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 (opens in new tab); 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
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Jessica Dady is Senior Content Editor at and has over 10 years of experience as a digital journalist, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to baking sets, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends much of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family - particularly for her two lucky children.