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 in a pan with serving spoon

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.

Chicken and rice served in a bowl with a pomegranate salad

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)
Chicken dinner served in a bowl with some salad

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.

Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice | The Mediterranean Dish. Simple, comforting, one-pot chicken and rice dinner with a tasty Middle Eastern twist. Flavor heaven! Comes together in 30 minutes. Recipe from TheMediterraneanDish.com #mediterraneandiet #middleeasternfood #chickenthighs #onepot #easydinner #healthyrecipes #glutenfree

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4.80 from 116 votes

Easy One-Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe

The Mediterranean Dish
chicken and rice in a pan
Simple, comforting, one-pot chicken and rice recipe with chopped veggies, chickpeas, and warm Middle Eastern spices. Ready in just over 30 minutes.
Prep – 10 mins
Cook – 30 mins
Cuisine:
Middle Easter
Serves – 6 servings
Course:
Entree

Ingredients
  

For the Spice Mixture

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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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

Nutrition

Calories: 401.2kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 24.9gSaturated Fat: 1.8gCholesterol: 71.8mgSodium: 306.8mgPotassium: 587.8mgFiber: 6.1gVitamin A: 3617.7IUVitamin C: 13.6mgCalcium: 78.5mgIron: 2.8mg
Tried 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.

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just finished eating this for dinner and it was amazing! So easy to cook yet so flavourful! I saved some for leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner and I’m already excited! The only thing I omitted was the peas as I’m not a huge fan of them but it made no difference to me and was still delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this recipe for a couple years now and love it! I’m trying to switch to the Mediterranean diet and use brown rice as much as possible but I keep failing when I try to substitute the Basmati rice for Brown Basmati rice in this recipe. I can’t seem to get the liquid and time ratio right and the rice always comes out not cooked enough. Any recommendations on how much liquid to use and time to cook for this substitution?

    1. Hi, Angeline. I've never made this one with brown rice, myself, so it's hard to me to advise on the specifics. I would just try adjusting according to what your rice package requires, and go from there.

  3. Hoping to make this tonight, don’t have and can’t find cardamom for tonight. Any recommendations on substitutions?

    1. Hi, Cory. I'm so sorry I'm just seeing your comment. For future reference, you can just omit the cardamom if you don't have any on hand.

  4. YUUUUMMMMMMM!!!!!! Oh my - this dish is SO amazing!!!!! So much wonderful flavor, love the warm spices so much. Another one of your delicious recipes added to our family’s favorites! We couldn’t stop eating it. My 10 year old son went nuts for this savory dish! Can’t wait to make it again. Thank you so much for sharing, Suzy!!

  5. 5 stars
    I would give this recipe 6 stars if I could. I used bone in, skin on drumsticks and cooked them for a few extra minutes before proceeding with the next steps, otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. It was fantastic, flavourful and aromatic (our house smells amazing). It paired beautifully with the Shirazi salad recommended. I do a lot of cooking with recipes I’ve found on-line and have now done several from themediterraneandish.com and have been thoroughly impressed with all of them. I’m so impressed that I’ve bookmarked this website and will be coming back again and again.

      1. I have not tried this dish yet -- I'm trying to help out my daughter in law who is pregnant with twins and working full time. If I made this a day ahead - how would you recommend they re-heat this for dinner?

  6. Suzy,
    This looks wonderful, but I never have quite the same ingredients you use for your recipes. Can I use brown jasmine rice and chicken breasts for this instead?

    1. Hi, Candice. Those substitutions should work. Remember, brown rice requires more liquid and more time to cook, so I would adjust according to what your rice package requires. Also, chicken breasts tend to be slightly larger than thighs, so it will help to cut them in halves or smaller pieces and then just watch when they are fully cooked.

  7. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe a couple times and we love it. We are Turkish and I don’t know how to make many “middle eastern” type dishes. This one is very good and uses spices and ingredients I always have on hand. Thankyou for the recipe!

  8. I have a question about the basmati rice. Do I just buy a bag of it from the store and let it soak for 15 minutes?

    1. Hi, Stephanie. Yes, purchase a bag, measure amount you need for this recipe and soak for 15-20 minutes.

  9. 5 stars
    Everything in one dish, rice, chicken and vegetables. All the spices come together nicely. Easy to make! I use a whole cut chicken and takes a little longer to cook than the boneless chicken thighs. This is a repeat dinner in our busy household. Love your recipes Suzy!

  10. 5 stars
    I absolutely love this dish, I’m so shocked not the biggest fan of chicken, but this blew my mind. Suzy always has the best recipes.

  11. 5 stars
    Hi Suzy,

    Another very tasty recipe from you. My husband and I love it. The spices are so different and tasty. Thank you. Please give us more easy recipes like this.

    Aloha,
    Lucy

    1. Hi, Jean. The recipe actually does call for basmati rice. And I do recommend rinsing it well and soaking in water for 15 to 20 minutes.

  12. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I’ve made it twice already and everyone loved it!! I just seasoned my chicken for my third time making this and plan to deviate a little.. since it’s a beautiful day in New England we are grilling the seasoned chicken and I’ll add it at the end. I haven’t started the rice yet but I’m planning to add more spices since it won’t be cooking with the chicken, and I’ll be sautéing hot peppers with the onions and adding broccoli near the end! I love the flavors in this dish! I bought pita and spicy hummus to go as a side along with the cucumber, tomato, parsley salad you recommend!
    Mmm! I can’t wait for dinner! Thanks again for this great recipe!

  13. 5 stars
    Tried this last week. Delicious!! I thought the spices might be too strong, but no, perfect! Thanks