Arroz con Pollo, with roots in Spain and Latin America, is a classic chicken and rice recipe made with browned chicken, white rice, onions, bell peppers, peas, and spices. A delicious and easy one-pan meal and comfort food that takes about an hour to make.
Easy Arroz con Pollo Recipe
Arroz con Pollo – Spanish for rice with chicken – is a traditional Latin American dish and relative to paella.
There are many different “traditional” ways of preparing arroz con pollo, each version unique to various countries. In Puerto Rico, for example, beer and annatto oil are two must-have ingredients, whereas, in Spain, saffron is common and responsible for the beautiful yellow-colored rice also typical to paella.
This version is neither Puerto Rican nor Spanish as you will not find any beer, annatto oil, or saffron in this recipe. It does, however, contain all the key components needed to make a delicious arroz con pollo including seasoned and seared chicken, soffrito, and rice.
You’ll also find some fresh mint and fresh lemon juice. Not exactly “traditional”, but refreshing and delicious nonetheless.
In total, you’ll find this recipe to take approximately one hour to make, give or take a few minutes depending on how fast you chop and prep. Considered a meal in itself, I serve mine with a little fresh salsa or pico de gallo and a dash of hot sauce for a little heat.
How to Make Arroz con Pollo
Pat the chicken pieces dry with a few paper towels and season with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper.
When you’re ready to start cooking, the first step is to sear the chicken pieces in a large skillet or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. You may have to do this in batches to prevent the chicken from getting overcrowded in your pan. Cook each side until golden brown and the skin is crispy (it’s ok if the chicken isn’t fully cooked).
Remove the chicken to a clean plate and set it aside.
In the same skillet, cook the diced onions, red bell pepper, and carrots. If needed, add a glug of olive oil to your pan so that all of the vegetables are coated (not drowning) in either rendered chicken fat or a little olive oil. Cook the vegetables until starting to soften, about 8 minutes or so.
Bring the mixture to a high simmer. Nestle the browned chicken pieces over the rice mixture before covering with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce to low heat, and cook for approximately 25 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
Remove from heat and allow the chicken and rice to rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving.
I like to serve mine garnished with fresh mint and lemon juice, and maybe a little hot sauce. Fresh cilantro would also pair well.
Recipe Tips and Variations
- For the best flavor, stick with bone-in skin-on chicken. Any cut of chicken will work including the legs, drumsticks, breasts, or thighs. Boneless skinless chicken will also work, but the chicken is more likely to become overcooked and dry.
- For bolder flavor, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with a little cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Mexican oregano, and chili powder. Rub the seasoning all over the chicken and, time-permitting, marinate the chicken overnight.
- You can see that I used long-grain white rice to make this recipe. Long-grain rice is my own personal favorite as I find it the easiest to cook. Feel free to use medium-grain rice if you prefer. I do not recommend short-grain rice as it is much stickier, nor do I recommend brown rice unless you cook the chicken separately, or remove the chicken from the pan as soon as it is finished cooking (even if that means removing it before the rice has finished cooking completely).
- Try adding canned tomatoes (drained), capers, or green olives! Or be extra daring and substitute the chicken broth for beer.
- Arroz con Pollo makes fantastic leftovers. Store them in a sealed container and in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Looking for more delicious chicken recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- Santa Fe Chicken Recipe
- Thai Chicken Curry Noodle Soup Recipe
- One-Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe with Olives
- Easy Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe
- Hungarian Chicken Paprikash Recipe
- Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Breasts (No Breading!)
Have you tried making this Easy Arroz con Pollo Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)
- 12-inch oven-safe skillet
- 2½ pounds chicken (bone-in skin-on (I used chicken thighs and whole chicken legs))
- 2 tsp salt (divided)
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion (minced)
- 1 red bell pepper (stemmed, de-seeded, and diced (green bell pepper would also work))
- 1 carrot (peeled and diced)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp fresh mint (chopped, plus more to garnish)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1¼ cups long-grain white rice (rinsed and drained)
- 2¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- fresh lemon juice (for serving)
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
- Add the olive oil to a large (12-inch) skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side-down, and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Avoid over-crowding the pan and cook in batches if necessary. Transfer chicken to a clean plate and set aside.
- Return the pan to medium heat. Sauté the diced onions, red bell pepper, and carrot in the reserved fat from the chicken skin (and/or add an additional tablespoon of olive oil, if needed) until softened, about 8-10 minutes.
- Once the vegetables have softened, stir in the minced garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, tomato paste, and fresh mint. Mix well to combine and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Add the rice and frozen peas and mix to combine with the veggies and tomato paste. Toast the rice for a minute or so, stirring continuously.
- Add the chicken broth (or chicken stock) to the rice. Mix well to combine and bring to a high simmer. Carefully distribute the browned chicken pieces over the rice mixture and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat to low, and cook for approximately 25 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
- Remove from heat and allow the chicken and rice to rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving. Served garnished with fresh mint and lemon juice, if desired.
- As written this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)