Mexican chicken and rice is the perfect weeknight dinner. It’s healthy, satisfying and when topped with a bit of cheese – it’s extra delicious! This special Mexican chicken and rice recipe is one that my family loves and yours will too. It’s full of beautiful festive flavor that transports you to the south side of the border, no plane ticket needed! Believe me, you’ll relish every tasty bite.
Mexican chicken and rice is a really easy recipe to make. It begins with a homemade Mexican spice mix.
Because I’m a super visual person, I find images like this are a great help when I’m out grocery shopping. I pull them up on my phone to make sure I have all the ingredients I need for a recipe. Above is what you’ll need for the Mexican spice mix. Below are the ingredients for this fabulous Mexican chicken and rice recipe.
Mix all the spices together to create the Mexican spice mix. If your family or kiddos are a bit sensitive to spicy foods, you can control the spiciness by first adding in 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper and tasting the mixture with your fingertip. If you want to spice it up a bit more, add another 1/4 teaspoon. Still, I find that even if you use the whole 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper your dish really won’t be that spicy. I’d rate the heat factor at mild/medium. As the Mexican chicken and rice cooks the flavors diffuse within the overall dish.
Add the cubed chicken to a Ziplock bag along with the Mexican spice mix, olive oil and juice from 2 limes (or lemons). Close the baggie and knead it a bit so that the chicken is fully covered in the olive oil/lime juice/Mexican spice mixture. Allow the chicken to marinade for about 15 minutes as you’re cutting up the veggies, shredding the cheddar cheese, and opening the cans of chicken broth and tomato puree.
In a large cast-iron skillet, saute the chicken over medium-high heat. Keep cooking the chicken until all the juices have been completely cooked off and the chicken is a lovely golden brown color.
Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean bowl. Leave the residue from the chicken in the pan.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the cast-iron pan. Saute the onions, bell peppers and garlic over medium heat. Once the onions become beautifully carmelized, it’s time to add the rice to the pan.
Stir briefly until every grain of rice is covered in the onion mixture.
Add chicken broth, water, tomato puree, corn, salt, and an additional 1/2 teaspoon of the Mexican spice mix. Stir briefly to mix all ingredients together. Turn down the heat to low and cover the pan. Allow the rice to cook undisturbed for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is done. After 20 minutes it’s okay to stir the rice when you’re trying to see if the rice is ready.
Add the cooked chicken back into the pan. With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold the chicken into the rice.
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the Mexican chicken and rice. Transfer the pan from stovetop to oven. Broil the Mexican chicken and rice briefly until the cheese is melted and a bit bubbly.
Your delicious Mexican chicken and rice dish is ready to be garnished and served. Today I garnished mine with sliced grape tomatoes, sliced olives and a bit of chopped cilantro. Sometimes I’ll add some diced avocado and an extra-large dollop of sour cream. So yummy!
How to Make Mexican Chicken and Rice > Shop This Post
I’m absolutely in love with my cast-iron Staub universal pan. It’s perfect for cooking so many wonderful dishes including this flavorful Mexican chicken and rice recipe. It has a large cooking surface that is perfect for frying, sauteing, searing, slow simmering and braising. I like that the enamel coating is rust-resistant, it has two handles and it comes with a glass lid. I bought mine at Williams Sonoma, but you can buy yours for a really great price through Amazon. Below are helpful kitchen tools for making this Mexican chicken and rice recipe.
Mexican Chicken and Rice
MEXICAN SPICE MIX
- 2 + 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 + 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 + 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 + 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 key limes, juice only
- 1 tablespoon Mexican spice mix
MEXICAN RICE & VEGGIES
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 small bell pepper (green or red), sliced
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3/4 cup tomato puree
- 1 + 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican spice mix
- 2 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
- Grape tomatoes, halved
- Black olives, sliced
- Cilantro, chopped
- Mix all the dry spices together to create the Mexican spice mix.
- In a Ziplock bag, add chicken, 1+ 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice and Mexican spice mix. Close the Ziplock bag. Shake or knead the bag to mix all ingredients. Chicken should be well covered by the marinade. Allow the chicken to rest for 15-20 minutes.
- In a large cast-iron skillet, saute the chicken over medium-high heat until all the juices have evaporated and the chicken is a beautiful golden brown. Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean bowl. Leave the chicken residue in the pan.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same cast-iron pan. Over medium heat, saute the onion, garlic and bell pepper until the onion becomes well carmelized and the bell pepper is cooked but not limp.
- Add the rice to the pan. Stir briefly until all grains of rice are incorporated into the onion mixture.
- Add chicken broth, water, tomato puree, corn kernels, sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon Mexican spice mix. Lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Allow the rice to simmer undisturbed for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Lift the lid, stir the rice and do a taste test to be sure the rice is done.
- Add the cooked chicken to the pan. With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold the chicken into the rice.
- Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of the Mexican chicken and rice. Transfer the pan from stovetop to oven. Broil briefly until the cheese is melted and a bit bubbly.
- Garnish as desired. Serve hot. Enjoy!
Courses Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex
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How to Make Mexican Chicken and Rice > Your Thoughts
Have you ever tried Mexican chicken and rice? Do you have a favorite one-pan chicken and rice recipe? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!