Arroz con pollo (which translated simply means rice with chicken) has been a favorite comforting dish of mine since the first time I tasted it. It’s an easy chicken and rice dish with Latin roots. And, like all things with Latin roots, that just makes it better.

Easy weeknight arroz con pollo, chicken and rice, is always a hit in our house

Where is arroz con pollo from?

Arroz con pollo has roots in Spain and many Latin countries. There are debates over where this dish originated, with many cultures claiming fame, and many variations to it as well from using beer, adding peas, or the need to use saffron or not the yellow color.

One thing we can agree on is that chicken and rice, no matter where it started, is a meal a lot of cultures have in common and that families everywhere love. It’s inexpensive, quick, and fills you up. A perfect weeknight combo.

For my twist on this chicken and rice dish, I combined aspects from several dishes I have sampled, along with the idea to make what I’d seen at local Mexican resturants healthy, to create a quick skillet recipe all my own.

fast chicken and rice with Latin flavors is a great weeknight recipe from GirlCarnivore

How to make Arroz con pollo:

This quick and easy recipe uses chicken thighs and one skillet to make a quick weeknight meal with minimal cleanup. What I love about this dish, is you could make it ahead of time, in a baking dish, cool it and cover it for later or craft it in a slow cooker – all with easy changes.

If you decided to freeze it for later or cook it in the slow cooker, be sure to return it to an oven-safe dish, with the heat set to broil, to brown up the chicken thighs and skin again, or opt for skinless chicken. Otherwise, the skin texture becomes soft and loses the crispy bite.

For this recipe, all you need is a solid oven safe cast iron skillet like my favorite Le Crueset or these:

quick easy and healthy arroz con pollo recipe from girlcarnivore

Is Arroz Con Pollo Healthy:

One thing I love about this arroz con pollo recipe is that it’s healthy! I have seen versions in some Mexican restaurants with it smothered in a queso sauce, but that’s a hard stop right there.

Chicken and rice is a gluten-free recipe option loaded with flavor. Feeling adventurous, replace the rice with cauliflower rice – like in my _ recipe – you won’t even notice the difference! And like magic, this recipe is easily converted to a Whole30 Chicken and Rice!
Skip the small amount of cheese I added to this recipe to lean it out even more.

In this recipe, I use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, because I believe they have a better flavor and are juicier than chicken breast. However, if you want to trim a few more calories, make arroz con pollo with chicken breast.

Sear the chicken breast, just like the recipe calls for, but check your time, to make sure you aren’t burning it. When you sear the skin in this recipe, you are making it crispy, so shortening the time, but still searing the chicken breast will lock in moisture while everything bakes.

crazy easy arroz con pollo recipe for healthy recipes at home

Want more chicken thigh recipes? Try some of my favorite recipes

If you’ve tried my Easy Arroz Con Pollo or any other recipe on please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know where you found it in the comments below. I get inspired by your feedback and comments! You can also FOLLOW ME on Instagram @girlcarnivore as well as on  Twitter and Facebook.

Easy Arroz con Pollo

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 4
This fast and flavorful chicken and rice dish is a weeknight hit with tons of Latin and Spanish inspired flavors. My one skillet take is a healthy and fun spin on classic arroz con pollo.


  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 4 chicken thighs patted dry
  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1/2 red pepper seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp ancho chiles in adobo minced
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow rice
  • 1 28- oz can diced tomatos drained
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas thawed
  • fresh cilantro for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Whisk the cumin, salt, pepper, and ancho chili powder in a small bow.
  • Season the chicken thighs liberally with the cumin mixture.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 10″ to 12″ oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat pan.
  • Add the chicken thighs, skin side down and allow to cook until brown, and when wiggled with tongs pull without resistance.
  • Flip and cook 2 minutes longer.
  • Remove chicken from skillet.
  • Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet with the onion and saute 5 minutes.
  • Add the pepper and reduce the heat to medium-low. Saute for another 3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and ancho chili peppers and cook 30 seconds longer, stirring to combine.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add the rice to the pan, and stir.
  • Add the chicken stock and tomatoes.
  • Nestle the chicken thighs back int he pan and place in the oven, uncovered.
  • Cook for 25 to 35 minutes until the rice is cooked.
  • To serve, remove the chicken from the pan, add in the frozen peas and stir.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Return the chicken to the pan, sprinkle with the cheese and place in the over 3 mintues to melt the cheese.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes before serving with fresh cilantro.


Add extra flavor with chopped olives!


Calories: 720kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 690mg | Potassium: 1219mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 3060IU | Vitamin C: 45.5mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 5.2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Latin
Author: Kita Roberts

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.


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