This Spanish Chicken and Rice recipe is a one skillet meal filled with tender chicken and flavorful rice stuffed with green olives and pearl onions. A Spanish inspired skillet dinner that takes only 30 minutes!
Easy Spanish Chicken and Rice
We love a hearty one-pot dinner that is both filling and packed with flavor, but we love them even more when they are full of our favorite Spanish flavors. So many of you loved our Chicken Skillet Enchiladas, we knew we had to share this old family favorite recipe too!
This Spanish Chicken and Rice combines juicy, tender chicken and flavor packed yellow rice with hidden olives and little pearl onions stuffed inside. Everything you need for dinner is in this one pot, making it as easy as it is delicious.
I have been making this easy skillet recipe since we lived in Texas and my own kids were little. Everyone who tries it falls in love with the amazing flavors and I am excited to share this well loved recipe with all of you!
Why You’ll Love this Spanish Recipe
- Easy. It takes hardly any effort to make this chicken and rice recipe. Chicken breasts, bagged rice and a few other simple ingredients are all you’ll need.
- Flavorful. Despite it’s simplicity this chicken dinner idea is packed with flavor!
- Filling. This is one of those recipes that you can serve on its own. Between the chicken and the rice, it is hearty and satisfying.
What You’ll Need
Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need to make this Spanish chicken and rice recipe. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.
- Chicken Breast: You can also use chicken thighs, if preferred.
- Olive Oil
- Spanish Olives: Also known as Manzanilla olives or cocktail olives.
- Cocktail Onions: Usually located by the olives in your grocery store.
- Diced Tomatoes: We used fire roasted diced tomatoes, but you can also use Rotel or regular canned diced tomatoes.
- Water: Or chicken broth.
- Yellow Rice with Saffron: To keep our ingredients low, we used completely seasoned ready to prepare rice. Vigo Yellow Rice with Saffron is our favorite.
Cocktail Onions and Olives?
One of our favorite parts of this dish are the hidden bites of olives and little pearl sized onions hidden within the rice. In fact, our family fights over who will get the last bites with the most onions and olives!
The salty olives and cocktail onions add so much flavor to each bite of this chicken and rice dish. You can not skip them! Manzanilla or Spanish olives are a medium to small olive that are stuffed with pimiento and add just the right amount of saltiness to our dish.
We add the olives and onions to our skillet, while searing the chicken, letting them get a little seared themselves and the flavor is amazing! Using cocktail onions, instead of fresh pearl onions, keeps this recipe simple. You could buy pearl onions and blanche and clean them yourself, but draining a jar of cocktail onions is so much easier!
How To Make Spanish Chicken and Rice
Are you ready to make this easy chicken dinner idea? Here’s how to do it:
- Season: Salt and pepper chicken breasts (or thighs) on both sides.
- Sear: Using a heavy skillet (I use a cast iron skillet) heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts to the hot oil and sear on each side for about 3 minutes. They should turn golden brown in color.
- Onions and Olives: While the chicken is searing add the onions and olives to the skillet, stirring every so often.
- Add: Once chicken is seared on both sides, add the rice, water, tomatoes and butter. Stir until well combined.
- Boil: Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often, and boil for 1 minute.
- Simmer: Reduce heat to a simmer and loosely cover skillet with foil or an off set lid. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is cooked. Serve immediately.
Tips For Best Spanish Chicken And Rice
- Extra Water: Keep some water by the stove while cooking. You may need to add a little water as the rice cooks and absorbs the water in the skillet. Add a few tablespoons at a time, if needed.
- Tomatoes: You can switch the can of fire roasted tomatoes for regular diced canned tomatoes, or even a can of Rotel. Rotel comes in mild, original and hot, so if you want your Spanish Chicken and Rice to be spicy, I would recommend trying Rotel instead.
- More Flavor: Want a little more flavor? Use chicken broth instead of water!
- Stirring The Rice: While the chicken and rice simmer, you want to stir the mixture occasionally to make sure everything cooks evenly, but don’t stir it too much! If you stir it too often, the rice will turn out gummy/mushy. Traditionally Arroz Con Pollo (Spanish chicken and rice) is made without stirring or disturbing the rice as it cooks, but this can lead to some crispy bits of dried rice on the bottom of the pan. So we like to stir our rice occasionally to make sure everything cooks evenly.
What Can I Serve With Spanish Chicken and Rice?
This is a hearty meal by itself, but here are a few ideas to bulk up your dinner:
- Side Salad: A light Spanish style side salad would be a great addition to this Spanish Chicken and Rice. Not overpowering, but adding to the meal!
- Beans: Seasoned black beans or frijoles charros would pair well with this dish.
- Plantains: Sweet plantains are always a great side dish with any Spanish dinner. We love these golden maduros with this recipe.
How to Store and Reheat Extras
- Fridge: Store any leftovers in an airtight container up to 4-5 days.
- Freezer: You can freeze Spanish Chicken and Rice for 3 months. Simply place into ziplock freezer bags, squeeze out any air, lay flat and label.
- To reheat: Place in the microwave or on the stovetop. If the rice drys out, add a tablespoon or 2 of chicken broth, or a little butter, before you reheat it.
Looking for more great Spanish inspired easy dinner ideas? You’re in luck! Here are a few of our other favorites you don’t want to miss:
- Easy Skillet Chicken Enchiladas
- Instant Pot Taco Soup
- Salsa Verde Chicken Soup
- Crockpot Mexican Chicken
Spanish Chicken and Rice
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 16 oz jar Spanish olives, drained
- 16 oz jar cocktail onions, drained
- 1 10 oz package yellow rice with saffron
- 1 can, 14.5 oz fire roasted tomatoes (do not drain)
- 2 ½ cups water or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper chicken breasts on both sides.
- Using a heavy bottomed skillet (like a cast iron skillet), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken breasts to the hot oil and sear on each side for 3 minutes. They should turn golden brown in color.
- While the chicken is searing, add the onions and olives to the skillet, stirring every so often.
- Once chicken is seared on both sides, add the rice, water, tomatoes and butter. Stir until well combined.
- Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often, and boil for 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and loosely cover skillet with foil or an off set lid. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is cooked. Serve immediately.