This simple one pan Mexican chicken and rice comes together quickly and is extra cheesy and full of flavor!
One pan meals are truly the best. Not only are they super convenient, but cooking everything in one pan means all those flavors mingle and simmer together and everything just tastes better!
There’s nothing complicated about this dish! Perfectly cooked, juicy chicken breasts on a bed of tender Mexican rice, and covered in melty cheese. Does it get any better?
Can I use chicken thighs instead?
You sure can! I prefer to cook this dish in the oven instead of stovetop when I use chicken thighs, because they benefit from longer, slower cooking, due to their higher fat content.
So go ahead with the recipe as described below through step 9, but as soon as it starts simmering, cover the pan and transfer to a 350 degree oven (be sure your pan is oven-safe!).
Bake for 35 minutes, remove the lid and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the rice and chicken are fully cooked and all the liquid is absorbed.
My family absolutely loves this meal, and I bet yours will too! Here’s how I make it.
How to Make One Pan Mexican Chicken and Rice Step-by-Step
- In a large, deep saute pan or skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with taco seasoning. If your seasoning does not contain salt, sprinkle breasts with a pinch of salt as well.
- Sear the chicken on both sides until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate, and put the pan back on the heat.
3. While the chicken is searing, chop up half a yellow onion, a small bell pepper, and a clove of garlic.
4. After removing the chicken, add the vegetables to the pan, and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the rice, cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
6. Stir to combine, and cook the rice for 1 to 2 minutes stirring frequently.
7. Add the chicken stock and the strained tomatoes.
8. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
9. Nestle the chicken breasts into the rice and pour any accumulated juices from the plate over everything. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes until the rice and chicken are cooked, and all the liquid is absorbed.
10. Turn on the broiler. Sprinkle cheese over the chicken breasts and broil, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with cilantro or green onions and serve. Oh and I LOVE a little squeeze of lime on this chicken.
One Pan Mexican Chicken and Rice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts *see note to use chicken thighs instead
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning *if there’s no salt in the taco seasoning, season the chicken with salt as well
- 1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 small bell pepper chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 cup strained or crushed tomatoes
- 3 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese or 4 slices
- Lime wedges and chopped cilantro or green onions for serving
- In a large, deep pan, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium high heat.
- Spinkle the chicken breasts evenly on both sides with taco seasoning and salt (if there's no salt in the seasoning.
- Place the chicken breasts in the hot pan and brown on both sides (about 2 minutes per side). Do not cook through at this point. Remove the chicken breasts to a plate.
- Place the pan back on the heat and add another tablespoon of oil. Add the chopped onion, peppers and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the rice, cumin, and salt, and cook, stirring frequently, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and strained tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, and nestle the chicken breasts in the rice. Pour any juices accumulated on the plate over everything.
- Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and rice is tender with all the liquid absorbed.
- Turn on the broiler, sprinkle some cheese on top of each chicken breast, and broil for a few minutes uncovered until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or green onions and serve.
Hi! I’m Ann and I blog at Our Happy Mess. I’m all about fast, fresh, and family-friendly recipes. I believe cooking from scratch can not only be doable but FUN, no matter how busy life gets!
You can find more of my recipes at Our Happy Mess.