One-Pan Indian Inspired Chicken and Rice

One-Pan Indian Inspired Chicken and Rice
The bold flavors, textures, and beautiful presentation rate this a WOW! for impressiveness. Easy-to-make and easy clean-up mean a stress-free cooking experience. It rates a RELAXED.

Indian inspired flavors

I wasn’t raised eating Indian food or cooking with Indian spices. I think I was over 40 before I ever heard of turmeric and would have never considered using cinnamon in a savory dish. The same goes for raisins. Who knew?? This one-pan chicken dish has amazing flavors and textures. Every bite is an absolute delight. It’s almost impossible to believe how easy this is to make and clean up!

image of ingredients

Flexible ingredients – easy substitutions

I chose to use chicken drumsticks because they were on sale this week. However, you can also use chicken thighs or chicken breasts. The unexpected ingredients for this chicken dish are raisins, and chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), which I have learned are relatively common in Indian food. However, if you want, swap out the raisins for dried cranberries, currants, or cherries. You can also use Cannellini beans, black beans, or kidney beans in place of the chickpeas. Curry powder or ground coriander make good substitutions if you don’t have ground turmeric in your spice rack.

chicken with salt and pepper added
Generously season the chicken

Mise en place

Prepping takes just a few minutes. Start with the chicken, so it has time to warm to room temp while you’re preparing the other ingredients. The chicken will cook faster and more evenly if the chill is off. Generously season with salt and pepper and let sit.

prepped ingredients - chickpeas, onion, basil, rice and spices
Prepping ingredients makes this easy to throw together!

The onion and basil need chopping. I suggest measuring out the spices, rice, raisins in advance – it makes it so much quicker and easier when it’s time to add them to the pan. Another essential but easy task is draining and rinsing the chickpeas.

chicken in pan
Brown chicken on both sides

Heat the canola oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron or stainless steel). When the oil is shimmering, add the seasoned chicken and brown on both sides. It takes about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Developing the flavors

pan with onions and spices added
Add onion and spices to hot skillet

Add the onion and spices to the hot pan and cook for just a minute before adding the rice. Stir constantly to coat the rice in the spices and add the water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the yummy flavored bits off into the sauce. Add the chickpeas, raisins, red pepper flakes (optional), and salt.

pa with chickpeas and raisins added
Add chickpeas, raisins, pepper flakes and salt

Nestle chicken back into the skillet and bring the liquid to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20–25 minutes.

Cover, cook, serve!

images of chicken in pan
Add the chicken back Cover. Cook till done.

Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then garnish with the basil. Enjoy!

One-Pan Indian Inspired Chicken and Rice

Recipe by Jane BruceCourse: MainCuisine: Indian-InspiredDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Turmeric, cinnamon, raisins, and chickpeas add an Indian flair to easy-one pan chicken and rice.  Crushed red pepper adds warmth and the basil contributes color and an herby freshness.  Simply fabulous!


  • 6 chicken drumsticks

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 cup white rice

  • 2 cups hot water

  • 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas drained, rinsed

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil


  • Prep: Season chicken on all sides with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Chop the onion. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Chop the basil. Measure out the other ingredients
  • Heat oil in a large deep-sided skillet over medium-high. Add chicken and cook, turning once halfway through, until skin is golden brown, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add onion, cinnamon, and turmeric to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat. Add 1 1/4 cups hot water, scraping up browned bits from pan, then stir in chickpeas, raisins, red pepper (if using), and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Nestle chicken back into skillet and bring liquid to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then scatter herbs over.


  • Chicken: 4 chicken thighs or breasts can be substituted or the drumsticks
  • Turmeric: Substitute curry powder or ground coriander
  • Chickpeas: Substitute cannelloni beans, black beans or kidney beans
  • Raisins: Substitute dried cranberries, currants, or cherries

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