Easy, delicious and feeds a crowd, this One-Pot Arroz con Pollo is loaded with juicy chicken, perfectly cooked rice and aromatics. It’s hearty and balanced enough to be served on its own, but also goes great with a side of sautéed mixed vegetables. It may not be Paleo or Whole30, but this dish definitely sits on the healthy side of the comfort food spectrum.
What You Need for One-Pot Arroz con Pollo
- Rice: The type of rice and how you cook it will make or break your arroz con pollo. I recommend using long-grain parboiled rice because it’s neutral in flavour and maintains its texture and shape very well as it cooks.
You can substitute other varieties, such as basmati, jasmine, long-grain white, short-grain white, or arborio. Just keep in mind that basmati and jasmine will impart some flavour, long-grain and short-grain white rice may crumble a bit after cooking, and arborio is very starchy.
- Chicken: For best flavour and juiciness, try to use bone-in and skin-on chicken. It can be chicken drumsticks, wings, thighs or even breasts. Whatever cut you choose, I strongly recommend using smaller sized pieces so that they have a better chance of cooking all the way through by the time the rice is finished.
If you have larger or thicker pieces of chicken, you can try breaking them down to smaller pieces.
- Spices: One of the secrets to a really delicious arroz con pollo is to let the chicken marinate so that the spices have a chance to penetrate the meat. You can use your favourite store-bought spice rub, or make one from scratch with some onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper. The turmeric is a non-compromise spice for me because it adds an incredible colour to the rice and chicken.
I personally avoid adding dried herbs like oregano to the chicken marinade because they have a tendency to burn in the pan and leave the rice with a bitter flavour. After all, the idea behind a one-pot arroz con pollo is to continuously build up flavours in the pan in stages.
- Aromatics: A combination of red bell pepper, onion and garlic form the flavourful base for this one-pot arroz con pollo. You can substitute any colour bell pepper you like. Each variety will add a different degrees of sweetness.
- Frozen Green Peas: For convenience, I use frozen green peas in this recipe. They add a pop of colour, texture and flavour to the dish. You can substitute fresh green peas, canned green peas or canned pigeon peas as well. Another option is to substitute chopped green beans or chopped asparagus.
- Olives: Another non-compromise ingredient in my arroz con pollo is stuffed manzanilla olives. They add a briny, salty bite that helps cut through the richness of the chicken. If you like things extra briny, you can also add a couple spoonfuls of capers.
- Chicken Broth: As always, use the best quality chicken broth you can find. Homemade is always best. If you use store-bought, I recommend trying Kettle & Fire. It’s made with all-natural, organic ingredients and pasture-raised chicken bones. There are no artificial ingredients, fillers or refined sugars.
How to Make Arroz con Pollo
- Marinate the Chicken: Combine the spices and some oil in a bowl and toss with the chicken. Let the meat marinate for 1 hour to overnight. The longer it sits, the better it will taste.
- Rinse and Drain the Rice: Be sure to rinse the rice very well under cold water until the water runs clear. This will prevent the finished product from being overly thick and starchy.
- Brown the Chicken: Do not rush this process. You want to slowly brown the chicken on a medium heat until it is golden brown and almost entirely cooked through. If the heat is too high, the skin and spices may burn before the centre has had a chance to cook through. And since the rice is cooked over a very low heat, you’ll be left with raw pieces of chicken.
- Sautée the Aromatics: Set the browned chicken aside and sauté the peppers, onion and garlic until slightly softened. I also like to add a little more turmeric to colour and flavour the rice.
- Toast the Rice: Add the rinsed and drained rice to the pot and toast it in the oil with the vegetables and turmeric. This step will give the rice a nutty flavour and aroma.
- Add the Broth, Peas and Olives: Once the rice is toasted, add in the broth, peas and olives and stir everything to combine.
- Add the Browned Chicken: Return the browned chicken to the pot, skin-side up. Be sure to gently nestle each piece of chicken so that it is 90% submerged. Bring everything to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to low and let it cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.
- Remove from Heat: After 20 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit with the lid covered for another 10 minutes. The chicken should be completely cooked through and the rice should be plump and tender.
- Serve: This one-pot arroz con pollo is hearty and balanced enough to be enjoyed on its own or can be paired with some sautéed mixed vegetables.
One-Pot Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- 4 tablespoons avocado oil
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, substitute drumsticks or breast
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1 small white onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 cups parboiled rice rinsed and drained
- 3 cups chicken broth homemade or Kettle & Fire
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup stuffed manzanilla olives
- In a bowl, combine the salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, black pepper and 2 tablespoons avocado oil. Mix well to combine. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.
- Preheat a sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons avocado oil and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook, undisturbed until golden brown, around 8 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown and the thickest part of the chicken registers around 160F, around 4 more minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Discard all but 2 tablespoons of rendered fat in the pan. Add the bell pepper and onion and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, around 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 60 seconds. Add the turmeric and cook, stirring, 60 seconds. Add the rice and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, peas and olives and stir to combine. Return the browned chicken to the pot, skin-side up, and gently push each piece down so that it is 90% submerged. Raise the heat to high and bring the broth to a simmer. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit another 10 minutes.
- Transfer to individual serving plates and enjoy!