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I’m all about cooking as much flavor into the rice as possible, and this Chipotle Lime Chicken and Rice is FLA-VOR-FUL! You’ve got a hefty dose of spices, tangy lime juice, and a bunch of flavors from the chicken that cooks right in the same pot. It turns out smoky, spicy, savory, and oh-so-delicious! And don’t worry, I’ve got some suggested sides to round out your meal listed below.


Chipotle peppers are smoked jalapeno peppers. They give a beautifully spicy, smoky flavor to everything. You can buy chipotle peppers dried, canned with adobo sauce, or ground into a powder. This recipe uses the powdered form, which can be found along with other herbs and spices in the spice aisle.


This recipe’s quick cooking method is unsuitable for bone-in chicken breasts, as they require a much longer cooking time. It may work with smaller bone-in chicken thighs, but you’ll want to use a meat thermometer to ensure they reach 165oF inside. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work just as well as the boneless, skinless chicken breast for this recipe.


You have a few options for the diced tomatoes in this recipe. I used a can of plain diced tomatoes because that is what was available the day I made this, but I also tried it with fire-roasted diced tomatoes while in the recipe testing phase, and they were fantastic. You could also do petite diced tomatoes if you don’t like such large pieces, or even a diced tomato with green chiles if you want extra-EXTRA spicy.


Because this dish is so spicy, you’ll probably pair it with something that has a cooling effect, so something that is creamy or can be served cold to balance the heat. If you have it, a little dollop of sour cream on top or a slice or two of avocado would be good. And I suggest something green to round out the colors on your plate. Here are some great side dish options:

Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad

Warm Corn and Avocado Salad

Cowboy Caviar

Quick Seasoned Black Beans


1.5 tsp chipotle powder ($0.15)

1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)

1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)

1/2 tsp onion powder ($0.05)

1/2 tsp salt ($0.05)

One lime ($0.50)

Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about one lb.) ($5.79)

1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)

One yellow onion ($0.32)

1 15oz. can dice tomatoes* ($0.59)

1 cup chicken broth ($0.13)

1 cup long-grain white rice ($0.62)

Two green onions, sliced ($0.22)

1 oz. Cotija cheese (optional) ($0.55)


Combine the chipotle powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in a bowl. Squeeze 2 Tbsp juice from the lime into a separate bowl (this should be about half a lime, save the other half to cut into wedges for garnish).

Use a rolling pin or a mallet to gently pound the chicken breast to an even thickness (about 3/4-inch thick). Use half of the prepared spice mix to coat both sides of the chicken pieces (reserve the other half of the spices for later).

Heat the cooking oil in a large deep skillet over medium. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for a few minutes on each side or until browned. The chicken does not need to be fully cooked, just browned on both sides. It will continue to cook with the rice.

While the chicken is cooking, dice the onion. Remove the browned chicken from the skillet to a clean plate. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and saute until softened. Add the remaining spices and saute for one minute more.

Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), rice, chicken broth, and lime juice to the skillet with the onions. Stir to combine and dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Add the browned chicken back to the skillet. Place a lid on the skillet, heat medium-high, and allow the liquid to boil.

Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low, and allow the chicken and rice to simmer on low for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the skillet rest, without lifting the lid, for 5 minutes.

Finally, remove the lid, and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Fluff the rice to stir the tomato and onion back in. Slice the chicken, then place it on top of the rice. Sprinkle with sliced green onion and Cotija cheese. Add any remaining lime wedges, and serve!

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Joseph M. Kay

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