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 209 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. I made this last night and it was absolutely delicious! Very easy and has room for customization if you’re out of any ingredients. Cooking time was great too, however, I would add that the purpose of cooking on the stovetop is just to get a good sear. I let it cook a bit too long and by the time I finished cooking it in the oven, it was a touch dry. The recipe is great though and it’s become a staple in my recipebook :)5 stars

  2. I made this for my M🤍M last night…. she LOVED IT!!!
    I am often cooking for my mom these days as she has gotten older and is limited in what she can do. My mother talks all the time about her grandmother who passed before I was born, and how delicious her cooking was. Well last night this dish must of brought back memories of her grandmother’s chicken thighs, as my mom came back for seconds, and then the stories of how my Great Grandmother use to cook started and went on for about an hour… (yep stories I have heard before, but at least I know she liked it)
    Things I love about this Recipe –
    – The Spinach is truly hidden so for those of you that are hiding greens from your kids, this is for you!
    – You are truly able to get a sear on the chicken that allows for crispy skin, and that crispy is not compromised when baking in the liquid, like I thought it would be….
    @Lisa Thanks for this, and I do think you should give a city tour overseas, it seems like something you would be very good at. I have one other request, and that is to hear about something you like to eat that is unexpected and maybe not so healthy. It is clear that you are disciplined and truly take care of yourself, but sometimes it is fun to know what someone’s downfall is. (Example – I can’t walk away from Ice cream,,, or something like that)5 stars

    1. Gad your mom loved this one pan chicken and rice Michael! As per your request, you will actually sometimes catch me on Instagram stories indulging in ice cream, chocolate, or even In-in-out! I try to eat healthy most of the time, but life is about balance too :)

  3. love this easy one pot recipe, the rice is so yummy with all the flavors, make enough for left overs because it was just as good if not better the second day. bonus cook once eat twice.5 stars

  4. I have shared this recipe with so many people it never fails to disappoint. its utterly delicious and so easy to make. Thanks Lisa, you are an absolute legend xx 5 stars

  5. I didn’t have spinach but I made it anyway and it was so delicious and satisfying—the lemon and mustard really make everything pop.  I love the oven time too because then I can do all the clean up before it’s ready!  Thank you!5 stars

  6. Wow! I made this recipe exactly like it was written and it is simply amazing! It’s perfect. One question. Would I be able to use brown rice? What would the times be? Thank you. 5 stars

    1. I haven’t officially tested this with brown rice. But someone else did start by cooking their brown rice in a pot while the chicken was browning. After they sautéed the onions and veggies, they dumped that rice into their sauté pan, added the chicken, and proceeded as per the recipe.

  7. This is a stellar recipe! The flavors are so good, and it was pretty simple to make. Thanks for this one; it’s going in the rotation!5 stars

  8. I made the One Pan Chicken and Rice dish tonight and it was a big success. As always your recipe is easy to follow and the videos help immensely. The chicken thighs I had were boneless and skinless, so I reduced the cooking time. The chicken was a little bit browner, but was still moist and the rice flavor was tasty. I only started making rice with last week’s Chicken Terriyaki which also was great!
    I still have a lot to learn on the rice, but that is part of the fun.5 stars

  9. This looks so good! I don’t cook a lot of chicken and one of my kids requested drumsticks…would they cook ok like this? 

  10. This dish is so delicious! Are cooking steps 1 and 2 (5 minute cooks on both sides of the chicken) meant to be cooking in the oven or on the stove?
    I have been cooking those steps on the stove eye and cant get the chicken skin to brown in 5 minutes but when I cook a few more minutes the skin gets stuck to the bottom of the pot. Maybe it’s because those steps are meant to be in the oven? 
    Thank you! Your recipes are such a blessing to my family! 5 stars

    1. The first 2 searing steps are meant to be on the stovetop. It’s natural for the chicken to stick a bit, especially the skin side. But you can lift them up every once in awhile to prevent that from happening as it cooks.

    2. Try browning each side at a higher temperature. I had the same issue. The recipe states medium-high, but after several minutes it still wasn’t browned. I cranked the burner up to high, and after about two minutes it browned the skin enough to flip. I also learned that my stainless steel pan might need to be placed slightly off center, as the the pieces nearest to the handle took longer to brown. The heat from that area was drawn into the handle. The smooth surface of the stainless steel pan made it easy to scrape and clean. Everyone enjoyed the dish thoroughly.

  11. This really is the best chicken and rice, came out perfectly and just like the picture. Super flavorful, thanks for sharing!!5 stars

  12. I used brown rice. I started it in a pot while the chicken was browning. After I sautéed the onions and veg, I just dumped that rice into my sautée pan, added the chicken and proceeded as per recipe. Turned out great! Thank you. 5 stars

  13. I have tried this recipe twice and I love it! It is the best chicken rice recipe! The second time I used boneless chicken thighs & cooked in a cast iron Dutch oven casserole dish so I could double the recipe. I also added mushrooms with the onion. I love adding spinach & lemon to recipes. Very good!
    There is a lot of rice in this recipe – I think the addition of the extra veggies really stretches it.5 stars

  14. This sounds great but I’m worried that the skin will it lose its crispiness if covered in the oven for that long. Does it come back after you remove the lid again? Is it possible to just leave it off the entire time and add a little more liquid to the rice? Thanks! 

    1. Yes, it does crisp up again once the lid is removed. And you can always broil for a couple of minutes. I wouldn’t leave off the lid the entire cook time as that may create mushy rice as much more liquid would have to be added.

    1. You can, but keep in mind they may cook faster than bone-in thighs! So keep an eye on them before the overcook.

  15. Trying this tonight! Unfortunately don’t have a cast iron… do you think it would work to do all of the stove prep and then transfer to an oven safe glass baking dish to complete cooking?? Thank you!!

  16. Tried this recipe tonight – very good! I liked using spinach in the rice and the herbs, garlic – it had a nice lemony garlicky flavor. Chicken stayed moist. I roasted asparagus on another pan to serve with this dish.

    Next time, I may also saute mushrooms with the onion.

    Definitely keeping this as a favorite!5 stars

  17. So many favorable comments! I really want to try this recipe and wondered if anybody has had good results with a stovetop only variation that can be enjoyed on hot summer evenings without turning the kitchen into a sauna.

    1. I did! I followed all the directions, but instead of transferring to the oven I covered and kept simmering on the stove top for 25 minutes. The only thing I didn’t like was that the chicken skin got kind of soggy–not sure if that still would have happened in the oven.

    2. We live on a little sailboat in the Caribbean where it’s way too hot to use an oven. I always make this on the stove top and it turns out great. I also add extra veggies….two of my favorites are carrots and sweet potatoes!5 stars

  18. Outstanding!  It’s flavorful, visually attractive, healthy, and easy to make.  Next time, I’ll double the spinach and I added blanched asparagus just before serving.5 stars

  19. Mmmmm!  I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and this came out great!  I loved it. So flavorful!  I didn’t have any spinach but I made it anyway.  My 10 year old, two teens and husband loved it.  Next time I’ll triple the recipe and use spinach!  5 stars

  20. I have to say, this is my 6th recipe that I have made and my husband today just had to ask, “ok you need to tell me where you’re getting these from”. Lol it’s sooo good. I did have to double batch the marinade because the chicken thighs where enormous and I added another chicken thigh just to balance it out. I would recommend cooking the rice in the oven an additional 10 minutes. Mine was soggy but that didn’t stop us from stuffing our faces! Thank you!5 stars

  21. Lisa did it again! I actually “mmm”ed out loud when I took the first bite. I made it with lime instead of lemon because that’s what I had going begging and it was delicious! Leftovers are great too! I think this is a good family dinner or even a sunday meal prep recipe5 stars

  22. This recipe is fantastic! I cooked ours in our dutch oven. The flavors are so fresh and the chicken turned out moist and juicy. Best of all, the leftovers were sensational.5 stars

  23. Want to make a double batch of this for some families that need it. I was wondering if I could transfer everything to those aluminum food dishes prior to the baking step so I can fit both batches in my oven at the same time…Do you think the cooking temp and time would remain the same? Any suggestions for doubling this recipe successfully are welcome! Appreciate your help!

    1. Thinking you might need to add a little extra time, since you have two batches. But I would keep the temperature the same.

  24. So glad I found this recipe! I don’t cook meat very often so I was nervous I’d mess it up or undercook it, but it’s a very easy recipe to follow. I used kale instead of spinach and added some broccoli and it turned out wonderfully. I think next time I’ll add even more mustard because I love the flavor and how it tastes with the lemon. After removing the chicken and removing some of the fat, I deglazed the pot with white wine which I think adds a nice brightness. I topped it with shredded parmesan which I recommend. I used my dutch oven and that worked perfectly. Thanks so much for sharing this, I’m so happy to have this in my rotation now, and to have a healthy tasty meal to look forward to for the rest of week :).5 stars

  25. I love this recipe! I’ve used it multiple times, and have substituted the rice for couscous a few times which was a great alternative!5 stars

  26. I love this recipe I’ve made it a few times! Tonight I tried it with boneless pork chops with season salt it’s really good! I add a ton of mushrooms. 

  27. This was a MAJOR hit! So flavorful and LOVE the texture of the rice. It was fairly quick and easy to put together – great for night when I am under tight work deadlines.
    My husband has asked for this to be added to our dinner rotation. SO good!5 stars

  28. Made this today for the Hubs and our daughter and her friends. It was a HUGE success.  It not only tastes delicious but it looks so darn pretty. 5 stars

  29. I love your recipes and I’m really excited for your cookbook. I’m planning on making this tonight for dinner and wanted to ask If i was cooking this in a 4.5qt pan does the cook time change?5 stars

    1. It should cook about the same, but I would keep an eye on it to make sure everything gets cooked evenly.

  30. This recipe stood out to me and I was excited to try it knowing that I had most of the ingredients on hand. I subbed short grain brown rice – that was delicious and nutty with the lemony marinade and the chicken flavor, just had to cook it covered for an extra 10 minutes or so with a 1/2 cup additional broth before removing the cover. I also subbed chopped kale for the spinach, and I think I like the kale better because it holds up so well to extended cooking! I also added some quartered baby bella mushrooms and that was excellent! I wouldn’t change a thing on this recipe.5 stars

  31. I want to substitute brown rice for the white. What advice do you have in terms of cooking time and liquid volume?

  32. This is a fantastic website, finally a cooking site that list recipes without giving me someone’s life story about how the recipe changed their soul or some BullSh*t like that.4 stars

  33. Made this dish using boneless, skinless thighs, and doubled the recipe for a family dinner. It was a BIG hit – everyone gave it a strong thumbs up. 5 stars

  34. Consistently delivering top notch recipes! Bettering the world through easy, tasty and healthy meals. So grateful for your contributions Lisa!5 stars

  35. Hi, there!

    I absolutely love this recipe. Since I tried for the first time, it has been a must in my house. Thank you!5 stars

  36. I’m making this now! Just a note— the instructions said to put the marinade to the side and that we’ll use it later, but I don’t see where I’m supposed to use it! When should we add it back in? 

  37. I just made this and was so delicious!!!! I was excited to make it all day, and while it was cooking i said to my husband……can this possibly live up to my expectations!  And it did!!! It was bursting with flavor! I’m on a food high…i can’t stop saying yum!!!!!  I just discovered you and i will definitely be cooking more of your recipes…thank you!!!

  38. I FINALLY made this recipe last night and it was delicious. It was so comforting and the flavors were wonderful. Can’t wait for the leftovers tonight.
    I was eyeing your vegan chili recipe and think I’ll try that this weekend for football playoffs. Thank you Lisa.5 stars

    1. Happy to hear you were finally able to make this one pan dish Suzy! And yes, the vegetarian chili will be perfect for Sunday football :)

  39. This was great! The only substitution I made was that I used a bag of vegan grilled chicken strips for the chicken breasts.  My husband loved it and I appreciated that the rice cooked in the pan.

  40. Thank you so much this was a wonderful meal! I have just discovered your YouTube channel in the past week and have been devouring it. I appreciate your quality content.

    I used brown long grain rice, cooking a little longer. With appreciation.5 stars

    1. Welcome to the Downshiftology community Deb! Excited for you to cook your way through the website, and stay tuned for my cookbook coming out later this year :)

  41. I made this for supper last night and it was delicious! My husband loved it. I absolutely love your recipes and thank you for all you do.