Southwest Chicken and Rice

So easy and made entirely in one pan, this Southwest Chicken and Rice is bursting with powerful flavors.  It’s perfect for meal prep, and with plenty of variations, you’re sure to find one your family will love!

This Southwest Chicken and Rice recipe is perfect for when you want a hearty recipe that’s on the table fairly quickly!  We love versatile chicken meals like my Creamy Garlic Chicken and French Onion Baked Chicken.  This is one of my Chicken recipes you’ll definitely want in your dinner rotation!

Pan full of mexican chicken and rice with wooden spoon


I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again… I’m a sucker for delicious Mexican/Southwest-inspired foods.

If I only got to have one last meal, I’m pretty sure it would be tacos of some kind… and that this rice would be alongside it!

Originally when I set out to develop this recipe, it was going to be something different.  Like a cheese covered chicken fajita bake.  Then I started thinking about how SO many great Southwestern meals come with rice; so why not include it IN the dish?

So this chicken and rice recipe has it all, fajita-spiced chicken, onions, peppers, tomatoes, beans, corn, flavorful rice, cilantro, lime juice… and of course, cheese!


  1. Heat oil in large pot/pan and cook chicken.  Don’t forget to season it with the fajita seasoning, and let it get some good golden brown color.  Brown = flavor!
  2. Remove chicken to a plate.  I like to cover mine with foil so it stays warm.  The reason we don’t leave the chicken in the pot while the dish cooks is that it would get pretty overcooked.
  3. Add onion and bell peppers and cook.  No need to wipe out the pan or anything, all those little browned bits in there after cooking the chicken are going to give off great flavor.  Just cook until they’re soft.  Then add garlic and cook a teeny bit more.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, drained black beans, spices and chicken broth.  Give the bottom of the pot a good scrape with a wooden spoon, just to get any extra flavorful bits that are down there.
  5. Add the rice, stir, then cover and cook on low.  Make sure to cover your pan with a tight fitting lid (or some aluminum foil if you don’t have a lid – just make sure it’s on fairly tightly).  Cook the rice mixture about 20-23 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  6. Fluff rice, then add cheese, cilantro, lime juice, corn, and cooked chicken.  Give it a good stir, then top with more cheese, cover and let sit (off the heat) for a few minutes until cheese is melted and everything is warmed through.

How to make southwest chicken and rice


  • HOMEMADE FAJITA SEASONING – in case you like to make your own spice mixes (isn’t it fun?!), here’s my go-to chicken fajita mix.
    • 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 Tbsp paprika, 1 tsp granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • STOVE BURNER – when I was testing this recipe I found that if I placed my pan on a larger burner, which generally burns hotter, my rice tended to stick to the bottom of my pan, no matter how low I had my heat.  So if you have a medium sized burner, try that one instead.


  • SPICY – if you like spice, then consider using a poblano pepper in place of the green bell pepper, and add a chopped jalapeno or two as well.  You can also use some cayenne pepper in with the spices you add.
  • VEGETARIAN – this recipe is made vegetarian by omitting the chicken, and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • NO RAW CHICKEN – I like to make this recipe with some rotisserie chicken (either homemade or store-bought), or leftovers of my Shredded Mexican Chicken recipe!  Just omit the chicken from the recipe, and proceed as normal.  Heat your shredded chicken and stir in at the end!
  • OTHER MEAT – you could use pork, chorizo, andouille, shrimp… whichever one you feel like!
  • TOPPINGS – I left this recipe with no toppings, as I wanted you to feel free to add any that you like.  Sour cream, avocado/guacamole, salsa, jalapenos, tomatoes, onion, etc.

Spoonful of chicken and rice


While the leftovers taste great, I don’t recommend making this entire meal ahead of time.  However, there are definitely ways to prep ahead for this recipe.

  1. Chop up your chicken.
  2. Chop up your veggies (onion, both peppers, garlic).
  3. Combine seasonings.
  4. Measure out rice.
  5. Drain and rinse black beans and corn.

Dry rice and seasonings can be kept at room temperature in resealable bags, but the rest will need to be refrigerated separately.

Made entirely in one pan, this Cheesy Southwest Chicken and Rice is bursting with powerful flavors, and ready in 45 minutes or less!  Plus plenty of prep-ahead tips to cut down on cooking time! #chicken #rice #southwest #mexican #fajita #onepan #onepot #easyrecipe #dinner #cooking


Leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up 5-6 days.


  • Braiser Pot – my favorite pot to cook one pot recipes in!



Made entirely in one pan, this Cheesy Southwest Chicken and Rice is bursting with powerful flavors, and ready in 45 minutes or less!  Plus plenty of prep-ahead tips to cut down on cooking time! #chicken #rice #southwest #mexican #fajita #onepan #onepot #easyrecipe #dinner #cooking

Southwest Chicken and Rice

Made in one pan, this Cheesy Southwest Chicken and Rice is bursting with powerful flavors, and ready in 45 minutes or less! 
4.8 from 12 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 4 - 6 servings
Calories 834


  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast - diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil - divided
  • 1 (1 oz) packet fajita seasoning mix
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion - diced
  • 1 red bell pepper - diced
  • 1 green bell pepper - diced
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz black beans - drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken broth - reduced sodium
  • 1 cup dry long grain white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice - fresh if possible
  • 8 oz can corn - drained


  • Heat a large heavy bottomed pot that has a lid over MED HIGH heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil, then add diced chicken breasts. Sprinkle fajita seasoning mix over chicken and stir. Cook 6-8 minutes, until lightly golden brown and cooked through. Set chicken aside on a plate and cover to keep warm.
  • To same pot, add remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil and butter. Add onion, and both bell peppers and cook 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds or so, until fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes, black beans, chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, and chicken broth. Stir together, then stir in rice.
  • Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to LOW and simmer 20-23 minutes, stirring halfway through. When no excess liquid remains and rice is tender, turn off heat.
  • Fluff rice with a fork, then stir in 1 cup cheese, cilantro, lime juice, corn, and cooked chicken. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, cover and let sit a few minutes, until cheese is melted.


  1. If you have a burner that heats hotter than others, when it's time to simmer the rice, move it to a burner that doesn't heat quite as hot - so the rice doesn't stick to the bottom and burn.
  2. Rice can be baked if desired.  In step 4 - omit written directions.  Bake covered, at 350°F for 35-45 minutes.  Continue with step 5 as written.
Author The Chunky Chef
Tried this recipe?Mention @the_chunky_chef or tag #thechunkychef!


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Recipe Rating

17 comments on “Southwest Chicken and Rice”

  1. Ok rice definitely sticks. I used lowest setting on my stove. I also used rotel vs tomatoes for a kick. Overall flavors are good. Just disappointing to have a layer of overdone rice. I would make again but use cooked rice maybe? Not sure.

    • Unfortunately, all stovetop burners don’t cook the same, and it sounds like yours cooks a bit hotter than mine and other readers. My advice for the next time would be to stir more often, since you know yours tends to stick.

  2. This was really good. I am eating it as I type 🙂 I used Trader Joe’s fire roasted corn as that was what I had on hand and added a dollop of sour cream to the top of mine. My daughter and I were both saying this would be really good in burrito shells also. Thank you for the yummy recipe!

  3. This was incredible. I didn’t follow the recipe to a T (I used basmati rice, I didn’t measure the spices, etc) but it really made a last-minute panicked weeknight dinner night very enjoyable.

  4. This was amazing.  My husband and I had seconds.  I made it exactly as the recipe is written.  A real keeper,  it smelled amazing too.  Thank you for this.  I used my electric skillet as it’s easy to control the heat.  💐

  5. Love this recipe! Don’t change anything! Great for lunches during the week! Thank you so much for another staple in our family!

  6. Absolutely fantastic! I would not change a thing! Family loved it! 

  7. This is my kind of dinner! My family will go crazy over this dish!

  8. I love everything about this meal! Delicious and easy to make!

  9. Love all of the flavors with this chicken! It was so good!

  10. So flavorful! I really loved it!!

  11. This is my kind of dinner recipe! Adding this to my dinner line up for the week; looks too good to pass up!

  12. This dinner really packs an amazing punch! I am loving everything about this and I know that my family will also love it.

  13. Delicious!!!

    Added some crunched up tortilla chips to individual bowls for some crunch.

    This is a keeper!

  14. This Southwest Chicken and Rice recipe is such an exciting idea! What a great recipe!