This recipe for one-pot chicken and rice is inspired by Indian flavors, using garam masala as its primary seasoning. This chicken recipe comes together in about a half an hour and serves 4. Make this super easy one pan chicken and rice dinner any time you’re looking to extend your pantry ingredients and make Indian food at home!
What is garam masala spice?
Traditionally from the North of India, garam masala is a staple spice in Indian cooking. “Garam,” when translated, means “warm.” Warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger give garam masala a mellow, flavorful taste and smell. Garam masala is not spicy at all and is more akin to an autumn blend of spices like pumpkin pie spice than a curry.
If you don’t have garam masala, there’s a mixture in the recipe card below for a substitute.
How does cooking both the chicken and rice in the same pot work?
The first thing that happens in this recipe is that you brown the chicken, which creates a nice outer flavor layer for the chicken. It is technically called the Maillard reaction, which is when you apply enough heat to the surface of a food, it rearranges its sugar and amino acid cells, and turns brown/delicious. If you did not brown the chicken it would still cook through, but doing the browning first adds flavor.
Then you’re cooking the rice with the browned chicken together. When rice cooks, two things happen: Water gets absorbed into the grain, and heat softens the starch. There is also a decent amount of steam let off from the water boiling/rice cooking, and when the lid is kept on the pot, the steam stays in the pan. So while the rice is absorbing water, its also creating steam, which finishes the chicken cooking.
How do you make one-pot chicken and rice?
Time needed: 35 minutes.
Heres how to make one-pot chicken and rice.
- Season the chicken with a tablespoon of garam masala spice
Toss the chicken thighs in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of garam masala and a pinch of kosher salt. If you don’t have garam masala, there’s a mixture in the recipe card below for a substitute.
- Brown the chicken
In a 10″ skillet, pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pan. Wait until it feels really hot — I hold my hand about 6 inches above the pan to gauge how how it is, and also observe how viscous the oil in the pan becomes as it heat sup. When the pan is hot enough, the oil will be much looser/shinier than before. Sear the seasoned chicken on each side in the pan and then place on a dish to the side.
- Add the rice in
Pour in your rice, chicken broth, another tablespoon of garam masala spice, a squeeze of half a lime, and a pinch of salt, and stir to combine. If your pan is still on high heat, it will boil fairly quickly.
- Add the chicken in on top and cook.
Add your chicken thighs on top of the rice/broth, arranged nicely, and cover with the lid of the pan. Reduce the heat to a low level and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the rice has cooked through.
Serve with lime wedges and cilantro. I like this with a quick cucumber/tomato/lime salad on the side.
Recipe for one-pot Indian-inspired chicken and ricePrint
Indian-inspired chicken and rice, made in 1 pan all together
- 2 tablespoons of garam masala spice, divided. If you don’t have garam masala, make your own mixture of:
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of canola oil
- 4–6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup of rice
- 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth
- 1 lime, divided
- cilantro for serving
- Season the chicken thighs with 1 tablespoon of garam masala and salt
- In a 10″ pan that you have a lid for — here’s what i mean — heat oil to a high heat. Sear the seasoned chicken on each side, then remove and place on a plate to the side.
- Add in the rice, chicken broth, another tablespoon of garam masala spice, and half a lime’s juice, and stir to combine. Add the browned chicken thighs on top. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the rice has cooked through.
- Serve with lime wedges and cilantro
Keywords: One pot chicken and rice, chicken and rice garam masala, indian one pot chicken and rice