This flavorful chicken taco rice casserole is made using one pan or skillet. Nutritious, filling, and wholesome Mexican chicken and rice is perfect for making a quick and easy gluten-free meal at home.
Cooking Mexican-inspired dishes in my kitchen is very common these days. Whether it is turkey chill, fresh guacamole, or this healthy corn on the cob, we often enjoy the unique Mexican flavors and tastes at home.
And a bowl of this taco rice with chicken is perfect for a wholesome protein-rich lunch or dinner. Moreover, it is so easy to prepare for which you will just need a large skillet to cook this dish. Or, you may simply cook it in a large pot, e.g., a dutch oven.
I am not using the classic way of preparing this casserole by using a casserole dish and baking it in the oven. Instead, I prepared this Mexican-inspired rice on the stovetop with all the fresh ingredients in a pan in 30-35 min.
What is special about this taco rice?
- rich in protein – made with healthy protein from lean meat
- gluten free – perfect for people with gluten restrictions
- one pot recipe – simple cooking and easy cleanup
- cheesy but healthy – children will enjoy it
- nutritious multicolor dish
- no need to buy taco seasoning
Ready to try?
What you will need?
- Chicken – I use ground chicken for this recipe. It takes less time cook.
- Rice – for a quick dinner I make this dish with white rice.
- Bell pepper and corn – veggies add color and nutrition to the dish
- Onion – a medium-sized onion diced it into small pieces
- Tomato – it gives a moist texture to the dish
- Garlic – mince or chop it finely
- Seasonings – use a blend of spices like smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, oregano, and cumin powder
- Oil – I prefer using avocado oil or olive oil in most of my cooking.
- Garnishing and Serving – use fresh cilantro, diced avocado, and lime wedges.
Prepare the Veggies
Clean peppers and tomato with water. Peel and cut the onion into quarters and then slice them. Remove the stem, seeds, and dice the bell and jalapeño peppers into small pieces. Then peel and chop the garlic into small pieces. If you are using frozen corn, remove them from the freezer and thaw before using.
How to make chicken taco rice casserole?
In a large skillet sauté the onion and garlic in some oil.
Then cook ground chicken for a few minutes until the pink color goes away. Then add diced bell pepper, tomato, and rice. Also, add all the seasonings except salt and mix everything well. Stir fry the mixture for another few minutes.
Finally, add water and bring the mixture to a boil. Now add salt according to your taste, cover, and cook the rice until well done. Turn off the heat.
To turn this taco rice skillet into a cheesy casserole dish, remove the lid and spread the cheese evenly. Put back the lid and let it sit for a few more minutes (no need to turn on the heat). The hot rice will help melt the cheese.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, diced avocados, lime wedges, and serve warm.
- A bowl of this wholesome taco chicken rice is enough for a filling and satisfying meal. Add fresh cilantro, diced avocado, and lime wedges for more flavors and garnishing. Sprinkle some crushed tortilla chips while serving for added deliciousness.
- You can also serve freshly made guacamole, salsa, and some tortilla chips on the side.
- For a Mexican banquet, make this chicken and rice casserole along with sweet potato lentil chili or healthy black bean soup, street style corn on the cob, Mexican avocado salad etc. And don’t forget to make homemade mojito to complement the menu.
- Whenever possible use organic ground chicken.
- Ground chicken takes less time to cook. So, while sautéing try to divide the chicken into smaller lumps as soon as possible when it is still raw and pink. Otherwise, it may form into a big cooked mass which would be difficult to break into smaller chunks later.
- Use a variety of bell peppers and corn to make this dish colorful and more nutritious.
- I use less cheese for topping the rice when making it into a casserole dish. You can get generous when adding the cheese to make it a really cheesy casserole, if you prefer.
- Turkey taco rice – you can use ground turkey instead of ground chicken.
- Vegan taco rice – just skip using the ground chicken and follow the remaining recipe for a meatless dish. You may add cooked black beans or pinto beans to replace the meat protein.
Place leftover rice in the air-tight glass container and store it in the refrigerator.
Sprinkle some water over the leftover taco rice and heat it in the microwave for 1-2 min. Mix well and microwave it for 1 more min. Or, you can just stir the rice in a frying pan on the stovetop until it is steamy and hot before serving.
More easy one pot rice recipes you will love
- One-Pot Mexican Chicken Rice
- Easy Palak Paneer Rice (Indian Spinach Rice)
- Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
- One Pot Easy Vegetable Biryani
- All rice recipes
Healthy Chicken Taco Rice Casserole
- 1 ½ cup rice
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium tomatoes diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 cup corn use fresh or frozen
- 3 cup water
- 2 tsp cooking oil
- In a large skillet, heat some oil on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and saute for 2-3 mins.
- Add ground chicken and cook until the pink color disappears (in about 3-4 min, see notes).
- Then add diced tomato, peppers, corn, and rice. Also, add all the spices listed under seasonings, mix everything well and saute the mixture for 2-3 mins.
- Add water and bring the mixture to a boil. Season with salt, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook the rice for 15 mins.
- Turn off the heat, spread the Mexican cheese blend evenly over the cooked rice, cover and let it sit for another 10 mins.
- Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, diced avocado, lime wedges and serve warm.
- Always rinse and clean the rice before cooking.
- After adding ground chicken to the hot pan, keep breaking it into smaller pieces. Otherwise, it will result in large chunky pieces.
- Make sure the heat is off after layering the cheese. Else, the rice may burn at the base of the pan.
- Add more cheese if you want to make a really cheesy casserole dish.
- Don’t have a large skillet? Just make it in a large pot like a dutch oven. I sometimes make it in my cast iron 3qt dutch oven. It is good enough for cooking the amount of ingredients mentioned in the recipe.
- See helpful notes section above for more tips.