Baked Chicken and Rice Casserole
In this Baked Chicken and Rice Casserole, tender chicken thighs and rice cook together in one dish in the oven. This easy meal is a family dinner favorite!
Chicken and rice is a favorite dinner around here, including this Instant Pot chicken and rice, slow cooker chicken and rice, and this quick and easy one pot chicken and rice. My family also loves this comforting chicken and rice soup in the cooler months, but today we’re making baked chicken and rice in the oven!
I tested this recipe again and again (and again…) until I got it just right. I wanted to give you options, so that you can make this chicken and rice casserole with brown rice or white rice, and with bone-in or boneless chicken thighs. I even tried adding chopped veggies to the baking dish, so you can make this casserole with or without vegetables. I’ve included notes in this post with directions for all of these variations.
This baked chicken and rice casserole recipe will help you to get a homemade meal on your table with just a few minutes of prep time. While your casserole bakes, you’ll be free to help your kids with homework, do a load of laundry, or relax! Serve your chicken and rice casserole with a spinach salad, sautéed green beans, roasted broccoli or roasted carrots.
Why You’ll Love this Easy Chicken and Rice Recipe
- The ingredient list is simple – you might even have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now.
- Both the chicken and rice are seasoned with a flavorful spice blend that you can mix up in just minutes.
- You can make this chicken and rice recipe with long grain brown or white rice. You can use bone-in or boneless chicken thighs. You can cook vegetables in the same dish, if you want.
How to Make Baked Chicken and Rice Casserole
First I’ll give you directions for how to make this chicken and rice bake with long grain brown rice and bone-in chicken thighs. Keep reading to the frequently asked questions to get tips for using white rice, boneless chicken thighs, or chicken breasts.
Prepare the Rice:
To make chicken and rice in the oven, you’ll start by heating some chicken broth on the stove or in the microwave. I like to cook the rice in broth, rather than water, because the broth adds flavor. You want to warm the broth until it is hot. Adding hot broth to the dish with the rice will speed up the cooking process and help the rice to cook fully.
While you wait for the broth to come to a boil, you can mix up the seasoning. You’ll use the same blend of spices for both the rice and chicken. In a small bowl, combine dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. This simple mix of seasonings is so delicious, and similar to what I use in my favorite baked chicken breast recipe.
The next step is to rinse your rice. It’s important to rinse rice before cooking to remove any dust or grit that may have been left from processing. Rinsing rice also produces cooked rice with a better texture. I use a fine mesh strainer to rinse rice.
Put the rinsed rice in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mixture to the rice and then pour on the hot broth. Stir gently to combine.
Bake the Rice:
You’re going to bake the rice for 30 minutes at 375° F before adding the chicken to the dish, because brown rice takes longer to cook in the oven than the chicken. Cover the dish tightly with foil before placing it in the oven to prevent steam from escaping. This will allow the rice to steam and cook fully in the oven.
Season the Chicken:
When the end of 30 minutes nears, prep the chicken thighs. If your chicken has skin on it, remove the skin. I tested this recipe with skin-on chicken thighs and the skin made the rice too oily. Rub the chicken thighs with a little bit of olive oil and then with the remaining spice mixture.
Bake the Chicken and Rice:
After the rice has baked for 30 minutes, carefully remove the pan from the oven and place the seasoned chicken thighs on top of the rice. Cover the dish again and return it to the oven to bake for 40 more minutes. Be careful, and use oven mitts or potholders to handle the hot dish.
Finally, uncover the dish and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese. The Parmesan is optional, and I forgot to add it when I photographed this recipe. The cheese adds another layer of flavor if you choose to add it!
Continue baking the chicken and rice for 10-15 minutes more, until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through. You may see just a little bit of broth in the rice and this will be absorbed as the casserole rests. Let the chicken and rice rest for 5 minutes at room temperature and then serve.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I make chicken and rice with boneless chicken thighs?
Boneless chicken thighs work well in this recipe. Both bone-in and boneless chicken thighs cook up moist and juicy in the oven. Since boneless thighs need less cooking time, add them to the baking dish ten minutes later than the recipe directions for bone-in thighs.
Can I make chicken and rice with chicken breasts?
I recommend using chicken thighs rather than boneless, skinless chicken breasts because boneless chicken breasts may dry out with the cook time of this recipe. If you really want to use chicken breasts, I suggest using bone-in chicken breasts because they take about 50 minutes to bake at 375° F, so you can add them to the dish at the same time as you would add bone-in chicken thighs. Always be sure to use an instant read thermometer to check that your chicken has cooked through to a safe 165° F.
Can I use white rice in this casserole?
White rice also works well in this recipe. Be sure to use a long grain white rice, such as basmati. White rice cooks much faster than brown rice, so you will add the chicken to the dish from the beginning of the cook time. You will also reduce the amount of broth from 3 1/4 to 3 cups when using white rice. Cover the dish tightly with foil and cook the chicken and white rice for 30 minutes. Then uncover the dish and continue baking for 5-15 minutes, until the chicken and rice are done.
Can I add vegetables to this casserole?
You can stir chopped raw vegetables into the rice before cooking. The veggies will cook along with the rice and chicken. Choose firmer vegetables, such as broccoli or carrots, and chop them into small pieces. Try 1/2-inch pieces for carrots and 1-inch pieces for broccoli.
Cooking Tips for this Chicken and Rice Recipe
- Be sure to use long grain rice only. Do not use short grain rice, quick cooking rice, or minute rice.
- I recommend using a 9×13-inch glass baking dish, such as Pyrex. When I tested this recipe in a different dish (as seen in the photos), the rice took considerably longer to cook.
- Oven temperatures can vary, and different varieties of long grain rice may take slightly different cooking times. Your rice may need a little more or less time to cook through in the oven. If you find that your rice is not yet cooked but the liquid is gone, add a little more broth or water to the dish and continue baking.
- For a dairy-free casserole, omit the Parmesan cheese.
Baked Chicken and Rice Casserole
- 3 ¼ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cups long grain brown rice, such as brown basmati rinsed (see notes for white rice instructions)
- 1 ½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs skin removed
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese optional
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Bring chicken broth to a boil on the stove, or heat in the microwave until hot.
- Meanwhile, stir together the oregano, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Put the rinsed long-grain rice in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add 1 ½ teaspoons of the seasoning mix. Pour the hot chicken broth over the rice and stir to combine.
- Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, covered.
- Meanwhile, rub the chicken thighs with the 2 teaspoons olive oil (be sure to remove the skin from the chicken first). Sprinkle chicken with the remaining spice mixture and rub it into the chicken.
- After the rice has baked for 30 minutes, carefully remove the dish from the oven. Being careful as the dish is very hot, place the chicken on top of the rice. Cover the dish tightly with the foil and, using potholders or oven mitts, return the covered dish to the oven. Continue baking for 40 minutes covered.
- Uncover the dish and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through to at least 165°F.
- Let casserole rest at room temperature for 5 minutes and then serve.
- To make with long grain white rice: Reduce the amount of chicken broth to 3 cups. Add the chicken to the dish with the rice from the beginning of the cook time. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake, uncovered, 5-15 minutes more, or until rice is done and chicken is cooked through.
- To make with boneless chicken thighs: Add the chicken to the pan 10 minutes later since boneless thighs need less cook time.
- This recipe makes four generous servings. You may be able to get up to six servings out of this recipe, which will reduce the amounts in the nutrition information.
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