Mexican chicken and rice – or Arroz con Pollo – is a super popular Spanish/Mexican/South American dish.
And luckily, it’s crazy easy to make at home.
Forget the same old chicken pasta or boring bowl of noodles, and try this recipe for Mexican chicken and rice.
It’s fluffy, flavorful, and filling to the max.
Oh, and did I mention you only need one pan? Plus, thanks to the instant rice, it’s ready in a flash!
Cheesy, spicy, and perfect for meal prepping, this Mexican chicken and rice recipe is a winner!
Super Easy Mexican Chicken and Rice Recipe
Chicken and rice is a safe Mexican dish for non-spicy food lovers. It has some warmth, but it’s very mild.
And who doesn’t love juicy chicken with perfectly seasoned, fluffy rice?
This version keeps it simple with chicken, salsa, corn, peppers, and cheese, which isn’t a traditional ingredient.
So this is kind of a Tex-Mex version of the classic Mexcian dish.
Still, it’s insanely flavorful and tender, with plenty of fun textures. And it’s ideal as a side or whole meal on its own.
I almost always make a big skillet on taco nights and let everyone dig in.
Leftovers store well, too. Though I don’t usually have any…
The ingredients list is a little longer than just “chicken and rice.” But I’m sure you have most of it already:
- Oil – For sautéing the chicken and veggies. Use something neutral tasting with a high smoke point.
- Chicken – I use boneless, skinless breasts cut into one-inch pieces. But diced chicken thighs or shredded rotisserie chicken would also work. If you go for pre-cooked, remember to only add it right at the end.
- Green Peppers and Onions – Peppers and onions are staples in Mexican cuisine. In this recipe, you’ll sauté them with the chicken until tender.
- If you want this dish spicier, use poblano peppers and jalapeños instead of regular bell peppers!
- Corn – I use the canned stuff for convenience (an 8.75-ounce can should do). Just be sure to drain it before adding it to the skillet.
- Chicken Broth – Cooking the rice and chicken in broth ensures every mouthful is tender and bursting with flavor.
- Salt, Chili Powder, and Pepper – For seasoning. You can leave out the chili powder if you don’t want it spicy. Or add extra if you prefer!
- Salsa – Along with flavor, salsa also keeps the chicken juicy and tender. Use whatever brand or spice level you prefer. You can even use peach or pineapple salsa if that’s your thing!
- Rice – You’ll need uncooked instant rice to get this done fast. Of course, you can also use white, brown, wild, etc. Just be sure to cook it before adding it to the pot.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese – Cheese isn’t a traditional ingredient in Arroz con Pollo, but I think you’ll agree it’s a must! In fact, the cheesy sauce is what most people love about this dish.
How to Make Mexican Chicken and Rice
Now that you know the ingredients, let’s go over how to make it.
The full recipe with step-by-step instructions is at the bottom. But here’s the highlights:
1. Sauté the chicken, peppers, and onion all at once.
You don’t need to cook the onion because it’ll soften when you add the liquids.
This step is to get everything going and to brown the chicken.
2. Add everything else except the rice and cheese.
Once the chicken is visibly white with brown edges and the onions and peppers are tender (ish), add everything else.
Pour in the chicken broth, then mix in the corn, salsa, and seasonings.
Bring the liquid to a boil.
3. Add the rice.
Stir in the rice, then remove the skillet from the heat and put the lid on it. Let the skillet sit, covered, for about 5 minutes.
Fluff the rice with a fork.
4. Add the cheese, and enjoy!
Finally, sprinkle the cheese on top of the fluffed rice, put the lid back on, and let it sit for about 2 minutes.
That should give the cheese time to melt.
Once it does, serve the dish, and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks for The Best Mexican Chicken and Rice
Here are a few final tips to keep in mind:
- Remember that you only need 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice. So if you choose to cook your own, measure accordingly, per the package.
- A good rule of thumb is that rice doubles/triples in size when cooked.
- One cup of uncooked rice yields about three cups of cooked rice.
- Different grains give you more or less (e.g., long grain vs. short), so adjust the amount as needed.
- Add extra veggies. If you want, you can add extras to the recipe. For example, black beans are an excellent addition.
- Substitute milk or heavy cream for half of the chicken broth. Doing so will result in a thicker, creamier sauce.
- Use onion powder instead of onions. Have kiddos who hate onions? Use onion powder instead. You’ll get the same great flavor without the chunky onions.
How to Store Mexican Chicken and Rice
I never have enough leftovers to store anything when I make this recipe. Instead, my family gobbles it up, leaving only a few stray rice grains.
If you do have leftovers, though, you can store them in the fridge. Put them in an airtight container, and keep them for no more than 2-3 days.
How to Reheat Mexican Chicken and Rice
When you want to reheat it, do so on the stove.
Cover the skillet and allow everything to heat through thoroughly. If the rice seems too dry, add a tablespoon or two of chicken broth or water.
You could also nuke it in the microwave, but the rice does better on the stove.
More Spicy Chicken Recipes You’ll Love
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