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close up of galinhada mineira (Brazilian saffron rice with chicken) in a pan
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Galinhada (Brazilian Chicken and Saffron Rice)

Galinhada is one-pot Chicken and Saffron Rice perfect for busy days because you can prepare a complete dinner in 30 minutes. It’s one of those traditional Brazilian foods that you can’t miss out: it’s mess-free, quick and easy, and quite comforting!
Keywords:galinhada, galinhada mineira, galinhada recipe, rice and chicken, rice with chicken, saffron rice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 5 people
Calories618 kcal
Cost $2.50 per person


  • pan
  • stove
  • cutting board
  • knife


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs about 4-5 thighs (or skin-on, bone-in if you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 5 saffron threads
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small white onion small diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper small diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups parboiled white rice long-grain
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 large diced tomatoes skin and seeds removed (or about 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp green onions chopped


  • Take the chicken thighs out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking to ensure even cooking. Season them with a mixture of salt, pepper, and cumin, rubbing well on both sides. Let rest at room temperature for those 30 minutes. Then, add saffron threads to the hot water and let it steep for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, dice and chop the vegetables. Reserve. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp of oil and sear the chicken thighs, skin side down (or top of the thighs side down), for 3-4 minutes without moving or until skin is golden. Flip chicken to the other side and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Transfer thighs to a plate and reserve. Remove excess oil/grease (leave about 1 tbsp). Meanwhile, add and cook the onion and bell pepper over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the rice and sauté for about 1-2 minutes, stirring every now and then.
  • Add the wine and let almost evaporate about 2 minutes. Stir in the steeped saffron, the broth, the tomato paste, and the bay leaf. Transfer the chicken back to the pan, nestling them on top of the rice. Let come to a boil!
  • Then cover the pan with a lid and let cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked and rice is al dente. The rice will absorb the liquids. About 3 minutes before the end of this cooking time, add the diced tomatoes and the peas, cover, and let it cook. Right before serving, squeeze lemon over the thighs and add the chopped herb.
  • OPTIONAL: Before adding the lemon juice and herbs, you may brush the top of the chicken thighs with a hint of honey and broil for a couple of minutes if desired.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Galinhada
  •  To make in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker, follow steps 1 and 2 above. Then, press the sauté button and let it heat for about 5 minutes. Add the 2 tbsp of oil and sear the chicken according to step 2.
  • Follow steps 3 and 4. Then, cancel the sauté function, lock the lid of the IP or PC, and turn the valve. Pressure cook on High for 10 minutes and then let the pressure naturally release (about 10 minutes).
  • Add chopped tomatoes and cooked peas (you may cook them in the microwave). Squeeze lemon over the thighs and add the chopped herb.
Make-ahead and Storage
You can make galinhada 3-4 days ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s one of those easy freezer meals – this means you can freeze it for up to one month. 


Calories: 618kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 172mg | Sodium: 1632mg | Potassium: 998mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 955IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 3mg
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