Add Cilantro To Your Chicken And Rice For A Huge Boost Of Bright Flavor

Chicken and rice is one of those comforting one-pot meals that takes little effort to make. Another perk of this easy weeknight dish is that you can easily customize it with whatever vegetables, herbs, and cuts of chicken are already in your fridge. For example, we think cilantro, that leafy green herb commonly used in salsa and guacamole, is an ideal ingredient to boost the dish with fresh and bright flavor.

We suggest trying our original recipe for simple one-pot chicken and rice which recommends fresh cilantro thanks to recipe developer Christina Musgrave. But don't worry, you don't have to stick to our version in order to add freshly chopped cilantro to your meal. Any variation of chicken and rice will benefit from cilantro, especially if you pair it with other ingredients that complement its flavor like avocado and bell peppers. Ultimately, using this earthy herb will impart freshness with slightly lemony and peppery notes that will brighten up any dish that you choose.

When and how much cilantro you should add

When should you add fresh cilantro to your pot of chicken and rice? Musgrave suggests using it as a garnish in our original recipe. "It adds a little more flavor and a pop of color when serving," she explains. In fact, the herb's fresh flavors are best when it's raw, so try to use it as a garnish, or stir it into the pot towards the end of the cooking time. If you really want to cook the cilantro into the dish, you'll still benefit from its flavor, but it will be much milder. 

However, if you only have dried parsley in the kitchen, don't expect to get the same intense flavor that the fresh alternative provides. And just in case you're wondering how much of the fresh version you'll need, 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro is sufficient, but you can use as little or as much as you want. The rest of the bunch can be stored in your fridge for three to four days or up to a month if you store it in a jar of water.