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!
EASY CHICKEN AND RICE
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!
HOW TO MAKE SOUTHWEST CHICKEN AND RICE
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
ADDITIONAL COOKING TIPS
- 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.
VARIATIONS OF THIS RECIPE
- 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.
MAKING CHICKEN AND RICE AHEAD OF TIME
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.
- Chop up your chicken.
- Chop up your veggies (onion, both peppers, garlic).
- Combine seasonings.
- Measure out rice.
- 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.
Leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up 5-6 days.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE
- Braiser Pot – my favorite pot to cook one pot recipes in!
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- 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.
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- 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.
- 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.