If you’re in the market for an easy, family-friendly weeknight meal, look no further than this sensational Cumin Chicken and Rice. In just 30 minutes (using only one pan!!!), you’ll be savoring a symphony of scrumptiousness that’s astonishingly delicious and super satisfying.
Featured comment: Just happened to stumbled across this lovely looking recipe and am so glad I did! Your photos are gorgeous and this is now one of my favorite meals! Pineapple, avocado, and cumin are some of my favorite flavors so this recipe called my name! Yum!!” – Candice
Update: This recipe was originally published in April 2016. I made updates to the article below to include more information about recipe for chicken cumin. Plus, there’s now step-by-step photos showing you *just* how easy this one pan chicken with cumin and rice is to make!
What is cumin chicken?
Featuring succulent chicken breasts or thighs, kissed by the captivating essence of warming spices and the invigorating zest of lime, this simple chicken recipe with cumin is bursting at the seams with latin-inspired flavors.
The dinner adventure continues with fragrant basmati rice, each grain anointed with the essence of aromatic yellow onions, rich chicken goodness, and the subtle smokiness of green chilies. Best of all, this symposium of textures and tastes takes place in a single skillet, where magic unfolds as these elements meld together.
And let’s not forget the pièce de résistance – a tropical avocado pineapple salsa that elevates this nom-a-licious chicken and rice dish to a whole new level. The velvety richness of avocado intertwines with the tropical sweetness of pineapple, creating a burst of freshness that crowns the culinary masterpiece known as chicken cumin rice.
Why you’ll love this chicken with cumin
If you need more convincing, this cumin chicken dinner is:
- Quick & Easy – You know those nights where it seems like you blink and it’s dinnertime? This easy skillet chicken with cumin and garlic is here to save your hungry bellies. Dinner will be served in just 30 minutes!
- Super Versatile – Cumin chicken rice is great on its own, but can also be served in tacos, burritos, nachos, and more. I have lots more ideas for you below, so keep on reading!
- Easily Customizable – While I love this recipe with cumin just the way it is written, there are tons of ways for you to make it your own. Read on below for lots more chicken and rice seasoning ideas!
Ingredients for cumin chicken recipe
Despite being packed to the brim with bright, zesty flavor, this cumin chicken with rice requires just a few easy-to-find ingredients. Here’s what to grab:
Want to set Future You up for success? Marinate the chicken in a freezer-safe zip-top bag, then toss it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready for some yummy, cumin-laced deliciousness, simply defrost and go!
- Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts – The Boy is a white-meat-only kinda guy, so boneless, skinless breasts are a favorite in our household.
- If you, like me, prefer a bit of dark meat, feel free to swap in boneless skinless chicken thighs!
- Lime – You’ll need both the juice and the zest for the full flavor experience.
- Garlic – Fresh will definitely impart the boldest garlic flavor. But you can also use garlic cloves roasted in the oven for a richer, mellower garlic flavor. However, you’re welcome to use jarred minced garlic in a pinch. (Need help cutting garlic? Learn how to cut a garlic clove. )
- Ground Cumin – The crowning glory of this warm and earthy cumin chicken marinade!
- If you only have whole cumin seeds, you can easily grind them using a mortar and pestle or clean spice/coffee grinder.
- Ground Coriander – For imparting a citrusy, floral flavor that is bright and refreshing.
- Like cumin, you can easily grind whole coriander seeds using either a mortar and pestle or a clean spice/coffee grinder.
Before you get concerned that the rice will be boring, remember the cumin seasoning for chicken will help infuse each grain with delectable flavor. 😉
- Neutral Oil – I personally love avocado oil, but feel free to use grapeseed, canola, peanut, or any other neutral-flavored oil you have on hand.
- Yellow Onion – I love how tender and sweet yellow onion becomes after cooking. Need help? Learn how to cut an onion like a pro.
- Feel free to swap in red or white onion, or even shallots if that’s what you have!
- Long Grain Rice – I used super fragrant Basmati, but any long grain rice will do.
- You’re also welcome to swap in long-grain brown rice, though it will take longer to cook. If you go this route, consider using chicken thighs instead of breasts so they don’t dry out.
- Chopped Green Chilies – I always keep a can of these bad boys in the pantry. They add tons of flavor without any fuss!
- You’re certainly welcome to use the roasted, peeled, and chopped peppers of your choice. If you tend to roast and freeze Hatch chiles or poblanos while they’re in season, this is a great spot to put them to use!
- Reduced Sodium Chicken Stock – Either store-bought or homemade will work beautifully here.
- You can also use veggie stock or the vegetable or chicken bouillon paste or powder of your choice, mixed with water.
- Water – If possible, opt for filtered water for the best taste.
This cumin chicken breast recipe is easily customizable, so feel free to mix and match seasonings to create a cumin chicken recipe that is perfect for you and your family! It can be seasoned with as much or as little flavor as you like.
Here are some of my favorite seasonings to use with cumin marinated chicken
- Onion Powder
- Ground Coriander
- Ground Chili Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Lime Juice
- Honey or Agave
Or top it with a delectable tropical salsa, like mango salsa or a pineapple avocado salsa, as shown in theses photos.
How to make chicken cumin
This ground cumin chicken recipe comes together in just 30 minutes. Here’s how:
Marinate Chicken in Cumin: In a large zip-closure bag combine lime juice and zest, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Add in chicken breasts, toss to coat and seal. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight, turning occasionally to coat evenly.
Brown the Chicken: Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add the cumin marinated chicken to the skillet and cook about 1-2 minutes per side, or until chicken is golden all over. Then, transfer the chicken to a clean plate and set aside.
Start Cooking Rice: Lower the heat under the pan to medium-high. Heat ½ tablespoon of oil and then add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until translucent and then add in the garlic and rice. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring to coat the rice.
Add the liquid: Add the chilies, juice of one lime, stock and water to the pan. Bring the rice to a simmer and cook for 30 seconds. Next, arrange the browned chicken breasts on top of rice. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 22-25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked through.
Serve: Remove the pan from the heat. Then, uncover and let the chicken and rice rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro and salsa, if using. Enjoy!
Expert tips for chicken recipe with cumin
- Marination time. As with just about all marinades, you can let the chicken sit for as little as 30 minutes, or as long as overnight. Obviously I recommend you let the chicken sit overnight because this will produce more flavor. But, whatever you do, make sure you turn the chicken over occasionally so the marinade evenly coats the chicken.
- Be sure to use long grain rice. Long grain rice contains less starch, which means the grains are more separate and not sticky. This isn’t sushi or risotto, so stick with the long grain variety.
- For perfectly cooked rice, give it a good rinse under cool water. I like to use a mesh strainer and keep rinsing until the water runs clear. This will ensure each grain cooks to fluffy perfection without becoming gummy.
FAQs: cumin on chicken
Can you use cumin on chicken? Is cumin good on chicken?
Yes and YES! If you’re a fan of Mexican or Tex-Mex foods, you’re going to love this chicken with cumin recipe.
How much cumin to use for chicken?
The exact amount of ground cumin to use to season chicken will depend on the recipe. Generally, you should use 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of cumin per chicken breast or thigh. Or, 1-2 teaspoons of cumin for a recipe that serves 4.
My one-pan cumin chicken recipe uses a heaping 1/3 a teaspoon of cumin per chicken breast, or about 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin for four.
Serving suggestion for chicken cumin recipe
Wondering what side dishes to serve with chicken and rice? My favorite thing about this meal is that it’s perfectly balanced without anything extra. You have juicy, protein-packed chicken and starchy, flavorful rice — who needs anything else??
But, if you’re looking to serve a crowd or a very hungry family, here are some delicious side options to try:
- Cuban Style Beans
- Grilled Corn on the Cob or Elote
- Coleslaw: Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw or Mexican style Slaw
- Marinated Tomato Salad
- Roasted, Grilled or Sautéed Broccoli
- Grilled or Sautéed Bell Peppers
- Avocados: Pineapple Avocado Salsa, Avocado Salad, or Avocado Butter
- Salsa: Roasted Corn Salad, Pico de Gallo or Picante Sauce, Salsa Verde
- Sauce for serving: Cuban Mojo Sauce
Wondering how to serve chicken with cumin? This tender, zesty cumin chicken is perfect for having on hand and can be served in a variety of ways!
Here are some of my favorite ways to use cumin flavored chicken
- Slice chicken and stuff it in tortillas or use it in tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.
- Chop chicken and use it on nachos with pickled jalapenos.
- Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and add it to soups such as tortilla soup.
- Thinly slice chicken and add it to salads.
- Sauté your favorite vegetables, like green beans, and serve chopped cumin chicken on top.
Storing chicken with cumin recipe
Here’s how to ensure your delectable Cumin Chicken and Rice remains as delightful as the moment it was prepared:
- Refrigeration: After enjoying your flavorful feast, allow any leftovers to cool down to room temperature. Transfer into airtight containers and place in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. It should keep well for up to 3-4 days.
- Reheating: When you’re ready to savor this dish again, reheat only the portion you plan to enjoy. Use the microwave, stovetop, or oven, taking care to heat thoroughly until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s safe to eat.
- Freezing (Optional): If you’d like to extend the storage life, you can freeze the dish. Place the chicken and rice in airtight freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, and remove as much air as possible. Label with the date and use within 2-3 months.
- Thawing and Reheating from Frozen: To serve, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat to 165F using your preferred method.
So there you have it, an easy weeknight recipe that turns cooking into a cumin’ good time! Whether you’re a culinary adventurer or just seeking a scrumptiously hassle-free meal, this Cumin Chicken and Rice dish has you covered. Until our taste buds reunite for another flavor-packed escapade, keep savoring life, one delectable bite at a time. Stay hungry, stay curious, and keep those pots and pans dancing!
More chicken and rice family dinners!
Are you looking for more easy, restaurant-quality chicken dinners? Try these family favorites next:
- Hearty Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- Cranberry Chicken and Rice
- Chinese Chicken Broccoli Rice
- Cajun Chicken with Beand and Rice
The best Skillet Cumin Chicken and Rice recipe 👇
Cumin Chicken Recipe with Rice
- 1 Large, Straight-Sided Skillet (for cooking cumin chicken and rice)
- 1 Mixing Bowl (optional - for making salsa)
- Season chicken with cumin: In a large zip-closure bag combine lime juice and zest, 1 clove of garlic, cumin, coriander 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Add in chicken breasts, toss to coat and seal. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight, turning occasionally to coat evenly.
- Optional - Make the salsa: Place all ingredients in a medium bowl. Gently stir to combine. Season to taste with salt. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Sear the chicken: Remove the chicken breasts from the cumin marinade and discard the marinade. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add chicken to the skillet and cook about 1-2 minutes per side, or until chicken is lightly browned. (SEE NOTE) . Remove the browned chicken breasts from the hot pan and transfer to a clean plate. Set aside.
- Add the vegetables and rice: Adjust heat under skillet to medium-high heat. Add in the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil. Add in onions and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic and rice, and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat.
- Add the chiles, lime, and liquids: Add in the chilies, juice of one lime, stock and water. Bring the rice to a simmer and cook for 30 seconds. Add browned chicken: Place chicken breasts on top of rice. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook: Cover the pan and cook for 22-25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked through (Note: Chicken is cooked through when an instant read thermometer registers between 160-165-degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken.) (SEE NOTES BELOW)
- Serve: Remove the pan from the stove top and uncover. Let the chicken and rice rest for 5 minutes before garnishing with fresh cilantro and salsa. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Spice Level of Salsa: For a spicy hot salsa, keep the seeds and ribs in the jalapeno. For a medium salsa, partially remove seeds and ribs. For a mild salsa, remove all seeds and ribs.
- (Salsa will keep in the refrigerator overnight, but it is best on the day it is made.)
- Do not overcook chicken in step 3! You just want to brown the outside of the chicken breasts slightly to develop flavor. The chicken will continue to cook in step 5 of the recipe.
- If the liquid is not all the way absorbed when done cooking in step 5, remove the lid and continue to cook until liquid evaporates. If the chicken is done, remove it to a serving plate while you continue to cook the rice!
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