Juicy, perfectly-seasoned chicken, nestled in fragrant rice makes the best one-pot chicken and rice recipe in just over 30 minutes! Add your favorite salad and call it good!
Be sure to watch the video and read through for some important tips for how to make chicken and rice.
Chicken and rice have long been the comfort food of choice at my house. Family favorites include, this Spanish chicken and rice with chorizo, and these Lebanese chicken fatteh bowls. It is something my kids enjoy a ton, so why stop there!
About this chicken and rice recipe
Today’s chicken and rice recipe is a riff of something my mother in law makes. She’s an expert of the Levant kitchen, and anything she makes is always pure deliciousness. Last time we were visiting in Michigan, she made a simple rice with peas and carrots with a spiced roast chicken on the side. I decided to combine them both into this easy one-pot dinner, infused with warm Middle Eastern flavors like allspice, cardamom, and turmeric.
Many think of chicken and rice bake as a rich casserole that incorporates lots of butter and some sort of creamy soup from a can. This is not that, but I promise you it is comforting and more flavorful than your average chicken and rice casserole.
What you need for this chicken and rice
Let me give you an idea of what's in this one-pan dinner, and you'll know why it's different from other chicken and rice recipes you've seen:
- Chicken. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are my go-to here because they cook quickly and will remain nice and juicy. I used 6 chicken thighs, rubbed in the tasty spice mixture and quickly seared for some color.
- Rice. 2 cups of basmati rice. It is so important to rinse your rice very well until the water runs clear and soak it in water for 15 to 20 minutes (drain before using). This will help the rice cook quickly and evenly and will prevent it from sticking.
- Vegetables. In this healthy chicken and rice recipe is a number of chopped veggies and legumes like onions, carrots, frozen peas, and chickpeas (about 1 cup each), which add nutrition and flavor.
- Spices and aromatics. This recipe starts with a bold spice mixture of ground allspice, black pepper, ground green cardamom, and ground turmeric, which coats the chicken for maximum flavor. There is also cinnamon sticks and a bay leaf nestled in the rice for more flavor. (Shop our all-natural and organic spices)
- Broth. The main cooking liquid here is low-sodium chicken broth (like I said, no heavy creamy soups from a can)
- Extra virgin olive oil. As my cooking fat of choice, EVOO here is used to sear the chicken, giving it great color and flavor, and to cook the vegetables as well before adding the rice and broth to the pan. (Shop our olive oil selection)
How to make chicken and rice from scratch?
This is a simple stovetop recipe that takes one large braising pan like this one and about 30 minutes to cook. Here is the gist, but you can check out the full recipe and video below:
- Brown the chicken First, pat the boneless chicken pieces dry, salt on both sides and coat them well with the spice mixture (2 tsp ground allspice, 1 tsp black pepper, ¾ tsp ground green cardamom, ¼ tsp ground turmeric). Heat up a bit of good extra virgin olive oil in a large deep pan with a lid (something like this). Brown the chicken on both sides, then set the chicken aside so you can use the same pan.
- Sautee the vegetables. Toss the chopped onions, carrots, and frozen peas in the pan and sautee in olive oil until softened.
- Add the rice, chickpeas. Now, this is why the pan needs to be nice and big. Add well-rinsed basmati rice that's been soaked in water and drained, and chickpeas and season with salt, ½ teaspoon allspice and ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom. Stir to combine.
- Add the chicken back, add broth etc. Nestle the chicken pieces in the rice and add the broth, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaf
- Cook. Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked and tender (not hard or chewy) and the chicken is fully cooked (its juices should run clear). Garnish with parsley.
What to serve with it
I love the idea of serving a big bright salad next to this chicken and rice dinner. There are so many options to choose from, but here are a few: pomegranate tomato salad, Shirazi salad, fattoush, or Greek salad.
And if you want to add some dips or appetizers to complete this Mediterranean feast, try Melitzanosalata (Greek eggplant dip), hummus, baked zucchini spears, or cauliflower fritters.
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Easy One-Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe
For the Spice Mixture
- 2 teaspoon ground allspice more for later
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon ground green cardamom more for later
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric more for later
For the Chicken and Rice
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onions, about ½ large onion
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas or from canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups Basmati rice, rinsed well and soaked in water for 15 to 20 minutes and drained*
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 dry bay leaf
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, boiling
- In a small bowl, mix the spices to make the spice mixture. Set aside for now.
- Pat chicken thighs dry and cut them into large pieces (I simply cut each in half). Season well with salt, then season with the spice mixture. Work the chicken with clean hands to make sure all the pieces are well-coated with the spice mixture. Set at room temperature for 20 minutes or so (if you have the time).
- In a large and deep cooking skillet with a lid, heat 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Brown the chicken briefly on both sides. Remove from the skillet and set aside for now.
- To the same skillet, now add onions, carrots, and frozen peas. Cook for 4 minutes or so, tossing regularly, until tender. Add the chickpeas and rice. Season with salt, ½ teaspoon allspice and ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom. Stir to combine.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet (nestle the pieces in the rice). Add the cinnamon sticks, bay leaf, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until fully cooked.
- Remove from the heat, garnish with parsley.
- Important Rice Note: Wash the rice three times with warm water until the water runs clear and place it in a bowl and let it soak in water for 15 to 20 minutes. This will help it cook evenly and quickly without getting sticky.
- Visit Our Online Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils and spices used in this recipe
*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2018 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers' benefit.
Delicious!! I did cut back the rice to adjust servings so only added 1.5 cups of broth. Used the whole can of chickpeas and slightly more peas than called for to use up the bag. Everything was so good, and it was so easy to make. Thank you!
This was so easy and delicious! I didn’t have all the ingredients so my veggies were carrots and celery with the onion. I also just added the bay leaf I did not have cinnamon sticks. Regardless it turned out great and was so yummy. We had some left over tzatziki sauce in the fridge from a previous meal and even added some of that on top.
Wonderful as always! Love all your recipes
ThIs was delicious! It came out just like the picture., and for me that never happens. I’m for sure putting this in rotations for dinners.
I made this exactly according to the instructions and it turned out fantastic. Such wonderful aromatics to the whole dish. I'm thrilled to finally learn the trick to achieving the tender, single grains of rice consistency that you find in good restaurants. I admit I was skeptical of the 1:1 water to rice ratio - but it turned out perfect after the washing the rice and soaking it technique. Delicious and satisfying dish that makes you want to savor it slowly.
My husband thought the meal tasted dry.
Could I try adding green olives and/or marinated artichokes?
Sure, it's not something we've tested, but you could certainly try that, if those are things something you both enjoy.
There are only two of us don’t like leftovers be nice if there’s a cut down in the recipe love your recipe
Loved it so much- I like the fact that it’s not as spicy yet flavorful- will definitely keep this as one of my favorites.
Just stumbled upon this recipe and tried it tonight. The only change made was a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper after I plated. Oh my! The flavor is so warming. Will definitely make again!
Great to hear! Thanks, Vicki!
When is the additional turmeric used? I don't see it listed.
Hi, Lauren. It is added in with the rice. Enjoy!
Thank you. How much?
Another 1/2 tsp will work!
Insanely delicious! I highly recommend it. The one adjustment I'll make going forward is to use the usual 2:1 liquid-to-rice ratio. The 1:1 really wasn't enough (even rinsed and soaked)...at least for my brasier and stove....even on low heat.
Hi! Absolutely love all your recipes. I’m a big fan of yours❤️ Can I use vegetable broth because I can’t find halal chicken broth anywhere? Thank you for helping me become a better cook. My husband and boys thank you too🥰
Sure! That would work!
This is a fantastic dish! So easy to make and full of flavour! Thanks for making my Monday night dinner a success 🙂
Flavors are great. Don’t have a lot of experience with basmati rice. Had to add more broth and it still stuck. Maybe I overcooked the rice. Two cups of liquid for 2 cups of rice did not work for me. Any advice?
Hi, Donna. Did you rinse the rice well and soak it?
Hi Donna. I had the same experience...even with the rice rinsed and soaked. When I make this again I'm going to stick to the normal 2:1 liquid-to-rice ratio.
Hi, I just made this dish for the first time. It was good! But my kids were looking for some kind of sauce…. It wasn’t dry but seemed like it needed something. Any suggestions? Thank you!!
By the way, love your recipes❤️
Hi, Laura. Hard to say... this dish isn't really meant to be particularly "saucy." Do you think it needed more flavor? If so, you could always try increasing the amount of spices and see if that gives it some umph. I haven't really had this issue, so I don't have a tone of ideas here.
This recipe is amazingly delicious! I made this for New Year's Eve for my family. I wasn't sure about all the spices but I went ahead and put them all in.. it was so suprisingly scrumptious and flavorful! I like this dish better than my favorite dish at my favorite Mediterranean restaurant! My husband and kids loved it and I now make it a couple times a month. I'm craving it today and I'm making it for dinner again tonight! Thanks so much for the recipe!
Wow! Thanks for the very kind review, Lauren! So glad your family loves this recipe!
Hi Suzy, I am looking forward to making this chicken and rice for our Sunday family dinner.
I cook for 15 people on Sundays. After I brown the chicken can it be cooked in the oven?
Sure, Patty! I think that would work. I have never tried it myself, but another reader has baked it at 375 for 20-30 minutes with success.
We made this last night and it was a hit with the family. Added pomegranate seeds and almonds on top, along with a squeeze of lemon to add texture and brighten the taste. Will make this again. Cynthia
Yum! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Suzy, Love your recipes. Your chicken shawarma is on regular rotation in our house. I’m making this easy chicken and rice dish for a friend, and I was wondering about reheating instructions. Any tips? Thanks so much!
Hi, Samantha. I would cover and reheat in a 350 degree F oven until warmed through. 🙂
My husband is Seasoning this while I finish up at work...I hope he rinses the rice well...what side would u recommend...or should the peas carrots chickpeas and rice be enuff...now that I listed the Ingredients I think I have enough..lol
Lol! So sorry I'm just seeing this... we're not always able to answer questions right away. You're right, you probably had enough, but for future reference, with all of the entrees you find here, there is usually a section in the post entitled "What to Serve with it," or something similar. There, you will find suggestions for other things that would compliment the dishes.