One-Pan Italian Chicken and Rice

published Apr 1, 2024
Dinner Therapist
One-Pan Italian Chicken and Rice Recipe

This one-pan dinner has it all: juicy chicken, garlic and herb tomato rice, and a 10-minute prep time.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes

Cook40 minutes to 47 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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overhead shot of one pan italian chicken and rice in a cast iron pan
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik; Food Styling: Kelli Foster

Dear Dinner Therapist: I am horrible at meal planning. I’ve given it the good ol’ college try on multiple occasions, but it never works out. Usually something comes up in the schedule that puts a crip in my dinner making plan, or I don’t have all the ingredients. To allow for flexibility, I’d love a weeknight dinner recipe that relies mostly on nonperishable staples and also doesn’t require a ton of hands-on time. — Danielle

Danielle: My strategy for flexible weeknight dinners that can be made without requiring a trip to the grocery store is stocking the pantry (that’s to say, both the dry cupboard and freezer) with a short list of nonperishable items. With that in mind, a chicken and rice skillet dinner is the ideal meal for you! It’s one of the most satisfying meals you can make with pantry ingredients. 

This Italian-inspired one-pan meal is bursting with flavor, and best of all, it only requires 10 minutes of prep and comes together with pantry basics. Plus, it has built-in flexibility and a lot of room for substitutions, so you can work with what’s on hand (more on this below!) and doesn’t require any expensive ingredients. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • If you need proof that a very satisfying, full-flavored dinner can come from your pantry, this recipe is it. A mix of onion, garlic, dried herbs, canned tomatoes, and vinegar pack in layers of rich flavor.
  • The entire ingredient list is built on long-lasting, budget-friendly pantry ingredients. The recipe uses a mix of canned and dry goods, freezer-friendly items, and two types of produce with a long shelf life.
  • This recipe calls for less than 10 ingredients, requires no more than 10 minutes of prep, and uses a single cast iron skillet

Key Ingredients in One-Pan Italian Chicken and Rice

  • Bone-in chicken thighs. Chicken thighs have a limited shelf life in the refrigerator. However, they will last for months in the freezer. I love budget-friendly, bone-in thighs here because they’re meaty, super flavorful, and don’t quickly dry out if they’re in the oven for an extra couple minutes. 
  • Long-grain white rice. You’ll need one cup for this recipe. I love white rice here because it’s relatively quick-cooking and picks up the flavor of the aromatics and herbs.
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes. You’ll use the whole can here to cook and flavor the rice. I love fire-roasted over regular diced tomatoes because they have a deeper flavor.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth. Cooking the rice in broth gives it a lot more flavor than using water. If you don’t have plans to use the leftover broth anytime soon, just add it to an airtight container (labeled with the amount!) and store in the freezer.

Helpful Swaps 

  • I recommend fire-roasted diced tomatoes for the extra flavor and chunks of tomato, but any type of canned tomatoes will work here. Use regular diced tomatoes if that’s what you already have. Crushed tomatoes will also work here. You just won’t have chunky pieces of tomato. If all you have is a can of whole peeled tomatoes in the pantry, this will also work; just crush the tomatoes in your hands or use an immersion blender.
  • For maximum flavor, I call for chicken broth here. Vegetable broth works as a substitute, as does chicken bouillon. If you’re really in a bind, you can use an equal amount of water as a substitute for chicken broth (the rice won’t be quite as flavorful).
  • Don’t have dried Italian seasoning in the spice cabinet? A mix of these dried herbs will work just fine: basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, marjoram, rosemary.
  • If you don’t have balsamic vinegar that gets mixed in at the end, you can swap in an equal amount of red wine or sherry vinegar. Otherwise, you can leave it out entirely. Rest assured, this skillet will still be really delicious, I promise. 

Dinner Therapist is my column dedicated to solving your dilemmas around the most important — but let’s be honest, sometimes most dreaded — meal of the day. Prepping dinner night after night can be so hard. Here, I deliver practical and hopefully fun advice to make cooking less complicated and more enjoyable. Follow along for all the recipes. Got your own dinner struggles? We want to hear from you! Fill out this super-quick form for your chance to be featured in an upcoming column.

One-Pan Italian Chicken and Rice Recipe

This one-pan dinner has it all: juicy chicken, garlic and herb tomato rice, and a 10-minute prep time.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes to 47 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 3

    cloves garlic

  • 4

    bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

  • 1 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup

    long-grain white rice

  • 2 teaspoons

    dried Italian seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoons

    red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1

    (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon

    balsamic vinegar

  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350℉.

  2. Dice 1 small yellow onion (about 2/3 cup). Mince 3 garlic cloves. Pat 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs dry with paper towels, then season all over with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  3. Place the chicken skin-side down in a single layer in a 10-inch cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the skin is crisp and golden-brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until the second side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; it will not be cooked through.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup long-grain white rice, 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes if using, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir to combine and cook until toasted, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes and their juices and 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any stuck-on bits, and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Return the chicken to the pan skin-side up on top of the rice and pour in any accumulated juices on the plate.

  6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken to plates. Add 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar to the rice and stir to combine. Serve the rice with chicken. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley leaves if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.