One Pan Cuban Chicken and Rice
Tender, roasted chicken thighs nestled in a bed of rice, black beans, and peppers, gently seasoned with cumin and topped with a fresh pineapple salsa. I’m sure you’ll love this one pan Cuban chicken and rice as much as I do!
The combination of chicken and rice seems to appear in a lot of different cuisines. There’s something comforting about chicken and rice: the lighter flavors, the chewy but softer texture, and the smell of chicken and rice cooking together.
In addition, it’s economical to make and the ingredients are readily available. Chicken and rice are like a favorite pair of slippers: comfy, well-worn, easy to slip into. Everyone is comfortable with chicken and rice.
But put those slippers back into the closet for now because today I’m bringing you a recipe that’s anything but humdrum: Cuban chicken and rice. With subtle spices and tangy pineapple salsa, this chicken and rice recipe is going to knock your socks (slippers?) off!
Okay, on to the recipe…my humor meter is telling me that I better stick to the facts.
About this One Pan Cuban Chicken and Rice:
This recipe for one pan Cuban chicken and rice starts with a few slices of bacon, fried until crispy. Using the bacon grease, I brown seasoned skin on, bone in chicken thighs, which are much more flavorful than white meat. Take the chicken out of the skillet, and sauté onions, peppers, and garlic. Add rice, chicken broth, beans, and the bacon, and give it all a good stir. Nestle the chicken thighs into the mixture, cover the pan tightly and place it all in the oven for an hour.
Sounds yummy already, doesn’t it? But while the chicken and rice is cooking, you’ll be making the part of this recipe that really puts it into the “wow!” category: the fresh pineapple salsa. Chopped pineapple, red peppers, cilantro, and freshly squeezed orange juice play a starring role in this recipe for Cuban chicken and rice. Doesn’t it look beautiful? The bright salsa adds an amazing freshness to this dish. I just love it! I could eat it by the spoonful.
This is really a one dish dinner: meat, vegetables, starch, and fruit. If you wanted a side with it, a fresh green salad would be excellent.
How to make this recipe your own:
- If you prefer chicken breasts, that’s fine, too. The skin and bone add extra flavor but you could easily use boneless skinless thighs or breast.
- Change up the vegetables. I used green peppers, onions, and garlic. Red peppers, mushrooms, celery, or carrots would be delicious, too.
- Don’t have a large oven safe skillet? After browning the meat and vegetables, put it all into a large casserole dish or 9×13 pan. Make sure to cover the pan tightly with foil so the rice will steam.
- Replace the black beans with canned beans of your choice. Don’t forget to rinse and drain them!
Reheating and Storage Tips
If you find that you have leftover chicken and rice, it can be stored in your refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to three days. Store the pineapple salsa separately. To reheat, place the chicken and rice in a microwave safe bowl or plate and heat until warm. Top with salsa.
Other one pan dinner recipes:
I think one pan dinners are the greatest! Here are a few more recipes that I’m sure you’ll like:
- 1/4 pound thick-cut bacon (about 4 slices), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (appr. 3½ pounds)
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin, divided
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 green bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 can (15.25 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
For the topping:
- 1 cup diced fresh pineapple (cut into ¼ inch pieces)
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper (¼ inch dice)
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice (from 1 orange)
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a large ovenproof skillet (that has a cover available), brown bacon over medium-high, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- Season chicken with 1 teaspoon cumin, salt, and pepper. Add to bacon grease in hot skillet, skin side down. Brown one side only in skillet, about 13 minutes; transfer to plate (chicken won’t be cooked through at this point).
- Remove grease from skillet. Add 3 tablespoons broth, onion, and bell pepper. Deglaze pan by scraping the bottom as the vegetables cook. Cook, stirring, until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add rice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and oregano. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth, beans, and cooked bacon; season with ½ teaspoon salt (see note). Nestle in chicken, skin-side up.
- Cover and transfer to oven. Roast until liquid is absorbed, rice is tender, and chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour. Leaving cover on, let set 10-15 minutes. The rice will continue to cook as it steams.
- While chicken is in oven, make salsa. Mix together pineapple, red bell pepper, cilantro, and orange juice in small bowl.
- Serve with pineapple salsa and chopped cilantro, if desired.
- I used low sodium chicken broth. If you use regular broth, don't add salt to the rice mixture.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 thighs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 412Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 1330mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 26g
Husband’s take: Ben loves when I make this recipe! He often eats leftovers cold…I don’t endorse that though.
Changes I would make: None are necessary!