Get ready to be wowed with this easy, one-pot chicken rice dish! It’s so aromatic, flavor-packed and delicious! I make this chicken dinner recipe with bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks, fried to golden perfection and seasoned with smoked paprika. The chicken is baked in the oven over a bed of pepper rice seasoned with tons of Italian spices and more smoked paprika! With just 30 minutes of prep time, this easy, one-pot dinner recipe is bound to become a family favorite!
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How to Perfectly Brown Chicken
I love to use bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks for this chicken rice recipe! Bone-in meats tend to be more flavorful and juicier! You can use either all drumsticks or all chicken thighs, or a combination of both for this recipe. Before preparing the pepper rice, I start by browning the chicken pieces. Here’s how it’s done:
- Step 1: Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, if needed, then drizzle the chicken with a high smoking point cooking oil. I love to use avocado oil! You need to use an oil that can handle heat.
- Step 2: Season the chicken with salt generously on both sides but hold off on any other seasonings, which can burn during the frying process.
- Step 3: Preheat a large pan over high heat with more avocado oil. I recommend using a stainless steel or coated cast iron pan for this recipe. Non-stick pans are not meant to be heated to high temperatures.
- Step 4: Once the oil is hot and slightly smoking, add half of the chicken into the pan, skin side down first. Let the chicken fry without moving it around for 3 to 5 minutes, until it’s nicely browned, then turn it over and fry the other side. Fry the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
- Step 5: Once the chicken is nicely browned, combine all the chicken back into the pan and season with smoked paprika and ground black pepper. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside until ready to return.
- Bonus: don’t mind washing a second pan after dinner? Speed up the frying process by using 2 pans to fry the chicken.
Can I use Cubed, Bone-less Chicken?
Yes! This chicken rice recipe will also work great with simple, cubed chicken such as chicken thigh or chicken breast. Simply fry the cubed chicken, season and then set aside. Mix back into the rice and then bake it in the oven for 30 minutes. You can also cook the rice on the stove top for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice is done.
Aromatic Pepper Rice
You’re going to love how aromatic and flavorful this pepper and chicken rice dish is!! I add all the herbs and seasonings to make it extra delicious! First, I sauté some onion and sweet red bell pepper in melted butter, then I add in some garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste and roasted red bell pepper. The roasted pepper adds so much great flavor! Next, I add all my favorite dried Italian and French herbs: parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil. You can also use fresh thyme and rosemary if you prefer!
One of my favorite varieties of rice is long-grain Jasmine rice and it’s the perfect choice for this pepper rice recipe! It’s extra fluffy and doesn’t stick together. I toss the rice with the pepper and onion mixture before adding some chicken broth. Using chicken broth in place of water for cooking the rice is an excellent way to add even more flavor to the dish.
Baking & Serving
I love how easily this one-pot dinner recipe comes together! Once I have the rice seasoned, I just return the fried chicken to the pan and place it skin side up over the rice and cover the pan with a lid. This rice dish bakes for approximately 30 minutes at 400F, until the rice and chicken are cooked. I like to remove the lid once the rice is done and turn on the broiler on the ‘low’ setting for 4 to 5 minutes, to make the skin crispy again.
After removing the chicken rice from the oven, I actually like to remove the chicken from the rice temporarily and use a large fork to fluff up the rice and mix everything together. Then, I garnish with fresh parsley and the dish is ready to be enjoyed! Need to reheat leftovers the next day? Just fry the rice in a large frying pan until it’s steaming hot again!
How to Roast Peppers
For my pepper rice recipe, I love to add even more flavor by using diced, roasted red bell peppers. For my video, I used canned peppers but they’re actually super easy to make at home! You’ll need just 1 pepper for this recipe but it’s easy to scale up if needed.
- Oven Instructions: First, preheat the oven to 425F and slice 1 large red bell pepper into quarters. Set the peppers onto a small baking tray, drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the peppers for 20 to 25 minutes until the peppers are charred.
- Stove Top Instructions: If you have a gas stove, you can easily make roasted peppers over direct heat. Set the gas to a ‘low’ level of heat on a small heating element and place a whole pepper directly on top. Slowly roast the pepper, turning every couple of minutes, until the entire pepper is charred and soft, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cut the pepper open to remove the seeds and use.
Enjoyed this easy chicken dinner recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Chicken ‘Plov’ Rice Pilaf – my Ukrainian mom makes the best chicken rice and it’s super easy to make! Simple and delicious recipe!
- Potato & Chicken Casserole – one of the top chicken recipes on my website for a reason! Have it in the oven in 15 minutes! So delicious and EASY!
- Mango Chicken Curry – aromatic and sweet mango chicken with creamy coconut sauce served with rice. You’ll love this recipe!
- Creamy Chicken Orzo – this comfort food dish is made with cubed chicken, mushrooms and parmesan!
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Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- Ruffoni Copper Oval Casserole – I love to cook with copper and this pan is stunning and great for cooking. These pans come with different, seasonal lid toppers.
- Le Creuset Braiser with Lid – a great traditional cast-iron pan, in classical red
- Glass Mixing Bowls – I love preparing my ingredients ahead of time and these bowls keep me well organized.
- Smoked Paprika – my favorite brand of smoked paprika, with the perfect amount of smokiness.