Spanish Chicken over Saffron Rice

Spanish Chicken over Saffron Rice

One of the most common meals in my home are pasta and sauce, cowboy skillet, bibimbap with meat and meatless, and chicken with rice, or potatoes and chicken, and huge amounts of side dishes. I could truly live on side dishes. I attempt to make every day something else, yet most asked dinners are those, particularly pasta or something with chicken.


I was going through the Spanish cookbook and stumbled across Spanish Chicken, which was cooked slightly different than this one. I love adding my own twists on original recipes, or traditional without losing the taste or the sense where that particular dish coming from. With that being said, I added smoked paprika, because it has a little pinch of heat, and Ground black pepper, and the addition of thyme. The recipe that I was looking at said to cook chicken with the rice.

Now, I really don’t like mushy rice, as I thought that it will be because the chicken needs more time to cook, so, I cooked it separately. It was entirely delectable and tasty, and my rice was great. I assume, you could use chicken wings or drumsticks, however, thighs do have more meat, it has a reasonable price, especially for those on the budget, and you can get the skin off if you dislike it.
I included notes directly under the ingredients so you could understand that I like adding spices individually. In some cases, we cook for 2 or 3 people, and I needed you to realize that you don’t have to make entire 10 lbs of chicken, so this way works magnificently.

Spanish Chicken over Saffron Rice 

  • Chicken thighs (depending on how many people)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp. Salt for each piece/to taste
  • Pinch of Ground Black pepper for each piece
  • ½ tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp. Spanish (spicy) smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. Sweet Paprika
  • Pinch of Crushed Chili Flakes
  • Pinch of Dry Parsley
  • 1/4 chopped Onion
  • Couple of stems Fresh Thyme *optional (take the leaves off, also use it as a garnish if possible)
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil


  • I like rubbing each piece of chicken individually, that way each chicken thigh is seasoned equally. So, ingredients/seasonings are for each piece of chicken***
  • I like serving 2 thighs per adult, and one per child. The size decrease after baking/roasting.
  • Also, adding bell pepper on the side of the chicken gives you wonderful aroma, and tastes fantastic with the chicken and rice. I used 1 large Bell Pepper, you can choose which color you prefer or have on hand.


  1. Wash the chicken and place in a large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and rub all over the chicken.
  2. Add/rub the rest of the ingredients on each chicken. Rub all over and under the skin if there is the skin. The skin gives you a wonderful flavor and keeps it moist rather than dry. Add fresh thyme (optional) and chopped onion, mix everything one more time.
  3. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap/film and let it marinate for 30 minutes to up to 1 hour. Make sure it’s in the fridge.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
  5. Arrange the chicken in the baking pan in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil, OR Drizzle the chicken with olive oil in the mixing bowl, then place on the roasting wire rack. I prefer roasting it because the hot air circulating around the chicken, however, without the rack is fine too.
  6. Bake it for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is golden and reaches the internal temperature of 165F/75C. Turn the chicken on the other side after 15 minutes of baking/roasting. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes, then turn it back again. If you want an extra crunchy skin, turn your broiler ON and let cook under the broiler for a couple of minutes. I do this at the very end. 
  7. After the rice is done, arrange the chicken on top of the rice and garnish with fresh/or dry herbs, and roasted bell pepper if you made it with the chicken.


  • 1½ tbsp. Olive oil
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cups Rice
  • 3½ cups Chicken Broth, low sodium (vegetable or beef would work fine, too)
  • 1 Knorr Chicken Bouillon cube
  • 2 pinches Saffron threads, soaked in 3 tablespoons of hot water for 15 minutes
  • Salt to taste (only if needed)


  1. Wash the rice a couple of times and drain it.
  2. In a pot, heat olive oil. When the oil is hot enough, add onion and stir-fry for a couple of minutes, or until softened, try not to burn. The heat should be on medium high. Stir in rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes, keep mixing.
  3. Pour in the broth, Chicken Bouillon cube, saffron with the soaking water and a pinch of salt (you can always add more later if needed). Turn your heat to high and bring to a boil.
  4. When it starts boiling, cover and turn the temperature to low heat, to simmer.
  5. Let the rice simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off completely. DO NOT take off the lid. Let the rice steam for 5 minutes covered. Use a fork to fluff up the rice.
If you do not wish to make it from scratch, you can always get bagged yellow rice. It is called “Arroz Amarillo”
  • Add a pinch of turmeric for extra yellow color and different aroma.
  • Get a good quality of Saffron threads, it is so worth it.
Spanish Chicken over Saffron Rice



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