken that's so easy to make, a hot mess can make it, one skillet dish featuring the flavors of Puerto Rico: cilantro, culantro, garlic, onion, green peppers, red peppers, Adobo and Sazon

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