Chicken and Rice

This one-pot chicken and rice recipe is quick enough for a weeknight but harnesses long-simmered flavor. Here, the smartest chicken and rice tips and tricks – plus how to customize it.

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Food Network Kitchen’s The Best Chicken and Rice.
Level: Easy
Total: 55 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Article by Emily Saladino

When the Food Network test kitchen set out to create our go-to chicken and rice recipe, we wanted it to be quick enough for busy cooks to tackle on a weeknight without sacrificing flavor. This comforting version has all the savoriness of long-simmered chicken rice recipes but is on the table in less than hour. Our favorite part? Everything is prepared in exactly one pan, so clean-up couldn’t be easier.

How to Make Chicken and Rice Like a Pro

Use chicken thighs, not breasts. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and rice cook up in the exact same amount of time, so our recipe developers recommend using thighs rather than chicken breasts, which can dry out while the rice gets tender and fluffy.

Give the chicken time to turn golden-brown. After you heat the oil in the pan, place the chicken thighs skin-side down (if the oil is the right temperature, you’ll hear it sizzle). Cook the thighs for 4 to 5 minutes to build flavor. If the chicken clings to the pan when you go to remove it, wait another minute or two until it releases easily to avoid tearing off all that tasty flavor you just built.

Don’t wipe out the pan after you cook the chicken. Part of the beauty of this one-pot chicken and rice dish is how it builds flavor. After you brown the chicken thighs and put them on a plate, add the final tablespoon of oil into the same pan and use it to cook the vegetables. You can even use a wooden spoon to scrape up any tasty bits left in the pan so your veggies soak up all that savory chicken flavor as they cook.

Use long-grain rice. Short-grain rice is starchier and contains more moisture, so it tends to stick together in clumps when slowly simmered in chicken broth. Our recipe developers recommend long-grain varieties like basmati or jasmine rice because they maintain their shape and texture.

Switch up the veggies and seasonings. Food Network Kitchen loves the classic flavors of this one-pot chicken and rice dish, but you can add or substitute zucchini half-moons, sliced button mushrooms, defrosted frozen peas or corn kernels and more. Just make sure they’re softened before you add the seasonings. Customize your herbs and spices, too: Try chopped fresh basil and parsley instead of the thyme and oregano, or add a teaspoon of dried cumin, ginger or coriander.

Finish the chicken and rice in the oven. The last 2 to 3 minutes under the broiler makes the chicken skin irresistibly crispy and gives the veggies a satisfying crunch.

How to Store and Reheat Chicken and Rice

Leftover chicken and rice can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To reheat this chicken rice dish, either place a portion in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments; or scoop the chicken rice into a lidded stock pot and warm over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. If the rice looks dry, add a half-teaspoon of water before you heat it up.

Chicken and Rice Recipe Variations

Food Network Kitchen has developed all sorts of recipes for chicken and rice. Here are a few of our favorites:

Chicken and Rice in the Instant Pot. With the help of the Instant Pot, you can have olive- and green pepper-studded chicken and rice on the table in just 40 minutes.

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup. This healthy soup features lots of veggies, tender chicken thighs, fresh dill and lemon, and hearty brown rice.

Chicken Fried Rice. Crunchy snow peas and chopped peanuts bring lots of flavor and texture to this fried rice recipe.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

The Best Chicken and Rice

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 55 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss the chicken with the paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Place the chicken skin-side down in the skillet and cook undisturbed until the skin is golden but not too dark, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate using a metal spatula and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet.
  2. Add the carrots, celery and shallots to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not yet turning golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook just until you begin to smell the garlic, about 1 minute. Stir in the rice and cook undisturbed until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Pour in the stock, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to combine, then add the chicken thighs back to the pan, skin-side up. Bring the liquid to a boil then cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.  
  3. Remove the lid from the pan and broil until the chicken skin is crispy and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives.