Take a break from weeknight dishes and make this gluten-free one-pot chicken and brown rice meal with black beans, salsa, and corn. This dish has it all: protein, veggies, carbs, fiber, lots of flavor, and low cleanup! A variety of spices gives this one-pot meal a Southwestern flair without much added effort.
This hearty meal comes together in practically no time at all and slow-cooks over the stove for a mostly hands-off dinner. Instructions for making this black bean brown rice chicken in the Instant Pot are included, too!
Ingredients for One-Pot Chicken and Brown Rice
The magic of this one-pot black bean and brown rice chicken dinner is that it’s made from simple, everyday ingredients. There’s nothing fussy, and even kids love it.
- Yellow onion. Yellow onion has the best flavor for cooked foods, but you can also substitute a white onion.
- Garlic. There’s a lot of food here, so if you want a stronger garlic flavor, add another couple of cloves.
- Olive oil. Just a touch to help the onion and garlic sauté. Use any oil you like best here.
- Brown rice. Long-grain is my favorite, but this recipe will also work with short-grain brown rice.
- Corn. Any kind of corn works here: frozen, fresh, or canned. Roasted corn has the best flavor, if you can find that!
- Salsa. Use your favorite salsa here! I used Del Real’s Fire Roasted Red Salsa here.
- Black beans.
- Chicken broth. I use the lower-sodium kind; if you don’t have any on hand, substitute water or more salsa.
- Spices. We’re breaking out all the savory seasonings for complex and delicious flavor. Measure with your heart when it comes to your favorites.
- Chicken breast. This recipe works with both thawed and frozen chicken breast. Either way, the chicken shreds easily after cooking.
- Your favorite toppings. This southwest chicken and rice bowl is great to start, but you get extra bonus points for adding dimension with thoughtful toppings. My favorites are flaky sea salt, shredded cheddar cheese, lime juice, sour cream, and cilantro. Also, tortilla chips are a must.
Quick Tips for Prepping Black Bean Brown Rice Chicken
This one-pot chicken meal comes together easily with no special techniques; however, seeing it made step-by-step gives you some familiarity so you know what to expect.
Sautéing the Onion and Garlic
I’ve tried larger and smaller pieces of onion, and I like the texture of diced onion best. You’re welcome to cut your onion pieces a little larger if you’d like. Sauté the diced onion in a Tablespoon of oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Once the onion has softened, add in the garlic.
Cook the garlic for only a minute until fragrant—it cooks quickly!
Adding Brown Rice, Corn, Salsa, Beans, and Broth
Once the vegetables have softened, add in all the remaining ingredients except for the chicken. You can stir as you go or just once at the end. This is a great task to give to little kitchen helpers with supervision.
Cooking the Chicken
Place the chicken breasts in the center of the Dutch oven after the mixture has started to boil. The top of the chicken cooks largely by steam , so you want to make sure there’s enough steam in the pot.
Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes before uncovering and separating the chicken. There will still be some pink spots; flip the chicken over so the pink sides are facedown.
Shredding the Chicken
Use two forks to shred the chicken straight in the pot. If you’re worried about scraping the enamel on the Dutch oven, you can take the chicken out and shred it on a plate. There’s usually enough food between the chicken and the pot for me to comfortably shred the chicken. I get it, though, if you don’t want to risk your Le Creuset!
Once the chicken is shredded, give the whole pot a good stir to incorporate everything. This also gives you a chance to make sure all the chicken is fully cooked. If you see any pink, recover the pot. Let the whole meal cook for another five minutes, or until the temperature reaches 165°F.
Plating Black Bean Brown Rice Chicken
My favorite part of one-pot chicken and brown rice is the toppings. My husband and I usually place a handful of tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl and then add three or four heaping scoops on top. We place tortilla chips around the edges of the bowl to make a sun shape. Lastly, we add shredded cheese, a squeeze of lime juice, flaky salt, and cilantro. (You can use green onions if you aren’t a huge fan of cilantro!)
Make One-Pot Chicken with Frozen Chicken Breast
This is one of those meals that I can prepare on the dot with no advanced preparation. I always have a few packets of raw chicken breast in my freezer, and if my husband and I don’t know what to do for dinner, we can have this on the table in about an hour.
Can I Make this One-Pot Recipe in the Instant Pot?
Yes! Simply use the Sauté function for the first part of the recipe, then cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. I’ve also included these instructions at the bottom of the recipe card itself for easy reference.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
Quick, easy, and delicious meals seem to be my savory specialty. Here are a few other recipes you might like to try:
- Thin Crust Pizza Dough—make the dough, then top with your favorite toppings and bake.
- Creamy Cajun Spinach Pasta for Two—eat by itself, or serve with Cajun tortilla chip-crusted tilapia or lemon pepper chicken.
- Easy Homemade Chicken Ramen—one of my most popular recipes.
- Hoisin Turkey and Brown Rice Bowls—complete with hidden vegetables that no one will notice but everyone will love (including the kids!).
Dish Cleanup: Not Too Bad
I rate my recipe cleanups on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 is only a handful of dishes, and 5 is everything including the kitchen sink.
My one-pot chicken and brown rice dinner recipe has a cleanup rating of a 2. There’s a Dutch oven, a cutting board, and a knife, along with a handful of measuring cups and spoons. You’ll save time on dishes if you measure out the rice, corn, and salsa as you go in the same measuring cup instead of placing them into their own little bowls.
And, of course, you won’t have to wash measuring spoons if you measure the spices solely with your heart!
One-Pot Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups brown rice
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed
- 1 14.5-oz can chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste (about ½ to 1 teaspoon each)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thawed or frozen!)
- Topping ideas: flaky sea salt, shredded cheddar cheese, lime juice, cilantro, tortilla chips
- Dice the yellow onion and mince the garlic. Keep the two separate, as they'll go into the pot at different times!
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, then add the diced onion. Stir occasionally until the onion has softened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Add brown rice, corn, salsa, black beans, spices, and chicken broth. Stir together and bring to a boil.
- Place the chicken breasts on top of the rice mixture, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 45 minutes. The mixture should be bubbling softly the entire time to release enough steam to cook the chicken. If you don't hear the pot simmering, raise the heat a bit until you do.
- If your chicken breasts were frozen together, you'll want to separate them after 30 minutes of cooking. Remove the lid and separate the chicken breasts. Place the pink side of the chicken face-down and re-cover to continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and shred the chicken breasts using two forks. Stir to incorporate. If the chicken is still a bit pink, replace the lid and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F/75°C.
- Spoon into bowls, then top with flaky sea salt, shredded cheddar cheese, and cilantro, if desired. Best served with tortilla chips or quesadillas on the side.
To make this meal in an Instant Pot, use the saute function for Steps 1-3, then cook on high pressure for 22 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. Shred the chicken with two forks, then stir together and spoon into bowls.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 305Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 1097mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 8gSugar: 4gProtein: 22g
The nutrition facts are estimated and may vary based on specific ingredients used.
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