The original Arroz con Pollo recipe is great for bigger groups, but in hunger emergencies I will sometimes make quick, tiny batches like this Single Serving Arroz con Pollo.
It’s fast, delicious, and super easy on the wallet — does it get any better than that?
Plus there’s a good chance you already have everything you need to make it, so please consider adding it to your weeknight meal rotation!
How To Make Single Serving Arroz con Pollo
Don’t forget that you can use just about any chicken cut when making Arroz con Pollo. I used a bone-in chicken breast for this batch.
I usually start by brining the chicken, but keep in mind that you can skip the brine for an even faster meal.
Add 1/4 cup Kosher or sea salt to a mixing bowl along with a quart of cold water. Stir to dissolve the salt and let the chicken rest in this mixture for 30-60 minutes.
Brining makes such a difference in chicken that I will do it nearly every time, even if it’s only a 20-30 minute swim. Sure, you’ll get a bump in flavor if you let it brine longer, but you might be surprised how much a flash brine will improve your meal.
As the chicken brines I usually roast the tomato to sweeten it up. Feel free to skip this step for a faster meal.
When you’re getting hungry remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry.
Heat a glug of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Then add the chicken, skin side down, and brown the chicken on both sides for a few minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Then we’ll add 1/2 cup uncooked rice. There should be some fat and oil leftover in the pan to cook the rice, but if not you can add another glug of oil.
Cook the rice over medium heat, stirring regularly, until it’s turning light brown in color.
As the rice cooks, grab the tomato from the oven and add it to a blender along with:
1/4 small onion
1 peeled garlic clove
Combine well. Feel free to add a splash of water if it’s not combining readily.
Using only 1/4 of the jalapeno will give your meal a subtle heat and I prefer that for Arroz con Pollo, but you can always add more slivers of the jalapeno if you want a fiery version.
When the rice is turning light brown, add the tomato-jalapeno mixture from the blender and cook it for a couple minutes over medium heat.
Then we’ll add the remaining ingredients:
1 cup stock
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano What is Mexican oregano?
pinch of cumin (optional)
freshly cracked black pepper
salt to taste
Bring it up to temp and take a taste.
The exact amount of salt you need will depend on which stock you’re using.
If using store-bought stock you probably won’t need to add much salt. If using water as the liquid you’ll probably need to add at least 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Once you’re happy with the salt level, add the browned chicken.
Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes. (I use ‘low’ setting on my stove to simmer when covered.)
Take a look after 20 minutes or so. Here’s how this batched looked at the 20 minute mark:
If all the liquid is absorbed you can remove it from the heat, cover, and let it sit in its own steam for a few minutes. If there’s still liquid in the pan then let it cook for a few more minutes.
You could also take the temp of the chicken to make sure it’s reached 160F, but usually when the rice is done cooking so is the chicken.
And now it’s time to eat!
It’s already loaded with flavor so you really don’t need much else. I topped this batch with a bit of freshly chopped cilantro.
It’s such a great meal and there’s something really satisfying about eating absolutely everything that you just cooked. Like…everything 🙂
I hope you keep this Single Serving Arroz con Pollo in mind for quick, stress-free meals. It’s a great option to have in your kitchen repertoire. Enjoy!!
Single Serving Arroz con Pollo
- 1 chicken breast
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- 1 cup stock (or water)
- 1 roma tomato (or 2 smaller ones)
- 1/4 small onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 jalapeno
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- pinch of cumin (optional)
- 0-1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper
- freshly chopped cilantro
- olive oil
- I usually brine the chicken, but keep in mind this step is optional if you want a faster version. Add 1 quart cold water to a mixing bowl along with 1/4 cup Kosher or sea salt. Mix well to dissolve the salt and then add the chicken. Cover and let it brine in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
- Rinse and de-stem the tomato. Roast the tomato in the oven (400F) for 30 minutes or until you need it. This step is also optional if you want a faster version.
- Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Pre-heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add a glug of oil. Once the oil is hot you can add the chicken, browning both sides for a few minutes each. I usually start with the skin side down, cook until the skin is browning, then flip and cook the underside for another few minutes. Once browned, you can remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Note: if using a boneless chicken breast you won't need to brown it as long, just a quick sear on both sides will be enough to improve its flavor.
- Add 1/2 cup uncooked rice to the pan that you used to brown the chicken (the chicken has been set aside for now). There should be some oil and fat leftover to cook the rice, but you can always add another glug of oil if necessary. Cook the rice for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring regularly.
- As the rice is cooking, add the following ingredients to a blender: the roasted tomato, 1/4 small onion, 1 peeled garlic clove, and 1/4 jalapeno. Combine well. You can add a splash of water if it's not combining readily. Using 1/4 jalapeno will give your dish a subtle heat and I prefer that for Arroz con Pollo. For a fiery version you can add additional slivers of the jalapeno.
- When the rice is turning opaque and light brown in color you can add the blended tomato-jalapeno mixture. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring regularly. Then add the remaining ingredients: 1 cup stock, 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, pinch of cumin (optional), freshly cracked black pepper, and salt (optional). Bring it up to a boil and do some taste testing. The exact level of salt to be added will depend on which stock you use. If using store-bought stock you may not need to add much salt at all. If using water you'll probably need to add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Taste test and add pinches of salt until this mixture tastes good to you.
- Add the browned chicken to the pan. Bring it up to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes. I use 'low' on my stove for simmering.
- Once all the liquid is absorbed by the rice (usually somewhere around the 20 minute mark) you can remove it from the heat and let it sit in its own steam for a few minutes, covered. If there is still liquid in the pan when you check it just let it cook a couple minutes longer.
- Serve up your chicken over a bed of the awesome rice and optionally top with freshly chopped cilantro.
- If you have leftover rice, store it in the fridge where it will keep for a few days. This rice is dee-licious and a great option for burritos, tacos, or even just mixed with some black beans for a quick meal.
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