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This delicious chicken rice pilaf is an easy dish that can be served as a main meal or a side dish when cooked without the chicken! It’s pretty quick to make, very filling and nutritious and makes a great dinner idea for busy families!
Chicken rice pilaf
Whenever I feel a little emotional I like to enjoy the little details that give me the feeling of “home” and I found the most effective way is through cooking. I particularly like the childhood recipes that my mother used to cook so dearly. She found such great pleasure in seeing our happy faces every time she was serving us her amazing food.
This time I thought of a rice pilaf, a recipe that doesn’t require much skills or attention but only some quality ingredients to give it a delicious taste. It’s a pretty easy recipe, also very fulfilling and could make a great main dish or a side dish if you skip the chicken. I love pairing it with pickled cucumbers or sweet red pepper. The recipe works best with farm chicken but store bought chicken will do the trick too.
More sides you might like:
- Egg fried rice with vegetables
- Roasted potatoes and mushrooms
- Yellow beans with garlic and dill
- Garlic butter mashed potatoes with feta and chives
- Instant pot corn casserole
What is rice pilaf?
Pilaf is a dish spread worldwide, based on rice or, in some regions, wheat. It is usually cooked in stock or broth with a local touch of spices, herbs, vegetables or meat.
It is a very old and traditional dish, dating back thousands of years ago. The pilaf is so popular and comes under a large array of names such as: Polao, Pela, Pilav, Pallao, Pilau, Pelau, Pulao, Pulaav, Palaw, Palavu, Plov, Palov, Polov, Polo, Polu, Kurysh, Fulao, Fulaaw, Fulav, Fulab, Osh, Aş and is served in central and South Asia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the Greek world including Cyprus, as well as countries like Spain, southern France and in the Caribbean’s.
And if you were wondering if the Spanish Paella is some form of a pilaf, well, yes it is!
Chicken rice pilaf recipe
Being so versatile, you can always switch ingredients or just use up whatever leftover vegetables or meat you have. This way, you get to clean up the fridge and have a different pilaf every time.
Chopped parsley adds some freshness to the cooked dish, as well as a great flavor and extra vitamins.
How do you make the perfect chicken rice pilaf:
- Add a bit of saffron or curry powder for more color and an oriental touch;
- To make it more tender, I usually use chicken breast, but actually any part of the chicken will do, like wings or drumsticks. This recipe will definitely taste better with chicken thighs!
- For a richer flavor, you can also saute onion in butter instead of oil before.
- For a faster and dish-saving pilaf, you can also make it one-pan: just add the oil, meat and onions at first and cook, then add the rice, mix and add broth or water.
How long can I store the chicken rice pilaf?
The rice and chicken is a breeding ground for bacteria, so store it as soon as it’s cooled to prevent spoiling. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
It can also be stored in the freezer in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Before reheating, thaw in the fridge overnight and fluff the rice.
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Chicken rice pilaf recipe
- 3 lbs boneless chicken breast or thighs
- 6 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup rice
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 red peppers diced
- 2 medium carrots grated
- 1 zucchini diced
- 2 medium tomatoes diced
- 4 tbsp oil
- Parsley or dill chopped and optional
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Cut the meat into cubes then salt and pepper
- Peel the vegetables, wash and cut and grate carrots
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry meat until light brown
- Pre heat the oven to 390 F
- Remove chicken and cook vegetables in the same oil on medium heat until slightly crisp, about 3 minutes
- Return the chicken back to the saucepan and add water
- Bring to a boil then add the rice, well washed and drained
- Cover the pan with a lid and bring to a previously heated oven at 200 C
- Cook for about 1/2 hour. The rice should be soft and buttery and the meat tender
- Keep the lid on for 25 to 30 minutes more, until the excess soup is absorbed and the rice is fully fluffed up.
- Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley or dill.
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