Middle Eastern-inspired crispy chicken and basmati rice is a weeknight oven-baked turmeric rice with seven spices seasoned bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. If you are new to experimenting with new spices, this dish is for you!
If you are looking for more delicious chicken recipes, try these grilled chicken thighs, crispy chicken thigh and potatoes, or chicken biryani rice.
This chicken and rice dish is full of flavor. The chicken thighs are seasoned with one of my favorite Lebanese spices called seven spice, which is a blend of seven ground spices: allspice, black pepper, white pepper, coriander, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon. The basmati rice is made with sauteed onions, garlic, turmeric, and ground coriander.
What I Love About This Recipe
What I really love about this chicken and rice dish is that it uses skin-on chicken thighs which get really crispy in the oven. Also, the added flavor from the skin-on thighs is worth the extra baking sheet pan when making this dish. I think the best part of this dish is how the flavors infuse at the very end as the chicken and rice are baking together in the oven.
- Chicken thighs: I recommend bone-in skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe. The chicken thighs crisp up as they bake in the oven.
- Basmati rice: This long-grain rice has a rice to water ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups of water. If using any other type of rice, make sure the appropriate rice to water ratio for that specific rice type. I prefer basmati rice because it bakes really well without getting too soggy or dry.
- Turmeric: This spice gives the rice that beautiful yellow color in addition to the turmeric's depth of flavor.
- Seven spices: Season the chicken thighs with Lebanese seven spices. Other dry seasonings work if you don't have 7 spice on hand.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Baked Chicken Thighs and Rice
Heat the oven to 400℉ (205℃). On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, add the bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. Rub salt and seven-spice seasoning on the top and bottom of the chicken thighs. Put the chicken thighs on the top rack of the oven for 45 minutes.
Hint: While the chicken thighs are baking in the oven, prepare the turmeric basmati rice. The basmati rice and chicken thighs should finish baking around the same time.
Pro Tip: Don't flip the chicken so that the skin can crisp up.
Peel and quarter onions. Peel and chop the ends off the garlic cloves. Pulse the onions and garlic together in a food processor on high for about 15 to 30 seconds.
Add olive oil to a nonstick pot on high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the blended onions and garlic mixture.
Once the blended onion and garlic start to change colors, add the ground coriander and turmeric.
Mix well the turmeric onion and garlic mixture. Add the basmati rice and water.
Pour the turmeric basmati rice into a 9" x 13" baking dish.
Cover the rice tightly with foil. Place on the bottom rack of a 400℉ (205℃) oven for 30 minutes.
At around 45 minutes, take the chicken thighs out of the oven.
Hint: The chicken thighs should finish around the same time as the turmeric basmati rice.
Pull the rice out and remove the foil. Fluff the rice with a fork. Place the roasted chicken thighs on top of the rice. Put the chicken thighs and turmeric rice back in the oven at the same temperature for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Once the chicken thighs and turmeric basmati rice are finished cooking, garnish with some chopped mint leaves.
Tips and Tricks
- The key to crispy chicken thighs is roasting the chicken in a separate baking sheet from the turmeric basmati rice initially. Once the chicken thighs get a chance to crisp up, combine the rice and chicken together in the same dish.
- Don't flip the chicken thighs! Place the chicken thighs with skin up.
- Make sure to use foil on the first part of baking the rice, so that the rice doesn't dry out.
Variations and Substitutions
- Rice - Substitute sona mansoori rice or a long grain rice for basmati rice. Adjust the water ratio depending on the type of rice used.
- Seasoning - Change out the dry rub seasoning for the chicken thighs.
- Change the fat - Use ghee or butter in lieu of olive oil.
- Prepare the rice on the stovetop - Instead of baking the rice, bake the rice on the stovetop. Bring the rice to a boil. Once the liquid is level with the rice, turn the stovetop to low heat and cover. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to continue to steam.
- Baking sheet: Bake the chicken thighs in a parchment paper-lined baking sheet large enough to space out the chicken thighs about 1" (2.5 cm) from one another.
- Nonstick stovetop pot: When preparing the garlicky onion turmeric rice, use the nonstick stovetop pot.
- 9" x 13" baking dish: Use a 9" x 13" or equivalent baking dish for the basmati rice.
Store the chicken thighs and rice in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. This meal is best eaten prepared fresh. I don't recommend freezing this chicken and rice dish.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when cooking with chicken.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165°F (74°C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave chicken sitting out at room temperature for extended periods of time
Flavorful Chicken Recipes
International Rice Dishes
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Baked Chicken Thighs and Turmeric Basmati Rice
- 2½ lbs bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon Lebanese 7 spices
- salt to taste
Turmeric Basmati Rice
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 3 small onions or 2 medium onions
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 4 cups water or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- salt to taste
- Heat the oven to 400 ℉ (205 ℃). Season the chicken thighs with salt and seven spice. In a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, add the seasoned chicken thighs. Once the oven is ready, put the chicken thighs in the top rack of the oven for 45 minutes. While the chicken thighs are baking, prepare the turmeric basmati rice.
- Using a food processor, blend the peeled onions and garlic.
- In a nonstick skillet on high heat, sautee the blended onions and garlic with olive oil. Once the onions and garlic start to change colors (about 3 to 5 minutes), add the ground turmeric, ground coriander, and salt. Mix well until fully blended then add the rice and water (or broth). Pour the turmeric basmati rice into an oven baking dish.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and place it into the same oven as the chicken thighs on the middle rack. Cook the rice for 30 minutes with the foil on.
- Pull the chicken thighs out of the oven at the end of 45 minutes. Pull the rice out of the oven after 30 minutes of cooking with foil. Remove the foil and fluff the rice. Place the roasted chicken thighs on top of the rice. Put back in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for a couple of minutes.
- Turmeric basmati rice can be cooked on the stovetop instead of in the oven. Bring the rice to a boil. Once the liquid is at the same level as the rice, turn the rice on low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes on low. Cook the chicken thighs for 1 hour total in the oven if cooking the rice on the stovetop.
- Substitute butter or ghee in lieu of olive oil.
- It's optional to use boneless skin-on chicken thighs or bone-in skin on split chicken breasts. If using different types of chicken cuts, adjust the cooking temperature to accommodate for a thicker cut of meat.
Oooooops! Tried baking these thighs in the same pan in the oven and they didn’t crisp up. That must be why you roasted the thighs separately first. Is there a way to make this a one pay dish all baked together?
If you keep the chicken thigh skin-on, you need to roast the thighs separately so they crisp up. If you want to make this a one-pan meal you can remove the skin from the chicken thighs and combine the thighs and rice. Just make sure to cook the chicken thighs completely through.