Baked Chicken With Yellow Rice

Chicken and Saffron Rice
Chicken and Saffron Rice. Philippe Desnerck/Photolibrary/Getty Images
  • 108 mins
  • Prep: 8 mins,
  • Cook: 100 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings
Ratings (10)

In this easy dish, chicken is baked with yellow rice, which gets its color (and flavor) from a few generous pinches of saffron threads. Saffron is the stigma of the crocus flower, and it is a common ingredient in Indian and Spanish dishes, as well as Italian risotto. It is also an ingredient found in real Arabic coffee and Swedish saffron bread. Saffron is hand-picked, making it one of the most expensive spices in the world by weight. (In some cuisines, the less expensive turmeric is substituted.)

Combining chicken, vegetables, and rice, this dish is a complete meal. Feel free to add carrots or substitute frozen green beans for the peas.

What You'll Need

  • 2 generous pinches of saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 green bell pepper (sliced)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small jar (2 ounces) pimiento (drained and chopped)
  • 2 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen green peas
  • 5 cups water or low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 frying chickens (cut up), or about 6 pounds chicken parts
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

How to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Soak saffron threads in 1 tablespoon of hot water for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, saute the green bell pepper and onion in the olive oil until tender.
  3. Transfer the sauteed vegetables to a large shallow baking dish or roasting pan; add all of the remaining ingredients except chicken and salt and mix together thoroughly.
  4. Sprinkle chicken pieces with kosher salt and place on top of the rice mixture, skin-side up.
  1. Cover the baking dish or pan with a lid or cover tightly with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the rice is tender and the chicken reaches 165 F (74 C). Remove the cover and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to brown the chicken.
  2. Serve the chicken and rice with a tossed salad, Caesar salad, or fresh sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.

Tips and Variations

  • Instead of cut-up chickens, use all chicken legs or thighs or whole legs, or use split chicken breasts.
  • Add multicolored bell peppers and 1 can of drained diced tomatoes. 
  • If you want an even easier method, you can "cheat" and used a 1-pound package of yellow rice with saffron. 
  • According to the USDA, the minimum safe temperature for chicken and other types of poultry is 165 F (74 C). Use a reliable instant-read thermometer to check the chicken. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the largest pieces, not touching bone.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 1044
Total Fat 50 g
Saturated Fat 13 g
Unsaturated Fat 21 g
Cholesterol 285 mg
Sodium 1,306 mg
Carbohydrates 45 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Protein 98 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)