Chicken One Pan Recipes

Last updated on June 1st, 2024 at 04:46 pm

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One Pan Italian Chicken and Rice

You can make this delicious and budget-friendly One-Pan Italian Chicken and Rice dinner using just your cast iron skillet. The chicken is soaked in a honey lemon soy sauce marinade before being seared to get the perfect crispy skin on top. It is then baked with lemon garlicky rice seasoned with Italian herbs. As a busy mom and businesswoman, I can tell you from my experience that this meal is a breeze to make, and I can assure you that once you try it, it will become a staple in your home.

One Pan Italian Chicken and Rice is one of the easiest dishes you can make! Full of flavor and just with a few ingredients, this meal won’t break the bank and will be a time saver during crazy weeknights. I love a good chicken and rice meal, and believe me, you don’t want to miss out on this one!

I love one-pan and one-pot meals because we have a busy lifestyle with work, school, piano practice, and traveling. It is nice to toss everything in one pan, brown it, and bake it for an instant meal without worrying about side dishes. The family loves this recipe, too. It combines savory Italian herbs, robust garlic, tangy lemon, and sweet onions.

Baking the rice with the chicken is genius because you get the whole meal in one pan and get rice that is full of flavor. It is the ultimate quick and simple dinner for busy weeknights. You can always serve a more filling meal with your favorite side dishes like potatoes, vegetables, soup, or salad if you need a more filling meal.

Why this recipe is so perfect

  • One pan to clean: Since everything is made in one pan, you have only one pan to clean up after.
  • Fast and easy: There is not much prep time. Just sear it and bake it for dinner in less than an hour.
  • Very affordable: You may already have all you need for this recipe. Just chicken, rice, and a few herbs and spices. And they are all easy on your wallet.
  • Full of flavor: For such an easy dish, it has a lot of different tastes and textures.

What you’ll need to make this one-pan chicken and rice recipe:

Special items:

  • Ziplock bag – For marinating the chicken. 
  • Instant pot – Any brand or size will work.
  • Wooden spoon – The best way to stir without damaging your pan.


Chicken and marinade:

  • Lemon – You must zest the lemon and squeeze out the juice for the best flavor.
  • Honey—Any kind will do. I usually use alfalfa or clover honey because they are sweet but mild.
  • Soy sauce – Be sure to get low-sodium soy sauce, or the saltiness will take over your meal.
  • Olive oil – is a key ingredient in the marinade to help it all come together.
  • Chicken – I recommend skin-on, bone-in thighs. Boneless and skinless breasts cook too fast and will dry out by the time t

For the rice:

  • Garlic – I like a lot of garlic in mine. However much you use, it is best to use freshly minced garlic cloves to get the most robust flavor.
  • Onion – For this dish, I prefer sweet yellow onions. However, you can use what you like.
  • Rice—Long-grain white or brown rice is great for this recipe. You do not want fast-cooking rice like Minute Rice because it will overcook.
  • Italian seasoning—You can use my easy recipe for Italian seasoning or store-bought. But it is better if it is made fresh before use.
  • Lemon zest – Do not skip this ingredient. It gives your rice the perfect zingy taste.
  • Chicken broth—For less saltiness, it is best to use low-sodium broth. I prefer organic because it has no additives.

For the garnish:

  • Parsley – Freshly chopped is the best way to go.
  • Lemon zest – Again, do not skip this. The lemon zest is a key ingredient.

How to make one-pan chicken and rice?

  1. Marinate: Several hours before (or the night before) you plan to cook, mix all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or baking dish. Then, place the chicken in the bowl, making sure it is covered. Let it chill for at least one hour, but preferably more. The longer it marinates, the better the flavor.
  2. Brown the chicken: When you are ready to begin preparing your chicken, set the oven to 375 degrees F and place a cast iron pan on the stove over medium-high heat. After it is hot, add two tablespoons of olive oil and brown the chicken on each side. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
  3. Saute the veggies: Add the onion to the pan and simmer for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add in the garlic and cook for one minute. Pour in the rice and cook while stirring for one minute. After, add the seasoning, zest, and chicken broth and stir again.
  4. Bake: Next, put the chicken back in the pan with the skin facing up. Top with lemon halves, cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil and broil for five minutes.
  5. Rest, garnish, and serve: Last, let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving with parsley and lemon zest on top.

Expert tip

How to season and care for a cast iron skillet

My grandmother always used cast iron skillets, and so did my mom. However, it seems lately everyone is using new cookware like copper and ceramic. I believe you cannot get the best crispiness and browning from anything but cast iron. Some people say it is too much work, but they are easy to care for. The first thing to do is to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Then, like with any pan, wash it with warm, soapy water and dry it completely. Then, rub a thin layer of fat or some kind of cooking oil over the entire skillet, including the handle, the back, and the bottom. Once the oven is heated, place the pan face down on the middle rack. It helps to place a piece of foil at the bottom of the oven to catch any drips.

Bake the pan for one hour. Then, turn off the oven and let the pan cool inside the oven. Now, repeat these steps one more time after it cools completely. Do not soak the pan in water or put it in the dishwasher to keep your skillet in good condition. Also, do not over-clean it or use a scouring pad. Gently scrub with a sponge or use kosher salt to remove residue. You can always leave some oil in the pan’s bottom after cooking and keep it on the stove.

Recipe variations:

  • Other meat: I have also made this with chicken breasts and drumsticks, it turns out great.
  • Add veggies: For more texture and heartiness, add diced tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower florets, chunks of carrots and celery, or whatever else you like.
  • Sweet and savory: Stir in some pineapple chucks with the rice before cooking, for a sweet and savory combo.
  • More flavor: To give this dish an extra-tangy flavor, replace a quarter cup of the broth with apple cider vinegar.
  • Cheese it up: Cheesy Italian rice is delicious! The kids love it when I sprinkle in some cheddar or mozzarella cheese during the last few minutes of baking. 
  • Raise the heat: To make this dish spicy, add some jalapenos or poblano peppers with cayenne or red pepper flakes.
  • Fewer carbs: If you are cutting carbs, use cauliflower rice instead.

Ways to serve it:

Even though it is a whole meal in one pan, you can serve it differently.

  • This dish goes great with a salad on the side. My Italian chopped salad recipe is perfect for this. It is made with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, olives, ham, salami, bell peppers, and nuts for a mix of textures and flavors. 
  • Another way to serve this dish is with beans. Any kind will do, but I like using baked beans with Italian dressing.
  • Make this a more complete meal with some extra veggies on the side, like steamed broccoli or roasted cauliflower.
  • Chicken and rice are also delicious with crusty bread or homemade breadsticks.
  • For dessert, you can serve whatever you like. My kids love it with fruit salad or grilled peaches.

Can I make this meal using Boneless Chicken Breast?

Yes you can, sear the chicken to brown it, set the aside, cover with foil. Add the rice to the pan, and do NOT add the chicken. Follow the directions for the sauce. Transfer the rice to the oven and cook the rice covered for 25 minutes. After that add the chicken breast on top and cook for another 20 minutes. Add the sauce on top of the chicken and enjoy.

This is such an easy recipe, that you can also adjust based on your preference. You can skip the sauce part and just cook the chicken with a garlic rub, some oil, salt, pepper, fresh lemon zest and juice. It will taste delicious and it will make up for a very easy and quick dinner.

Frequently asked questions

How do I make lemon zest?

First, rinse the lemons. Scrub them well to remove the waxy coating. Then, set your microplane over a cutting board and use the most minor holes for a fine zest. You could also place your microplane over a bowl so the zest goes into it as you work. Be sure not to cut into the white pith because it is very bitter. A citrus zester, vegetable peeler, or even a paring knife will all work, too.

Why is my rice mushy?

It may be from cooking it too long or adding to much liquid. Do not use Minute rice or any other quick-cooking rice in this recipe. They are designed to be cooked quickly in a pot or the microwave. Otherwise, it will get overcooked and mushy. But don’t worry. You can fix it. Remove the chicken and spread the rice in a colander or strainer to eliminate the excess juice. Then, spread it on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and cook it at 350 degrees F for three or four minutes.

Should I rinse or soak my rice first?

I do not soak my rice first because it will absorb the water, and your rice will be overcooked. However, you can rinse the rice in a strainer to remove the excess starch on the outside. The starch can cause your rice to stick together and become clumpy. It also helps the rice cook more evenly. Save the starchy water to thicken whatever sauce you are using. But make sure you dry it out after to remove excess water.

What is the best rice for this dish?

I prefer using long-grain rice, either brown or white. But you can try other rice if you would rather. Brown, long-grain rice is the healthier choice. If you want a nutty flavor, use basmati rice. It is more flavorful than regular rice. For a sweeter taste, try jasmine rice. Arborio rice is a creamy choice but may not be suitable for this recipe. It may end up mushy or sticky.

How to store leftovers:

  • Refrigerate: Let your leftovers cool, and then you can refrigerate them in a sealed container for three days. 
  • Freezing: If you still have extras after a few days, pack them into a freezer-safe container and freeze them for a few months.   
  • Defrost: Thaw your leftovers overnight in the refrigerator for the best texture and taste.
  • Reheating: Bake in the oven, covered, for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.  Or you could reheat it in the microwave for a minute or two.

More one pan meals to try:

Recipe tips:

  • The longer you marinate the meat, the better. I recommend several hours or overnight.
  • I usually make this dish with chicken thighs because they are thick and juicy, but you could use chicken breasts.
  • Brown chicken before adding it to the pan so it holds in the juices. But make sure you brown it skin side down for crispy skin.
  • Do not skip the freshly made zest. It adds a nice kick of lemony flavor.
  • Rinse your rice first to remove the excess starch that will make it sticky.
  • Do not overcook the chicken. Check it after 40 minutes. With a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 165 degrees F.

One Pan Italian Chicken and Rice

Lemon garlic one-pan Italian chicken and rice is the perfect weeknight meal: it's packed with flavor, budget-friendly, and easy to make.

  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time30 MIN
  • Servings 4 servings


  • 6 chicken thighs bone-in / skin-on
  • tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  • lemon  zested first and after that juiced
  • tablespoons  honey or maple syrup
  • tablespoons  soy sauce
  • tablespoons  olive oil


  • medium sweet onion  diced
  • 4-6  cloves  garlic minced
  • 1 cup white long grain rice
  • tablespoon  Italian seasoning
  • teaspoon  lemon zest
  • cup s chicken broth low sodium


  • lemon zest
  • parsley chopped


  • Mix all the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken thighs to a ziplock bag and pour the marinade. Shake, close, and marinate for 1 to 6 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Place a nine- or 10-inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add two tablespoons of olive oil and brown the chicken nicely on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Add onion to the pan and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
  • Add the dry rice and stir for 1 minute.
  • Add the Italian seasoning, lemon zest, and chicken broth. Stir to combine.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan, skin side up. Garnish with halved lemons.
  • Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.
  • When 5 minutes are left, uncover the pan and broil for 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with lemon zest and parsley, and serve.

Nutrition Facts

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Can this Italian chicken recipe be cooked on top of stove?

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Yes, cover and cook on low.



Trying to make this.. but I'm having to guess how much chicken to use with chicken breasts.. and no quantity is given for the rice, so I'm guessing again.. I'd like to see this recipe rewritten with more exact measurements



Do you or anyone have a recipe for Chiken Vesuvious? Thank you, it's a delicious Italian dish!

Diane Wilkins

Diane Wilkins

I'm a big fan of One Pan recipe. Definitely gonna give this one a try soon, hope it will be tasty for the kids. Thanks!

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