Move over all other fall chicken recipes- this easy spiced chicken and rice baked in the oven with fresh apples and plump raisins is the PERFECT one pan, cheap fall meal! The chicken is seasoned with warm spices like cumin and cinnamon, which pairs so well with the sweet apples and raisins. A few tricks makes the basmati rice cook up almost impossibly fluffy and delicious.
While this recipe does take a while to bake in the oven, I love it because it takes only 10 minutes to prep and clean-up is a breeze since it uses only one pan! The warm aroma of the spices, apples, and chicken as it cooks is an excuse enough to make this recipe- eating it is an added bonus.
This recipe makes a TON, and the leftovers heat up really well in the microwave, since chicken thighs are hard to overcook. At 8 servings, you can likely feed your entire family for dinner AND still have leftovers to eat for lunch throughout the week.
Speaking of feeding your entire family, I should add that this meal is very kid friendly. I mean, what kid isn’t going to like the combination of rice, apples, raisins, and cinnamon?
What kind of chicken thighs to use
It’s important to use bone-in, skin OFF chicken thighs for this recipe. Here’s why:
- The skin contains a lot of fat, which will make the rice way too greasy and not cook properly.
- You need bone-in chicken thighs to keep the chicken super juicy and moist, and make sure it doesn’t get overcooked. Bone-in chicken takes longer to cook but stays much juicier. I talk a lot about this in my oven bbq chicken recipe.
Other chicken and rice recipes may use skin-on chicken thighs, but more often than not, the chicken is seared/partially cooked before adding to the baking pan on top of the rice. This renders some of the fat off. But, in the interest of easy, one-pan meal prep, using skin off chicken thighs is much faster and easier.
You can easily take the skin off yourself by giving it a good pull. Or, if you’re squeamish about handling raw chicken like that, you can likely ask the butcher at your grocery store to do it (these services are usually free!).
How to make Spiced Chicken and Rice with Apples and Raisins
This recipe is as simple as seasoning the chicken thighs, mixing the rice with apples, raisins, almonds, and chicken broth, and placing the thighs on top of the rice mixture. Then, just bake!
- First, preheat your oven and grease a baking dish.
- Then, mix olive oil, cinnamon, cumin, salt, and pepper with the chicken thighs in a large bowl. This will ensure the chicken gets evenly coated in all the yumminess. Don’t skimp on the salt- I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt for this!
- Mix basmati rice with diced apples, raisins, slivered almonds, salt, and pepper in the greased baking dish. Make sure all the grains are coated in the oil, the ingredients are evenly distributed. You can use golden or regular raisins. And the slivered almonds add a fantastic crunch to the dish, but you can use sliced almonds or another nut if you want (or leave them out).
- Pour chicken broth on top of the rice mixture. I like to use homemade chicken stock for this, but store bought is fine.
- Place the thighs on top of the rice mixture. Place them smooth-side up; I guess I can’t say skin-side-up since they’re skinless! I found that this dish cooked really well with the chicken crowded in the pan- if some parts of the rice are more uncovered than others, there’s a chance it wont’ cook evenly.
- Bake covered with foil, then uncovered. And you’re done!
How to make the rice really fluffy
One of the best parts about this recipe is how perfectly cooked the rice turns out- fluffy, flavorful, and moist but not greasy.
- Make sure you use white basmati rice, or another long grain white rice. Brown rice, short grain rice, arborio rice… they all have different cooking times and liquid requirements, so the recipe will have to be adjusted. Plus the low starch content of basmati or long grain rice means it won’t get gluey or sticky as it cooks.
- As mentioned above, skinless chicken thighs are a must to make sure the rice stays fluffy.
- When it’s done cooking, remove the chicken to a plate and stir the rice to fluff it up. The edges of the rice will get crispier than the part under the chicken, so this helps make sure everything is mixed up and the juices get redistributed.
Other fall chicken recipes:
- Maple and Rosemary Glazed Chicken and Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner
- Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken
- Easy Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch
- Easy Chicken Tikka Masala
Other savory apple or raisin recipes:
- Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Raisins
- Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Raisins
- Broccoli Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cranberries
- Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts (from A Spicy Perspective)
- Massaged Kale Salad with Apples, Goat Cheese, and Maple Vinaigrette
Did you make this Spiced Chicken and Rice recipe? Please comment below and Rate this Recipe
Spiced Chicken and Rice with Apples and Raisins
- 8 chicken thighs bone-in, skin OFF (see notes)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper divided
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1.5 cups basmati rice or other long grain white rice (see notes)
- 1 onion diced
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 apple diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds or sliced
- 2.5 cups chicken stock/broth
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle 1 tablespoon in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
- Mix the chicken thighs (take skin off if not already off) in a large bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1.5 teaspoons of the kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the cumin (1 teaspoon), and the cinnamon (1 teaspoon) until well coated. Set aside.
- Add the basmati rice (1.5 cups), the diced onion, the diced apple, the raisins (1/2 cup), the slivered almonds (1/2 cup), and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to the prepared baking dish. Stir to coat in the oil.
- Pour the chicken stock on top of the rice mixture. Place the chicken thighs on top.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until chicken is starting to cook and liquid underneath is bubbling. Remove foil; bake for another 20 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked (you can check that it's 165 degrees with a meat thermometer if you wish).
- Remove the chicken thighs and place on a plate. Stir the rice mixture to fluff up a bit and distribute all the juices.
- It's important to use skin-off chicken thighs. I usually love some good roasted chicken skin, but it's very high in fat, and will cause the rice to be too greasy and not cook properly. I DO recommend bone-in thighs, as the bone will help ensure juicy, moist chicken.
- The liquid to rice ratio and timing is specific to basmati or other long grain white rices- if you choose to use another kind of rice, such as short grain or arborio, or brown rice, you may need to adjust the liquid and timing.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.