This Mexican Chicken and Rice features tender, juicy marinated chicken thighs and authentic Mexican rice cooked all in one pot!
Is there anything better than making dinner all in one pot? I don’t think so! All the food is ready at the same time, the saute pan used to cook the food also doubles as a pretty serving dish and you only have to hand wash one pan at the end of the night. It’s amazing! So when I was thinking about what I wanted to cook for dinner, this chicken and rice recipe was a no-brainer.
The rice is the classic authentic Mexican rice recipe that I grew up eating made with lightly toasted rice cooked in a simple tomato, onion and garlic broth. I then cooked it with chicken thighs that I marinated in chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin and a few other ingredients to really tenderize the meat.
The result is a delicious one pot meal that your whole family will love. If you’re like me and only feeding one other person in the house (e.g. my husband), this makes great leftovers that you can pack for lunch the next day or enjoy for dinner throughout the week.
How to make chicken and rice
- Marinate chicken thighs for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- Partially cook chicken thighs in 2 batches in a large oven-safe saute pan with some olive oil until the outside of the chicken is no longer pink. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and start cooking the rice in the same saute pan. Saute rice for 10 minutes, until rice begins to brown slightly.
- Add in the onions, minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add in water, tomato paste and a generous pinch of salt. Stir together to mix until the tomato paste has fully dissolved.
- Cover the saute pan with a lid or foil, place it in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then, remove it from the oven, place the partially cooked chicken thighs on top of the rice, cover and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid or foil and bake for another 5 minutes uncovered. Check the temperature of the chicken thighs to make sure they’re cooked through using a meat thermometer like this one or by slicing into one.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let cool slightly before serving. Garnish with diced cilantro and fresh lime juice, if desired.
Tips for making this chicken and rice recipe
- Use a large oven-safe saute pan or skillet like this one that holds about 5 quarts. This ensures that the rice has enough space to expand while still having enough room for the chicken.
- Make sure to toast the rice all the way just as if you were making authentic Mexican rice by itself.
- I recommend using boneless skinless chicken thighs because they don’t leave the rice as greasy as it would be if you used skin-on thighs.
- You can also use boneless skinless chicken breasts if you prefer. Just make sure to add them in a little earlier in the cooking process since they’re often thicker and larger than thighs.
Like this chicken and rice bake recipe? You may also like these!