Arroz Con Pollo
This Arroz Con Pollo Recipe from my friend Kathy’s 8×8 Cookbook is easy to make, and a great dish to serve for weeknight dinners. It has lots of flavor, and leftovers reheat beautifully too!
I love meals where you make the main protein and side, all in one dish.
Not only does it make for easier preparation, but all the flavors give and take from each other.
The rice gets flavor from the bone-in chicken. And the chicken cooks in the same saffron tomato beer broth that the rice cooks in. It’s one big flavor party.
This recipe is from my friend Kathy’s 8×8 cookbook, which is entirely full of dishes for the whole family that are baked in a square pan, ready to serve from oven to table.
This rice recipe in particular starts out on the stove, but finishes baking in the oven, so there’s some hands off time where you can clean up or prepare something else like a side salad.
Step by Step Overview:
Start by prepping green bell pepper, chopped yellow onions, freshly minced garlic, and ground cumin:
Feel free to use whatever bell peppers you enjoy here, if you enjoy sweeter red peppers over the green. But make sure to use the fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. It makes such a difference.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken thighs with sea salt and black pepper. Brown the chicken pieces on both sides in a little bit of avocado oil or olive oil:
Though the recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, you may use boneless skinless chicken thighs as well.
If at any point the chicken fat starts to smoke, turn the stove setting down to medium heat. You want to develop a golden brown color here, but not scorch the skin.
When the chicken is sufficiently browned, you should be left with these brown bits on the bottom of the pan:
Add the vegetables directly to the pan, incorporating those brown bites for maximum flavor.
Cook the vegetables until they’re slightly softened. Then add a pinch of saffron (a little goes a long way):
Next add short-grain white rice to the veggies:
Toast the rice for a minute, then add it to an 8×8 pan in an even layer.
We will be covering the square dish tightly with aluminum foil, but you may also use a dutch oven or any other pot with a tight fitting lid.
Pour a mixture of beer, chicken broth (or chicken stock), tomato sauce, and water right on top of the rice:
Note: if you have a larger skillet that can accommodate all the chicken and broth, you could just keep it in there and cover that with foil or a lid to make it a true one-pot meal. My skillet is a 10″ and isn’t quite deep enough, so I just transfer it, per the recipe.
Add the chicken back on top of the rice:
Cover with foil, and place the pan on a sheet pan. You don’t want juices to bubble over and make a mess in your oven:
Bake for 30 minutes, until the rice is done, and the chicken is 180F inside.
You can serve the baker right at the table, but I find it looks a little nicer to re-plate it. This gives you a chance to fluff the rice mixture as well.
Recipe Variations and Swaps
Want to increase the tomato flavor? Try adding 1 tablespoon of tomato paste along with the liquid ingredients.
If you enjoy adding a briney note, add 1/4 cup of chopped (pitted) green olives before baking.
Don’t have any beer on hand? White wine also adds a nice flavor. Or you can increase the cups of water and omit the alcohol altogether.
If you do not enjoy the flavor of green bell pepper, you may substitute an equal amount of red bell pepper. It’s just personal preference.
Recipe FAQ and Tips
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I find that this reheats really well in the microwave, making it a good choice for meal prep.
Yes, keep in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
This recipe will not work out right if you substitute brown rice, as the half hour of cooking time will not suffice. I recommend looking for a different recipe.
You may also use boneless skinless chicken breasts as long as they are cut very thinly. They should only be cooked to 165F.
Arroz Con Pollo
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1.5 lbs chicken thighs and/or drumsticks I used bone-in, skin-on
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 cup beer such as a pilsner
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- Pinch saffron
- 1 cup short-grain rice
- Heat the oven to 375°F.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Brown the chicken on both sides, then transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and cumin to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the beer, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt, and 1 cup of water to a simmer.
- Stir a good pinch of saffron into the vegetable mixture and cook for another minute. Add the rice and stir until all of the rice is coated in oil. Transfer the rice mixture to an 8×8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish, spreading it in an even layer. Carefully pour the broth mixture over the rice. Arrange the chicken on top. Cover the dish tightly with foil.
- Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Taste the rice for doneness, and check that the chicken is at least 180F inside—set the dish back in the oven for a few more minutes if necessary. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in December 2019. Originally published October 2015.