Spicy Chicken Meal Prep with Rice and Beans Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Spicy Chicken Meal Prep with Rice and Beans

19 reviews / 4.4 average

Yeah, I went there. Chicken Meal Prep. With Rice and Beans. And Cilantro Sauce. I don't even recognize this organized version of myself.

It's December, friends. Talk to me about this:

How do you enjoy all your favorite stuff (cinnamon rolls, eggnog, Christmas cookies) without going into full-blown rabid holiday eating mode for 31 straight days?

I think I know the answer. My answer, anyways.

Meal prep. As in making food ahead of time and portioning it out so you are GAME ON for healthy breakfasts, lunches, and/or dinners.

And yes, I'm learning this a little late in the game. “Meal prep” as a concept has been around for a long time and I've never jumped on that train until now. Something about December this year has me thoroughly enjoying becoming a more organized, well-prepared version of myself. Because those cookies. Those cookies are GOOD. (Which reminds me - if you like to bake, my friend Sally has a December Cookie Palooza that is so adorable and I am addicted to her cookie videos and let's be addicted to them together. Maybe this year I will get energized and actually bake some. Maybe you'll bake some, too. Youdabest, Sal.)

And now, for a chicken drizzle.

How To Make Our Chicken Meal Prep:

Chicken with sauce being poured on
Sunshine Sauce dripping off spoon

The thing I always find around the holidays is that while cookies and treats are on everyone's mind (myself included), what I *really* end up most wanting and needing is some yummy regular food to balance me out. I'm talking about something fresh, or nutritious, with some a good spicy kick to it every now and then, and maybe a little salty and a bite of crunch here and there.

Something that says to my body: Here. Take a breather. Rest up. Pack in the nutrients. Get ready for that party tonight. Where there will be cookies. Which you will enjoy.

Holiday season is a lot of things, but mostly isn't it just an exercise in balance?

Chicken meal prep in Instant Pot
Chicken Meal Prep in Containers with Peppers

Okay, it probably doesn't come as a surprise that I find it really helpful to use an Instant Pot for this recipe and/or meal prep in general. Here's why: you can go HANDS FREE and actually clean out your fridge for the week or get your dishes done while the food cooks itself in a matter of minutes. I don't think the Instant Pot is right for everything or everyone, but I DO think it's really right for things like this.

As always, if you don't have an Instant Pot, that is no biggie. You can do this on the stovetop or in the crockpot. Directions for both are in the recipe below.

Final note: the meal prep containers? (affiliate link) Are they not the cutest things you've ever seen?

They are also GLASS which is amazing because one thing that always gets me feeling a little weird is microwaving all those plastic food storage containers. Bjork and I made the switch to all glass food storage at home about a year ago, and I am so happy we did. These little divided glass ones are my favorite new addition to our food storage collection at home. They are not necessary for meal prep, but they definitely make it more fun, organized, and aesthetically pleasing. 👍🏼🤓

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Spicy Chicken Meal Prep in meal prep container.

Spicy Chicken Meal Prep with Rice and Beans

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Spicy Chicken Meal Prep with rice and beans + a yummy cilantro sauce = healthy meal prep to last you all week! Meal planning that is healthy, delicious, AND beautiful!



For the Chicken Meal Prep:

  • 1 cup long grain white rice (quinoa also works - see notes)
  • 1 cup water
  • 14 ounces of fresh salsa (undrained canned tomatoes also work)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • about 1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 4-6 smallish pieces
  • lots of spices like cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne (taco seasoning also works)

For Adding In Later:


  1. Cook: Place the rice, water, tomatoes, salt, and oil in the pot. Stir to combine. Place the chicken pieces on top and sprinkle generously with your favorite spices and some salt. Turn the instant pot on high pressure for 7-8 minutes. When done, use the quick release valve for the steam.
  2. Mix: Remove the chicken. Mix the black beans (and maybe a little sunshine sauce) in with the rice.
  3. Meal Prep Yourself: Divide the rice and beans amongst 4-6 meal prep containers. Top each with a piece of chicken. Sprinkle with cilantro and drizzle with a spoonful of sauce.



What if I don't have an Instant Pot? On a stovetop, just cook the rice according to package directions, then add the tomatoes and beans. Sprinkle the chicken with spices and sauté in a separate frying pan until cooked through. I tried this in a crockpot but it didn't work super well. The rice got really mushy and about half of it was still uncooked. So I wouldn't advise using the crockpot!

Vegan version and other substitutions: Quinoa works! Tofu works! I did a quinoa-tofu version of this using 1 cup quinoa instead of rice, and 1 package tofu instead of chicken. Cooked in Instant Pot for 5 minutes - it was great! If you use quinoa and chicken together, I recommend cutting your chicken a little smaller so that it fully cooks in 5 minutes,.

What to serve it with: My two sides were sliced bell pepper and a yummy dessert-like trail mix.

How to reheat it: When we make these, we take out the peppers and the trail mix to munch on while it heats in the microwave.

What about avocado? Yes. Very good idea to have an avocado handy for when you're planning to eat this. I would't prep it with avocado though - it will brown too quickly.

How long does it last? This chicken, rice, and beans meal prep will last for about 4 days in the fridge. I have not tried freezing this.

Nutrition: Nutrition information includes everything but the Sunshine Sauce. You can find that nutrition here.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired

Keywords: spicy chicken, rice and beans, meal prep chicken

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our best healthy meal prep recipes page. Check it out!

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    A cute as the containers are-you’re not going to heat the peppers and trail mix so point of the container besides cute is?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Point is that it packs an entire meal instead of needing to bring multiple separate containers to work with you. Nothing wrong with that, I did it that way for many years. But this just streamlines the process a bit. Also I love that they’re glass so you’re not microwaving plastic. I don’t find it too cumbersome to scoop out a handful of nuts before popping it into the microwave! 🙂

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for tweaking the style of your InstaPot posts! This felt a lot more accessible to me, as someone who doesn’t own one. And those storage containers are fantastic! We went all glass a while ago, but I may need to get some of those divided containers.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    My sister just got an Instant Pot from her best friend. I refuse to be jealous so I love how I can make this without one. Sigh. And since we discovered a real rat living in our garage, my husband has been consumed with that. Ewwww. No presents for me. That’s okay.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay,
    I was literally searching the web for bento-style glass/food prep containers right NOW. I love your glass containers, especially since I do have this bad microwaving-plastic-containers feeling too. The only thing I’d love even more would be removable compartments for let’s say: 2 bigger compartments for one day and 1 big and 2 small compartments the next day, depending on the lunch.
    Does anybody have such a GLASS FOOD PREP BOX w/ REMOVABLE COMPARTMENTS or know where I could buy them? I could only find metal and plastic ones online, that I don’t wanna microwave.
    Thanks (and grateful for any tip)!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      That is an amazing idea. Someone needs to manufacture that! 🙂 We just scoop the nuts / peppers / salad whatever out of the other two containers before microwaving but it would be so ideal if they were removable!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I put a cupcake liner in the small compartment, that way you can just lift the liner with the trail mix (or whatever else) straight out befote microwaving.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yay meal prep! I love it! Makes life so much easier. I’m with you too on the glass containers – my face whenever I microwave plastic 😬.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yum!! Would love to see more meal prep ideas. I find prepping essential to eating healthy with commuting, work, etc. However, I do have a question and it’s kind of silly but driving me nuts (ha)..how do you heat up the meal on day 2, 3, 4 etc. with the granola and peppers in there? Do you dump them out onto a paper towel or something? Inquiring mind wants to know 🙂

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks delicious! I JUST bought myself an instant pot and I think this will be the first thing I make with it!

    Also, I just noticed that your bio says that you used to teach 4th grade. That made me like your blog even more! I am finishing up my credential and will be a middle school science teacher soon. As I work through my program I am always excited to come across other teachers!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can you add dried beans rather than canned if you put them in the Instant Pot at the beginning?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Good question – I haven’t cooked dried beans it the instant pot – it could work as long as the cook time is roughly the same (and my hunch is that dry beans would take a little longer than the 10 minutes in this recipe).

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Looks delicious! Would love to see you experiment with some dried bean recipes (not just cooking the beans themselves in instant pot but incorporating them into recipes). To me seems a shame to use canned beans when the instant pot can take dried beans to cooked in about 30 min!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    This blog is a healthy reminder I need to get back in the game of food prepping at least for 2 days. I admit I’ve been off the wall with bad eating habits. Been munching at the Hibachi buffet restaurant, eating pizza from Little Ceasar’s and Lorenzo’s pizza on South Street in Philadelphia, and eating late night before going to sleep. Healthy meal prepping does help anyone get in the positive mindset of eating right and keeping their nutritious means portion-sized just the way you have it. Thank you for this blog Lindsay. 🙂

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yes yes yes all of this! Especially the part about needing real food to balance out all the indulgence. After nearly two weeks of Thanksgiving classics and creamed turkey, I found myself craving lettuce the other day. CRAVING lettuce. Also, I love meal prep as a food blogger. It’s so hard to keep up with content and cook yourself healthy meals every night, so I usually do one big healthy prep meal early in the week for days when I’m out of time or out of patience for dishes. This will have to go into rotation!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Did you use regular firm tofu? It looked fancy/spiced in your IG story. And dumb question but is it 1 cup uncooked quinoa?

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Ooh, I wish that would look like my lunch at my school times. Looks so Yummy and beautiful. Lindsey, you would make the best lunch preps for kids to school EVER 😊✌ 100 points from me for that post!!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    hi, can you make this in the instant pot with split chicken breasts? the ones on the bone? thanks!!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    “I don’t even recognize this organized version of myself.” lol. I am pretty unorganized, I always find myself being way happier when I can be in that zen place of organization. Just a matter of pulling it off amidst the chaos of life. Also, that chicken looks fabulous!