Skillet Mexican Chicken and Rice

Mexican Chicken and Rice is wonderfully, creamy cheesy, quick and easy – all in one pot in 30 minutes! 

 This Chicken and Rice Skillet is the ultimate hearty Mexican comfort food that your family will BEG you to make again and again!  Quick, easy and exploding with Southwest flavors and textures with only one pan to wash!  Also AH-mazing as burrito or taco filling or a base for taco salad! 

 Mexican Chicken and Rice in a black skillet.

Mexican Chicken and Rice Recipe

My passion for Mexican flavors and One Pot Meals unite to create this obsessive worthy One Skillet Mexican Chicken and Rice! I could seriously eat this every single day, it’s just that good and hits all the check marks in my Mexican comfortlicious book from ooegy gooey cheese, to hearty rice (I’m obsessed with my Cilantro Lime Rice and  Restaurant Style Mexican Rice ) to a rainbow of spices, to crisp lettuce, zesty Homemade Salsa, or Salsa Verde, refreshing sour cream or Jalapeno Ranch all dug into by salty tortilla chips. A symphony of flavors and textures in every addicting bite.  So addicting. 

So addicting in fact, Patrick (not a leftover fan), wanted to go out to a local Mexican restaurant but I still had leftovers of this Mexican Chicken and Rice, so I told him this skillet was SO much better than anything at that restaurant so I was going got eat this chicken and rice skillet instead but I would still go with him after. And I did. And my mouth was happy. And my belly. And my soul.

So aside from being better-than-restaurant-delish, this chicken and rice skillet is super simple to make – a no fuss, no stress, no think dinner if ever there was one.  And with only ONE pot to wash, its definitely a weekday meal life saver if ever there was one.  And definitely a new entire family favorite if ever there was one.

Mexican Chicken and Rice Ingredients

The ingredients list for this Mexican chicken, rice, and beans recipe is simple:

  • Olive oil: Use quality extra virgin olive oil for best results.
  • Onion: Any kind of onion works for this recipe.
  • Chicken breasts: Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces so it cooks quickly and is easy to eat.
  • Garlic: I loaded up this one pan chicken and rice with four cloves of garlic.
  • Water: You need a little water to help the rice cook through.
  • Enchilada sauce: Buy your favorite store-bought variety or make it yourself.
  • Long grain rice: I used a long grain white rice, which cooks much faster than brown rice.
  • Canned sweet corn: Rinse and drain the corn before adding it to the skillet.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes: Drain the tomatoes before using.
  • Mild green chiles: Make sure you purchase mild green chiles – I have accidentally used the hot chilies before and they are HOT! Mild green chiles, however are more tangy than hot.
  • Herbs and spices: Cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika adds tons of flavor to this dish.
  • Refried beans: Adds extra protein and makes this dish super creamy.
  • Cheddar cheese: I like to use cheddar cheese because the sharp flavor doesn’t get lost.
mexican chicken and rice with toppings in skillet


How to Make Mexican Chicken and Rice

To make this easy Mexican Chicken and Rice:

  1. First, saute your onions for a few minutes then add your chicken and cook a few minutes to seal in the juices.
  2. Next its as easy as adding all your remaining skillet ingredients including enchilada sauce, rice, sweet corn, fire roasted tomatoes, green chilies and a rainbow of Mexican spices including cumin, chili powder, ancho chili powder and smoked paprika.
  3. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low until your rice is tender, allowing the chicken and rice to drink in all the fiestalicious flavors.
  4. Then the magic that pushes this skillet from really good to can’t stop-eating-great – refried beans.  That’s right – you stir them into the skillet until nice and smooth, infusing the One Skillet Mexican Chicken and Rice with creaminess and then you stir in cheddar cheese until smooth, infusing the Mexican Chicken and Rice Skillet with cheesiness.  Yes, I did say addicting.
  5. Top your Mexican Chicken and Rice with more cheese, cover, and let melt.
  6. Serve with your favorite toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, guacamole and either sour cream or my Easy Jalapeno Ranch.  I actually whipped up the ranch for another recipe I’m sharing this week and then I decided to drizzle it all over my Mexican Chicken and Rice.  And strongly suggest you do the same.
  7. Finally, dig in with lots and lots of chips.   You can crush and pile them on top or I just like to eat mine right out of the pan like Taco Salad Dip because – more salty, crunch chips in every bite.  Happy crunching.
mexican chicken and rice in skillet with wood spoon

Tips for Making Mexican Chicken and Rice

  • Don’t overcook chicken. For the juiciest chicken, don’t overcook!  Brown it in the skillet but let it finish cooking with the rice.
  • How cheesy?  Feel free to use more or less cheese – it is entirely up to you how cheesy you make your Mexican chicken with rice!
  • Use freshly grated cheese.  Only use freshly grated cheese in your because packaged cheeses contain chemicals which keep them from easily melting.

Recipe Variations to Try

  • Drizzle with ranch. I’ve included my recipe for jalapeño ranch in the recipe card below. It’s totally optional, but highly recommended.
  • Use ground turkey or beef.  Swap the chicken for lean ground turkey or lean ground beef and brown with seasonings.
  • Spice it up.  Add jalapeños, minced chipotle chili peppers, cayenne pepper or hot sauce.
Top view of Mexican Chicken and Rice with tomatoes and sour cream.

Can I Prep Mexican Chicken and Rice in Advance?

Absolutely! Because the Mexican chicken and rice is enveloped in creamy refried beans and enchilada sauce, leftovers never really dry out. As such, you can assemble and make this recipe, and then reheat the leftovers for lunches or dinners throughout the week.

How to Store Mexican Chicken and Rice

This one-pan chicken, rice, and beans should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When stored properly, it is good for up to five days.

How to Reheat Mexican Chicken and Rice

  • Microwave: transfer a portion to a microwave-safe dish, heat for 1 minute, stir, then continue to heat at 30-second intervals. 
  • Stove:  for larger portions, rewarm gently in a large skillet, stirring often. You may need to add additional water to thin.

Can I Freeze Mexican Chicken and Rice?

Yes! To freeze:

  • Let the chicken and rice skillet cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer it to an airtight container.
  • Label and freeze for 2 to 3 months. 
  • Defrost in the refrigerator before using.

What to Serve with Mexican Chicken and Rice

This easy chicken and rice recipe is pretty much a meal in and of itself. But if you want to add some sides to bulk up the meal, go for it!

Close up of Mexican Chicken and Rice.

Looking for More Mexican Chicken Recipes?



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©Carlsbad Cravings by

Creamy, Cheesy One Skillet Mexican Chicken and Rice on your table in 30 minutes! My family BEGS me to make this constantly and I LOVE it too! Quick, easy and packed with flavor and texture! We also love it as the base for taco salad. You definitely have to try this one!

One Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice

Creamy, Cheesy One Skillet Mexican Chicken and Rice on your table in 30 minutes!  This is the ultimate hearty Mexican comfort food that your family will BEG you to make again and again!  Quick, easy and exploding with Southwest flavors and textures with only one pan to wash!  Also AH-mazing as burrito or taco filling or a base for taco salad! 
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound uncooked chicken breasts, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, mined
  • 1/2 cups water
  • 1 10 oz. can mild enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup long grain rice UNCOOKED
  • 1 15 oz. can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5 oz. can can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 4 oz. can mild diced green chilies
  • 1 tsp EACH salt, cumin, ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp EACH chili powder, smoked paprika
  • Add later:
  • 1 16 oz. can refried beans
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided


  • LOTS of tortilla chips
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • chopped avocados
  • chopped lettuce
  • cilantro
  • sour cream
  • Guacamole

Easy Jalapeno Ranch (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (1 oz. package)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, deveined, roughly chopped


  • (optional) Add all of the Jalapeno Ranch ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Add additional milk if needed to reach desired consistency. Refrigerate. (Best chilled. Can be made 24 hours+ ahead of time). Dressing will thicken as it chills so you will probably need to stir in additional milk when ready to serve.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Saute onions for 4 minutes. Add chicken and continue to cook until no longer pink on the outside (it will cook fully with the rice). Add garlic and saute 30 seconds.
  • Turn heat to low and add water, enchilada sauce, rice, corn, fire roasted tomatoes, green chilies and all seasonings/spices. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring at 10 and 15 minutes.
  • Once rice is done, stir in refried beans until smooth followed by ¾ cup cheese until smooth. Top with remaining cheese, cover and cook on low until cheese is melted. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, avocados etc. and either sour cream or the Jalapeno Ranch. Serve with plenty of chips!


*This recipe does not have kidney beans despite the photographs. I improved the recipe after I shot these photos and it SO much better with refried beans 🙂

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  1. Lisa says

    I made this tonight and we all agreed it is definitely a keeper! I love one pot meals that come together quickly and yet have amazing flavor. I agree with having LOTS of tortilla chips! The added crunch and saltiness was genius! The I appreciate your detailed directions as well as options for substitutions. Thanks for continuing to create so many delicious recipes!

    • Jen says

      Hi Lisa! I have been working my way through a backlog of comments and see yours somehow got lost in the mix! I am so glad that you loved this one! Tortilla chips are definitely a must!

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