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Mexican Arroz con Pollo

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This Mexican Arroz Con Pollo recipe is a hearty classic, perfect for dinner any night of the week. It is made with skin-on chicken thighs and Mexican rice all in one skillet!

Chicken thighs cooked on a bed of Mexican rice in a white skillet with bowls of crumbled cheese and diced avocado in the background.

Arroz con Pollo is a Latin American dish that translates to “chicken and rice.” Every cook, in every country has their own version of this simple meal. I chose to go with a Mexican-inspired dish using tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, garlic, and Mexican seasoning.

This dish originated in Peru where it is made with saffron to create a yellow color instead of the red version I have created. Saffron is also used in Spain. In Puerto Rico this dish is made with beer and annatto oil, and many people season with sofrito (a mixture of tomatoes, peppers and onion cooked in oil)

Mexican Arroz con Pollo with chicken thighs on a bed of rice in a white skillet.

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What you will need:

  • skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. I used four good sized thighs, but you could also use six smaller ones.
  • Mexican seasoning – or any combination of spices that you like.
  • olive oil
  • diced white onion
  • diced jalapeno pepper or serrano if you like more heat.
  • minced, fresh garlic
  • uncooked Jasmine rice
  • chicken stock
  • canned, diced tomatoes
  • chopped, fresh cilantro
  • sea salt and black pepper
Ingredients to make Mexican Arroz con Pollo.

How to make Arroz con Pollo Mexican:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet.

Season both sides of the chicken thighs with Mexican seasoning.

Four chicken thighs covered in Mexican seasoning on a white platter.

Sear the chicken thighs, skin-side down until the skin gets golden brown, about five minutes. Turn down the heat if the skillet gets too hot.

Four chicken thighs skin side down in a skillet.

Flip the chicken thighs over and sear the other side for 2 minutes.

Remove the thighs from the skillet and place on a plate, then cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the diced onion and jalapeno pepper to the skillet. Cook until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one additional minute.

Chopped onion and jalapeno added to the oil in a skillet.

Add the rice, stir and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. It will not brown, but it will start to absorb the oil and flavors.

Browning rice with the sautéed onions in a skillet.

Add the chicken stock and use a wooden spoon or turner to scrape all of the bits up off the bottom of the skillet. Next, add the diced tomatoes and continue to heat until it starts to boil.

Diced tomatoes and chicken stock in a large skillet.

Return the chicken thighs to the skillet and push them into the rice.

Four seared chicken thighs in a skillet with chicken stock and diced tomatoes.

Reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover the skillet and with a lid and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked through and the chicken thighs are no longer pink in the center.

Remove the chicken thighs and stir in the chopped cilantro leaves.

Stirring cilantro into the Mexican rice with a wooden spoon.

Season with salt and pepper, and adjust any other seasonings as needed.

A chicken thigh sitting on a bed of Mexican rice sprinkled with crumbled queso, with chunks of avocado on the side of a blue plate.

Serve sprinkled with crumbled queso or cheese of your choice, chunks of avocado, Mexican crema, and additional cilantro.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • My chicken looks burnt, but it didn’t taste burnt. My large burner has a mind of it’s own. Keep an eye on the chicken and reduce the heat if needed.
  • For picky eaters, simply season with salt and pepper and skip the Mexican seasoning.

Tools used to create this recipe:

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Additional recipes with chicken thighs:

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Enjoy!!

Seasoned chicken thighs on a bed of Mexican rice in a white skillet with bowls of diced avocado and crumbled cheese in the background.

Mexican Arroz con Pollo

This Mexican Arroz Con Pollo recipe is a hearty classic, perfect for dinner any night of the week. It is made with skin-on chicken thighs and Mexican rice all in one skillet!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Mexican chicken and rice
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 556kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Equipment

  • Skillet with a Lid

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs skin-on, bone-in
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican seasoning use more or less if desired
  • 0.5 cup chopped onion mine is small diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeds and stem removed, and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice or any white rice that cooks for 15 minutes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes drained
  • .25 cup chopped cilantro plus additional for serving

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet.
  • Season both sides of the chicken thighs with Mexican seasoning.
  • Sear the chicken thighs, skin-side down until the skin gets golden brown, about five minutes. Turn down the heat if the skillet gets too hot. Flip the chicken thighs over and sear the other side for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the thighs from the skillet and place on a plate, then cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Add the diced onion and jalapeno pepper to the skillet. Cook until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one additional minute.
  • Add the rice, stir and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. It will not brown, but it will start to absorb the oil and flavors.
  • Add the chicken stock and use a wooden spoon or turner to scrape all of the bits up off the bottom of the skillet. Next, add the diced tomatoes and continue to heat until it starts to boil.
  • Return the chicken thighs to the skillet and push them into the rice. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover the skillet and with a lid and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked through and the chicken thighs are no longer pink in the center.
  • Remove the chicken thighs and stir in the chopped cilantro leaves. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust any other seasonings as needed.
  • Serve sprinkled with crumbled queso or cheese of your choice, chunks of avocado, Mexican crema, and additional cilantro.

Notes

For picky eaters, simply season with salt and pepper and skip the Mexican seasoning.

Nutrition

Calories: 556kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 374mg | Potassium: 666mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 439IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 3mg

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