(Easy) One-Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice

October 5, 2016

Easy One-Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice

There’s no doubt that one-pot meals are the best, easiest weeknight dinner solution, ever.
We can go even as far as saying that they’re almost a miracle when you need to cook but just don’t have the time or energy to do it.
Don’t feel like cooking? But look — it’s dinner in one pot!
Don’t feel like creating a pile of dishes? But it’s just one pot! (And a spoon, a plate, a fork, and knife but shhh, I don’t want to scare you off.)
Have a lot of friends coming over?
No more picking main, planning sides and veggies, running the stove, oven, and microwave at the same time. One pot and you’ve got a full-blown meal.
Everyone arriving at different times?
Don’t worry, one-pot meals are very forgiving of tardiness.

Easy One-Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice

When it comes to one-pot meals, the simple combination chicken and rice is THE one-pot dish that’s made all over the world.
There are almost endless variations on the theme, but this version right here (i.e., Turmeric Chicken and Rice) is stripped down to the very essentials: chicken, rice, and onion.

Easy One-Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice

The ingredients initially take turns in the pan: first the chicken browns, then the onion sautés, and the rice toasts. Then all three come together to simmer, covered, and undisturbed.
The rice slowly becomes tender and soaks up all the luscious flavors all the while the chicken is cooked through.
The turmeric brings its characteristic earthy note, peas add little bursts of sweetness, and the lime brightens the entire plate.

Easy One-Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice

This is truly a one-pot wonder and chances you already have all these ingredients in your kitchen, so there's really no excuse not to have this for dinner.

(Easy) One-Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice                                                                               Print this recipe!
Inspired by Mark Bittman

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole cut-up chicken
½ teaspoon fine grain salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups short-grain rice
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of saffron threads (optional)
3 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup frozen peas (no need to thaw them)
Limes quartered and chopped fresh parsley, for serving


In a small bowl soak saffron threads and in a little bit of hot water (this really opens up the spice and releases its flavor). Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add chicken skin side down, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and cook undisturbed for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken pieces easily release from the pan (make sure that the chicken sizzles but doesn’t burn by adjusting the heat accordingly.)
Flip the chicken pieces and cook on the other side until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Spoon most of the fat from the skillet, leaving about 2 tablespoons for added flavor.
Reduce the heat to medium, add onions, and sauté for about 5 to 6 minutes, until translucent.
Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant.
Add rice and cook stirring until the rice is glossy and coated with oil.
Add turmeric and saffron and give a good stir.
Return the chicken to the pan, add stock, and stir gently to combine.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook undisturbed for 20 minutes (resist the urge to uncover the skillet and stir, be patient!)
Uncover and check. The goal is to have the liquid absorbed, the rice is tender, and the chicken is cooked through.
If the rice is dry but nothing is ready, add another ¼ cup of water and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.
When ready, take a taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Remove from the heat, add peas, cover, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Fish the chicken out of the pan and fluff the rice with a fork.
Return chicken to the skillet, arrange lime wedges around, and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 407 calories, 11 grams of fat, 47 grams of carbs, and 28 grams of protein.


  1. Can I use cauliflower rice instead?

  2. One pot meals are the best! Of course there are actually a few other utensils that end up being used in the process but overall it's infinitely way easier to clean than a typical meal. Looks delicious!

    Dave King

  3. Love this, I can't wait to give it a try!

  4. If I didn't want to use a whole cut-up chicken, and wanted to use chicken thighs instead, how much chicken thighs (pieces or lbs) would I need?

  5. Has anyone tried it with brown rice? If so, how'd you adjust the cooking?

    1. I just made this for dinner using brown rice.... took 45 mins for broth to absorb.

  6. Rate this meal a nine. Would make again. Used brown rice and cooked for 45 mins. I didnt have peas so I used soybeans. This is my first time using tumeric and saffron. Next time i will double the tumeric.

  7. Tried this tonight and thought it bland, but OK. Made it with brown rice. More tumeric is a good idea, as is more garlic. The chicken breasts were wonderfully moist.