This cheesy One Pan Mexican Chicken and Rice is the perfect dinner recipe for busy nights. You just toss everything in a casserole dish and let the flavors meld together while it bakes. Delish!
Bursting with authentic flavors and packed with wholesome ingredients, this dish is not only easy to make but also incredibly satisfying.
With perfectly cooked, juicy chicken, tender rice and a gooey cheese topping, it's the perfect comfort food, especially on busy weeknights.
This one pot Mexican chicken and rice recipe pairs perfectly with a side of this authentic Mexican salsa and crunchy tortilla chips. Why not have a Mango Margarita or Mezcal Margarita for a fun night celebrating Mexico?
We love Mexican food, which is just one of the many reasons why I end up visiting so often. We even had our 30th anniversary at Secrets Moxche, an adults only resort.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Cheesy: Who doesn't love an easy, gooey cheesy casserole?
- Filling: Chicken, cheese, rice...it's a mouth-watering, complete meal in one.
- Family favorite: This delicious Mexican chicken casserole recipe is a comforting meal the whole family will love.
- Easy recipe: Made with a few basic pantry staples, this dish makes a wonderful easy weeknight meal.
What Goes in Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Jalapenos (for a milder version you can use green chilies)
- White cheddar cheese
See the recipe card for the full list of ingredients you need from the grocery store as well as complete instructions for how to make this dish.
Recipe Variations and Add-ins
- Instead of chicken breasts, you can use boneless and skinless chicken thighs or chicken tenders. You can also use leftover chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken. Just add the cooked shredded chicken to the dish and cook it until the rice is done.
- If you want an extra creamy sauce, you dot the casserole with a dollop of sour cream or cream cheese. Then just add the cheddar and finish baking. An enchilada sauce would be good on top, too.
- We used cheddar but you can use other kinds of cheese. Monterey jack, pepper jack, or a Mexican cheese blend are all great choices.
- Open a can of Black beans or add bell peppers or mushrooms to this dish. They are all a great way to get an extra serving of veggies in your meal.
- We used long grain white rice, but you can use basmati rice, brown rice, arborio rice, or wild rice. Make sure you adjust the liquid ratio according to the package directions.
- For other great garnishes, you can sprinkle the baked casserole with sliced black olives, green onions, or other fresh herbs. Pico de gallo is also delicious on top.
How to Make This Mexican Casserole
Preheat the oven to 356 F | 180 C.
Rub chicken with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and cumin.
In a 9x13 inch baking dish, add garlic, rice, and cilantro.
Pour chicken broth on the rice and stir.
Top with sweet corn, jalapeños (or green chilis) and chicken. Bake in the lower part of the oven for 35-40 minutes, uncovered.
Remove and top chicken breasts with the cheese.
Place back in the middle of the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove and garnish the rice and cheesy chicken mixture with extra fresh cilantro.
Your family is going to love this one pan Mexican Chicken and rice.
Serve and enjoy.
Easy Mexican Chicken & Rice Top Tips
Tender rice: If the rice is not fully cooked when the baking time is up, add a bit more chicken broth and put it back in the oven until the rice is tender.
Let it cool: Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes after baking. This will help the flavors fuse and make it easier to slice and serve.
Keep it moist: If your casserole appears dry from the rice soaking up the broth too quickly, just add a little more broth and let it cook for a few more minutes.
Properly cook chicken: To make sure the chicken cooks evenly, make sure the breasts or other chicken pieces are similar in size. This recipe is so easy. The only thing that you should be concerned about is overcooking the chicken, so getting them the same size helps a lot.
You certainly can. Brown about a pound and a half of lean ground beef in a skillet. Season it with a sprinkle of cumin, garlic powder and chili powder (or a taco seasoning blend.)
If you have leftovers, store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. This is so good the next day and should stay fresh for about 4 days.
Yes! Allow to cool down to room temperature and freeze in a freezer-safe or airtight container for 1 month. You can also make the casserole in advance, then wrap the entire dish with a couple of layers of plastic wrap, and then a layer of foil. Thaw in the fridge and reheat in the microwave until heated through.
Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F in the thickest part of the meat. If you don't have an instant read meat thermometer, make a small cut near the center of the chicken breast. The juices should run clear, and the meat should no longer be pink or translucent.
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One Pan Cheesy Mexican Chicken and Rice
- 2 large chicken breast boneless, skinless (1.32 lb | 600 g)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 cup rice uncooked (6.52 oz | 185 g)
- 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
- 2 cups chicken broth 16.90 fl.oz | 500 ml
- 1 can sweet corn 14 oz
- 2-3 jalapenos
- 2 cups white cheddar cheese 7.76 oz | 220 g
- Preheat the oven to 356 F | 180 C.
- Rub chicken with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and cumin.
- In a 9x13 inch baking dish, add garlic, rice, and cilantro. Pour chicken broth on the rice and stir. (Spray the dish with nonstick cooking spray if you're afraid it may stick).
- Top with sweet corn, jalapeños and chicken. Bake in the lower part of the oven for 35-40 minutes. Uncovered.
- Remove and top chicken breasts with the cheese.
- Place back in the middle of the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove, garnish and serve.