One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo)

with smoky chorizo and white beans

A large pan of Spanish chicken and rice sits garnished with olives and fresh chopped parsley

Spanish chicken and rice (arroz con pollo) is a classic Spanish recipe that combines simple ingredients to make a filling and oh-so-tasty meal. The recipe combines rice with Spanish smoked paprika, a sofrito sauce base, plus bone-in chicken thighs, some generous hunks of chorizo, and white beans all thrown in for good measure.

Enhance the flavor with some Spanish sherry vinegar and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal that comes together in one pan. Loaded with carbs and dietary fiber and ready in under an hour, Spanish chicken and rice is an ideal midweek dinner option!

Easy Recipe | One Pan Recipe | Main Meal Recipe | Mediterranean Recipe | Meat Recipe | Chicken Recipe | Stews and Casseroles | Made Under an Hour | Spanish Chicken | Easy Midweek Dinner Option

Serving:

Main for 4-6

Ready in:

55 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Red wine

Ingredients required to make Spanish chicken and rice

Ingredients you’ll need to make Spanish chicken and rice

serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of rice (we used Valencian Bomba rice) 
  • 4 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on or off)
  • 2 Spanish Chorizo fresca (cut into inch pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon of Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (diced)
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic (sliced fine)
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes (optional)
  • 400g/14oz chopped tomatoes canned
  • ½ cup125ml/ water  (optional)
  • 2 cups of vegetable (or chicken) stock
  • 1 tablespoon of red sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 cup white beans (or chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup green olives or black olives any kind
  • 1-2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment needed

  • 1 large 12-inch (30cm) pan
  • 1 large bowl to soak the rice
  • A few small bowls for the ingredients while cooking 
  • Colander (to rinse the rice)

 Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes to delicious main meals to incredible Spanish dessert options.

What is Spanish arroz con pollo

Arroz con pollo literally translates to rice with chicken and is considered a staple recipe used throughout the Iberian peninsula (Spain) and throughout Latin America. Each country has its own variation (most countries in Central America use kidney beans). 

Here in Spain, this hearty rice dish is prepared with chicken thighs, chorizo, and white beans (either chickpeas or large broad beans).

Easy one-pan recipe

Spanish chicken and rice is a perfect midweek dinner option as it can easily be made in one pan or large pot in around 55 minutes. We are making our own sofrito sauce as a base for this recipe, and while it adds around 15 minutes to the cooking time, it is well worth it. 

Another advantage to making your own sofrito sauce (if you have time) is you can really let it simmer down and allow the veggies to begin to caramelize. This takes around 30 minutes on medium-low heat, but it is so worth it!

Spanish chicken recipe

This classic Spanish chicken recipe is particularly popular along the Mediterranean coast of Spain, where other popular rice dishes such as seafood Paella (Paella marisco) can be found in every restaurant up and down the coast.

A large pan of Spanish chicken and rice sits on a counter beside some fresh rosemary

How to make Spanish Chicken and Rice (arroz con pollo)

Step 1 – Marinate chicken thighs and soak rice

  • Start off by adding a tablespoon of olive oil with the smoked paprika in a mixing bowl, along with some salt and pepper and the juice from 1 lemon. Finely chop up a few small sprigs of fresh rosemary and add that too. 
  • Add the chicken thighs and mix until they are evenly covered. Set aside for use later. 
  • In a large bowl, soak the rice for around 10 minutes. Once done, remove excess water and rinse rice before use. 

Step 2 – Fry Chorizo

  • Next, on medium-high heat, add a splash of oil to a large pan and add the pieces of chorizo sausage. 
  • Cook for around 3-4 minutes, turning the pieces so they are cooked evenly. They may spit a little so use a frying splash guard if you have one. 
  • Once done the paprika-infused oil should release from the sausages, keep this oil and transfer the chorizo pieces to a small container or bowl for use later. 

Step 3 – Fry chicken thighs and beans

  • On medium-high heat, add the chicken thighs with the marinade and cook for around 3-4 minutes on each side. 
  • Aim for a nice crisp on the skin or meat with some of the seasoning starting to char slightly. 
  • Once done, set chicken thighs aside and reduce heat to medium. Add the beans to the pan with a splash of oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes turning the beans occasionally to ensure they absorb the cooking juices. 
  • Once done, remove from pan and set aside. 

Step 4 – Cook Veg and build sauce

  • In the same pan, fry the onions for around 3-4 minutes until they soften. They should absorb a lot of the juices from the chicken and chorizo and start to redden in color. 
  • Add a tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, and diced pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes or until vegetables start to soften. 
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, the sherry vinegar, bay leaves, and chili flakes (optional) and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and let it simmer for around 10 minutes. If you want a more watery sauce, add ½ cup of water. 

Step 5 – Add rice, and meat

  • Add the cooked chorizo and rice to the sauce and stir through. Add 2 cups of stock and mix through until rice is evenly covered. 
  • Add the cooked chicken thighs on top. Place two large sprigs of rosemary on top and cover the pan. 
  • Cook for around 12 minutes on medium heat, stirring once or twice to ensure the rice doesn’t stick. 
  • Once done, the stock should have evaporated. Remove from the heat and keep covered, allow to rest for ten minutes undisturbed. 

Step 6 – Serve

  • Remove sprigs of rosemary and garnish with some chopped parsley and the black and green olives. 
  • Serve while still hot. 
  • This recipe pairs well with a strong red such as a mature Rioja or a Tempranillo. 
One pan Spanish chicken and rice sits waiting to be served

Use chicken thighs

We always use sustainably-sourced chicken that is considered ‘happy chicken’. Chicken that is free-range and allowed to roam will typically taste better. The best cut of chicken to use for this recipe is bone-in chicken thighs. The meat around the bone is full of flavor and will fall off the bone once cooked. 

We used skin-off chicken thighs as that’s what was available on the day, but you can always leave the skin on and crisp it up in the pan whilst cooking it. Allow 1 chicken thigh per person. 

Chicken and Chorizo

It’s no secret that chicken and chorizo are a great combination and Spanish cooking really takes this combo to the next level. For some more inspiration, check out our other chicken and chorizo recipes;

Spanish Chorizo (chorizo fresco)

Use fresh (raw) chorizo that you’ll find refrigerated for this recipe. Chorizo fresco as it is known in Spain is uncooked and requires cooking before consumption. It is often found loose (called Picadillo) or in bright red sausages (called Chorizo fresca). 

Spanish chorizo fresca usually comes in bundles, and each sausage is around 6 inches long. Allow half of a 6-inch chorizo sausage per person for this recipe. 

Chorizo fresca has been flavored with lots of Spanish paprika which gives it a red hue. Once you start cooking with chorizo fresca, pierce the skin a few times to release the delicious paprika-infused oil.

A pan with some cooked pieces of chorizo and oil

Spanish Rice Recipes

The Valencia region is home to many famous rice dishes and accounts for a majority of Spanish rice production. For this recipe, we used Valencian Bomba rice which is the same rice used in traditional paella recipes. 

Bomba rice 

Bomba rice is renowned for having a high absorption ratio compared to other rice varieties. For this reason, it’s ideal for use in dishes that use the absorption method (like paella). The bomba variety of rice is round and will quickly soak up the stock of cooking juices in this recipe, allowing for a rich and full-flavored rice

If you can’t find Bomba rice, we suggest using a rice variety with a high absorption method. Italian Arborio rice works well, as does Calasparra rice (from the Murcia region of Spain), although it can be hard to source outside of Spain.

Another good substitution is short-grain rice that can be found in most large supermarkets like Costco

White beans 

Chickpeas (garbanzos) are used extensively in cooking and dishes such as Spinach with chickpeas (espinacas con garbanzos), which is a popular vegan tapas that you’ll find served all over Spain. 

Another popular bean used in Spanish dishes is the white bean (also known as the navy bean, haricot, pearl haricot bean, and white pea bean). Cannellini beans (frijoles blancos) are also used as a filler in rich stews and casseroles. 

A pan of large white beans cooks in some chorizo oil

Spanish Paprika 

There are three types of paprika found in Spain

  • Pimentón Dulce or Sweet Paprika
  • Pimentón Agridulce or Medium Hot Paprika (Smoked paprika)
  • Pimentón Picante or Hot Paprika (Smoked paprika)

For this Spanish chicken and rice recipe, we use smoked paprika. Either the medium-hot or ‘Picante’ versions are fine. If you use Picante paprika, you’ll get more spice or heat, so there’s no need to add any chili (unless you want it extra spicy!). We only use a tablespoon of smoked paprika, but if you want a richer flavor, you can always double up. 

The chorizo contains plenty of paprika and when cooked, the spiced paprika oil releases from the chorizo.  Put this oil to good use and flavor the chicken thighs.

A few pieces of marinated chicken sit in a bowl beside some fresh peppers and rice

Ingredient substitutions

  • Add some green peas once the sauce is prepared for a little extra color.
  • Chorizo works incredibly well but can be omitted. Just add one extra tablespoon of smoked paprika to the sauce while it is cooking. 
  • For a vegetarian option, omit all of the meat products and use some cauliflower and chickpeas to bulk up the recipe. 
  • White beans can be subbed for pretty much any bean. Try it with kidney beans, broad beans, or even edamame beans! 
  • If you’re looking for a sweeter recipe, add sweet paprika and use balsamic glaze instead of sherry vinegar. 
  • We used Pedro Ximénez sherry, but you can easily substitute it for red or white wine vinegar. 
  • Bomba rice or Calasparra rice are best, but short-grain rice or Italian Arborio rice work well. 

Leftovers and storage

  • Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. 
  • You can freeze any cooked Spanish chicken and rice in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.

Spanish Chicken and Rice Cooking Tips:

  • Cook your chorizo first and allow enough time for the rich paprika-infused oil to melt out of the chorizo. Use this oil to help flavor your chicken thighs and vegetables. 
  • Don’t add the smoked paprika too early or on a very high heat as it will easily burn. 
  • Ensure at least 15 minutes to marinate your chicken thighs. It will really help create additional layers of flavor with the lemon, paprika, and seasoning. 
  • The longer you can leave the veggies to simmer down, the better. 15 minutes is the minimum amount of time, but if you can allow 30 minutes or more, you’ll have a far richer sauce flavor. 
  • To thin out the sauce, add around ½ cup of water and stir through. Even better is to use olive juice if you have any spare. 
  • Always use good quality extra virgin olive oil. It’s the healthiest oil to cook with and tastes great. We used a sweet Hojiblanca EVOO. 
  • If you want to add some zing to your Chicken and rice recipe, try adding lime and cilantro as a garnish.
A large pan of Spanish chicken and rice sits garnished with olives and fresh chopped parsley

One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo)

Byron
Spanish chicken and rice (arroz con pollo) is a classic Spanish recipe that combines simple ingredients to make a filling and oh-so-tasty meal. The recipe combines rice with Spanish smoked paprika, a sofrito sauce base, plus bone-in chicken thighs, some generous hunks of chorizo, and white beans all thrown in for good measure.
Enhance the flavor with some Spanish sherry vinegar and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal that comes together in one pan. Loaded with carbs and dietary fiber and ready in under an hour, Spanish chicken and rice is an ideal midweek dinner option!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course dinner, Main Course, meal
Cuisine American, Authentic Spanish recipe, Spain
Servings 4 people
Calories 791 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large 12-inch (30cm) pan
  • 1 large bowl to soak the rice
  • A few small bowls for the ingredients while cooking
  • Colander (to rinse the rice)

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of rice we used Valencian Bomba rice
  • 4 chicken thighs bone in, skin on or off
  • 2 Spanish Chorizo fresca cut into inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced fine
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes optional
  • 400 g/14oz chopped tomatoes canned
  • ½ cup125ml/ water optional
  • 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of red sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup white beans or chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup green olives or black olives any kind
  • 1-2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Marinade chicken thighs and soak rice

  • Start off by adding a tablespoon of olive oil with the smoked paprika in a mixing bowl, along with some salt and pepper and the juice from 1 lemon. Finely chop up a few small sprigs of fresh rosemary and add that too.
    2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Spanish smoked paprika, 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, Salt and pepper to taste, 1 lemon
    ingredients for making Spanish chicken and rice are laid out on a table
  • Add the chicken thighs and mix until they are evenly covered. Set aside for use later.
    4 chicken thighs
    A few pieces of marinated chicken sit in a bowl beside some fresh peppers and rice
  • In a large bowl, soak the rice in some fresh water for around 10 minutes. Once done, remove excess water and rinse rice before use.
    2 cups of rice, ½ cup125ml/ water
    Some rice sits in a black bowl surrounded by other ingredients

Step 2 - Fry Chorizo

  • Next, on medium-high heat, add a splash of oil to a large pan and add the pieces of chorizo sausage.
    2 Spanish Chorizo fresca
    Some pieces of raw chorizo sit in a pan with some olive oil
  • Cook for around 3-4 minutes, turning the pieces so they are cooked evenly. They may spit a little so use a frying splash guard if you have one.
    Once done the paprika-infused oil should release from the sausages, keep this oil and transfer the chorizo pieces to a small container or bowl for use later.
    A pan with some cooked pieces of chorizo and oil

Step 3 - Fry chicken thighs and beans

  • On medium-high heat, add the chicken thighs with the marinade and cook for around 3-4 minutes on each side.
    Aim for a nice crisp on the skin or meat with some of the seasoning starting to char slightly.
    some chicken thighs sit in a frying pan
  • Once done, set chicken thighs aside and reduce heat to medium.
    3 cooked chicken thighs sit in a frying pan
  • Add the beans to the pan with a splash of oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes turning the beans occasionally to ensure they absorb the cooking juices.
    Once done, remove from pan and set aside.
    1 cup white beans
    A pan of large white beans cooks in some chorizo oil

Step 4 - Cook Veg and build sauce

  • In the same pan, fry the onions for around 3-4 minutes until they soften. They should absorb a lot of the juices from the chicken and chorizo and start to redden in color.
    Add a tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, and diced pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes or until vegetables start to soften.
    1 onion, 1 red pepper, 4 cloves garlic
    Some onion and red pepper cook in a frying pan
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, the sherry vinegar, bay leaves, and chili flakes (optional) and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and let it simmer for around 10 minutes. If you want a more watery sauce, add ½ cup of water.
    3-4 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of chili flakes, 400 g/14oz chopped tomatoes canned, ½ cup125ml/ water, 1 tablespoon of red sherry vinegar
    Diced tomato are added to a pan of fried vegetables and spices

Step 5 - Add rice and meat

  • Add the rice to the sauce and stir through. Add the chicken.
    rice is added to pan of sauteed vegetables and tomato
  • Add 2 cups of stock and mix through until rice is evenly covered. Place two large sprigs of rosemary on top and cover the pan.
    2 cups of vegetable
    Stock is added to a pan of Spanish chicken and rice
  • Cook for around 12 minutes on medium heat, stirring once or twice to ensure the rice doesn’t stick.
    A large pan of Spanish chicken and rice sits on a counter beside some fresh rosemary
  • Once done, the stock should have evaporated. Remove from the heat and keep covered, allow to rest for ten minutes undisturbed.
    One pan Spanish chicken and rice sits waiting to be served

Step 6 - Serve

  • Remove sprigs of rosemary and garnish with some chopped parsley and the black and green olives. Serve while still hot.
    1/2 cup green olives or black olives any kind, 1-2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley
    A large pan of Spanish chicken and rice sits garnished with olives and fresh chopped parsley

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 200gCalories: 791kcalCarbohydrates: 38.6gProtein: 60.4gFat: 43.9gSaturated Fat: 12.1gCholesterol: 134mgSodium: 393mgPotassium: 615mgFiber: 3.1gSugar: 3.3gCalcium: 91mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Casserole, chicken, Chicken and chorizo, chorizo, Easy Dinner ideas, midweek meal, one-pot recipe, rice, Rice stew, Spanish Chicken, white beans

Spanish Chicken and Rice FAQs 

How long does Spanish chicken and rice take to make?

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Resting time: 10 minutes
  • Total time: 55 minutes

What is Spanish chicken made of?

Spanish chicken (or arroz con pollo) is a classic Spanish rice dish made using chicken pieces (usually thigh or breast), Bomba or Calasparra rice, and vegetables. The sauce is made using a combination of ripened tomatoes, onion, and garlic. 

What is a famous dish from Spain that is made with rice chicken and vegetables?

Arroz con pollo is a famous Spanish rice dish that’s typically made with chicken, vegetables, and rice. Some recipes (like this one) call for the use of chorizo. 

Why does the rice need to rest? 

The rice should rest for at least ten minutes once it has been removed from the heat to allow for the starch to set and the moisture to evenly distribute through each grain of rice. 

How long does Spanish chicken and rice last in the fridge?

Store any cooked leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Can Spanish chicken and rice be frozen?

Yep, it sure can. Simply allow any leftovers to cool and then add them to an air-tight container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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