One pot chicken and rice is an easy, one pot recipe with rice, chicken thighs, carrots and peas. This family favorite is a weeknight dinner packed with flavor and requires barely any cleanup! All cooked on the stovetop and ready in 45 minutes.
I’ve been using this method of cooking chicken and rice in one pot for years. I first shared a recipe using this method in 2015, for one-pot curried chicken and rice with kale and this is another take on that delicious dish.
Instead of using curry powder and kale, I’ve leaned on carrots and peas for the vegetables, and a simple spice rub.
Why this recipe works
The key to making this delicious recipe is in the two-step process. The first step is to sear the chicken thighs, giving them more color and flavor, leading to a more visually appealing and tastier dish.
Then the rice and vegetables are cooked in the chicken fat making this super savory! The chicken fat packs a ton of chicken-y flavor.
Ingredients you’ll need
- For the chicken, I recommend using boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They cook faster and will also keep this dish being overly greasy. I tested this using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, and the rice was a bit greasy. If you have bone-in, skin-on thighs, I’d try my one-pot chicken thighs with bacon and cabbage.
- The spice rub uses salt, paprika (or smoked paprika), cumin and garlic powder. Half of it is used to coat the chicken and the other half is added to the rice so that the flavor is pulled through the entire dish.
- For the rice, I use parboiled white rice which gets toasted in olive oil and spices. I also like to add herbaceous notes to the rice with dried oregano, but you could also use dried thyme.
- For the vegetables, I opt for veggies that are fridge and freezer staples; carrots and frozen peas. Feel free to add any additional veggies, you could add kale or other dark leafy greens, bell peppers would also be delicious.
- For the aromatics, onion and garlic do some heavy lifting in terms of flavor.
- For the liquid, I like to use chicken broth, but you could also use water (you just may need to add a little extra salt).
- For perfectly seared and browned chicken, make sure your pan is hot enough before adding the chicken, otherwise it may stick. The trick is to heat your pan, then add your fat (in this case, olive oil). Once you can’t hold your hand above the pan for more than five seconds, it is hot enough. Add the chicken in a single layer (avoid over-crowding), it should really sizzle, and don’t move it for 3-4 minutes!
- The chicken won’t be cooked through after the sear, it will need a little extra time to steam with the rice before it is fully cooked.
- Before serving, remove the chicken to fluff the rice, and evenly distribute the peas into the rice and vegetables. You can add the chicken back (like in my photos) or just serve immediately.
Step by step instructions for chicken
- In a small bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, garlic powder and salt. Sprinkle half of the mixture over top of the chicken, stirring to coat.
- In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add half of the chicken, cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken. Avoid over-crowding the pan, as the chicken will steam instead of sear.
Step by step instructions for rice and veggies
- Return pan to heat and add onion and carrot. Cook until browned and starting to soften (the carrot will continue cooking with the rice), about 5 minutes.
- Add rice, garlic and remaining spice rub. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently until the rice is coated in the oil, chicken fat and spice rub. Add broth followed by oregano, scraping the bottom of the pa to release all the brown bits of flavor.
- Bring to a boil and return chicken to pan. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Scatter peas over top, and continue cooking for another five minutes until liquid has been absorbed and chicken and rice are done cooking add carrot is tender.
What to serve this with
What I love about this recipe is that it is a main dish and a side all in one! That said, I always like to serve it with extra vegetables on the side. Since the recipe doesn’t use the oven you could roast some broccoli rabe or pesto cauliflower.