This Cajun Chicken recipe is a complete meal made in one pan with just 8 ingredients! Featuring tender chicken thighs nestled in fluffy Cajun red beans and rice flavored with sweet red bell peppers and juicy tomatoes! This Cajun chicken and rice is so easy and delicious it will instantly become a family favorite!
Featured Reader Comment (from Pinterest): “Crazy easy to make and great flavor!” – Corey
Update: This post was originally published in February 2017. It’s been updated to include more information about this Cajun Chicken recipe, as well as pro-tips for customizing Louisiana chicken and rice!
Hey there, friends! I hope you are hungry and love Cajun food! Because, today we are cooking up a bold, Ragin Cajun chicken dinner you and your family will love!
Cajun Chicken: recipe overview
Say hello to this easy, breezy, one skillet wonder of Cajun style chicken, rice and beans! Honestly, I just call this a pan of DELICIOUSNESS! Because, this skillet rice meal will make you feel like you’ve been transported right to the Bayou, alligator airboat ride obviously not included!
Here’s what’s happening in this Cajun chicken recipe! Juicy, tender, crispy-skinned chicken thighs are beautifully snuggled in a bed of light, fluffy white rice kissed with slightly spicy, smoky, Cajun seasonings; and studded with plump red beans, fire roasted tomatoes and sweet red bell peppers. Basically, this skillet is bursting with BOLD and ROBUST Cajun flavors!
Grab a hurricane, make this chicken with red beans and rice and prepare yourself for flavor town.
Why you will love this Cajun recipe
- Simple ingredients! This baked cajun chicken requires 8 easy-to-find, common ingredients, plus a few pantry staples!
- Quick and easy! Using canned beans and a can of tomatoes helps this chicken, rice and beans dish come together quick and easy! It’s the perfect weeknight family dinner option!
- One pan! Say goodbye to hours of dishwashing with this one-pan skillet recipe!
- Flavor! This Louisiana style chicken packs a flavorful punch! It’s smoky, spicy, earthy, zesty, savory and completely delicious!
- Complete Meal: Take the stress out of dinner with this one pan meal as it includes everything! This homemade recipe is loaded with protein, fiber, and protein, making it an easy and complete dinner option for your family!
- Flexible: This creole chicken recipe is flexible and incredibly easy to customize! Feel free to add or swap in whatever vegetables you love, such as chiles, spinach and mushrooms!
Cajun chicken and rice ingredients
You’ll need eight easy-to-find ingredients to make this simple Louisiana chicken dinner! This cajun chicken rice recipe uses common pantry seasonings, along with fresh vegetables to keeps things quick and fuss-free without sacrificing flavor!
- Poultry: You will need four bone-in chicken thighs for this southern chicken and rice recipe. I prefer to use skin-on chicken thighs for the most flavor and juiciest texture! If you don’t like the skin, just peel it off before eating!
- Cajun seasoning: I recommend using a homemade Cajun Spice Mix for the most robust flavor!
- Oil: Use a good-quality olive oil for browning the chicken!
- Onion: One small yellow onion adds the perfect touch of strong, yet mild onion flavour!
- Bell Pepper: You can use any color of bell pepper you love – red, orange, yellow and/or green! I personally love how the sweet flavor of a red bell pepper complements the heat of the cajun spice!
- Rice: You will need 1 cup of long grain white rice for the cajun red beans and rice!
- Stock: Chicken stock (or broth) imparts savory flavor into the cajun rice and beans! I recommend using low-sodium chicken stock so you can control the level of salt!
- Red beans: The most common bean in Cajun red beans and rice is the small red bean. You can use canned red beans and kidney beans interchangeably in this cajun chicken recipe; however, please drain and rinse your beans well before using!
- Tomatoes: One can of fire-roasted tomatoes provides the perfect pops of sweet, juicy flavor!
- Chicken: You can use bone-in chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs if you prefer! Please note, you may have to decrease the bake time in the recipe!
- Sausage: You can swap out the chicken for andouille sausage, or use a combination of both to make cajun chicken sausage!
- Onion: If you prefer a sweeter onion flavor, you can swap out the yellow onion for red onions or shallots!
- Broth: Chicken stock is more flavorful with a richer mouthfeel; however, you can use chicken broth instead!
- Vegetarian option: You can easily make this a vegetarian meal by removing the chicken, and switching out the chicken stock for vegetable broth!
- Garlic: If you are a garlic lover, I recommend adding a few cloves of minced fresh garlic! (You can add it just before the rice in step 5!)
- Tomatoes: If fresh tomatoes are in season, stir some sweet cherry or grape tomatoes into the cajun red beans and rice before serving!
- Jalapeños: I always add jalapeños for a mild pop of spicy flavor!
- Herbs: Fresh herbs are a wonderful way to incorporate a layer of bright flavor! I recommend parsley or cilantro for this spicy cajun recipe!
- Lime: To really bring these pan-fried and oven baked chicken thighs to life, try squeezing some fresh lime over the dish just before serving! (You can use lemon juice if you are in a pinch!)
- Sauce: Drizzle a bit of Louisiana hot sauce over your chicken, rice and kidney beans for even more spicy flavor! Or try drizzling this dish with creamy remoulade sauce if you prefer a more cooling flavor!
What is cajun spice made of?
Cajun chicken seasoning is a blend of dried spices and herbs common to Cajun cuisine. The spice mix typically includes cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder, as well as kosher salt and pepper.
You can purchase cajun or creole seasoning, or you can mix up your own by using common pantry seasonings! My homemade Cajun seasoning is the perfect blend of cayenne, smoked paprika and garlic, as well as onion powder, dried thyme, dried oregano and freshly-ground black pepper! It provides the most irresistibly robust smoky and slightly spicy flavors!
How to make Cajun Chicken?
This creole chicken with red beans and rice is so simple to prepare and only requires 15 minutes of hands on preparation!
- First you will start by seasoning the chicken generously on ALL sides with some of the delicious Cajun spice!
- Then, you heat a splash of oil in a skillet, and cook the chicken until golden brown and delicious on both sides. Transfer the chicken to the plate and set aside.
- Next, you’ll add the fresh vegetables right into the same skillet and season them liberally with salt and pepper. Cook them until they are lovely and soft!
- Reduce the heat and stir in the white rice.
- Then, pour in the stock, sprinkle in some more Cajun seasoning, and dump in the beans and tomatoes. Give everything a nice stir to combine.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet, nestling it in the rice. Cover the skillet with a lid and pop it into an oven preheated to 350-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Go pour yourself a cocktail (or a mocktail!) and come back 25 minutes later. Remove the lid and continue to bake for roughly 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked though (to an internal temperature of 165-degrees F).
- Remove the skillet from the oven, garnish everything with some fresh herbs and little slivers of jalapeños. Grab the largest fork humanly possible and enjoy.
Tips for the best Cajun chicken and rice
- Chicken thighs: The cajun chicken recipe below calls for bone-in chicken thighs. You can either use skinless or skin-on. I recommend using skin-on (what I used), because the crispy skin is downright delicious.
- Cajun spice: You can purchase Cajun spice blend at the store, or you can make your own. I highly suggest you make your own. You probably already have all the seasonings in your pantry, and making your own is much cheaper than buying a prepared one. I included the recipe to DIY in the notes section of the recipe below.
- Oven-safe skillet: You can use any kind of skillet you would like for this recipe, but make sure it is straight sided, has a tight fitting lid, and it is oven safe. I used a 12’’ cast iron skillet.
Louisiana chicken: FAQ
Is Cajun chicken rice spicy?
Cajun chicken is mildly spicy with a subtle kick of heat. The primary heat source for this Cajun dish comes from the cayenne pepper in the cajun spice blend.
If you are making this easy cajun chicken for children, or those unable to eat spicy foods, you can reduce the amount of seasoning in the recipe. Alternatively, if you are making cajun seasoning from scratch, you can simply reduce the amount of cayenne pepper in the spice blend!
Are red beans the same as kidney beans?
No. Red beans and kidney beans are two different types of beans. Red beans are pink in color and smaller and rounder in shape, similar to a pinto bean. Kidney beans, on the other hand, are much larger with a darker crimson color.
Can I use kidney beans instead?
You can use red beans and kidney beans interchangeably in this easy cajun recipe! However, it really depends on what texture and flavor you prefer! Red beans are creamier in texture with a slightly “beanier” flavor.
What goes with cajun chicken?
This one-pot meal is fuss-free and has it all – cajun spice chicken, red beans, rice, and plenty of vegetables! However, if you are looking to serve a hungry family and want a little something on the side, then the below dishes are a great complement to this recipe!
- Hush puppies: Fluffy hush puppies are my favorite appetizer to serve with one pot cajun chicken and rice!
- Dinner rolls: Buttery, soft dinner rolls go with everything! These one-hour rolls go great with this spicy chicken dish!
- Cornbread: Sweet cornbread is a fantastic side dish to serve with this chicken rice! Add some cheddar cheese and pickled jalapeños to the batter to kick it up a notch!
- Salad: Keep it simple and use up whatever vegetables you have hanging out in your crisper drawer! Drizzle it with some spicy ranch for a quick and healthy side dish!
- Roasted veggies: For an easy side that only dirties one more dish, roast your favorite fresh vegetable! Potatoes, corn, broccoli, asparagus, collard greens and green beans are all perfect with this Louisiana chicken and rice!
How long will leftover chicken and rice keep?
Leftover Cajun chicken and rice makes a yummy heat-and-eat lunch! Allow the dish to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Properly stored, leftovers will last in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you are looking for longer term storage, you can also freeze your leftovers! Store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Transport your taste buds to the Big Easy and make this simple Cajun Chicken with Red Beans and Rice. Your mouth will high five you, I swear.
Until next week friends, cheers and happy cooking!
More Cajun and Creole recipes
Are you looking for more restaurant-quality Southern recipes? Try these family favorites next!
- Cajun Shrimp Tacos (Perfect for taco Tuesday!)
- (One Pot!) Cajun Dirty Rice
- Cajun Honey Butter Shrimp (So saucy!)
- Crispy Cajun Wings (Finger-licking good!!)
The best Cajun Chicken recipe with red beans & rice👇
Cajun Chicken with Red Beans & Rice
- 1 Can Opener
- 1 large skillet (SEE NOTES)
- Measuring Spoons and Cups
- Large Kitchen Spoon - for mixing and stirring during cooking!
- 4 Chicken Thighs - Bone-in (either skin-on or skinless, depending on preference)
- 2 TBS Cajun Spice Mix - divided (SEE NOTES)
- 2 TBS Olive Oil - divided (SEE NOTES)
- 1 small Yellow Onion – peeled and diced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper – diced
- 1 Cup Long Grain Rice
- 1 ½ Cup Chicken Stock (or broth)
- 1 (15 ounce) Can Red Beans – drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) Can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes WITH their juices
- Optional Garnishes: Chopped Fresh Parsley, Sliced Jalapeños
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Season chicken: Sprinkle 1 ½ tablespoon of the Cajun spice mixture evenly over the chicken on both sides with. Use your hands to rub the seasoning into the chicken thighs.
- Brown chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, straight-sided skillet (with a tight fitting lid) over medium-high heat. Add chicken (skin side down) and cook until browned all over, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate.
- Saute veggies: (If using skinless chicken thighs or pan is dry, add remaining tablespoon of oil). Add the onion and bell pepper. Season with generously with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add rice, then remaining ingredients: Reduce heat to medium and add the rice, stirring to coat. Add the stock, beans, diced tomatoes and remaining ½ tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning. Stir to combine and increase heat to medium high.
- Return chicken to pan: Add the chicken, skin side up, back to the skillet, nestling it on top of/partially in the rice. Bring contents to a simmer. Immediately cover the skillet with the lid and transfer to the preheated oven.
- Bake for 25 minutes, COVERED. Remove the lid and continue to bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve: Garnish with parsley and jalapeños if desired. Enjoy!
- Chicken: This cajun chicken recipe calls for bone-in chicken thighs - either skinless or skin-on! I recommend using skin-on (shown here). The skin not only protects the chicken, keeping it moist, but the crispy is skin is delicious! However, you can peel the skin off before serving to save some calories and fat!
- Skillet size: You can use any kind of skillet you would like for this recipe, but make sure it is straight sided, has a tight fitting lid, and it is oven safe. I used a 12’’ cast iron skillet.
- Cajun seasoning: You can use a store-bought cajun spice mix, or you can make your own! I highly suggest you make your own. You probably already have all the seasonings in your pantry, and making your own is much cheaper than buying a prepared one. DIY - Cajun Spice Mix: https://www.nospoonnecessary.com/cajun-spice-homemade-cajun-seasoning/
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