One Pan Chicken and Rice

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!

Chicken and Rice Recipe Video

Want to see how I make this one pan recipe (it’s easy, promise). Watch the video below! 

BEST Chicken and Rice (One Pan)

4.95 from 112 votes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
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 above!

Ingredients

Chicken

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

Marinade

  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested (approx 1/4 cup of juice)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Rice

  • 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

Instructions 

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!

Nutrition

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
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292 comments on “One Pan Chicken and Rice”

  1. This is my go-to dish when I make chicken. It tastes great and is easy to cook. Love it! Thanks. 

  2. Great recipe. Easy. Delicious and good directions.  5 stars

  3. Hi! When do we use the leftover marinade? 

    • You will add the marinade back into the pan on step 5, where you also add the chopped spinach, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper.

  4. Wondering if you can substitute the chicken thighs for drumsticks? If so how long would the cooking time differ? 

    This is a delicious dish I’ve made it many times and it’s always a hit! So many great flavours and a good way to sneak in lots of spinach.4 stars

  5. This looks delicious- any because there is no cream/Mayo my husband and kids might actually eat it!

  6. Can I use a ceramic pot (oven safe) to cook instead of pan? Thanks!

  7. I made this recipe and loved it.  Thighs were juicy, rice creamy and delicious.  Will be making it again for sure.  Question: After freezing left overs what is the best way to prepare?  Straight from freezer to the oven?  what temperarure and time?  Or is it better to let thaw before reheating? Thank you for rhd5 stars

    • I’m happy you loved the recipe! I always recommend moving meal prepped food from the freezer to fridge to thaw, then reheating that way. And I typically use the microwave, but you can use the oven as well.

  8. Delicious, simple and family friendly!5 stars

  9. I doubled the recipe because I have two teenage sons and a husband. Oh. My. God. The flavours are just soooo tasty. My oldest son went back for three helpings! It’s a simple dish to make, but delivers on huge flavour and melt-in-your-mouth taste! 

    The presentation out of the oven makes me feel like a gourmet chef!

    Thanks for the recipe! This is scrumptious!5 stars

  10. Made this tonight and it was excellent. I only had boneless skinless chicken breasts so I just added it to the rice dish at the end for 20 min and it was perfect. also added broccoli the last 10 min of cooking for extra veggies. will definitely be making this regularly. thanks for the great recipe. A keeper for sure.5 stars

  11. Which skillet are you using? I have looked online and cannot find the Staub skillet with a lid.

  12. I made this and even OH commented on how nice and tasty it was. It was so easy to do. I’m a great believer in one-pan meals, with left-overs for another day. Love your cooking. Thanks Lisa.5 stars

  13. Just made this for the first time and it is easily one of the best meals I’ve ever made. I cannot believe how easy it was! And so delicious!! I’m big on textures, and this doesn’t disappoint. Every bite was a little different — crispy, creamy, unctuous, yum! I accidentally forgot the lemon zest for the marinade. I can only imagine how fantastic it is with tht extra pop of bright flavor. Anxious to make it again, this will feature heavily in the dinner rotation for sure! Thank you!!5 stars

  14. 10/10 Absolutely delicious!!! Will definitely be on our rotating list of favorite dinners!5 stars

  15. Great recipe! The family and I agree that this rice is the best thing ever! It got a little crispy in the corners of my cast iron, and when mixed all in was incredible. Fluffy, crispy and full of flavor. Marinade is great, I think it would be good on anything.5 stars

    • Everything gets doused in those most delicious lemon flavor! Happy to hear the whole family enjoyed this chicken and rice dish :)

  16. Delicious. Made this with river cauliflower instead, used only a bit of the chicken stock, but it was so so good. My husband and I loved it. 5 stars

  17. This is definitely my favorite recipe of all time. It’s a favorite for my husband as well. I made this for my mother today and she couldn’t believe how good it was. Nice work, Lisa! If I could give it an extra star, I would. I also want to add, I was out of spinach so I added a chopped up zucchini for the last ten minutes and it was excellent.  I also used brown rice and no one noticed. I think I’ll do it that way again. 5 stars

  18. Best chicken and rice I have ever had!! The rice was so creamy it reminded me of risotto! And the chicken was juicy and flavorful and delish!! Another awesome recipe.5 stars

  19. This is yet another one of your meals that has become a regular in our house. One of my children who does not typically eat rice, loves the rice in this dish and asked for seconds. Thanks for sharing this delicious and simple recipe.5 stars

    • Glad this satisfies even the picky eaters! The rice really does taste amazing when you let some of the juices soak in it.

  20. Perfect dinner for a weeknight.  Marinated the chicken a couple hours before cooking and it was delicious.5 stars

  21. Absolutely delicious.  The chicken was so tender and the rice had soaked up the stock and oils/spices.  Yum!5 stars

  22. It turned out to be an excellent recipe if you follow the written instructions. I have tried three Downshift recipes so far and am not disappointed. Steps are clearly illustrated and explained. You are doing a fantastic job!5 stars

  23. Hi! Do you think I could use frozen spinach in this?

    • Yes, you can use frozen spinach if you’d like.

    • I am looking to make this recipe for lunch tomorrow and I wanted to use brown rice for health reasons, do  I need to adjust the cooking time to allow for this?

      • Yes, brown rice will need a longer cooking time. So just make sure to keep an eye on it until you find it cooked through.

  24. Absolutely fantastic recipe. Even my fussiest eater devoured it. I used frozen spinach and added 1 tsp of turmeric to the rice to give it a lovely yellow colour. Served with steamed vegetables and a dollop of greek yoghurt as it has the real greek feel to the flavouring.
    I LOVE that you can increase serving sizes and convert to metric measurements, made cooking for a large Australian family much easier.5 stars

    • Wonderful! Glad everyone enjoyed this chicken and rice dish. Love the idea of adding a dollop of Greek yogurt as well :)

  25. Hi, I’m so excited to try this recipe. Can I use brown rice instead of white? Which type? Thanks!5 stars

    • You can use brown rice, but you will need to cook the rice a bit longer as brown rice has a longer cooking time.

  26. Love this recipe but is it gluten free?!   DJ

  27. Hi, are there any issues using this much lemon juice with a cast iron pan? I love cooking with lemons and I love using my cast-iron pan, but I was always skittish about combining the two! Looking forward to making this!

    • Hi Leah – I’m using an enameled cast iron pan, so it has a protective layer. But, if yours is not enameled, then I would just re-season it after making this dish.

      • It came out perfect, 1/4 wasn’t too much (I was stuck on “2 lemons” and the lemons on my tree are HUGE), and I just seasoned the pan after like you said. Delicious, thank you!5 stars

  28. Just made this tonight and it was a winner! Quick, easy and tasty! 5 stars

  29. Now a family favorite5 stars

  30. I have an induction hob and don’t have a suitable oven-safe skillet to cook this on the stove top. Could I part cook in a large saucepan/frying pan to start with and then transfer to a ceramic rectangle baking dish to go in the oven?5 stars

  31. Absolutely LOVED this recipe. A few changes I made, I left out the lemon slices (not the lemon juice) and I use quinoa instead of rice. It turned out so good and flavorful that I was shoving it in my boyfriends face to eat some (he had lamb and cabbage). I was very excited for the large quantity as I also used it for meal prepping. 5 stars, if I could give it 10 I would.5 stars

  32. Made it. Ate it. Love it. Adding some Kalamata olives would be good too. Second day serving is better! Trying the Mediterranean salad next. Finally found a food website I can actually use! Thanks Lisa.5 stars

    • Happy to hear you enjoyed this chicken and rice recipe! Can’t wait to see what you make next Nancy :)

  33. Made this meal for my husband and me tonight. It was easy, delicious, and beautiful.5 stars

  34. Delicious! Made it on the stove in one pan is read of using the oven. Worked out great and so tasty! Kids loved it, hubby loved it, will make again in the future.5 stars

  35. Can I cook this in a. 3.5qt cast iron casserole dish?

  36. Followed this recipe as written and it was delicious ! This is the 3rd Downshift recipe I’ve tried and I haven’t been disappointed.  The pictures and explanations for the steps are clear. Keep up the great work !!5 stars

  37. About using the remaining marinade…should we? I always thought it should be discarded so not to cross contaminate. Or is it ok to use if it is brought to a boil? Was never clear on this point. I’m working my way through a lot of your recipes. So far I really like them. Thanks.

  38. I can do everything but the mustard. No vinegar for me.
    Any suggestions for substitute for mustard? Mustard powder? How much?

  39. Great easy recipe. Makes multiple meals if cooking for one or two. Rice is fantastic!5 stars

  40. Hi, LIsa,

    I just discovered your website (through one of your YouTube videos) and am eager to explore it. I read through this one-pan chicken recipe and would like to try it, but can you tell me what size pan you used to make it? I appears to be a Staub ceramic-coated cast iron one; is it 10″? 12″? Larger?

    Thanks for letting me know.

    Maureen

  41. SOOOO Delicious, satisfying, elegant, and NOT hard! A great staple for a mealplan!5 stars

  42. Can I make the whole thing on stovetop? What’s the purpose of baking it vs stovetop?

    I love chicken and rice recipes!! They are the best cause the collagen and all the chicken juices get absorbed in the rice making it extra delicious!!!5 stars

  43. Hi! I just tried this recipe. I loved it. I’m curious though. The nutrition information is for 1 serving, right? The recipe is for 5 servings, so wasn’t sure. Also, if you could make more healthy chicken recipes, that would be a huge hit. Love what you do. Thankyou!

  44. Hi, 

    I had a quick question. Can I replace the chicken thighs with chicken drumsticks? What adjustments would I have to make?

    Thanks 

  45. I cooked this for two hours and the rice was still crunchy and hard. This could really have been great, but there’s no way to cook this in the allotted time. If you’re going to make this, cook the rice separately first and then add at the end. 

    • Hi Mark – sorry to hear you had problems with this recipe. I’m not quite sure what you did, but no rice would be crunchy and hard after cooking for two hours. I recommend re-reading the recipe to see if you can spot where you may have made a mistake.

  46. Loved this! Do you think it would work to add cilantro to the rice instead of spinach?5 stars

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