Chicken pilaf recipe

(173 ratings)

This simple chicken pilaf recipe is a great way to use up leftover chicken from your Sunday roast

  • healthy
Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time27 mins
Total Time37 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories371 Kcal19%
Sugar22.4 g25%
Fat13.8 g20%
Saturated Fat2.9 g15%
Salt0.6 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein25.5 g51%
Carbohydrates38.6 g15%
Salt0.6 gRow 7 - Cell 2

Prepare this filling dish, chicken pilaf in just 10 minutes. Sprinkle with pistachios before serving.

Pilaf is a great way of using up leftover chicken; be it thighs, breast or a whole chicken. Flavoured with garlic, chilli, cumin, and cinnamon, this pilaf is bursting with flavour. Vegetables such as leek and carrot pack this dish with nutrients.


  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 red and 1 white onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Good pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 200g basmati rice
  • 600ml hot chicken stock
  • 16 ready-to-eat dried apricots, halved
  • 4 or 6 cooked chicken thighs,skinned and boned(200-300g/7-10oz)
  • 2-3 carrots, diced and steamed
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange, optional
  • Handful of parsley leaves
  • A few pistachios




  1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry the onion for 7 mins, until softened and browned. Spoon out a third of the onion and set aside for garnish.
  2. Add the chilli, garlic, cumin seeds and cinnamon to the pan, cook for a min, then add the rice and stir well. Add the chicken stock and apricots. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 10-15 mins, until the stock is absorbed. Don’t stir during cooking.
  3. Add the shredded chicken and veg. Stir in orange zest and juice, if using. Warm through for 5 mins.
  4. Serve topped with the crispy onions, parsley leaves and nuts.

Top tips for making chicken pilaf

This recipe uses chicken stock; juices leftover from cooked chicken, but you could easily opt for a stock cube if you don’t have stock to hand.

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Jessica Dady
Food Editor

Jessica Dady is Food Editor at GoodtoKnow and has over 11 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the must-buy seasonal food hampers and advent calendars for Christmas to the family-friendly air fryers that’ll make dinner time a breeze, Jessica loves trying and testing various food products to find the best of the best for the busy parents among us. Over the years of working with GoodtoKnow, Jessica has had the privilege of working alongside Future’s Test Kitchen to create exclusive videos - as well as writing, testing, and shooting her own recipes. When she’s not embracing the great outdoors with her family at the weekends, Jessica enjoys baking up a storm in the kitchen with her favourite bakes being chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and a tray of gooey chocolate brownies