Healthy…ish Homemade Samoas Cookies.
This simple One Skillet Cheesy Cuban Chicken Rice Bake is the perfect pantry staple recipe. Cuban(ish) seasoned chicken, rice, peppers, black beans, and tomatoes all cooked together in one skillet, then topped with plenty of cheese, avocado, and fresh cilantro too. Simply toss the skillet in the oven to create the perfect cheesy, one skillet, Cuban inspired chicken and rice dinner. There’s nothing not to love. This dish is easy, takes under an hour to make, is cheesy, and all-around delicious!
And just like that, I’m back with another one skillet pantry staple dinner. Sure hoping you guys aren’t sick of these yet because I’ve been loving using my skillet these days. One, I have a new style Staub skillet I’ve been using and I’m really loving it. And two, skillet dinners are easy, no fuss, and pretty much always turn out so darn delicious.
Plus, I’ve found that while living life under quarantine, every pantry staple ingredient is made better in the skillet. I don’t know why, but it’s true. Which brings me to this simple, one skillet Cuban inspired dinner. It packs in all the flavors we love in Cuban cooking, plenty of onion, lots of oregano, black beans, and a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice…all in one skillet. It’s not full-on traditional Cuban cuisine, it’s just a fun take that’s so delicious.
One of the questions I get asked all the time is where I find my inspiration. The answer is simple, I find inspiration everywhere and anywhere. For today’s recipe, I remembered back to a Cuban dish I created a few years ago and wondered if there was a way to turn that recipe into an even simpler skillet dinner.
Not going to lie, some of the recipes I created way back in the day were long and a little overly completed. The truth? They simply didn’t need to be that way, but I just didn’t know any better at the time. You learn and get better as you grow, right?
Thankfully, I’m always learning, and even better? I’ve honed my skills with my skillet in ways that usually turn out a delicious recipe.
Case in point, this skillet dinner. It has all the flavors of that original bowl recipe, but minus all the work and time. It’s light, bright, and fresh, but still has an element of cozy (I mean come on…cheesy baked rice). This dish is perfect for not only these weird times we’re living in now, but also these early days of spring. When some days it’s nice, and other days it’s cold and rainy (or snowy), and you just need comfort food.
As always, step one is finding yourself a great skillet. This is the exact matte black one I am using. But I also want to note that it comes in this pretty blue color too. I love the slightly larger and deeper eleven-inch skillet, but any oven-safe skillet, or even dutch oven, will work great for this recipe. Use what you got and make it work!
PS. this is not sponsored. I just wholeheartedly love this skillet.
Next, cook up the onion. Then add the chicken, bell pepper, garlic, and spices. Allow the chicken to brown, then toss in a handful of broken spaghetti.
Yes, spaghetti, or angel hair, which is actually what I use. Hey, I never said this was traditional Cuban, just Cuban inspired. Using a combination of broken pasta and rice makes this almost more like a Rice-A-Roni or rice pilaf bake, it’s such a nice addition. And perfect if you have an almost empty box of pasta just sitting in the pantry waiting to be used.
Allow the pasta and rice to get a little toasted, then add water. Bring this mix to a boil, cover and let the rice steam for a bit. This only takes ten or so minutes. You do not need to cook the rice completely, as it will finish cooking in the oven.
Now, once the rice is “al dente”, the rest is pretty simple and comes together quickly. Stir in the black beans, plenty of cilantro, fresh lime zest, and a good amount of lime juice too. Top the skillet full of chicken, rice, and cheese, preferably Swiss, which makes this similar in flavor to the classic Cubano sandwich. Transfer the skillet to the oven, bake until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbly.
And that’s it. Simple right? This dish smells incredible as it bakes away in the oven, but trust me, it tastes even better.
This brings me right to the toppings, which I actually kept kind of simple. But sometimes simple is really all you need.
I topped this cheesy bake with wedges of avocado, plenty of fresh lime juice, and cilantro too. If you can get your hands on it, baby watercress would also be a great (and very Cuban) ingredient, to add.
If you wanted to take the toppings a step further, I would recommend a pineapple salsa or mango salsa. Either would be delicious and would add a nice pop of vibrant color too!
What’s great about this one-skillet cheesy Cuban chicken rice bake is that it incorporates a variety of flavors and textures. Yet it’s all made simply in ONE skillet, using all pantry staple ingredients.
Well, almost all pantry staples. If you don’t have a fresh bell pepper on hand, try using jarred peppers, or swap the pepper for a vegetable you do have. Cauliflower and zucchini would both be great options.
This is already in my rotation of “back pocket” recipes. I’ve made it three times since photographing the dish. It’s just so good, and it’s different…which is really nice! I’ve found a lot of “pantry style” recipes to be among the same flavor profiles. I love that this really switches things up!
My only suggestion? Add a fun cocktail to livin’ up your Thursday night. Highly recommending my Orange Pineapple Moscow Mule.
Looking for other skillet dinners? I have a few to pick from….
One Skillet Saucy Chicken Tortilla Enchilada Rice Bake
Skillet Lemon Butter Chicken and Orzo
Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole
Lastly, if you make this one skillet cheesy Cuban chicken rice bake, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
This was demolished by my family! So good!
Happy Wednesday!! Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe and sharing your feedback, love to hear that it was a winner!🌞 xx
Could I substitute cauliflower rice in this? If so would I still need to add some water ?
So sorry, I’ve never tested this cauliflower rice so I’m not sure what exactly you would need to adjust! Let me know how I can help! xx
Could you make this in a slow cooker?
Sorry, I’ve never tested this recipe in the slow cooker, you could certainly give it a try though! Let me know how it turns out! xTieghan
I have made this dish a lot – my family loves it. I use elbows which I think work better.
I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks so much for making it and sharing your review! xTieghan
Hi. Can this meal be made ahead of time, refrigerated and then put in the oven before serving?
Sure, that will work well for you! Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx
Another big hit! I omitted the pasta and used all rice, and it was a big hit. Loads of flavor. I’ve made it twice so far, and it’s definitely a family favorite.
Thank you so much for trying this recipe, I am thrilled that it was enjoyed!! xTieghan
Followed the recipe exactly and it was deelish!!!!! The noodle addition was different but I’d add them again ?
Wonderful!! Love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks a lot for making it! ☘️xx
I made the beef version in your cookbook and used brown rice. Flavors are great, but rice was way undercooked. Is that because it was brown rice?
I obviously ate too much and now the rice is expanding in my stomach. Lesson learned!
Thanks so much for trying the recipe and sharing your feedback! Sorry to hear about the rice, unfortunately brown rice will have a different cook time than what the recipe calls for. Please let me know if I can help in any other way! xx
Absolutely delicious! I didn’t have peppercinis on hand so I left those out but I will definitely be making this again with the peps! 🙂
Happy Friday!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! xx
Very tasty! Thanks so much for an easy one-skillet dish…. My dishwasher died and I was searching for a meal that used as few pots/pan/utensils as possible! (I hate hand washing dishes!) This fit the bill perfectly (and I had everything on hand).
Happy Friday! Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! xTieghan
Really liked this one! Kid friendly super simple. I think next time I’ll add more pickles as I loved the burst of flavor from them.
Happy Friday! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed. Thanks so much for making it and happy holidays!❄️ xTieghan
Super easy and flavorful! Thank you for providing dinners that can be cooked after a long day at work and not be a chore.
Thanks so much for trying this recipe, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Happy Holidays! xTieghan
Hearty and delicious! Chicken was nice and moist. Thank you.
Happy Friday! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks to much for giving it a try!! xTieghan