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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4.83 from 154 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 minutes
Cook – 30 minutes
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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4.83 from 154 votes (76 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Karen says:

    Oh my goodness....this dish was amazing. The flavours are so beautiful. It was a bit on the dry side but I had a pickle with it and it was fine. It didn’t take away from the deliciousness of the recipe at all.

  2. Dan says:

    5 stars
    Another chicken recipe on repeat. I love cardamon ALMOST as much as Ras El Hanout which says a lot. Everything came out perfect.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Yay! Great to hear! Thanks, Dan!

  3. Stefanie says:

    5 stars
    The flavor in this dish is amazing! It was also super easy to make and I really appreciated the video with the walk through. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. It was a hit at the dinner table and will be worked into our regular dinner rotation. This made chicken a whole lot less boring.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Awesome! Thanks so much, Stefanie!

  4. Lisa says:

    5 stars
    Wonderful recipe! I was wondering how well it freezes and reheats in the microwave? TIA

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Lisa. You should be able to freeze this and reheat in a microwave. The only issue you may have is that the texture of the rice may change a bit. Sometimes it becomes a bit mushy after being frozen.

  5. Nora says:

    5 stars
    Easy and delicious!

    1. TMD Team says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Nora!

  6. Elaina Dulaney says:

    3 stars
    This one waa not great. Everything from Suzy is usually epic. Found this to come out dry. Flavor was fine, but maybe just needed more chicken broth.

  7. Colleen says:

    5 stars
    Just finished eating this Chicken & Rice! It was a flavor party! Trying not to eat too much!

  8. Anita says:

    Made this last night and it was delicious. My daughter is very skeptical when I try new things, and has always refused to eat chick peas. She polished 2 plate fulls last night!! So, this was a great success. I am definitely adding this to our regular dishes list.

  9. Rosalie Message says:

    Easy one pot chicken and rice….. can I freeze this?

    1. TMD Team says:

      You can! Enjoy!

  10. Susan says:

    I see two pictures--one with the traditional recipe, and one looks like it has pomegranates and chopped tomatoes? Are those options for this recipe, or is that a different recipe?

  11. Sam says:

    Instead of ground cardamoms, can I use whole ones?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Sam. Sure, that should work. I would say to use 3 to 4 pods at most. Insert them in the rice and once cooked, remove. Hope you enjoy the recipe!!

  12. Loretta (Lori) Hummert says:

    5 stars
    This dish was super simple to put together on a week night for dinner and super flavorful. We loved it. I will make it again and again. The spices were aromatic. I did not have basmati rice so I substituted whole grain brown and cut back a little on the amount of rice. I'll try the basmati next time. Only two of us eating so I had lots of left over rice to have lunch next day plus next evening by cooking more chicken thighs. So easy. My husband loved the subtlety the cinnamon sticks made to the dish. Throw together a simple salad and you're good to go.

  13. Becky says:

    I noticed that this recipes calls for ground green cardamom, but the link is just ground cardamom. Is there a difference in regular ground cardamom that I can get at the grocery and green cardamom?

  14. CindyS says:

    Can I use brown rice instead?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Cindy! 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.

  15. Tifani says:

    5 stars
    Omg! I just made this and cannot get it in my face fast enough it is so good! I made it EXACTLY as directed and it turned out perfect!!!!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Yay! Thanks so much, Tifani!

  16. Gina says:

    Any chance I can use ready made rottisserie chicken?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Gina. You probably could with some modifications. I would not add the chicken until the very end, just so it heats up and doesn't over cook. You might also have to adjust the amount of broth added... it's just hard to say as we haven't tried this before ourselves. If you give it a go, please stop back and share your thoughts!