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One-Pot Southwest Chicken & Rice

Ever since we were forced to start eating a gluten-free diet, it seems Mexican dishes have become our best friend! Every time I run across a “naturally gluten-free” recipe with a Mexican, Tex-Mex, or Southwest twist to it, I feel compelled to give it a try! Especially when they are as easy as THIS one!

When I first glanced at this recipe from a pin on Pinterest I thought it involved putting it in a casserole dish and baking it in the oven….which I was more than willing to do! But when I realized you made everything in ONE POT on the stove…I literally couldn’t wait to try it! And I didn’t have to…because I had all FIVE ingredients on hand. (I love when that happens!)  :-)

One Pot Southwest Chicken & Rice


  • 10-12 chicken tenders (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or 2 Tablespoons of the homemade kind)
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 2 cups instant white rice
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook chicken in a small amount of oil. Season as desired. I used a generous amount of my House Seasoning.

southwest chicken and rice

When chicken is fully-cooked, add water, taco seasoning and can of Rotel.

Bring to a boil and then add rice.

southwest chicken and rice

Stir the rice in until mixed, cover, and remove from heat.

southwest chicken and rice 10

After all the water has been absorbed (I think I waited about 5 minutes), give the chicken and rice mixture a stir and top with cheese.

Put cover on again until cheese has melted.

southwest chicken and rice

southwest chicken and rice

Serve with all your favorite Mexican dish toppings! I added chopped avocado, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips. The hubster also added some salsa. If I had been in possession of some cilantro at the time you can bet THAT would have gone on top as well. :-)

This dish was a home run in our house! I consider it a HOME RUN when every single member of the household eats and likes it! Even my youngest who LOVES chicken but does NOT love rice….LIKED it! Go figure. :-) I am not even going to question that one. lol.  I’m just going to bask in the glory of a successful, simple, and tasty dinner!

Now I can’t wait to read all the ways you will “interpret” this dish! Go for it!

Southwest chicken rice with avocado and sour cream, made in just one pot.

One-Pot Southwest Chicken & Rice

Jill Nystul
This “naturally gluten-free” recipe has a delicious Southwest twist to it, and it couldn't be easier to make! You might even have all of the ingredients on hand right now...
4 from 14 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 293 kcal


  • 10-12 chicken tenders cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 packet taco seasoning or 2 Tablespoons of the homemade kind
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 2 cups instant white rice
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • In a large skillet, cook chicken in a small amount of oil. Season as desired. I used a generous amount of my House Seasoning.
  • When chicken is fully-cooked, add water, taco seasoning and can of Rotel.
  • Bring to a boil and then add rice.
  • Stir the rice in until mixed, cover, and remove from heat.
  • After all the water has been absorbed (I think I waited about 5 minutes), give the chicken and rice mixture a stir and top with cheese.
  • Put cover on again until cheese has melted.
  • Serve with all your favorite Mexican dish toppings!


Calories: 293kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 25gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 293mgPotassium: 467mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 375IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 170mgIron: 3mg

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • Just made this. Impressed with how quickly it came together. I can’t wait for my husband to try it. I already had some with sour cream and avocado. It was amazing. If he like it as much as I do (and I think he will he loves Mexican type food) I will be making this many times. Thanks for the easy yet delicious one pot meal.

  • People often add too much salt in their recipes without realizing it until it’s too late, but do not worry. There is a way to fix this! Add two peeled and chopped raw potatoes to the dish, and then allow it to simmer for around 15 minutes. The potatoes help absorb the extra salt. For a dish that is tomato-based, just put a few more tomatoes in and let them cook until they’re tender. These will dilute the extra salt.:’

    So long

  • My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right.
    This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info!

  • Made this last night for our small group we host/teach every Tuesday. It was a HUGE hit, absolutely NO leftovers which was a bit of a bummer for me today, but it is definitely a dish that will be made again and again. Thank you so much for sharing! P.S. I also made the lemon cookies from the cake mix and cool whip and they were gobbled up too!

  • Let me start by saying I love your site. We don’t have Rotel in Canada so I am just going to use a can of diced tomatoes. Do I drain the tomatoes first or do I put the can in juice and all. Also what size is your can of Rotel so that I can try to find a similar size can?

  • As I was making this…I was wondering if some creative mind could make this into a One-Pot Hawaiian Chicken…Chicken, pineapple chunks & rice?!?! AND We are using left overs for southwestern roll-ups!

  • I had boneless pork chops that HAD to be cooked, so I did the chop and brown just like the chicken. I also used some mined dried onion, and a can of mushrooms drained. My pickie eater LOVED it. She not only had it for supper but took some for lunch the next day. A keeper. Thanks! Enjoy your email everyday.

  • Made this for dinner tonight – it was a winner!! I added black beans and frozen corn and another can of plain diced tomatoes. Can’t wait to have leftovers tomorrow :)

  • Could you give me measurements for your “house seasoning”? I am not that experienced with just throwing stuff together which usually results in disaster. I would love to have a go-to seasoning for chicken.

  • I just finished making this… OMG is it good!! I only had regular rice, so followed the cooking suggestions made by Kim H. Near the end of the cooking time I added a couple of handfuls of frozen corn kernels. I can’t wait to make this for my kids and grandkids – they will love it too!

  • Thanx Jillee. The photo tutorial is great. All this time when I read chicken tenders I thought you were talking about breaded chicken nuggets (Burger King calls them chicken tenders), but its the raw chicken. DUH. I had the same confusion with the Chicken Fried Rice recipe.

    At my house one pot meals are taboo (DH grew up with meat, potato & vegetable) so I have to make them on the sly. DH likes to see at 3 different “piles” on his plate. For me this means cooking the rice separately–no biggie I make ahead & freeze. In place of the rice in the recipe, I will add dehydrated black beans (specialty restaurant beans that are dry but don’t need soaking & cook in 8-10 min.). Third “pile” would be corn relish that I canned last summer. If you are interested in the beans this is where I get mine from (I am not compensated for this) http://www.harmonyhousefoods.com

      • Oh he has come a long way. When we first got married he said, I don’t eat garlic, onions, mushrooms or peppers. I said then I can’t cook for you. He also said I don’t eat soups or casseroles of any kind, Chinese, or Mexican dishes. I said you know where the peanut butter & jelly is. Over time I realized he just likes just likes to see 3 things on his plate. These days he eats all of the above except the mushrooms– he just doesn’t like the texture. He is fine with say a casserole, bread & salad. Most times he makes the salad so I really can’t complain. Of course, when the kids were young and he had to set an example he ate whatever was made. Casseroles are still frowned upon when he realizes he is eating one– but by that time he’s eaten quite a bit.

  • This sounds yummy and needs to get in our tummies tonight, but I will try brown rice pre-cooked with half the taco seasoning . . . then add the remaining seasoning and reduce the water significantly to compensate for the pre-cooked rice.

  • I make something like this all the time! I use a jar of salsa in place of the taco seasoning/rotel, chicken broth instead of water, and add a can of corn. It is my mother-in-laws FAVORITE dish!

  • Hi; recipe sounds great. Unless I am missing something, I never see how many people your recipes feed. I always assume it’s for four but maybe not? Thanks for all your tips, Stephanie

  • You list shredded cheddar in the ingredients but it looks like you have two types of cheese on the dish in the photo’s. Is it just yellow and white cheddar or did you use two different types? Same amount? This sounds delicious and easy, thank you!

  • Sounds wonderful! Beautiful, too!
    Teri – your version with the enchilada sauce sounds interesting as well…would you share your general measurements, such as for rice,etc…?


    Just found you recently, Jill, and I’m in girl love… ;D

  • I also do a similar meal in the crock pot. I throw frozen chicken breasts, a small can of chopped mild green chilies, black beans, drained, frozen corn all in the crock pot. Sometimes I used taco seasoning and chicken broth and sometimes I’ll use a big can of enchilada sauce. I’ve used red or green and like them both. This is one of the easiest throw-it-in-the-crock-pot meals ever and always a hit. You can throw in the long cooking rice at the beginning or you can put the instant in about an hour before you’re ready to eat. I think I’ll make this tonight! =)

  • That is similar to how we made Mexican Chicken & Rice in the very far southern Tip of Texas in Brownesville. . But they tend to use whole regular rice & I’ll share how its made very simply.

    You take about a tablespoon of olive oil and put it in a 10′”skillet.. let it get hot, then brown your chicken on both sides quickly and remove temporarily. If needed, add more oil and then add 1 cup of regular uncooked white (or brown) rice.. stir in the oil for about 5 minutes until your rice takes on a golden toasted hue. Then add 2.5 cups of water & 2 small chicken bouillon cubes (or 2.5 cups chicken broth.) If you’re using brown rice, add another 1/2 cup liquid.) Careful, it sputters for a few seconds.
    Add 1-2 heaping tablespoons of your favorite salsa, (or chopped tomato, peppers & onion) 1 teaspoon of crushed cumin, 1 T garlic, 1 t onion. Add your chicken back in at this point. If you like, you can add squash slices or artichokes for some veggies.
    Bring to a high boil, cover, then lower heat to low and let simmer for about 12-15 minutes.

    Thats it! If you want to add cheese, as in your dish above has, add it now…

    Where I come from, the Mexicans dont use loads & loads of tomatoes in the rice like in Spanish rice.. They do over in Louisiana though..

    Hope this helped someone find a way to use regular white rice (or brown rice) to modify the recipe.

  • I make a similar recipe regularly for lunch. I replace the chicken with canned beans (saves a lot of time and I dislike having to work with raw meat. Also, it’s cheaper.) and add canned corn at the end. We eat it regularly because my daughter is anemic and my doctor told me that beans and rice are a great way to increase iron intake, especially in kids who don’t like to eat much meat. I love it with lots of lettuce and salsa to make it more salad-esque.

    Thanks for posting this. It’s a little bit of a different method and looks easier than my method. I’ll try it!

    • Sorry about the anemia– I have been anemic since early teens. Boosting your iron intake through foods is a very good approach. There are lots of tricks to sneak more in: if/when she craves chocolate give her chocolate covered raisins–also roasted sesame seeds are very high (poppy seeds higher). Wholefoods has a decent search list if you are looking. The seed with the highest amount of iron is the watermelon seed–and to think we’ve been spitting them out all these years

  • Sounds good! I make something similar in the crock pot (chicken, taco packet, salsa, black beans, corn, and tomatoes, cook all day on low and serve over rice) but I like the idea of adding the rice into the dish as it cooks so I’ll have to give this one a try.

  • This is a great general recipe.
    I’ve been using something similar for doing all kinds of meat & rice dishes.
    It’s a good way to use up leftovers. Chop up whatever meat and/or veggies you have and heat in the pan. Then add the liquid (use broth if you a little extra flavor altho watch the salt content) and instant rice.
    If you add soy sauce, ginger, and green onions as the flavoring, you can have an “asian” inspired dish.
    If you have some sausage (spicy is good) and a sprinkling of cajun spices, you can have a version of jambalaya or dirty rice.
    If you add some seafood and saffron, you can have a version of paella….etc, etc.
    Really, you’re only limited by your imagination.

    • Linsey, I added the way I make chicken & rice in a recipe a few posts below with a way to do it with regular white rice.

      My recipe is a tiny bit different but how to do this one exactly with regular white rice is quickly brown your chicken & remove.. Then add a little bit of oil back to your pan, and add 1 cup of uncooked plain white rice and stir for about 5 minutes until its slightly golden colored.
      Add 2.5 cups of water (or chicken broth), the rotel,& the seasoning pkt and the chicken, and bring to a boil then lower heat to a slow simmer for about 12-15 minutes. Check the rice for tenderness. When done, add the cheese per Jillee’s recipe.
      Hope this helps!

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