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Hearty Single-Serving Chicken Rice

This single-serving chicken rice stands out in the realm of quick and convenient meals. Ideal for busy individuals, this dish combines the simple preparation and familiar ingredients of home cooking with the perfect portion size, making it a superior choice for a satisfying lunch or dinner without the hassle of leftovers.

Black plate with boiled rice, two chicken thighs and chopped parsley.

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, finding a recipe that’s both quick to prepare and perfectly portioned for one can be a real game-changer. That’s where this single-serving chicken rice recipe comes in – your ideal solution for a quick lunch or dinner.

This dish is a testament to the beauty of simplicity, combining the richness of chicken thighs with the comforting presence of rice and the aromatic flair of Italian seasonings.

What makes this recipe a standout is its practicality. It’s crafted for those days when you’re looking for something straightforward yet satisfying. With common ingredients that are likely already in your pantry, this dish is both accessible and easy to whip up.

Whether you’re settling down after a long day or need a quick lunch to refuel, this single-serving chicken rice is sure to hit the spot. The best part? It’s just the right amount for you, ensuring a fulfilling meal without the worry of leftovers.

Get ready to indulge in a dish that’s not only quick to prepare but also brimming with homely flavors you’ll love.

🌟 Expert Tips

  • Quality of Chicken: Choose high-quality, preferably organic chicken thighs. They tend to be juicier and more flavorful compared to breasts. Ensure the chicken is at room temperature before cooking to ensure even cooking.
  • Rice Cooking Technique: Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky. For perfectly cooked rice, pay attention to the water-to-rice ratio and cooking time.
  • Control the Heat: Cook the chicken over medium heat to avoid burning the outside while leaving the inside undercooked. A consistent medium heat ensures the chicken cooks thoroughly and evenly.
  • Resting the Chicken: Allow the cooked chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute, ensuring the chicken is moist and tender.
  • Freshness of Herbs: If using fresh herbs, add them towards the end of the cooking process. This preserves their flavor and color.
  • Use a Heavy-Bottomed Pan: A pan with a thick bottom distributes heat more evenly, preventing hot spots that could burn the rice.

🥘 Ingredients & Substitutes

Chicken thighs, near a lemon, rice, italian herb mix, butter and garlic.
  • Chicken Thighs provide a juicy, flavorful base. If you’re looking for a lighter option, try turkey thighs. They’re leaner but still pack a savory punch. For a vegetarian twist, portobello mushrooms are a great substitute. They have a meaty texture and absorb flavors well.
  • Butter adds richness and helps in browning the chicken and rice. For a healthier alternative, olive oil is an excellent choice. It imparts a distinct flavor and is heart-friendly. If you’re dairy-free, coconut oil is a good option, adding a slight sweetness and tropical flair.
  • Italian Seasonings bring the dish to life with their aromatic blend. No Italian seasoning on hand? Mix dried basil, oregano, and thyme in equal parts. Each herb contributes to the classic Italian taste. For a different yet compatible flavor profile, try Herbes de Provence, which includes lavender for a floral note.
  • Rice. Long-grain white rice, like Basmati or Jasmine, is ideal for this recipe. They cook up fluffy and separate, which is perfect for chicken rice. Avoid short-grain rice, as it can become too sticky. If you’re looking for an alternative, then, quinoa is a fantastic substitute, offering a nutty flavor and a boost of protein. For a low-carb alternative, cauliflower rice works well, mimicking the texture of rice while adding a serving of vegetables.

👩‍🍳 Directions

Start by placing half of the butter in a skillet, then add the chicken thighs skin-side down. Cook on low heat until the skin releases some fat and begins to brown.

Season the other side with aromatic herbs, salt, and pepper. When more fat has been rendered in the skillet, add the garlic. Continue cooking on low heat until the skin is beautifully golden, then flip to the other side.

Cover with a lid and cook until this side is also nicely browned. This entire step will take about 25 minutes.

Frying chicken in a frying pan with melted butter, garlic and herbs.

Remove the browned chicken thighs and garlic from the skillet. If you prefer your rice to be whiter, clean the skillet of any burnt particles that may have stuck to the bottom. If not, you can leave the skillet as is.

Fried Chicken thighs in a white bowl on a white marble surface.

Add the well-rinsed rice and fry it in the remaining butter. Then add ⅔ cup of water and a pinch of salt to taste.

Return the chicken thighs to the skillet and grate lemon zest over them. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat until the rice is done.

Fried chicken over boiling rice in a frying pan.

Serve immediately while it’s hot, garnished with some fresh herbs if you have them available.

Close look of chicken thighs with boiled rice and freshly chopped parsley.

🍴 How to Double the Recipe:

Doubling a recipe requires more than just doubling the ingredients. It’s also about adjusting cooking times and methods to ensure the final dish is just as delicious.

Here’s how to effectively cook this recipe in a larger quantity:

  • Multiply the Ingredients:
    • Multiply the amount of chicken thighs, rice, butter (or oil), and Italian seasonings.
    • Adjust liquids accordingly. If you used ⅔ cup of water or broth for a single serving, use 1 ⅓ cup for a double serving.
  • Use a Larger Pan:
    • Opt for a larger pan to accommodate the increased quantity. This ensures even cooking and enough space for the ingredients to cook properly.
  • Adjust Cooking Time for Chicken:
    • The chicken might take slightly longer to cook through when doubling the recipe. Keep an eye on it and use a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches 165°F (around 74°C).
  • Monitor the Rice:
    • Doubling the rice means it may take a little longer to cook. However, be cautious not to overcook it. Check the rice occasionally for doneness.
  • Season to Taste:
    • When doubling recipes, seasonings can sometimes need a bit more fine-tuning. Taste and adjust as necessary before serving.

🍽️ Servings

  • Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or cilantro on top of your chicken rice. This not only adds a burst of color but also a fresh, herby flavor that complements the richness of the dish.
  • Side of Steamed Vegetables: Serve your chicken rice with a side of steamed broccoli, carrots, or green beans. These vegetables add a crunch, a pop of color, and essential nutrients, making your meal more balanced.
  • Add a Citrus Zest: Grate some lemon or orange zest over your chicken rice before serving. The citrus zest brings a refreshing and zesty flavor, cutting through the dish’s richness.
  • Pair with a Simple Salad: Accompany your chicken rice with a light salad consisting of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette. The salad’s freshness and acidity will balance the savory notes of the chicken rice.
  • Top with Toasted Nuts: Sprinkle some toasted almonds, pine nuts, or cashews on top for a crunchy texture and a nutty flavor. This adds an extra layer of taste and a pleasant crunch.
  • Serve with a Yogurt Sauce: Prepare a quick yogurt sauce with Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt. Drizzle this over your chicken rice for a creamy and tangy addition.
  • Enjoy with Pickled Vegetables: Serve your dish with pickled cucumbers or radishes. The tanginess and crispiness of the pickled vegetables provide a great contrast to the warm and savory chicken rice.

🍽️ Variations

  • Mediterranean Style: Add chopped olives, sundried tomatoes, and feta cheese. Swap Italian seasoning for a blend of oregano, thyme, and a touch of mint. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Asian Twist: Use sesame oil instead of butter and add a splash of soy sauce and a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to the rice. Top with sliced green onions and sesame seeds for garnish.
  • Mexican-Inspired: Mix in some black beans, corn, and diced bell peppers. Use a blend of cumin, chili powder, and paprika instead of Italian seasoning. Top with avocado slices and a squeeze of lime juice.
  • Creamy Parmesan: Stir in a spoonful of cream cheese and grated Parmesan cheese at the end of cooking. This adds a creamy, luxurious texture and rich flavor to the rice.
  • Curry Flavor: Add a tablespoon of curry powder while cooking the chicken. Include peas and carrots for extra vegetables, and finish with a dollop of yogurt and fresh cilantro.
  • Vegetarian Option: Replace chicken with chickpeas or tofu for a plant-based protein. Add extra vegetables like zucchini or spinach for a nutritious boost.
  • Seafood Variation: Swap the chicken for shrimp or scallops. Cook the seafood separately and add it to the rice towards the end of cooking to prevent it from overcooking.

❄️ Storage

If you decide to make this recipe in a larger batch and look for the storage instructions, read further to find out how to store this dish properly in order to get the best taste of it.

  1. Cooling Down: Allow the chicken rice to cool to room temperature before storing. However, don’t leave it out for more than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.
  2. Portioning: If you have cooked more than a single serving, divide the chicken rice into portions. This way, you only reheat what you need for each meal, reducing the risk of spoilage from repeated reheating.
  3. Airtight Containers: Transfer the cooled chicken rice into airtight containers. This prevents air and moisture from getting in, which can spoil the food or alter its texture and taste.
  4. Refrigeration: Store the airtight containers in the refrigerator. Properly stored, the chicken rice can last for up to 3 days.
  5. Freezing: If you need to store the chicken rice for a longer period, freezing is a good option. Place the cooled rice in freezer-safe containers or bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. Label the containers with the date to keep track of how long they’ve been stored.
  6. Thawing and Reheating: When ready to eat, thaw the chicken rice in the refrigerator if it is frozen. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stove until it is thoroughly heated through. The internal temperature should reach at least 165°F (around 74°C). Add a little water or broth when reheating to keep the rice moist.
  7. Do Not Reheat Multiple Times: Avoid reheating the chicken rice multiple times as this can increase the risk of foodborne illness. Only reheat the amount you plan to eat.

🤔 FAQs

Can I Use Chicken Breast Instead of Thighs?

Yes, you can use chicken breasts instead of thighs, but keep in mind that breasts are leaner and cook faster. To prevent them from drying out, monitor the cooking time closely and consider marinating the breast for extra moisture and flavor.

How Do I Know When the Chicken Is Fully Cooked?

Chicken is fully cooked when its internal temperature reaches 165°F (around 74°C). Use a meat thermometer to check. The juices should run clear, and the meat should no longer be pink at the bone.

Is It Possible to Cook This Dish in a Rice Cooker?

While a rice cooker is great for cooking rice, this recipe benefits from the flavors developed by cooking the chicken and rice together in a pan. However, you can cook the rice separately in a rice cooker and then combine it with cooked chicken and seasonings.

📔 Recipe Card:

Black plate with boiled rice, two chicken thighs and chopped parsley.

Hearty Single-Serving Chicken Rice

Explore the simplicity and taste of our Hearty Chicken Rice recipe, designed for solo diners craving a quick, flavorful meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 0 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 1
Calories 250 kcal



  • 2 pieces Chicken Thighs small
  • cup Basmati Rice
  • ½ teaspoons Butter
  • ½ teaspoons Butter
  • ½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Lemon Peel


  • Sauté the chicken with a bit of butter and garlic in a skillet on low heat, sprinkling with aromatic herbs, salt, and pepper. This process will take about 25 minutes.
    2 pieces Chicken Thighs, ½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning, salt, Black Pepper, ½ teaspoons Butter
  • Once the chicken is nicely browned on both sides, remove it onto a plate along with the garlic.
  • In the same skillet, add the rice and cook it for a bit, then add water and salt to taste.
    ½ teaspoons Butter, ⅓ cup Basmati Rice
  • Place the chicken thighs back on top, grate lemon zest over them, and cover with a lid.
    Lemon Peel
  • Continue to cook covered for about 20 minutes until the rice is ready. Serve hot.


  • Adjust Spiciness: If you enjoy a bit of heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the dish. This will give your chicken rice a nice, warm kick.
  • Lemon Juice Addition: For a tangy twist, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the chicken rice just before serving. This adds a bright, zesty flavor that cuts through the richness.
  • Alternative Cooking Oils: If you’re out of olive oil or butter, avocado oil or grapeseed oil are great substitutes. They have high smoke points and a neutral flavor, making them ideal for cooking chicken.
  • Deglazing the Pan: After cooking the chicken, deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine or chicken broth. This will lift the flavorful browned bits from the bottom of the pan, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
  • Rice to Liquid Ratio: For perfectly cooked rice, use a 1:2 ratio of rice to liquid. Adjust the amount of broth or water accordingly if you change the type of rice used.


Calories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 5gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 41mgPotassium: 90mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 19IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Chicken, Lemon, Rice
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Your Turn

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below! If you’ve tried our chicken rice recipe, let us know how it turned out. Or, if you’re a seasoned pro at whipping up chicken and rice in your own unique way, we’re all ears.

Share your favorite methods or personal twists on this classic combo. Your insights not only inspire us but also help other readers discover new, exciting ways to enjoy this simple yet satisfying dish.

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