Baked Chicken and Rice

By: Cassy Joy Garcia

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This oven-baked chicken and rice dinner cooks in one dish and requires almost no hands-on time, making it the easiest, most delicious way to get a fuss-free dinner on the table!

a finished enameled cast iron pot of cooked chicken and rice bake

Y'all, we did it. WE DID IT! I feel like Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) giving the Law School Commencement Address at the end of Legally Blonde. After so much trial, so much error, but an abundance of hope, I finally cracked the code on this epic one-pot dinner. After 7 tries and leaning heavily on the scientific method, we PERFECTED this One-Pot Baked Chicken and Rice.

What was so challenging? You'd think that such a simple recipe would be simple to develop …but that's not the case with baked rice. The trick is getting the rice *and* the chicken to have a delicious texture at the end. After so many variations, I finally landed on the perfect approach.

Oven Baked Chicken and Rice Recipe

The beauty of this dish, now that we've laid the how-to groundwork, is that you can make it your own. Rotate seasoning the chicken with your favorite spice blends, garnish with whatever herbs you have on hand, and give new life to this glorious EASY one-pot dinner time and time again.

Developing this recipe for you (and for me, let's be honest) makes me giddy. There’s just something about being able to throw everything into the same dish and know that by dinnertime, you’ll have a really well-balanced, easy-to-clean-up meal for your family. Here are a few reasons that this recipe is the *best* weeknight dinner:

  • It’s easy. I mean, it doesn’t get much easier than throwing everything (raw!) into one dish and popping it into the oven, does it?
  • It requires hardly any prep. The rice and chicken both go into the dish raw, so the total amount of prep time here is no more than 5 minutes. That’s my kind of dinner, y’all!
  • It can be customized. Play with the seasoning that you use and really make this your own. If you love spice, maybe consider a spicy seasoning blend. If you’re a fan of garlic, use a garlicky blend (we love this one). 
  • It’s well-balanced. This is one reason that we absolutely love one-pot meals. This recipe has everything you need for a really satisfying, well-rounded dinner. If you’d like to do a simple veggie side (think: steamed broccoli, green beans, or a simple salad), feel free to do that. It’ll be perfect all on its own, though!
a serving of chicken and rice bake in a small bowl with a lime wedge squeezed over it

Ingredients

The ingredient list for this oven baked chicken and rice is really simple, y’all. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White Rice – to start, you’ll need 1 cup of white rice. If you have a minute to spare, we recommend rinsing the rice well to avoid a mushy end product. I used both basmati and jasmine rice during my experiments, but I believe that most white rices will work well.
  • Broth – to cook the rice, you’ll also need 1½ cups of chicken or veggie broth. If you’re in a pinch, know that water will work just fine – the broth just adds a bit more flavor. You essentially just need 1½ cups of liquid in order for the rice to cook properly.  
  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon of sea salt adds a really great flavor to this dish.
  • Chicken Thighs – you’ll also want to grab 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (this is about 2 pounds worth of thighs). 
  • Seasoning Blend of Choice – to season the dish, you’ll need 1 tablespoon of a seasoning blend of your choice.
  • Lemon or Lime (optional) – fresh citrus is the best garnish! Choose between either lemon or lime here.
  • Fresh Herb (optional) – pick a fresh herb that you feel would go nicely with the seasoning blend you chose, and garnish with a sprig or two of that also!

How To Make Baked Chicken and Rice in the Oven

With such little prep time and the oven doing all of the real work, anyone can make this recipe! Here’s exactly what you’ll need to do:

  1. Rinse the rice – before adding the rice to the dish, go ahead and put it into a fine-mesh strainer to rinse it thoroughly. Though this step is optional, we think it’s a really good idea!
  2. Add the rice + broth – add the rice, broth (or water), and the sea salt to a 3-quart Dutch oven (or another similarly sized baking dish) and stir to combine.
  3. Add the chicken – lay the chicken thighs on top of the rice. Be sure to create an even layer over the rice with the chicken, and try not to push the chicken down into the rice.
  4. Season – sprinkle your seasoning blend of choice over top of the chicken.
  5. Cover + bake – cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil if needed, then bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.
  6. Uncover + finish baking – once the 45 minutes is up, uncover the dish, and bake for 10 more minutes.
  7. Garnish, serve, and enjoy!
a fine mesh strainer of white rice being rinsed into a large glass bowl
an enameled cast iron pot of chicken and chicken broth
a person pouring chicken broth into a blue and white enameled cast iron pot of uncooked rice
a blue and white enameled cast iron pot filled with rice, chicken broth, and topped with raw chicken thighs, and seasoning

Tips for the Best Baked Chicken and Rice

Though this dish is really easy, there are some things you’ll need to make sure that you do in order for it to turn out perfectly. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Create a layer with the chicken – you’ll need to make sure that the chicken sits on top of the rice, creating a full layer, so that no rice is exposed in the oven. If the rice is exposed, it’ll dry out during the cooking process.
  • Rinse the rice – while this isn’t necessary, we do recommend rinsing the rice before adding it to the dish! During testing, we found that when we didn’t rinse our rice, it ended up a little bit mushy. 
  • Use a heavy lid instead of aluminum foil – if you have an enameled cast iron dish with a heavy fitted lid, you can make this in that and skip the foil.
  • Change up the spices – you can use any spice mix that you want, so feel free to play around with this!
  • Use a different protein – you can swap in chicken tenders, chicken breasts, or a flaky white fish (like cod, tilapia, or snapper) for the thighs. Just make sure that whatever protein you’re using forms one even layer on top of the rice. It's also worth noting that because the proteins listed above have a lower fat content than chicken thighs, there is a chance that they'll end up slightly overcooked.
  • Add more time if needed – if there is still moisture in the dish after the cooking time is up, leave it in the oven uncovered for an extra 10 minutes. 
a finished enameled cast iron pot of cooked chicken and rice bake

Should I use cooked or uncooked rice?

Definitely use uncooked rice for this recipe. Cooked rice will really just turn into mush as the chicken bakes. Plus, the beauty of a recipe like this is that you don’t have to worry about an *extra* cooking step!

Can I use brown rice?

Unfortunately, brown rice won’t work here. This recipe was specifically tested for white rice, and because different types of rice have such different cooking times and rice-to-liquid ratios, we can’t guarantee that subbing a different rice here will work the same way that the white rice does.

Do I really need to rinse the white rice?

This step is optional! The reason I recommend rinsing the rice is because rinsing helps to remove powdered starch that hangs out on dry rice. If you *don't* rinse it off, you may end up with a slightly mushier rice texture (no big deal to most, including my family). Rinsing rice will get you closer to a fluffy, not sticky, rice texture in the end.

a fine mesh strainer of uncooked rice sitting on a large glass bowl
a fine mesh strainer of white rice being rinsed into a large glass bowl
a fine mesh strainer of white rice being rinsed into a large glass bowl
a fine mesh strainer of rinsed white rice being poured into a large cast iron pot

Will my rice cook unevenly?

The method outlined here will get you as CLOSE to evenly-cooked rice with a method that's as hands-off as possible. Because of a couple variables, there is a possibility of your rice cooking slightly unevenly. I'm going to walk you through WHY this could happen and some ideas for how to prevent it.

If the rice is undercooked in any portion of the dish, it will be the portion of rice directly under the chicken thighs. My best guess why: if the extra fat on the chicken thighs isn't removed (usually done by your butcher), it will render off while it cooks. This rendered (liquid fat) pools directly underneath each piece of chicken, creating a barrier for that rice that prevents it from further absorbing the liquid (broth or water) meant to cook it complete.

How to prevent this? Make sure your chicken thighs are well-trimmed of visible fat (I'm just talking about those giant strips of solid white fat) AND, if you're still concerned, the fix involves a simple stir 30-minutes into the cooking process. You'll pull the pot out of the oven 30 minutes into it's first 45 minute “covered” baking spell, pull the chicken OFF (I placed mine on a plate), give the rice below a really good stir, place the chicken *back* on top of the rice, pour in any juices from the plate that may have collected, cover, and finish baking covered for 15 more minutes. You'll then finish the dish the same: bake uncovered for 10 minutes. No more unevenly cooked rice!

Do I have to use broth?

You don't need to use broth! I've made this a handful of times at home when I didn't have broth on hand (or the patience to defrost my frozen broth) and used water instead. The broth adds a really nice flavor to the dish, but using water will work just fine too. You just need 1½ cups of water (same amount as the broth) for the rice to cook properly. 

Is baked chicken and rice healthy?

Healthy means something different to everyone, but we think that if you tolerate rice and chicken well, this meal is definitely a healthy option. 

Do I bake chicken covered or uncovered?

I tested this recipe a few different ways. First, I baked it covered for the entirety of the baking time, but I actually found that the rice ended up getting a little bit too mushy for our liking. What I opted for in the end was a combo of covered and uncovered cooking time – this yielded the best texture in both the chicken and the rice. 

a serving of chicken and rice bake in a small bowl with a lime wedge squeezed over it

Can you put raw chicken in a casserole?

Yes! You definitely do not need to cook the chicken before putting it into the casserole. That would not only add another step for you, but it would also really dry out the chicken. 

How do you bake chicken without drying it out?

This is one reason we really love using chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are fattier than chicken breasts (or tenders), so they don’t tend to dry out easily. Also, cooking this dish covered for the first 30 minutes really helps the chicken to stay nice and moist.

Print

Baked Chicken and Rice

This oven-baked chicken and rice is full of flavor and perfect for nights where you need an easy dinner!

  • Author: Cassy Garcia
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 46 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup of white rice, rinsed
  • 1½ cups of chicken or vegetable broth, or water
  • ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total)
  • 1 tablespoon of a seasoning blend of your choice (we used this one)
  • Lemon or lime juice, for garnish (optional)
  • Fresh chopped herbs, for garnish (optional)

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Add the rinsed rice, broth (or water), and the sea salt to a 3-quart Dutch oven or enameled cast iron with a matching lid and stir to combine.
  3. Lay the chicken thighs on top of the rice. Be sure to create an even layer over the rice with the chicken, and try not to push the chicken down into the rice.
  4. Sprinkle the dish with your seasoning blend of choice.
  5. Cover the pot with its lid, then bake for 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes is up, uncover the dish and bake for 10 more minutes, until the rice is fully cooked through and the chicken is slightly browned on top.
  6. Remove the dish from the oven, then garnish with lemon or lime juice and fresh herbs, if using, and enjoy!

 

Notes

If unevenly-cooked rice is a concern of yours (for reasons listed above!), the fix is easy: follow the recipe as written, but pull the chicken and rice dish out of the oven 30 minutes into it's cooking time. Pull the chicken off the top of the dish (place on a plate or in a bowl for safe keeping) and then give the rice + remaining broth a good stir. Finally, place the chicken back to the top of the rice in one even layer. Put the casserole back in the oven, covered, for 15 minutes (to complete the original 45 minutes cooking time), then cook uncovered for the last 10 minutes.

Keywords: chicken and rice, baked chicken and rice

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Recipe rating

  1. Katie says:

    Do you think you could use coconut ginger rice? Looks delicious

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      As long as it’s white rice, the ratio of liquid to rice should be the same, Katie!

  2. Taylor says:

    Would this work with chicken breasts instead of thighs? Looks amazing!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We have that on our list to test, Taylor! Our only fear is that the chicken breasts would dry out. It’s definitely worth a shot, though!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Could you use chicken breasts?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      You can, Jennifer! We actually have this on our list to test. The only thing we’re concerned about is the chicken breasts drying out (since they have a much lower fat content than thighs).

  4. Elana says:

    Have your tried this is in an instant pot yet??

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We haven’t! We do have a fajita and rice Instant Pot dinner that is similar, though!

    2. Priscilla Shaner says:

      Would any large enough casserole dish work? Does it have to be a Dutch oven?

    3. Brandi Schilhab says:

      A casserole dish will work! You’ll still want the chicken to completely cover the rice, though. In lieu of the lid, feel free to use heavy-duty aluminum foil secured very tightly to the dish!

  5. Crystal says:

    My hubs and I are dealing w parosmia and this was great! Perfectly textured rice. We’re living off this and the teriyaki chicken bowls so thank you!!!!!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      That’s so great to hear, Crystal! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  6. Melissa says:

    This was so great & easy thank you! My husband is from Puerto Rico and takes his chicken and rice v. seriously and he said this was outstanding.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      That’s amazing, Melissa! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  7. Jess says:

    What about chicken with skin.. will this work? I saw your note about extra fat but thought I’d ask since I have a ton of drumettes to use up. I just got a Dutch oven and can’t wait to use it! Thanks in advance!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Hi Jess! We haven’t tried skin-on chicken here, but we think it’ll work! A few tips though: definitely pull the dish out of the oven and stir the rice after 30 minutes (then put it back in to finish cooking), and if the skin on the chicken is not crisp by the end of the cooking time, put the chicken on a sheet pan and bake it for 10-15 minutes by itself. I hope that helps!

    2. Jess says:

      Would this work if I doubled the rice and broth? Looking for leftovers lol!

    3. Brandi Schilhab says:

      I don’t see why not, Jess!

  8. Jenn says:

    Can you give me any suggestions on what seasoning and how much to put on top of the chicken

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Any blend you love will be really great here, Jenn! You could do a Mexican spice blend, a ranch seasoning blend, a smoky seasoning blend, etc. You really can’t go wrong! You’ll use 1 tablespoon of whatever blend you choose.

  9. Jillian says:

    Just made this tonight and it was delicious!! Super quick and easy to put together! The rice was perfectly fluffy and the chicken was really moist! I’ll definitely be making this a lot postpartum! My Dutch oven was too big so a used a small casserole dish and covered it tightly with foil. Worked perfectly.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      That’s so great to hear, Jillian! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  10. Katie says:

    I made this tonight using chicken breasts and it came out perfectly!! I found it was also super forgiving as I had to up the temperature to 400 so I could get dinner on the table in less than an hour. Thanks for another stellar recipe!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We’re so glad it was a hit, Katie! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!

  11. Liz says:

    So delicious! Since seeing this recipe I’ve already made it a couple times since my family loves it, it tastes great, and is easy to make and clean up!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      That’s so great to hear, Liz! We’re so glad this one is a family favorite!

  12. Paige says:

    Thank you for this recipe. Love that it is so hands off and delicious! I didn’t have any specific chicken rub so I used paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, S&P. So good!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We’re so glad you liked it, Paige! Thanks so much for letting us know!

  13. Fawn says:

    Would the cooking time be the same with brown rice?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We haven’t ever tested it with brown rice, Fawn, but my guess is that the cooking time AND the amount of liquid needed would be different!

  14. Paula Fay Singleton says:

    Can I use my roaster? It’s not a slow cooker but an actual roaster. It’s too hot to cut the oven on here and I would love to try cook this soon.

    1. Paula Fay Singleton says:

      I meant to say it’s too hot to cook outside so I use my indoor appliances.. Sorry..

    2. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We haven’t tried this recipe with a roaster, Paula! Please let us know how it went if you did try it!

  15. Amanda Decarreau says:

    Excited to try this recipe! Do you think uncooked “minute” type brand of rice would be fine here or does it need to be the kind of uncooked rice that typically has a 45 min/longer cook time? Hopefully this question makes sense!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Totally makes sense, Amanda. I’m not positive on the minute rice. I think it would need to be regular rice (to soak up all the liquid), though.

  16. Julie says:

    Hello. The link to the spice blend is missing! I love this recipe though and I’ve made it several times.