This incredibly tasty Chicken and Yellow Rice recipe is a simple one-pot meal that’s perfect for using leftover chicken.
Chicken and Yellow Rice is a great dish to make on a busy weeknight. The rice is cooked in chicken stock infused with saffron threads, then mixed with cooked chicken and chopped parsley. It’s flavorful, filling, and easy to customize with your favorite seasonings.
This dish is also a great make-ahead meal, so you could definitely cook it a day in advance and rewarm it the following day. What could be better during those busy weekdays when time is so precious?
Why This Recipe Works
- Saffron threads add a slightly sweet and earthy taste to the dish and give it a beautiful yellow color.
- The chicken stock offers a savory flavor that compliments the saffron perfectly.
- Onions and celery add a depth of flavor.
- Chopped Parsley adds a bright, fresh flavor.
I use converted rice for my chicken and yellow rice, but you can use any rice you like if you adjust the liquid-to-rice ratios and cooking time accordingly. See the following guide, but always check the package instructions.
Below is a guide for rice types, liquid-to-rice ratios, and approximate cooking times:
Converted White Rice | 2 to 1 | 15 to 20 minutes
Long Grain White Rice | 1.5 to 1 | 20 to25 minutes
Basmati Rice | 1.5 to 1 | 15 to 20 minutes
Jasmine Rice | 1.5 to 1 | 15 to 20 minutes
Parboiled Rice | 2 to 1 | 20 to 25 minutes
Brown Rice | 2.5 to 1 | 45 to 50 minutes
Wild Rice | 3 to 1 | 45 to 50 minutes
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Chicken: This recipe calls for leftover chicken. If you don’t have any, you can use store-bought rotisserie chicken or brown cubed chicken thigh meat before starting, remove it from the pan and then add it along with the rice to finish cooking.
Stock: I use homemade chicken stock for this recipe, but you can use any chicken or vegetable broth or stock. If you are using store-bought stock, look for one that is low in sodium.
Saffron Threads: Saffron is a spice that comes from the crocus flower. It has a slightly sweet, earthy taste. To substitute, use 1.5 teaspoons of turmeric or a packet of Goya Sazon Con Azafran Seasoning as an alternative.
Butter: Use salted or unsalted butter, or substitute it with olive oil if desired.
Onion: I use yellow onion, but any onion will work in this recipe.
Celery: Use the lighter-colored center stalks as they cook much faster than the darker ones. You can also substitute it for frozen peas. Just add the peas alongside the chicken.
Parsely: Use fresh, chopped parsley for the best possible flavor or substitute it with cilantro or green onions.
Bring stock to a simmer, add the saffron and leave to infuse.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and sweat the onion and celery until softened.
To make this step quicker, slice the celery thin, so they cook faster.
Add the rice and stir until it’s coated with the butter. Allow the rice to toast slightly. This will take just 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the stock and parsley and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat, stir and leave to cook covered for 12 to 15 minutes until the rice is Al dente and the liquid is nearly absorbed.
Remove the lid without disturbing the rice, lay the chicken on top, and place and cover to cook until the rice is tender.
Mix to incorporate the chicken before serving.
This dish will serve six small portions or four large.
Storage & Freezing Instructions ❄
To Make Ahead: The dish can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To Freeze: You can also freeze chicken and yellow rice stored in a freezer-safe container for up to three months. Then thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
To Reheat: Cook it in a microwave or on the stove until heated.
Erren’s Top Tips & Variations
- If you don’t have any cooked chicken on hand, you can use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or brown cubed chicken meat before starting, remove it from the pan and then add it along with the rice to finish cooking.
- For extra flavor, stir and saute some garlic with the softened onions and celery for 30 seconds before adding the rice.
- For quicker cooking, slice the celery thin, so it cooks faster.
- Not a fan of celery? You can also substitute it for frozen peas. Just add the peas alongside the chicken.
- To substitute saffron: use 1.5 teaspoons of turmeric or a packet of Goya Sazon Con Azafran Seasoning as an alternative.
- To add extra brightness, finish with a tablespoon of lemon juice.
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Let’s Make Chicken and Yellow Rice
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- saffron threads a good-sized pinch
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- 2 cups leftover or cooked chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups Converted white rice
- A handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan; add the saffron and leave to infuse.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and sweat the onion and celery until softened but not colored.
- Add the rice, stir until it’s coated with the butter, and allow to toast for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the stock and parsley and bring to a boil. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Reduce the heat, stir and leave to cook covered for 12 – 15 minutes until the rice is Al dente and the liquid is almost absorbed. Lay the chicken on top of the rice leaving the rice undisturbed, cover and cook until the rice is tender.
- Fluff the rice and stir in the chicken before serving.
- Serve hot.
Tips + Notes
Erren’s Kitchen is written and produced for informational intentions only. We are not certified nutritionists, and the nutritional information found on this site has not been assessed or authorized by a nutritionist or the FDA. The nutritional information found in our recipes is offered as an estimate and should not be considered a guarantee or fact. The estimated data is provided as a courtesy and calculated through a third-party online nutritional calculator, spoonacular API. Although we do our best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered rough estimates. Many factors, such as brands or products purchased and the nutritional fluctuations that naturally occur in fresh produce, can alter the effectiveness of the nutritional information in any recipe. Furthermore, various online calculators provide different results depending on their particular algorithms and nutrition fact sources. To obtain the most precise nutritional information in a provided recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the exact ingredients you are using when preparing the recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in May 2014 but was republished with new photos, tips, and a video in November 2022.