Crock Pot Chicken and Rice is the minivan of healthy slow cooker recipes. It’s not flashy. It’s not exotic. Strangers will not stop to take photos standing in front of it. On a Monday night (actually on just about any night), however, you can forget the Ferrari. Give me the reliable. Give me the practical. Give me the Crock Pot Chicken and Rice!
If you are looking for more easy, healthy crock pot chicken recipes to navigate you through a busy week, this crockpot chicken and rice will be your ride.
A creamy, cheesy blend of juicy chicken, whole grains, and fresh veggies, this healthy chicken and rice crock pot recipe has a seat for everyone.
- It’s mild enough for picky eaters but flavorful enough for more adventurous palates.
- It yields a large batch and is rich in fiber and protein, so it’s hearty enough for hungry households, just like its cousin Instant Pot Chicken and Rice.
- It’s not quite a 3 ingredient crockpot chicken and rice recipe, but it is incredibly simple and uses very few ingredients!
- It’s freezer friendly and tastes great left over, so if you like easy meal prep recipes or are part of a smaller household that only needs healthy crockpot recipes for two, it’s easy to save and reheat.
5 Star Review
“This is THE BEST crockpot recipe! My entire family loves it. It’s healthy, accessible, and the only leftovers my family and I will actually eat.”— Freda —
The inspiration for this crock pot chicken and rice recipe came from my Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole.
It’s become a reader favorite, and I’ve heard from many of you that everyone in your family, from your discerning toddlers to your even more discerning significant others enjoys it.
As much as I love to be adventurous with ingredients and flavors, including in my collection of crock pot meals (Slow Cooker Chicken Curry and Slow Cooker BUtter Chicken are two absolute favorites), I also appreciate the all-American, family-friendly meals that were a part of my Midwestern upbringing: the Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup; the Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff; the Crock Pot Mexican Casserole; the classic Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie.
Sometimes I want to ride in the convertible, but most nights, I need the minivan.
How to Make Crock Pot Chicken and Rice
Developing this healthy chicken and rice crockpot recipe took a few attempts.
Rice has a frustrating tendency to become mushy in the slow cooker.
I also wanted it to be a crockpot cheesy chicken and rice recipe that was still reasonably healthy and made from minimally processed ingredients, which meant that all of the recipes for crock pot chicken and rice with cream of celery soup (or slow cooker chicken and rice with cream of mushroom soup) needed to go.
Here are my tips for the best crock pot chicken and rice:
- Slow Cook on HIGH. While the slow cooker is good for rice, it does much better on HIGH. The rice just did not turn out well when I made this recipe on LOW heat. It was watery and mushy. To avoid ending up with crock pot chicken and rice soup, make this recipe according to the cook times and temps in the recipe below.
- Don’t Overdo The Onion. If you opt to use a regular onion instead of shallot, be sure to chop the onion very finely, and don’t add too much. If you’d like, you can also sauté it on the stovetop before adding it to the crock pot to deepen and mellow its flavor.
- DO NOT Over Cook the Chicken. Obvious, yet essential. The chicken breasts will finish cooking before the rice. Be sure to remove them as soon as the internal temp reaches 160 degrees F (the carryover cooking will take it to 165 degrees F).
- Chicken Breasts. You can cook raw chicken with rice for this recipe, and it makes it easy! Your chicken will come out perfectly tender, flavorful, and delicious every single time. Chicken adds protein to the dish, making it more satisfying.
- Long Grain Brown Rice. Because I wanted this to be a healthy chicken and rice crock pot recipe, I opted for brown rice over white rice, as it is higher in fiber and protein. Brown rice is also a bit heartier, so it can better handle the longer cooking time that comes along with any slow cooker meal.
- Carrots. Packed with vitamins and sweet flavor, carrots are a delicious and nutritious addition to this recipe.
- Shallot. Adds a mild onion flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.
- Dijon. Deliciously tangy and zippy.
- Spices. This recipe suggests salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme. These ingredients help add flavor and earthiness to the dish. Feel free to adjust each of these to suit your and your family’s tastes.
- Chicken Broth. Acts as the cooking liquid for the chicken and rice.
- Frozen Peas. An easy way to sneak in extra veggies. No need to thaw them.
- Greek Yogurt. Helps make the recipe creamy and packs in extra protein and potassium. No need for cream of chicken soup here!
- Cheddar Cheese. Cheesy goodness helps make this recipe a crowd-pleaser and adds calcium.
- Add the rice, carrots, shallot, and Dijon to a slow cooker coated with nonstick spray. Stir. Place chicken on top, then add the spices and herbs. Pour in the broth. Cook on HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.
- Remove the chicken to a plate. Stir the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker, then cook for another hour.
- Stir in the peas and yogurt. Dice the chicken, then add it to the slow cooker with part of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover the slow cooker, and cook for a few more minutes on HIGH. DIG IN!
- To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. Add a splash of broth, milk, or water to keep it from drying out.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, dice the carrots and chop the shallot. Refrigerate each item in a separate airtight container until you’re ready to finish the recipe.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Slow Cooker. Perfect for making healthy crock pot chicken and rice recipes.
- Measuring Cups. These sturdy metal measuring cups are my favorite.
- Measuring Spoons. Magnets help keep these together during storage.
For a meal that’s guaranteed to pick you up, has room for everyone, and even leaves you wiggle room to make a pitstop for dessert: healthy crock pot chicken and rice!
Frequently Asked Questions
I do not recommend cooking this recipe on LOW, as this resulted in wet, mushy rice for me.
Unfortunately, you cannot put frozen chicken in the crock pot for safety reasons. During the cooking process, it may spend too long at room temperature and become unsafe to eat. I recommend fully thawing your frozen, boneless chicken breast before using it in this recipe.
Every slow cooker cooks a little differently (I use a 6-quart crockpot brand). To be safe, build in extra buffer time the first time you make this recipe. From then on, you’ll know exactly how long your particular model needs for perfect, tender rice.
Already cooking and it’s too late? In an emergency, you can transfer the rice to a saucepan and finish cooking it on the stove.
Crock Pot Chicken and Rice
- 1 cup long-grain brown rice do not substitute any other kind of rice, including short grain, instant, or white, as the cooking time and liquid ratios will not be the same*
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots about 4 medium
- 1 small shallot finely chopped, about 1/4 cup (you can also use 1/2 of a small regular onion, though I prefer the more mild flavor of the shallot since it isn’t precooked)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 1/2–3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese divided (I love white cheddar for this)
- Chopped fresh parsley optional for serving
- Lightly coat a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add the rice, carrots, shallot, and Dijon mustard, and stir to combine. Arrange the chicken breasts on top, then sprinkle with the garlic powder, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour in the chicken broth. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Stir the rice, vegetables, and broth, then re-cover and continue cooking on high until the rice is tender, about 1 additional hour.**
- Uncover and stir in the peas and Greek yogurt. Dice the chicken and stir it in with 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, then re-cover and cook for a few additional minutes on high until the cheese is melted. Serve warm, sprinkled with fresh parsley as desired.
- *I do not recommend using any other kind of rice or grain for this recipe other than long-grain brown rice, as the cooking times and liquid ratios will vary.
- I also cannot recommend cooking this on low, as my attempts to cook the rice on low resulted in wet, mushy rice. If you do have success making it on low heat, I’d love to hear about it!
- **Please note, the cook time (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours for the chicken + 1 additional hour for the rice and vegetables) listed can vary depending upon your slow cooker. Mine consistently finishes in this time, but others have reported needing longer for the rice. Use your best judgment depending on your slow cooker model. If it is your first time making the recipe, you may want to build in extra “buffer time” just in case your slow cooker doesn’t get as hot as mine and others who see similar cook times.
- As written, the rice does come out a little more mushy than it would if cooked on the stove or in a rice cooker. It’s a necessary evil with the ease of a slow cooker, so just be prepared (we still loved it!).
- TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken and rice in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. Add a splash of broth, milk, or water to keep it from drying out.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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