This oven baked chicken and rice is my absolute favourite dish right now! It’s so easy to make and the result is scrumptious, juicy, tender chicken and flavoursome rice! The cayenne pepper brings a bit of heat into the rice and chicken, elevating the dish to the next level.
Perfect budget-friendly, one-pot dish to serve a family otherwise great leftovers for lunch the next day.
I think what makes this dish even more special is the use of chicken stock. It adds so much flavour into the rice. And of course, you’ve got the natural juices from the marinaded skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces.
- Chicken drumsticks/thigh mix I like to use a mix of both chicken thighs and drumsticks, however, you can easily use one or the other. The most important thing is to make sure you use chicken pieces with skins on and bones in. Both the skins and bones will give lots of flavour into the dish!
- Lemon thyme you can swap this for normal thyme if you don’t have any lemon thyme handy. As the name suggests, lemon thymes have a lemony aroma which works great with chicken, fish and other vegetable dishes. If you’re using dried thyme, add a little less as dried herbs are stronger than fresh.
- Cayenne pepper is moderately hot and I’ve only added 1/2 tsp into this entire pot of chicken and rice. For me, this is the perfect amount of heat. Of course, add more if you like things on the hot side 🙂
- Sweet paprika is a little sweet and adds flavour and colour to the dish. It is nowhere near as hot as cayenne pepper. If you’re new to using paprika and cayenne pepper, have a little tiny taste of it before adding, you’ll know what I mean.
- Lemon juice not only does it flavour the chicken, it also help tenderise the chicken.
Cooking oven baked chicken and rice
STEP 1 Rub the chicken with lemon juice, sweet paprika, cayenne pepper, lemon thyme leaves, salt and pepper.
STEP 2 Pan sear the chicken on a medium/hot pan. This process will render the fat of the chicken skin as well as adding flavour and colour to the dish. When the chicken is lovely golden and coloured (like image #3 below), remove from the pan.
If you’re only using chicken thighs then you’ll find quite a lot of chicken fat will be left on the pan after searing. Discard the rendered fat (by using scrunched up kitchen paper towels). You might think ‘wait! chicken fat adds flavour to my rice!’. Don’t worry, even after searing, there is still more fat left in the chicken which will be the perfect amount to flavour your rice as it oozes out when baking in the oven.
STEP 3 In the same pan, saute onion and garlic until soft. About 3 minutes.
STEP 4 Add chicken stock, water, uncooked rice, couple of fresh lemon thyme sprigs, freshly cracked pepper and a little salt (be mindful of the amount of salt you add as most store-bought chicken stocks are salted). Bring it up to boil and scatter chicken pieces all around the pan evenly. Like image #6 above.
STEP 5 Put a lid on the pan, pop it into a preheated oven at 180°C/360°F fan-forced for 30 minutes then take the lid off and bake for an additional 5 minutes. The last 5 minutes will help crisp up the chicken skin, making it irresistable 😉
LOOK AT HOW JUICY THE CHICKEN IS!! The meat is tender, flavoursome and my mouth is honestly watering as I type this. YUMMMM.
Look at that yummy, fluffy rice! It was not mushy at all. Since we’ve used chicken stock PLUS chicken’s natural juices going into the rice as it cooks, the rice is just unbelievably tasty. Let’s not forget the little heat from the cayenne pepper!
The secret to fluffy rice
ALWAYS RINSE YOUR UNCOOKED RICE BEFORE COOKING under the tap. Washing rice removes the surface starch and is the key to fluffy rice.
Reheating oven baked chicken and rice the next day
This one-pot, oven baked chicken and rice is as delicious the next day. When reheating, I’ve found there was no need to add any water to the rice even if reheating on the stovetop. Simply spread the rice and chicken out evenly across the pan, put a lid on and reheat on medium heat. If reheating in a microwave, loosely cover. You may need to drizzle a little water on the rice to prevent it from drying out.
Definitely give this recipe a go, I am confident you’ll love this dish as much as I do. If you do, let me know what you think in the comments section below! I’d love to hear from you 🙂
Oven baked chicken and rice
- 1 kg chicken drumsticks/thigh mix skin on, bone-in
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice (see note 1)
- 2 cups chicken stock hot
- 1 1/4 cups water hot
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 sprigs fresh lemon thyme
- salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 sprigs fresh lemon thyme use leaves only
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 180°C/360°F (fan-forced).
- Mix chicken with chicken rub ingredients thoroughly.
- In a medium/hot pan, sear chicken pieces on both sides until golden and fat of chicken thighs rendered. Remove chicken from pan. (see note 2)
- In the same pan, saute onion and garlic until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add water, stock, rice, fresh lemon thyme sprigs and bring to boil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Add chicken, spread evenly across the pan.
- Lid on, bake in the oven for 35 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the lid off and bake remainder 5 minutes without the lid to crisp up the chicken skin.