Saturday, October 10, 2020

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice + Video

Cheesy chicken and rice combines classic flavors for an easy crockpot meal. Make this recipe with simple ingredients in just a few hours!

titled photo (and shown on white plate): Crockpot Chicken and Rice
Simple, comfort food recipes are perfect for busy weeknights and sure to please the whole family.

30-Minute Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is made with homemade creamy chicken and is sure to become a regular favorite.

For easy Mexican flavors, try my Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Skillet. It’s everything you love about traditional enchiladas in a no-muss, no-fuss one skillet recipe.

Or, make this 30-Minute Cheesy Chicken Pasta. Just make the pasta and sauce on the stove real quick, then combine and bake until it’s perfectly gooey!

Ingredients: chicken, butter, seasonings, carrots, peas, cheese, and more

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice

Make a cheesy chicken rice casserole in the crockpot instead of the oven to save energy and keep your kitchen cool.

So that everything comes out the right consistency, this isn’t quite a “set it and forget it” recipe. But despite the extra steps, it’s just as easy to make and the results are well worth it!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
  • Chicken breasts - Use boneless, skinless chicken for this recipe, and feel free to replace them with thighs if you prefer. Just be sure to use an equal amount by weight and know that thighs typically take longer to cook.
  • Fresh thyme - Substitute dried thyme if needed, but reduce the amount to about one-third since the flavor is more concentrated.
  • Stock - Replace with an equal amount of chicken broth or vegetable stock as needed.
  • Cheddar cheese - Even though pre-bagged shreds are easier, they contain a preservative that creates a waxy texture and keeps the cheese from melting properly. Buy a fresh block and shred it yourself for best results.
chicken breasts fried in a skillet with oil

Kitchen tools/equipment needed
  • Slow Cooker - Great for soups, roasts, shredded chicken, and more! I love it in the cooler months, but it’s also great in the summer when you don’t want to heat up the whole house with the oven.
  • Non-stick Skillet - Everyone needs a good skillet. I use this almost daily for everything from cooking eggs to browning chicken and ground beef.
  • Cheese Grater - As much as I love buying shredded cheese because I'm lazy, freshly grated cheese melts down so much better and creates a smoother recipe.
browned chicken breasts on a white plate

Recipe Tips + FAQ

Storing and freezing instructions

Place leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave, on the stove, or in the oven until warmed through.

To freeze, allow the cheesy chicken rice casserole to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container or a foil pan with a lid. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Bake loosely covered in foil, stirring occasionally so it heats evenly. Add a splash of chicken stock for moisture, and do not reheat in the slow cooker for food safety reasons.

ingredients in the slow cooker with chicken breasts on top

Do you need to cook chicken before putting it in a slow cooker?

It depends. If you’ll be adding everything to the slow cooker at once and cooking for a minimum of 4-5 hours, there’s no need to cook it first.

For this cheesy chicken and rice, the chicken breasts are seared on the stove first so they won’t take as long as normal in the crockpot.

Can you use brown or wild rice?

Absolutely! It may take a little longer to cook, but the amount of liquid should work for any type of rice.

finished rice with chicken on top

Is it better to slow cook on high or low?

For most recipes, choosing to cook on low or high power depends on how much time you have.

The overall temperature of the slow cooker is the same for either setting. It just reaches that temperature faster on the high setting.

Generally, roasts, stews, and chilis tend to do better when cooked on low for a longer period of time.

However, for this particular crockpot chicken recipe, you need to use the high setting. 

Not only is the faster heating needed to cook the chicken, but the rice will be extremely mushy if it cooks on the low setting.

cheese on top of crockpot chicken recipe


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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slow cooker chicken and rice on a white plate

Crockpot Chicken Recipe Video

This recipe is REALLY easy to make! Watch our video at the top of this post to see it in action

Yield: 4
Author: Donna Elick
Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice

Cheesy chicken and rice combines classic flavors for an easy crockpot meal. Make this recipe with simple ingredients in just a few hours!
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 2 H & 30 MTotal time: 2 H & 45 M


  • 4 medium chicken breasts, boneless skinless
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, fine chop
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, fine chop, garnish


  1. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. In a heavy bottom skillet sear the chicken breasts in the olive oil over medium-high heat on both sides until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Place the rice, garlic, carrots, thyme, and chicken stock into the bottom of a crockpot and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine. Place the butter in slices on top of the rice mixture. Place the seared chicken breats on top, cover the crockpot. Cook on high for 1 and a half hours or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  3. Take the chicken breasts out and set aside. Add the half and half, peas, and ½ cup of the cheese into the cooker and stir to combine. Add the lid and continue to cook until the rice is done, another 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Once the rice is cooked place the cooker on the warm setting. Place the chicken back in the cooker on top of the rice and top with the remaining cheese. Place the lid on and let the cheese melt and the chicken warm through. Top with the parsley garnish, optional, and serve.
  1. This recipe has to be cooked on the high setting in the slow cooker. If made on the low setting the rice will be extremely mushy.

titled photo collage shows Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken and Rice on a plate

Originally published October 2020

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  1. What would be the best way to do it if I wanted to have it on for 5-6 hours (while I’m at work)?

  2. Can I make this without the slow cooker?

  3. Replies
    1. There is a "PRINT" button at the top right hand corner of the picture that is right above the recipe.


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