Spanish Chicken and Rice: A Flavorful Fiesta in a Pot

Spanish Chicken and Rice, known as “Arroz con Pollo” in Spanish, is a beloved dish that captures the essence of Spanish cuisine. This one-pot wonder combines succulent chicken, aromatic rice, and a medley of vibrant vegetables and spices to create a dish that’s not only delicious but also a celebration of Spanish flavors. Let’s dive into the recipe and bring the spirit of Spain to your dining table.


  • 1.5 to 2 pounds chicken thighs or drumsticks, skin-on, bone-in
  • 2 cups Spanish rice (short-grain or medium-grain)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (traditional choices are red or green)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives (optional)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (optional, for authenticity)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking


Sear the Chicken

  • Season the chicken thighs or drumsticks with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.
  • In a large, oven-safe skillet or paella pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Sear the chicken on both sides until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Sauté Aromatics

In the same pan, add more olive oil if needed. Sauté the chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic until softened.

Add Rice and Spices

Stir in the Spanish rice, smoked paprika, ground cumin, dried oregano, and saffron threads (if using). Toast the rice and spices for a couple of minutes.

Pour in Chicken Broth

Pour in the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors meld.

Nestle the Chicken

Nestle the seared chicken back into the pan, ensuring it’s partially submerged in the liquid.

Add Tomatoes, Peas, and Olives

Scatter diced tomatoes, frozen peas, and sliced green olives (if using) over the rice and chicken.

Bake in the Oven

Transfer the pan to a preheated oven and bake at 375°F (190°C) for about 25-30 minutes or until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.

Garnish and Serve

Once out of the oven, let it rest for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro.

Serve Directly from the Pan

Spanish Chicken and Rice is traditionally served directly from the pan, allowing everyone to scoop up a bit of everything.

Enjoy the Fiesta of Flavors

Dive into this flavorful dish, savoring the combination of tender chicken, aromatic rice, and the rich infusion of Spanish spices.

Tips for Perfect Spanish Chicken and Rice

  1. Saffron Substitution: If saffron is not available, you can use turmeric as a substitute for color. However, saffron adds a unique flavor, so try to include it if possible.
  2. Rice Choice: Traditional Spanish rice varieties like Bomba or Calasparra are excellent choices. If these are unavailable, Arborio or another short-grain rice can be used.
  3. Optional Additions: Customize the dish with additional ingredients like diced artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, or chorizo for extra depth of flavor.
  4. Resting Time: Allow the dish to rest for a few minutes after baking. This helps the flavors to meld, and the rice achieves a perfect texture.
  5. Serve with Citrus: Consider serving Spanish Chicken and Rice with wedges of lemon or lime. A squeeze of citrus adds a bright and refreshing element.

Bottom Line

Spanish Chicken and Rice is a culinary journey to the heart of Spain, where every spoonful is a fiesta of flavors. With its rich, savory taste and vibrant ingredients, this dish embodies the spirit of Spanish cuisine. Whether enjoyed as a family meal or showcased at a festive gathering, Spanish Chicken and Rice is a delicious and comforting experience that brings the warmth of Spain to your table. ¡Buen provecho!

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