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Chicken Paprika and Spanish Rice

This Chicken Paprika and Spanish Rice Bake is an easy, impressive, and flavorful meal. A perfect weeknight dinner recipe. This one pot meal is bursting with warm bold flavors and is a delicious end to a busy day!

I gave Rick a couple of options for dinner one night and he chose this Chicken Paprika and Spanish Rice dish. When I asked him why he chose this meal as opposed to the other option I gave him, his answer was “I wanted to end the weekend with the more ‘comforting meal’.” Pretty sure I surprised him on this one. It has been deemed our new favorite easy dinner recipe and the best chicken recipe. After dinner, I asked if he would have changed his mind about the dinner options and if he still felt like he would have been satisfied having this recipe end his week. That was met with a resounding yes. So, in summation, this baked chicken thigh recipe is a massive hit in our house and will be on a frequent rotation in our house.

Ingredients for Chicken Paprika and Spanish Rice

Oil or butter – helps to kick off the frying of the chicken skin
Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs – I find this to be the best cut of chicken to use. It stays moist and tender better than all other cuts.
Kosher salt – you can also use Sea Salt but, be wary of regular table salt. You can easily over salt this dish
Ground black pepper – helps aid in the development of deep flavor between the rice and chicken
Onion powder – there is already a decent amount of onion in this dish, however, the rice really benefits from it. The onion powder here allows for a more even distribution of flavor
Garlic Powder – used to add additional seasoning to the chicken
Smoked paprika – adds a rich smoky flavor to the chicken and rice – it’s (obviously) the star of this Chicken Paprika recipe
Chili powder – adds an extra little kick to the overall dish
Dried parsley – dried will work better in the dish as it can handle longer cooking times than fresh parsley
Yellow Onion – really enhances the tomato base of the rice
Garlic Cloves – used to enhance the tomato base
Crushed fire roasted tomatoes – you could use fresh tomatoes or a can of plain crushed tomatoes here, but I prefer the flavor that the fire roasted tomatoes bring to the Spanish Rice
Basmati rice – you may also use long grain white rice or jasmine
Chicken stock – provides liquid for the rice to cook in – the stock helps enhance the flavor as opposed to using just water
Baby spinach – added after cooking, it gives the dish color and a slight lemony finishing flavor

How to make Chicken Paprika and Spanish Rice

Seasoning the Chicken Thighs:

First, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Combine half of the kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and season each chicken thigh, making sure to get under the skin. Be sure to rub the seasoning into the skin and underneath to really penetrate the chicken thighs.

Cooking the Chicken Thighs:

In a deep-sided, heavy-bottomed pan or dutch oven, heat oil or butter over medium-high heat, allow to heat thoroughly before adding chicken to the pot. Once the oil has been heated, add the chicken to the pot skin side down. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, flip the chicken over and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove paprika chicken from pan and set aside.

Tomato Base:

Add diced onions to pot and allow to cook until almost transparent. Next, add fresh minced garlic and stir until fragrant about 1 minute. Then, add the crushed fire roasted tomatoes, stir to combine. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will know it is ready to move to the next step when the sauce turns a very deep almost brick colored red.

Spanish Rice:

While the tomato sauce is simmering, put the rice into a large mixing bowl and fill with water. Use a spoon to stir. Allow to sit for about 2 minutes. Drain and fill bowl again. Repeat process for a total of 3 times. After the final drain, add the rice to the tomato sauce and stir to incorporate. Next, add the remaining spices along with the parsley. Stir to combine thoroughly. Allow rice to come to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Baking Instructions for Chicken Paprika and Spanish Rice:

Next, nestle the paprika chicken thighs and any juices into the Spanish rice mixture. Cover and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 35 minutes. Once the chicken is done baking, remove the paprika chicken and transfer to a baking sheet and broil for 1-3 minutes (depending on the strength of your oven) to crisp the skin back up. Do not leave the chicken unattended as the skin can go from crispy to burnt in a few seconds. Next, in batches, add the spinach to the rice and combine until the spinach wilts, continue until all spinach has been added. Serve this incredible chicken thigh recipe and enjoy!

NOTE: Broiling the chicken is completely optional. I, personally, love the extra crisp broiling brings. Especially, after baking in a steamy environment.

Recipe Alternatives

There are several things you can do to change this recipe up by using some of the recommendations below:

  • Cilantro or Culantro – if your family is a fan of the flavor, feel free to add it!
  • Bell Peppers – If you want to add more veggies and even more color to this dish, add some slices of whatever bell peppers you have on hand or prefer to cook with. If adding peppers, add them to the pot and cook them with the peppers.
  • Cream – there are many versions of this dish where they replace 1/2 cup of the chicken stock with cream – this adds a creaminess to the dish, if you prefer.
  • Cumin – This is a great addition to this recipe. If you opt to use some cumin, add 1/4 teaspoon to the chicken spice mixture and another 1/4 teaspoon to the rice spice mix.

Stovetop Chicken Paprika and Spanish Rice

This chicken paprika and Spanish rice recipe can also be made on the stove. Follow the standard instructions, however, instead of baking in the oven, cook on low for 35-40 minutes. Check mid-way through to determine if you need any additional liquid. If you find the liquid to run low, add another 1/4 cup of chicken stock to the pot and stir to combine. Recover and continue to cook until done. Continue with recipe as stated above an in the official recipe below.

Do I have to use Bone-in Skin-on Chicken Thighs?

Nope. However, I do believe that they yield the most flavorful results. Below are some other chicken options to make this Chicken Paprika. In all of the options below, you will still need to sear the chicken on both sides before baking.

You can easily use bone-in skinless chicken thighs here. Sear the chicken for about 4-5 minutes per side. The cook time will need to be reduced by about 5-10 minutes in the oven. Ensure the cook temp is 165°F (74°C) before serving.

For boneless skinless chicken thighs: Sear the chicken thighs for about 3 minutes on each side. You will need to reduce the cook time by at least 10 minutes. Ensure the cook temp is 165°F (74°C) before serving.

For boneless skinless chicken breasts: Sear the chicken breasts for about 4-5 minutes per side for thicker breasts and 3-4 minutes for thinner breasts. Bake the dish for about 30 minutes and ensure the cook temp is 165°F (74°C) before serving.

How to store and reheat

If you have any leftovers, store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheat in the microwave. As you know chicken skin does not remain crispy after a while. You can put the chicken into the oven and broil for a minute or two to draw more moisture out of the skin and revive a little bit of the crispiness. Serve immediately.

Looking for more easy chicken recipes? Try these:

Pot of Chicken Paprika and Spanish Rice with Spinach in a pot

Chicken Paprika and Spanish Rice

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This Chicken Paprika and Spanish Rice Bake is an easy, impressive, and flavorful meal. A perfect weeknight dinner recipe. This one pot meal is bursting with warm bold flavors and is a delicious end to a busy day!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil or butter
  • 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, divided (1/4 tsp for chicken+ 1/2 tsp for rice)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 4 to 6 ounces baby spinach

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Combine half of all the dry ingredients except for the parsley; kosher salt, black
    pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder.
  3. Season all sides of each chicken thigh as well as under the skin. Be sure to rub the
    seasoning into the skin and underneath to really penetrate the chicken thighs –
    do not just sprinkle it on.
  4. In a deep-sided, heavy-bottomed pan or dutch oven, heat oil or butter over medium-high heat
  5. Allow the oil to heat thoroughly before adding chicken to the pot.
  6. Once the oil has been heated, add the chicken to the pot skin side down.
  7. Cook for 5 minutes (the skin should be nice and golden brown)
  8. Flip the chicken over and cook for another 5 minutes.
  9. Remove paprika chicken from pan and set aside.
  10. Add diced onions to pot and allow to cook until almost transparent (4-5 minute).
  11. Next, add fresh minced garlic and stir until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  12. Then, add the crushed fire roasted tomatoes, stir to combine.
  13. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will know it is ready
    to move to the next step when the sauce turns a very deep almost brick colored
    red.
  14. While the tomato sauce is simmering, put the rice into a large mixing bowl and fill with water.
  15. Use a spoon to stir.
  16. Allow to sit for about 2 minutes – this helps clean the rice and allow each grain to
    cook thoroughly.
  17. Drain the water and fill bowl again.
  18. Repeat process for a total of 3 times.
  19. After the final drain, add the rice to the tomato sauce and stir to incorporate.
  20. Next, add the remaining spices along with the parsley.
  21. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  22. Allow rice to come to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  23. Next, nestle the paprika chicken thighs and any accumulated juices into the Spanish
    rice mixture.
  24. Cover and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 35 minutes.
  25. Once the chicken is done baking, remove the paprika chicken and transfer to a baking sheet.
  26. Broil for 1-3 minutes (depending on the strength of your oven) to crisp the skin back
    up.
  27. Do not leave the chicken unattended as the skin can go from crispy to burnt in a
    few seconds.
  28. Next, in batches, add the spinach to the rice and combine until the spinach wilts, continue until all spinach has been added.
  29. Immediately serve this incredible chicken thigh recipe and enjoy!

Notes

Broiling the chicken is completely optional. I, personally, love the extra crisp broiling brings. Especially, after baking in a steamy environment.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 287Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 1409mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 15g

The nutritional values above are auto calculated by a nutrition program and can vary based on brands of ingredients used.

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21 Comments

  • Beth
    October 19, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Yummy! This recipe looks so delicious and tasty! My family is definitely going to love this recipe! Can’t wait to give this a try!

    Reply
  • Jen
    October 19, 2020 at 9:04 am

    This is just what we needed to change up our usual chicken dinner routine. It’ll be fun to use your different variations each time we try. We love trying new things, thanks!

    Reply
  • Jess
    October 19, 2020 at 9:14 am

    I love all the flavors here and that it is made in one-pot. Genius!

    Reply
  • Beth Sachs
    October 19, 2020 at 9:17 am

    The whole family LOVED this dish. I love the depth of flavour this chicken gives to dishes and the rice made it so filling.

    Reply
  • Lily
    October 19, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Oh my god, those chicken thighs sitting atop a beautiful bed of Spanish rice! I literally want to eat my computer screen right now.

    Reply
  • Gloria
    October 19, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    Just in time for comfort food season. This is great for a weeknight dinner or Sunday supper. Leftovers would be awesome too. I will make extra for sure.

    Reply
  • Eva
    October 19, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Can’t blame Rick, this dish does indeed sound like the definition of comfort food itself. I am not the biggest fan of thighs although I know they have more flavour, but I can’t wait to try it with chicken breasts!

    Reply
  • Jennifer
    October 19, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    This looks like pure comfort food! Today just turned chilly and the flavors in this will definitely warm us up.

    Reply
  • Paula Montenegro
    October 19, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    I could live on rice and chicken (especially thighs!), so imagine how excited I am to add this recipe to my rotation! I think paprika is one of the best and most versatile spices, especially smoked, so I love how you use it here. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Sharon
    October 20, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Simple and delicious, that is the best thing about this flavorful chicken and rice dish.

    Reply
  • katerina @ diethood.com
    October 20, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Oh YUM! I can’t wait to try this! It looks and sounds incredibly delicious!!

    Reply
  • Beti | easyweeknightrecipes
    October 20, 2020 at 11:55 am

    This will be a huge hit at our house! The perfect weeknight meal!

    Reply
  • Jenny
    October 21, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Delicious! It was so easy to make and we all loved this chicken paprika. Perfect comfort food.

    Reply
  • Toni+Dash
    October 21, 2020 at 10:27 am

    This quickly became a favorite meal at my house!

    Reply
  • Toni Dash
    October 21, 2020 at 10:36 am

    This is so yummy!! A new addition to our favorite meal!

    Reply
  • Sandra | A Dash of Sanity
    October 21, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    I love how comforting this is!! Packed full of amazing flavors! So yummy!

    Reply
  • Chef+Dennis
    October 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    I made your chicken and rice for dinner tonight and my family raved about it. This is going on our menu rotation!!

    Reply
  • Tara
    October 25, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    I love one pot dinners and this recipe did not disappoint. Oh My, all of the flavors! Mine turned out so juicy and delicious!

    Reply
  • Debra
    October 25, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    I’m totally with you on the broiling….the crispy skin is the best part. My kids absolutely loved it.

    Reply
  • Sam
    October 26, 2020 at 1:12 am

    This Spanish chicken and rice looks amazing! Love the flavours you have combined in this one pot recipe. Sounds perfect for dinner tomorrow.

    Reply
  • Natalie
    October 26, 2020 at 10:06 am

    Smoked paprika is such a nice addition to chicken meals. I absolutely love this recipe. Perfect family dinner. I can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply

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