One Pan Chicken and Rice


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Chicken and rice is an easy, one pan recipe and this version shines with bright Mediterranean flavors. Juicy chicken thighs are soaked in a citrusy, lemon dijon marinade then baked with fluffy rice.

Chicken and rice in one pan garnished with lemon slices and parsley.

Nothing beats one pan dinners. They make dinner a breeze, yet they’re satisfying enough to eat as leftovers. Though count yourself lucky if you happen to have any leftovers of this delicious meal, it’s a rare feat.

Similar to my greek chicken kabobs, the zesty Mediterranean-inspired marinade bathes the chicken in lemon dijon goodness. But it also does double-duty in brightening up the rice. It’s the perfect cozy family meal that I’m confident you’ll make again and again.

Chicken and Rice Ingredients

Want to know what makes this recipe amazing, with such simple ingredients? It’s the layers of flavors!

Mediterranean Chicken Marinade

  • Chicken: Bone in, skin on chicken thighs are the best choice for juicy, tender meat.
  • Lemon: The citrus flavor makes you feel like you’re on a sunny vacation.
  • Dijon Mustard: My secret ingredient for adding a sharp zip to the marinade.
  • Garlic: You know my motto, the more garlic the better!
  • Dried Oregano & Thyme: Mediterranean aromatics add that depth of flavor.
  • Olive oil: Any good quality olive oil will work great.

Rice Ingredients

  • Long Grain White Rice: Make sure to use long grain rice (check this rice post for tips).
  • Chicken Stock: Choose a low or no-sodium stock to keep the salt level down.
  • Baby Spinach: I always love to sneak in some extra greens, wherever possible.
  • Onion: Yellow onion is preferred, but white onions work too.
  • Dried Oregano: A sprinkle more to flavor the rice.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below

Ingredients for chicken and rice on a table

How to Make Mediterranean Chicken and Rice

By cooking everything in one skillet, the rice soaks up the juiciness from the chicken and the citrusy punch from the marinade. Here’s how to make it.

  • Marinate the chicken: Whisk the marinade, pour over the chicken, and marinate in the fridge.
  • Sear the chicken: In a large skillet, cook the chicken thighs on both sides until golden. Then remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Cook the vegetables and herbs: Saute the onions, spinach, and garlic with oregano, salt, pepper, and the reserved marinade. Give everything a stir until the spinach is slightly wilted.
  • Bake in the oven: Add the rice and broth to the skillet and bring it to a simmer. Place the chicken thighs on top, cover the skillet, and bake for about 35 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Garnish and serve: Let the chicken rest, then garnish with parsley and lemon zest!
Searing the chicken thighs in a cast iron pan.
Showing how to make chicken and rice with four steps in a pan.

Tips For The Best Chicken And Rice Recipe

Use an oven-proof skillet. Make sure to use a cast iron or stainless steel skillet that can transfer from the stove to the oven.

Chicken thighs are best. While bone-in thighs are personally my favorite, you can also use boneless thighs. I don’t recommend chicken breasts in this recipe, as they’ll likely overcook and dry out by the time the rice is done. Chicken thighs stay juicy, and moist.

Keep on marinating. While you can get away with marinating the chicken for 30 minutes, longer is better! I always aim for at least a couple of hours.

Cooked chicken sitting on top of fluffy rice in a pan.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

This really makes for some of the best leftovers, and bonus, it freezes well.

  • To store: You can store any leftover chicken and rice in the refrigerator in a covered container for 3-4 days.
  • To freeze: Place leftovers in a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer up to 2 months.
  • For reheating: Microwave the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes. If you want to crisp up the skin, run the chicken under a broiler for a couple of minutes. Just watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.
A plate with chicken and rice, next to the pan.

More Easy Chicken Recipes

Healthy, flavorful, and easy are what I aim for in a chicken recipe. If you love that too, check out these recipes.

Want more of those Mediterranean flavors? Check out this list of the Best Mediterranean Recipes!

Best Chicken and Rice (One Pan)

4.93 from 233 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Chicken and rice is an easy, one pan recipe that shines with bright Mediterranean flavors and juicy chicken thighs. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!




  • 5 chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil



  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, lightly packed and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • chopped parsley, for garnish
  • lemon zest or slices, for garnish


Marinate the Chicken

  • Add all of the marinade ingredients to a bowl and stir together.
    Making the chicken marinade.
  • Place chicken thighs in a glass dish, pour marinade over the chicken, and turn each piece to coat. Cover dish and marinate chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
    Pouring the marinade on top of chicken thighs.

Cook the Chicken and Rice

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium-high heat. Add chicken thighs skin-side down and cook until skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Reserve the leftover marinade as you'll add that back in later.
    Searing the chicken skin side down in a pan.
  • Flip the chicken and cook another 5 minutes. Remove chicken thighs from skillet and set aside.
  • Use your tongs to scrape and remove any browned bits, and bunch up a couple of paper towels to soak up some fat from the pan, but not all. Reserve a little bit of grease to cook the onions.
  • Add the diced onions and stir for 1-2 minutes, or until they start to become translucent.
    Adding the diced onions to the pan.
  • Add the chopped spinach, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and reserved marinade. Stir for another 30 seconds or until the spinach starts to wilt.
  • Add the rice to the skillet, and stir well to coat the rice with the oil.
  • Pour the chicken stock into the skillet and stir well. Bring this to a simmer on the stove.
    Adding the chicken stock to the rice and other ingredients.
  • Arrange chicken thighs on top of the rice, then cover the skillet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid, return the skillet to the oven, and bake until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender, about 10 minutes more.
    Adding the chicken thighs on top of the rice, then placing the lid on top.
  • Let the chicken and rice rest for 5 to 10 minutes. The rice will look really dark as the spinach and onions rise to the surface. Just fluff the rice up with a fork to mix everything back together before serving.
    Fluffing the rice in the pan with a fork.
  • Top with chopped parsley and grilled lemon slices or fresh lemon zest.
    The finished chicken and rice recipe in one pan with garnishes.

Lisa’s Tips

  • To store: You can store any leftover chicken in the refrigerator in a covered container for 3-4 days.
  • To freeze: Place leftovers in a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer up to 2 months.
  • For reheating: Microwave the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes. If you want to crisp up the skin, run the chicken under a broiler for a couple of minutes. Just watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  • One of my favorite oven-safe pans is this Staub braiser pan. It’s so versatile and worth the investment!


Calories: 423kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 725mg | Potassium: 509mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1213IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: chicken and rice, easy chicken and rice, one pan chicken and rice
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi Lisa, sending you an overdue Thank you for this recipe. I’ve been making it since 2021 and this is a staple in my home. Usually my husband and i eat something else and kids eat something else but once a week when i make this recipe everyone sits for the same meal. It’s simple yet full of flavor. Also, i’d like to point out that your narration for the recipe was spot on.
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe!5 stars

    1. Hi Sheena – Thanks so much for leaving a review! Happy to hear this chicken and rice dish has become such a staple :)

  2. This has become and absolute go-to in our house! Simple, affordable and absolutely delicious. About to take it out of the oven for tonight’s dinner and earlier as I was preparing it, my 17yo daughter came into the kitchen declaring it to be her favourite dinner. Mine too, babe, mine too 🥰🥰5 stars

  3. This is a really lovely recipe – have made it twice now and it’s delicious. Personally I think the amount of garlic and herbs in the marinade is plenty to season the dish, without adding more when sautéing the onions etc. I also added some strips of red pepper to give extra colour to the dish. It’s such a flexible base recipe that you can have a fun play around with it. But really lovely – thank you.5 stars

  4. I’ve made this several times over the years, it’s a hit with the family (even the kiddos), thank you for sharing!5 stars

  5. If I want to do this ahead, how many steps should I do before I stop. For example, could I do everything except add the liquid and do that when I’m ready to put it in the oven and bake?

  6. Hi Lisa,

    I will definitely try this again. Good flavors. While it looked picture perfect, my chicken skin didn’t come out as crispy as I had hoped. I cooked it 5-6 minutes per side…and it looked great. But after baking covered the skin lost that crispiness. I hoped that the additional 10 minutes uncovered would solve the problem…but it really was soggier than I expected. Do you have any suggestions for next time?

  7. Hey! Do you think you could sub thawed frozen spinach for the fresh and just cook for a shorter time? Thank you!!

  8. I’ve made this a couple times and it’s delicious. I just need to get a bigger cast iron to make it easier.

  9. Hey Lisa! Thanks so much for this recipe. The rice specifically was a huge hit in my house and I was wondering if there are any steps we should add or omit if we were to want to just make the rice alone? Thanks in advance!5 stars

  10. I made this for dinner last night and it was the 2nd time making the dish. It is so good! Somehow I forgot to read the recipe before preparing to know that I needed to marinate the chicken but I was able to marinate for 30 minutes and was happy for that! I steamed some broccoli on the side to round out the meal. I just love your recipes.5 stars

  11. This recipe is on a weekly rotation at our house. The marinade is SO good and I always add an extra lemon to the marinade because we love it so much. The rice comes out fluffy and flavorful and love the addition of spinach.

    Tonight I skipped the rice and just cooked the chicken on the stove in a cast iron pan, cooked it halfway through, flipped the chicken then added the rest of the marinade. I roasted baby potatoes while the chicken was cooking and a head of broccoli.

    Thanks for creating this recipe! It’s so good and versatile!5 stars

  12. Definitely going into the weekly rotation! So easy, healthy and delicious! I added about 1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes for some added color and flavor, although it doesn’t need it. Thanks for a great recipe!5 stars

  13. Really, really delicious and simple to make. Clean plates all round! But I think I’ll make it with chicken breasts the next time and maybe a touch less lemon5 stars

  14. Delicious!
    I used kale and brown rice because that is what I had on hand, and doubled the recipe. it took a little longer but the chicken thighs were barely thawed when I started so all turned out great. Intensely good flavours with the herbs, garlic and lemon.

  15. I love this recipe and have made it several times! So delicious! However each time I make it I realize I can’t find anywhere in the instructions about when I am supposed to add the reserved marinade back into the pot. I would be so grateful if you could please advise!

  16. The Mediterainan Dinner sounds really good . I made a copy of the ingredients but couldnt find written instructions on putting it together. I had to hand write it from the instructions on a whole lot of pictures.

  17. This recipe looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it. Question…. can you use boneless and skinless chicken thighs instead? Thanks!

      1. If using boneless/skinless thighs do you still brown them in the cast iron first?

  18. Can this recipe also be done with chicken breast? If so, does it change the cooking in any way?
    Thanks so much for your website and recipes!!! They’re all so delicious, accessible and thoughtful! Thank you for the work you do!

    1. Hi Melanie – I don’t recommend chicken breasts in this recipe, as they’ll likely overcook and dry out by the time the rice is done. Chicken thighs stay juicy and moist.

    1. Hi Libby – Thanks for your feedback! We are always looking for ways to make our ad user experience better.

  19. Hi there I couldn’t find anywhere what type of long grain rice you used , I’m thinking maybe it was basmati , I’m hopeless cooking rice but if I know the type it has to help