This Skillet Lemon Chicken & Rice is a quick, easy weeknight dinner that is loaded with bright, fresh flavors and made in one pan for minimal clean up and fuss!

An image of a healthy chicken and rice recipe with lemons and broccoli in one skillet.

Skillet Lemon Chicken & Rice

If I haven’t already made it abundantly clear with my other Historically Hungry series where I tend to talk about food and recipes from the past and put them in historical context, I’m kind of a huge nerd.  So while that series focuses on history, working on my American Eats series focuses more on geography and allows me to do a essentially revisit my 5th grade years where we were each required to do a state report on an assigned state in our country.  Remember those?

So while at first glance, a skillet Lemon Chicken & Rice recipe might not immediately strike you as being from Arkansas, I wanted to include it because Arkansas leads all other states in the production of one ingredient that is very important to Arkansas:  rice!  It’s their top crop and the most recent statistics I saw indicated that Arkansas produces almost half of all rice in the United States, more than any other state!

An image of a lemon chicken & rice skillet meal made in one pot with broccoli and Parmesan cheese for an easy weeknight dinner recipe.

Our family loves rice and we eat it often, making Mexican rice, cilantro lime rice, or Brazilian white rice to go as sides with whatever we are having for dinner.  But I wanted to do something a little different this time around and share a main dish where rice was a key ingredient, rather than just something served on the side.

There were a lot of ways I could have gone with an easy rice recipe representing Arkansas in my American Eats series, but since we are in the season of hectic schedules with busy days going back to school and even busier evenings with gymnastics and piano and ice skating lessons, I’ve been doing a lot of sheet pan or skillet meals like sheet pan shrimp fajitas or the homemade hamburger helper cheeseburger pasta skillet that I recently shared.  So I thought I would share a one-pot rice dish where the entire meal is made in the same skillet, which means it’s super easy and there is less to clean up at the end of the night.  Also, it’s ready in less than 30 minutes, which is always a win in my book!

An image of a healthy chicken and rice recipe with lemons and broccoli in one skillet.

How to Make Skillet Lemon Chicken & Rice

Making this healthy chicken and rice recipe is simple as can be.  While the recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken breasts, you could use chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat.  I tend to switch back and forth depending on what I have on hand.

  1. Season the chicken and sear it in a little butter in a large cast-iron skillet.  You want them nicely golden brown on each side, but you aren’t trying to cook them all the way through yet.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Toast the rice in the pan for a minute, then add the chicken broth, lemon zest, and lemon juice, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.  If you have ever heard the culinary term “fond” and wondered what is fond in cooking, it’s those little toasty browned bits of flavor leftover from searing meat in a pan and it’s wonderful.  Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Uncover and arrange the seared chicken breasts, lemon slices, and broccoli florets on top of the rice, then recover to cook for the last 10 minutes until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
  4. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese before serving.

An image of four chicken breasts being seared in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop. An image of golden brown seared chicken breasts in a skillet with broccoli, rice, and lemon wedges.

The flavors of lemon, garlic, chicken, rice, broccoli, and parmesan come together perfectly and the aroma of this dinner cooking is just wonderful.  Best yet, when dinner is over there is only one pan to wash.

My family really enjoyed this easy, healthy dinner and the leftovers made a delicious lunch for me the next day as well.  Anybody else with me on looking forward to leftovers as lunch rather than a boring old sandwich?

More Delicious Rice Recipes to Try

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Skillet Lemon Chicken & Rice
Yield: 4 people

Skillet Lemon Chicken & Rice

This Skillet Lemon Chicken & Rice is a quick, easy weeknight dinner that is loaded with bright, fresh flavors and made in one pan for minimal clean up and fuss!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or boneless chicken thighs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablepoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin for garnish
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken breasts with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried parsley.  
  2. In a large skillet with lid, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Cook the chicken in the butter until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the rice to the pan and stir for about 1 minute to lightly toast the rice.  Increase the heat to high and add the chicken broth, lemon zest, and lemon juice, scraping to release any browned bits of fond from the bottom of the pan.  When the rice comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pan.
  4. When the rice has cooked for 10 minutes, remove the lid and return the seared chicken breasts to the pan, arranging on top of the rice, along with the broccoli florets and lemon slices.  Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, the rice and broccoli are tender.  Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve.

Notes

Adapted from Creme de la Crumb.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 405 Saturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 91mg Sodium: 1074mg Carbohydrates: 43g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 1g Protein: 31g

Have you tried this recipe?

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Curious about foods from other states in my American Eats series?  Check them out below!

Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Iowa • Louisiana • South CarolinaTexas