This simple one pot Southwest Chicken and Rice can be made start to finish in forty minutes. Rotisserie chicken, enchilada sauce, Rotel tomatoes and taco seasoning form the Tex-Mex flavors in this delicious weeknight dinner.
One pot Southwestern chicken and rice is a take on arroz con pollo, or ACP. If you live in the South and have been to any Mexican restaurant, you will see ACP on the menu. It’s a bland dish with Spanish rice and chicken covered in a cheese sauce.
While I love Mexican and Southwestern food, my kids only order ACP at Mexican restaurants. I was convinced that I could make a recipe that was both simple enough for them to make on a busy weeknight but with enough flavor that I would like it.
I used a small Dutch oven to heat this in the oven, but you can use any type of casserole dish.
Why you’ll love this One Pan Chicken and Rice
- It tastes fabulous because there’s tons of flavor
- It can be made in one pot for easy clean up
- It’s one of the easiest recipes you’ll find
- The recipe uses rotisserie chicken which is easy peasy in getting dinner ready fast
I’ve read that ACP is a phenomena in the South and that you won’t find it in other areas of the country. For some reason southerners like bland chicken and rice. I for one do not!
This Southwest chicken and rice recipe is so much better than any ACP I’ve tried. If you like a good chicken and rice casserole, then you’re going to love this oven baked recipe. If you need more quick 30-minute dinners, then you’ll want to add Mongolian beef stir fry, and queso chicken to your weeknight rotation, or maybe give beef enchiladas a try.
Southwestern Chicken and Rice Ingredients
- Rice – do not buy the minute rice, you’ll want to prepare regular rice. Instant rice has been cooked and dehydrated and while quick, it will not have as much flavor or texture.
- Chicken broth – this is used instead of water to cook the rice adding more flavor.
- Enchilada sauce – if you don’t make your own, then you can easily grab a can or two to keep in your pantry.
- Rotel tomatoes – diced tomatoes with green chilies offers a lot of zest to this dish.
- Taco seasoning – one full packet or make your own mix.
- Corn – if corn is out of season, buy the frozen version for best flavor
- Pepper Jack or cheddar cheese – Try to avoid the pre grated cheese as it won’t melt as well.
Pro tip: You can add other vegetables like frozen peas or diced sweet peppers but my crew only likes corn.
How to make Southwest Chicken and Rice
Cook the rice with chicken broth per the package directions. You can use any type of rice you want but I would not recommend the 10 minute type. If you have an oven proof pot, bake the rice in it. If not, this will be a two pot recipe.
I love a rice maker that I got for Mother’s Day last year. I didn’t know I needed one until I started using it. You just add liquid and rice and forget about it. One time I forgot about it all night and work up to warm fluffy rice! Mine is made by Zujirushi.
Add all the ingredients except the cheese to the rice and stir to combine.
Top with cheese, either cheddar or pepper jack.
Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Notes for One Pot Chicken and Rice
- For color and additional flavor, dice up some green or red peppers, or a can of black beans.
- A can of diced chiles or a diced poblano peppers adds a little zing and flavor to the rice.
- Serve this with a few lime wedges to squeeze over your meal for an authentic garnish.
- Love the dish, want to change up the meat? Kielbasa, chorizo or andouille sausage make great options.
How to serve Southwest Chicken Rice Casserole
- Extra chopped cilantro should be all over this!
- A dob of sour cream would be delicious
- I know many people who put hot sauce on everything, this would be a sure thing on this dish
- Avocado slices would be a great finishing touch
If you love queso, then this dish is even better with some drizzled over the top. Make this easy creamy queso or pick some up in the refrigerated section at the grocery.
When preparing this recipe, I realized that I don’t have any chicken and rice recipes on the blog. I serve apricot chicken over rice, but I don’t have a chicken and rice recipe in my rotation.
It’s such a great comfort food especially on cold nights. I think I’m going to give Iowa Girl Eat’s chicken and rice recipe a try and this baked chicken and rice using chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts from Cafe Delites sounds delicious.
If you find yourself cooking with chicken a lot and want to know for sure that your chicken is cooked thoroughly, head to my informational page on ways to make sure your chicken is cooked all the way but still remains juicy and delicious.
Southwest Chicken and Rice Casserole FAQs
Arroz con pollo, better known as ACP is thought to have originated in Spain, variations are seen not only in Spain but in Latin America and Puerto Rico. It’s typically Spanish rice with green peppers and chicken.
Yes, you can combine raw chicken and rice for cooking. However, this recipe does not account for the needed time, so stick to precooked chicken or leftover rotisserie chicken.
I do not recommend cooking with instant rice. Instant rice, otherwise known as minute rice is preboiled and then dehydrated so the rice cooks quickly. The result is a mushy rice that has little flavor.
Chicken and rice will freeze great for leftover lunches or dinner. The recipe is enough for about eight servings. Once thawed, it can be reheated in the microwave.
If you’re looking for more quick and easy weeknight dinners, here are a few suggestions
More Tex-Mex recipes
- Chicken enchiladas with queso
- Spicy quesadillas with chicken and mango
- Everyone needs a go-to queso dip
- Try some baked chicken taquitos for a healthier dinner
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Southwest Chicken Rice Casserole
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 10 ounces enchilada sauce
- 10 ounces rotel tomatoes and chilies drained
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 2 shredded chicken breasts about 2 cups
- 2 cups frozen or fresh corn
- 2 cups pepper jack cheese grated
- green onions optional
- Cilantro optional
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Cook rice per package instructions using chicken broth instead of water. If you have an oven proof pan with a lid make the rice in it.
- Once rice has cooked, add all ingredients except the cheese to the rice and combine. If not in an oven proof pan, place in one. Spread cheese on top.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and top with green onions and cilantro
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- This is even better with a little queso drizzled over the top.
- Add some red or green pepper for even more flavor.
- You can use cheddar or pepper jack cheese or any combination.
- Rice generally takes 35-30 minutes to cook, so plan accordingly.
- If you don’t have chicken broth, you can make the rice per the package instructions.