10 Chicken And Rice Recipes For Easy Weeknight Dinners

There are a lot of classic food pairings, from burgers and fries to bacon and eggs, yet very few combinations transcend borders the way that chicken and rice does. It makes total sense on the surface, pairing one of the world's most popular staple grains with one of its most universal and affordable proteins. Still, the sheer variety of chicken and rice dishes tells you there's something more at work here than mere practicality. As anyone who has enjoyed a simple plate of Hainanese chicken rice can tell you, there is an alchemy between the flavor absorbing powers of rice and the perfectly savory taste of chicken, especially if you're cooking with chicken that still has the fat on it. Nothing becomes this popular without tasting really darn good.

The other great upside of chicken and rice is that it makes for a perfect weeknight meal. Many chicken and rice recipes, like a classic arroz con pollo, are one pot affairs, which makes both prep and cleanup a lot easier. Even if a recipe requires more pots, it will never be a fancy dish. Chicken and rice is best as something simple and hearty, free from uncommon ingredients or advanced techniques.

Since chicken and rice does cross so many cultural lines, there's almost certainly a variation (or three) out there that you will love. In fact, we have 10 of them right here for you to choose from, ranging from spicy South Asian curries to bright Mediterranean-inspired bowls.

Simple One-Pot Chicken And Rice

This is as straightforward as chicken and rice can go, but that doesn't mean it isn't delicious, and as a starting point for a filling and healthy weeknight meal, it's as good as it gets. Rich, fatty chicken thighs are browned in a skillet with smoky paprika, garlic, and onion powder before being simmered in the same pan with chicken broth and white rice. Every ounce of chicken flavor will infuse the rice as it cooks, and it all comes together in less than a half an hour. There are few easier or more satisfying ways to feed a family with that kind of turnaround.

Recipe: Simple One-Pot Chicken And Rice

Thai Red Curry Chicken

Chicken and rice is already convenient, so how can you go wrong by bringing another one of the easiest ingredients into the mix? Thai red curry paste offers a world of flavor in jar form, and requires nothing but being spooned into warm coconut milk to prepare. The flavor of this dish is boosted with extra spices like coriander and crushed ginger, and wilted spinach lends everything some green power. Meanwhile, baking the chicken means it can be cooked hands off at the same time as the rice, so everything comes together in a bowl in 20 minutes flat.

Recipe: Thai Red Curry Chicken

Baked Rice (Tahchin)

This one takes a little bit longer, but if anything is worth a little extra time ... it's tahchin. For those unfamiliar with Persian rice, the butter and yogurt marinade in which the rice is cooked forms a golden layer at the bottom of the pot, called tahdig, which is wonderfully crunchy and just about as flavorful as rice can get. Topped with chicken and studded with tart dried barberries and fresh parsley, this version was adapted from "Taste of Persia," by Naomi Duguid, and is one of the most unique and delicious expressions of chicken and rice out there.

Recipe: Baked Rice (Tahchin)

Chicken Fried Rice

Weeknight meals often mean using up leftovers, and there's no better use of leftover rice than fried rice. With some diced and pan fried chicken breasts, a few cups of leftover white rice can become a filling and complete meal. This recipe also makes use of easy-to-prep veggies like onion, bell pepper, and frozen peas to make the meal more complete, along with the essential scrambled egg. If you've never made fried rice at home you'll be shocked at how easy it is to create a take-out quality dish with nothing but sesame oil and soy sauce to flavor everything.

Recipe: Chicken Fried Rice

Grilled Greek Chicken Grain Bowl

Okay so this one technically has farro, but grain bowls serve the same practical function and give you the same experience, and this recipe will work just as well with rice subbed in. Either grain will be perfectly paired with sunny Greek ingredients like olives, feta cheese, crunchy pine nuts, and cucumber. Grilling chicken breasts is quick and easy, and imparts a wonderful smoky flavor to balance out all the bright freshness surrounding them. A yogurt-based lemon dill sauce flavors the bowl, and despite the panoply of tasty additions, so many of them are no-prep that you can make the whole meal in under 15 minutes.

Recipe: Grilled Greek Chicken Grain Bowl

Classic Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz con pollo is a staple of Spain and Latin American countries from Argentina to Mexico, and it's perhaps the quintessential one-pot form of chicken and rice. The seasoning mix can vary by country or family, but this version makes use of universally popular spices like dried oregano, cumin, and paprika. The chicken stock itself gets a big boost from acidic tomatoes and briny olives with their juice to make a dish that is savory, tangy, and lively all at the same time. Chopped peppers and onions add some sweet vegetal flavors and welcome crunch.

Recipe: Classic Arroz Con Pollo

Baked Chicken Fajita Bowls

Everybody loves fajitas, and few things lend themselves so well to chicken and rice bowls. This version swaps the grill for the oven, transforming the chicken and veggies into a one-pan topping for the rice. The meat gets marinaded in a tasty mix of chili, garlic, and onion powders, as well as cumin and lime juice before being served with the peppers and onions over white rice. As if that were not tasty enough, these fajita bowls borrow a little burrito bowl inspiration by adding some fresh-made guacamole to the equation.

Recipe: Baked Chicken Fajita Bowls

Velvety Soy Chicken And Broccoli

This at-home version of a Chinese take-out classic makes use of a technique called velveting that many restaurants use to produce meat that is super juicy and tasty. The secret is a baking soda-based marinade with soy sauce and sherry that tenderizes the meat as it flavors it. The chicken gets pan-fried and tossed with steamed broccoli over rice before everything is punched up with a wonderful mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, oyster sauce, ginger, and garlic that has been thickened to glossy perfection with cornstarch. While the marinating will need an hour at least, once you start cooking you'll be done in no time.

Recipe: Velvety Soy Chicken And Broccoli

Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Boat

Not every show-stopping meal needs to be difficult, and sometimes you need a little fun to spruce up your weekday meal routine. If that's the case this pineapple teriyaki recipe is the perfect solution. Despite its impressive appearance it's a cinch to make, with cubed and pan-fried chicken tossed with simple white rice and a homemade teriyaki sauce that only needs six common ingredients like soy sauce and honey. The pineapple gets cut up to form a perfect serving bowl to give the dish a tropical look, and the juice from the pineapple goes into the sauce for tropical flavor.

Recipe: Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Boat

Wild Rice And Sweet Potato Jambalaya

It might blow your mind a bit to realize jambalaya was just a version of chicken and rice all along, but it absolutely is. While spicy Andouille sausage is usually the focal point of this Louisiana favorite, cooking the rice with chicken and chicken stock is an essential part of the recipe, and the finished result is nothing short of a Gulf Coast version of arroz con pollo. Flavored with spicy Southern favorites like paprika and cayenne pepper, our version rounds everything out with the surprise addition of sweet potato, which lends the whole dish a harmonizing balance.

Recipe: Wild Rice And Sweet Potato Jambalaya