Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet

This Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet combines one of my favorite foods in the world, Yellow Jasmine Rice, with a couple of items that I found in the back of my freezer. I found some chicken thighs in my freezer (leftover from Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo) and I added some peas for extra color, flavor, and texture (another “back of the freezer” find). Everything cooks in the same skillet for more flavor and less cleanup. I love it when you can cook the main dish (chicken) and the two sides (rice and peas) all in one vessel. Hello, Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet!

Overhead view of the Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet, title text at the top.

Can I Use Boneless Chicken?

Yes, but keep in mind that boneless cuts of chicken cook much faster than bone-in chicken, so you run the risk of overcooking the meat. With chicken thighs this isn’t as big of an issue since the meat is fattier and does not dry out as quickly, but if you’re using boneless chicken breast it may become slightly dry.

Tips for One Pot Rice Dishes

Cooking rice can be a little tricky for some, and the same is true for one pot rice dishes where you are cooking rice in the same pot with meat and vegetables. Here are a few tips to help your one pot rice dish a success:

  • Use thick, heavy cookware. If you are using thin cook ware you are more likely to have hot and cold spots in the pot which will lead to pockets burned and/or undercooked rice. Thicker cookware heats and cooks more evenly.
  • Use a pot or deep skillet that is close in size to the burner. If the burner is too small for the bottom of the pot, you again run the risk of it heating unevenly and the rice in the edges of the pot undercooking.
  • Make sure the liquid maintains a simmer. You may need to adjust the heat slightly up or down to keep the liquid simmering, depending on the characteristics of your range top and cookware. If the liquid isn’t simmering the rice will not cook through.

What Kind of Skillet Should I Use?

I’m using a 4 quart stainless steel deep skillet for this recipe, but this recipe also works great with a Dutch oven (affiliate link). The two most important things you need in a piece of cookware for this recipe are: that it is thick and heavy so it heats evenly and it has a lid. And you’ll probably want something that at least 3 quarts in volume.

Can I Use Plain White Rice?

You can substitute plain long grain white rice in place of the jasmine rice, but you will lose out on some of the fantastic flavor that jasmine rice has. To find the best price on jasmine rice, check the bottom shelf of the rice aisle for the larger 5 lb. bags of jasmine rice. Avoid the small specialty packages, which are usually found on higher shelves.

A bowl of Yellow Rice with chicken on a red napkin


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4.78 from 48 votes

Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet

Jasmine rice, garlic, and fragrant spices are all cooked together in this Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet. It's a complete meal in one pan! 
Total Cost: $6.04 recipe / $1.51 serving
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.02)
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs ($3.48)
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1 tsp turmeric ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon ($0.03)
  • 1.5 cups long grain jasmine rice ($0.78)
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas ($0.72)
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth* ($0.33)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro (optional) ($0.32)

Instructions

  • Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, then tilt the skillet to spread the oil over the surface. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet, skin side down, and allow to brown before flipping (about five minutes). Flip the thighs and let brown on the second side (another five minutes). Remove the browned thighs to a clean plate.
  • If there is excess oil in the skillet, pour it off into a bowl to cool, leaving about 1 tablespoon of oil and fat in the skillet. Add the minced garlic, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon to the skillet. Sauté for about one minute, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
  • Pour the chicken broth into the skillet and use a wooden spoon to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Once the browned bits are dissolved, add the frozen peas and rice, and give it a quick stir to distribute the broth and spices. Nestle the browned chicken thighs into the rice and peas.
  • Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. allow it to come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low (or just above low) and let the skillet simmer for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit undisturbed for an additional 10 minutes. Finally, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, mixing the peas in as you go. Top with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Notes

*I use Better Than Bouillon brand soup base for my broth. It's less expensive, has an extended shelf life in the refrigerator, and you can mix up any quantity you need.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
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Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 571.53kcalCarbohydrates: 61.5gProtein: 31.1gFat: 21.28gSodium: 1121.23mgFiber: 3.05g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Side view of the finished Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet

How to Make Chicken and Yellow Rice – Step by Step Photos

Seasoned Raw Chicken chicken thighs

Start with four bone-in chicken thighs, with skin. Pat them dry with a paper towel, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Drying the surface helps them brown better in the skillet.

browned chicken thighs in a deep skillet

Heat a large deep skillet over medium flame. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil. Tilt the skillet to spread the oil over the surface. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and allow them to brown before moving them (they will actually kind of stick to the surface until they are brown, at which point they usually “release”). Flip the thighs and brown on the other side. Once both sides are browned, remove the chicken to a clean plate.

garlic and spices added to the skillet

If a lot of fat rendered off of the chicken thighs, pour some out until there is about a tablespoon or so left in the skillet. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Sauté the garlic and spices for about a minute, or just until the garlic is soft and fragrant (but has not browned).

Chicken broth added to the skillet

Deglaze the skillet with 2.5 cups of chicken broth. “Deglaze” just means to use the chicken broth to dissolve any browned bits (called fond) off the bottom of the skillet. The browned stuff is the good stuff.

Rice being poured into the skillet with the broth and peas

Finally, add 1.5 cups of frozen peas and 1.5 cups long grain jasmine rice. Give the skillet a quick stir to distribute the spices among the peas and rice.

Chicken added back to the skillet with the broth and peas

Return the browned chicken to the skillet, nestling it into the rice and peas.

Cooked rice and chicken in the skillet

Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium high. Allow it to come to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low (or just above low – so that it doesn’t stop simmering) and let the skillet simmer for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit undisturbed, with the lid on, for ten more minutes. The photo above is what it looks like after simmering and resting.

Rice being fluffed with a fork

Use a fork to fluff the rice and stir it up a bit. All the peas and many of the spices float to the top while it simmers, so use the fluff time as a way to make sure everything is evenly mixed.

Finished Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet, overhead view

Top with fresh cilantro, if desired. YUM!

Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet divided into plastic meal prep containers

Of course, I divided my Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet up into individual containers so I could just grab one at a time and microwave it to reheat. These also freeze decently well. 

Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet with one portion scooped out

 

Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet - BudgetBytes.com

Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet - BudgetBytes.com