One Pan Mexican Chicken and Rice is the easiest one-pot recipe! The rice is cooked with seasoned chicken and tomato sauce for a super flavorful dish that’s ready in just 20 minutes.
Since moving in September, Kyle has been working week-long stints in Connecticut until he obtains his Maine electrical license. So I’ve been single parenting for more time than I ever expected to, which means that I’ve been all about really easy dinners.
And my easy I mean less than 30 minutes to make, including prep time, and with as few dishes as possible. This chicken and rice recipe hits all of my requirements!
It’s milder, less spicy companion to my red chili chicken with rice and beans, and it’s a great family-friendly meal that feeds an army. Which is always appreciated for quick lunches and repeat dinners later in the week.
We absolutely loved this chicken and rice dish! In fact, the first time I made it, Kyle absolutely raved about the leftovers – THE LEFTOVERS! – when he arrived home from one of his work trips on a Friday night. That says a lot about a great meal!
This is a basic shopping list for the best one pan Mexican chicken and rice, but the full list of ingredients is in the recipe card below so be sure to keep scrolling down to check it out!
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Herbs and spices: ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder, oregano, ancho chile powder
- White rice
- Petit diced tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Black beans
- Chicken broth — I use low-sodium
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Sliced scallions
- Chopped cilantro
- Freshly squeeze lime juice
- Sour cream
- Salt and pepper
Can You Cook Chicken and Rice at the Same Time?
I make this Mexican chicken and rice recipe super simple by cooking everything together in one pan. That’s the beauty of a one pan meal, isn’t it?
Rice is a bland grain on its own, but when it’s simmered with chicken, tomato sauce, chile powder, and chicken broth, it absorbs all of those rich flavors. No more bland rice!
When cooking chicken and rice together, you always want to make sure the rice is fully cooked and the chicken reaches at least 165° F.
Since you’ll brown the chicken first for this recipe, you’ll give it a head start on cooking and there won’t be any issues with it reaching the proper temperature by the time the rice finishes. And since the chicken is cubed, it cooks faster than a large chicken breast does.
How to Make Mexican Chicken and Rice
Here are the steps for how to make this Mexican chicken and rice recipe! The full instruction list is in the recipe card below, so be sure to keep scrolling down to the card.
STEP 1: First, toss the cubed chicken with salt and pepper. Mix your seasonings in a small bowl for later.
STEP 2: Then, sauté the chicken for a few minutes until it’s browned on all sides. It doesn’t have to be fully cooked yet! Sprinkle it with your spice blend and a bit more salt and pepper.
STEP 3: Now, add the uncooked rice, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, black beans, and chicken broth to the pan. Bring it to a boil and simmer until the rice is fully cooked.
STEP 4: Finally, cover it with cheese and cook a few more minutes until it’s all melted. I like to garnish it with scallions, cilantro, lime juice, and a little sour cream when serving.
What’s the Difference Between Spanish Rice and Mexican Rice?
I love everything Tex-Mex, and Tex-Mex cuisine usually includes rice.
Both these rice side dishes are made with chicken stock or chicken broth, but Mexican rice is definitely red, while Spanish rice is a bright yellow.
Mexican rice, like this recipe, is usually made with cumin and cooked in tomatoes, which gives it the red color. The secret ingredient in Spanish rice is — you guessed it! — saffron. Both are perfect side dishes with distinct flavors.
What to Serve with Mexican Chicken and Rice
This one-pot chicken recipe is easily a whole meal on its own but there are tons of Mexican-inspired sides you can add to the table if you want to stretch the servings even further.
Skillet Cornbread or Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread are both outstanding options for a side dish. Their crunchy tops and savory, crumbly interiors contrast really nicely with the soft texture of this chicken and rice dinner.
Elote (Mexican Street Corn) is my favorite Mexican side dish, but this Mexican street corn salad is even better if you want a side dish for a large group! With grilled corn and a creamy lime dressing, it’s the best summer side dish ever.
If you’re planning a big Mexican night for dinner, add a 7 layer taco dip for an appetizer and a batch of these easy-breezy chicken enchiladas. They’re both made with the same batch of Instant Pot shredded chicken – a double-duty recipe!
More Amazing One Pot Recipes
- One Pot Creamy Sausage Pasta
- One Pot Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Classic Chicken and Dumplings
- One Pot Taco Mac
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed into 1-inch pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 ½ tsp ancho chile powder
- 1 cup uncooked white rice, lightly rinsed and well-drained
- 14 oz petit diced tomatoes
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 ½ cups)
For garnish and serving:
- Sliced scallions
- Chopped cilantro
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Sour cream
- Toss chicken cubes with a heavy sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir all of the spices together in a small bowl; set aside.
- Heat oil a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken in the oil for about 4 to 5, until lightly browned on all sides (it doesn't have to be fully cooked at this point).
- Mix in the spice mix, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper until the chicken is coated.
- Add the rice, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, black beans, and chicken broth. Stir until well-combined with the chicken.
- Increase the heat to high, bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low and stir up the pan contents. Cover and simmer for 14 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked through.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the rice, cover for about 3 to 5 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, a good squeeze of lime juice and serve with sour cream dolloped on top.
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