One Pan Chicken and Rice with Creamy Caesar Butter

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We all love a good one-pan meal, don’t we?! Once you know the basic technique, you can change up the flavors depending on the season. Chicken and rice might sound ordinary and mundane, but I assure you THIS One Pan Chicken and Rice with Creamy Caesar Butter is nothing short of wonderful. Tender jammy leeks flavor light basmati rice and are topped with caramelized crispy skinned chicken — all brought together with the most savory and creamy compound butter filled with the flavors of our beloved caesar dressing. Oh, and the cherry on top is the easy cleanup!

A saute pan and red towel on a cooling rack with rice and leeks with crispy chicken thighs on top.

We all love a good one pan meal, and with good reason. Even if they don’t take any less time in the end, there is some kind of mental hurdle that they take us over. Maybe it’s the perceived simplicity or the easier cleanup, I’m not sure. What I do know is that we’re all looking for more of them.

To me, the beauty in learning the technique and ratios behind this chicken and rice, allow you make multiple versions of it over the course of the year, as you can easily change up the flavors depending on the season.

As I’m so often preaching, the technique is where it’s at. Learning proper technique frees you from the constant grind of looking for recipes. So, let’s do this, shall we?

And if you’re looking for other one pan recipes, check out this Sheet Pan Chicken with Asparagus and Peas, these Sheet Pan Greek Lamb Meatballs with Lemony-Yogurt Sauce, or this Easy One Pan Halibut with Minted Pea Puree.

Why I think you’ll love this recipe:


  • IT’S MADE IN ONE PAN – Three cheers for less clean up, right?! Plus, cooking the chicken in the same pan that you cook the leeks and rice just adds another layer of flavor.
  • CAESAR BUTTER!!! – This is where the flavors of a classic caesar dressing get together with the texture of butter. Compound or flavored butter is one of my favorite ways to take your cooking to the next level (more on this below).
  • COMFORT FOOD AT ITS BEST – This dish is warm and unbelievably satisfying. You can change up the flavors, depending on the season, which makes it versatile and fun, yet always comforting.
  • THE WHOLE FAMILY WILL LOVE IT – No complaints on this one! Even the pickiest of eaters seem to enjoy this one!

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious One Pan Chicken and Rice:

Overhead view of the ingredients required to make one pan chicken and rice with creamy caesar butter.

Ingredient Notes

The ingredients to make this chicken and rice are easy to find and readily available at most any grocery store.

Here are a few ingredient notes:

Chicken thighs – For the best flavor, I highly recommend that you use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Even if you choose not to eat the skin, it adds a level of flavor and richness that you cannot get with skinless thighs.

Olive oil/Avocado oil – If you use olive oil to sear the chicken, you must use a pure olive oil (not extra virgin) as it has a higher smoke point. Alternatively, I recommend using a higher neutral-flavored oil with a higher smoke point, like avocado oil.

Basmati rice – I love the texture and lightness of basmati rice in this dish, but you can use another long-grain white rice, if you prefer. Just be aware that you may need to adjust the cook time ever so slightly.

Anchovies – They are worth seeking out to make an authentic caesar flavor profile. You can obviously use Worcestershire sauce, but the end result is just not the same as using actual anchovies.

Let’s Make One Pan Chicken and Rice with Creamy Caesar Butter Together: STEP BY STEP

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list in the recipe card below

Steps 1 & 2:

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and add your avocado or pure olive oil (not extra virgin). In the meantime, season your chicken thighs with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides.

When the pan is just about to start smoking, add your chicken, skin side down, and cook, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes.

Hot saute pan on stove heating up with a cutting board of seasoned chicken thighs next to it.
Chicken thighs, skin side down, searing in saute pan.

Steps 3 & 4:

While the chicken is cooking, remove the bottoms and tops of the leeks and cut them in half lengthwise. Rinse them really well with cold water to remove all sand and dirt in between all of the layers, and then slice them crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Peek at the chicken, and when it it is nice and golden brown, flip it, and cook for an additional 3 minutes. After that, remove the chicken from the pan and onto a plate. Please note: the chicken should not cooked through at this point – it will finish later in the recipe.

A cutting board with cleaned leeks being sliced.
Chicken thighs with crispy skin being sauteed in a saute pan.

Steps 5 & 6:

After you remove the chicken, pour out any excess fat, but be sure to leave about 2-3 tablespoons in the pan. Add the leeks and season with a large pinch of salt and pepper.

When the leeks have cooked down and are tender, add the rice.

Sliced leeks cooking in a saute pan.
Rice added to cooked leeks in a saute pan.

Steps 7 & 8:

Stir the rice around around, allowing it to toast in the pan for a couple of minutes.

Next, add the stock and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer and add the chicken on top. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.

Saute pan with cooked leeks and rice combined.
Chicken thighs on top of rice and chicken mixture.

Steps 9 & 10:

Then, while the chicken and rice are cooking, make the caesar butter by combining all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blend until creamy smooth. Please note: if you don’t have a food processor, you can chop everything finely and combine well in a bowl with a spatula. The texture will not be quite the same, but the flavor will still be delicious!

Food processor bowl with all ingredients to make caesar butter.
A bowl and small spatula with creamy caesar butter.

Steps 11 & 12:

When the chicken and rice are done, remove the chicken from the pan, and add about 1/3 – 1/2 of the butter (or as much as you would like) to the pan and stir it around. Then place the chicken back on top and add a dollop of butter to each piece of chicken to melt. Bring it to the table and ENJOY!

Cooked leeks and rice with caesar butter stirred into it.
A saute pan and red towel on a cooling rack with rice and leeks with crispy chicken thighs on top.

What is Compound Butter Anyway?

I’m so glad you asked, because it’s one of my favorite things!

Compound butter is just a fancy way of saying flavored butter. Really, that’s it!

So why do I like it so much? Let me count the ways!

  1. It’s delicious.
  2. It creates an instant sauce when used just simply by melting into something OR on top of something.
  3. You can flavor it SO many different ways – they can be savory OR sweet.
  4. Roll it into a log in parchment paper and store it in your freezer in a ziploc bag, and just slice off a piece when you need it.

Have I convinced you yet? I sure hope so! You’ll probably have some caesar butter leftover from this recipe, so pop any leftovers into the freezer and consider stirring it into some pasta down the road when you’re in a rush or use it to make some epic garlic bread!


Chef Natalie Marble in her home kitchen.

Natalie’s Tips

  • I recommend using a stainless steel pan with straight sides to get the best results. I use one similar to this.
  • When you sear chicken, it is important to get the pan hot enough to prevent sticking and to ensure nice golden caramelization. Heat the pan on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, add the oil, and wait for it to JUST start to smoke – you’re ready!
  • When you add the chicken to the pan, you always add it ‘presentation side down’. We only turn the chicken over ONCE, so whatever side we put down in the pan will be what is served up on your plate. In this recipe, that would be skin side down to start.
  • Once you add the chicken, it’s important to let it cook undisturbed, so that it can form a nice golden exterior. It also gives it time to release from the bottom of the pan when it’s ready. It’s human nature to want to keep peeking, but resist that urge by leaving your pan and prepping the leeks.
  • After the chicken has been seared on both sides, removed from the pan, and the leeks have been added, DON’T FORGET to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan as the leeks cook and start to release some of their liquid. This adds great flavor to the finished dish!

Storage & Reheating

STORAGE: Keep the chicken and rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store the caesar butter separately in the refrigerator in an airtight container or rolled up in parchment paper and into a log and stored in a sealable plastic bag for up to a month.

REHEATING: To reheat the chicken and rice, place it in an oven-proof container, covered, with a splash of water at 375 degrees until heated through. Alternatively, you can also reheat it in the microwave in 30 second intervals until heated through. You can add any of the caesar butter to the warmed food, straight from the refrigerator.

FREEZING: The chicken and rice can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Additionally, the caesar butter can be rolled up in parchment paper and into a log and stored in a sealable plastic bag for up to 6 months. To use it, you don’t need to thaw it. Just cut slices of butter as you need them and return the rest to the freezer.


A saute pan and red towel on a cooling rack with rice and leeks with crispy chicken thighs on top.

Variations & Substitutions

VARIATIONS:

Mushrooms, garlic & thyme – In the fall, it would be lovely to change up the leeks in this recipe with earthy mushrooms, garlic and thyme. The same caesar butter would work here or you can change up those flavors too.

Scallions, ginger & chilis – Another way to change the flavor profile is to swap out the leeks for scallions, ginger and chilis. A new compound butter would be needed here, but plenty of herbs and spices to take advantage of.

You get the idea! There are a million ways to change up the flavors in this dish, depending on the season.

SUBSTITUTIONS:

Leeks – If you are unable to find leeks, you can substitute finely diced onions.

Parmesan – Pecorino Romano would be a great substitute for the parmesan cheese in the caesar butter.

Anchovies – Anchovy paste would be the best substitute, but Worcestershire sauce would also be a substitute for the anchovies. The flavor and texture will not be the same, but it at least gives you a little of the umami that anchovies give (if you can, I highly recommend finding some anchovies). How much to add is really up to your taste, and given that it is a liquid, there’s only so much that the butter can absorb and still hold its texture.

Basmati rice – You can substitute long-grain white rice or even jasmine rice in this recipe.


FAQs

I would not recommend it. It’s nearly impossible to safely reach the temperatures needed to properly sear chicken in a non-stick pan. Also, you will not get the brown bits on the bottom of the pan that build so much flavor in the dish.

Many recipes skip the step of searing the chicken first, which is a huge mistake in my opinion. You not only miss out on a lot of flavor, but you also end up with pale looking chicken, which is not very appetizing.

This recipe calls for 2 large leeks. If your leeks are small, I would at least double them. They cook down, leaving plenty of room for the rice and chicken, but also add so much flavor to the dish.

I hope you love this Chicken and Rice with Caesar Butter! If you make it, be sure to leave a rating so I know how you liked it!

A saute pan and red towel on a cooling rack with rice and leeks with crispy chicken thighs on top.

One Pan Chicken and Rice with Creamy Caesar Butter

Chicken and rice might sound ordinary and mundane, but I assure you THIS One Pan Chicken and Rice with Creamy Caesar Butter is nothing short of wonderful. Tender jammy leeks flavor light basmati rice and are topped with caramelized crispy skinned chicken — all brought together with the most savory and creamy compound butter filled with the flavors of our beloved caesar dressing.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 664 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 leeks (large)
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice (soaked and drained until the water runs clear)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 tbsp parsley (finely chopped, for garnish)

Caesar Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 6 anchovies
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 lemon (zest + 1 tsp juice)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a large deep saute pan with straight sides (or a dutch oven type of pot), heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken on both sides with a generous amount of kosher salt and black pepper.
  • When the pan is hot (just shy of the oil starting to smoke), add the chicken, skin side down, and leave it undisturbed while you start to prepare the leeks.
  • Trim the root end and woody tops from the leeks and then cut them in half lengthwise.  Rinse the leeks under cold water, making sure to remove all sand and dirt from in between the layers.
  • After about 5 minutes, have a peek at the chicken.  If it is nicely browned, flip it and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  If it is not, leave it to continue browning.  Your goal is a nice brown caramelized crust.
  • Place the leeks cut side down, and cut them into ¼ inch thick slices, and set aside.
  • After 3 minutes on the second side of the chicken, remove it from the pan to a plate.  Please note: the chicken should NOT be cooked through at this point!
  • Add the leeks to the pan and season them with salt and pepper.  As they cook and release any of their liquid, be sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, as this lends great flavor to the finished product.  Continue to cook the leeks until most pieces are tender and starting to caramelize.
  • Next, add the rice and stir it around for a couple of minutes, allowing it to toast a little.
  • Add the stock and stir everything around until well-combined.  Season with a large pinch of salt and pepper.
  • When the stock comes up to a boil, carefully set the chicken thighs on top of the rice, and lower the heat to a low simmer.  Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes.
  • While the chicken and rice are cooking, make the Caesar butter, but combining all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blending until smooth and creamy.  Please note:  If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop everything by hand and then mix it into the butter.  It won’t be as creamy in the end, but it will still be delicious.
  • After 15 minutes of cooking, remove the lid from the pan and turn off the heat.  Remove the chicken thighs, temporarily, and stir half of the butter into the rice and gently mix it.  Add the chicken back on top of the rice and place a small dollop of the butter on top of each thigh, allowing it to melt.  Garnish with fresh parsley and ENJOY!

Nutrition

Calories: 664kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 28gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 743mgPotassium: 531mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1487IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 135mgIron: 3mg
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