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With no chopping or pre-cooking required, Crockpot Express Chicken and Rice is the easiest “all-in-one” family dinner recipe!
Cooking whole chicken breasts together in the same pot as the rice (and vegetables if you want them) is what makes this recipe for Crockpot Express Chicken and Rice so easy! With five minutes of prep, you’ve got a versatile one pot recipe ready to go!
There are so many recipes online for pressure cooker chicken and rice. The problem is (at least for me) they all call for cutting up and precooking the chicken, high pressure (which you shouldn’t use with rice) or quick release (which you should NEVER use when cooking meats.)
My desire in creating this recipe was to share how I personally cook my chicken and rice, as well as provide a very basic “canvas” for adding all sorts of flavorful varieties. Crockpot Express Chicken and Rice can be made with or without vegetables, making it very versatile.
While this may not be what you think of as the traditional “casserole” style chicken and rice, it’s a great weekday meal that satisfies the need for comfort food. I’m adding it to my ever-growing list of Crockpot Express Recipes.
Ingredients needed for Crockpot Express Chicken and Rice:
- long grain white rice (jasmine also works well, but requires a little less water)
- chicken breast
- Better than Bouillon paste (chicken or vegetable flavor)
- Parmesan cheese
- optional: frozen or canned vegetables like peas, carrots and mushrooms
How to make rice in the Crockpot Express
Start by rinsing your rice, and rinsing it well. As you can see, this water is mostly clear. I usually put the pot under running water and swirl it around for a minute. This will make the water very cloudy with all the starch that is getting rinsed off.
Keep rinsing and swirling until the water runs pretty clear. The purpose of this is to remove all that excess starch. Clean rice will cook more evenly, and be less “gummy” than rice that gets dumped directly into the pot.
After the rice water is running clear, then pour out all the excess water and carefully measure the water going into the pot for cooking. Typically, the ratio for long grain white rice is 1:1.5 rice to water.
For this recipe, the ratio is lower because the chicken will be releasing a lot of liquid as it cooks. You can get away with 1:.75 rice to water, but I prefer my rice to be a bit softer and more moist for casserole type dishes. So I stick with a 1:1 ratio for Crockpot Express Chicken and Rice.
Next, add the garlic, parsley and bouillon paste. I really like using the jarred garlic that is found in the produce section of the grocery store. It’s a huge time saver for recipes like this.
Better than Bouillon is a paste that’s packed full of flavor and tastes better than plain chicken broth. However, if you don’t have it, you can always use chicken stock as your liquid instead of water.
Stir together the water and bouillon paste until it’s mixed together well. It doesn’t have to be perfect-the heat from cooking will finish dissolving any small lumps left behind.
Lastly, place the boneless skinless chicken breast directly on top of the rice mixture. For me, about 2 pounds of chicken was three large breasts. I pounded each one out just a bit to make sure they cooked evenly.
Any chicken breast you use needs to be about 1″ thick. If it’s too thick, it will not cook all the way through, and if it’s too thin, it will get dry and overcooked. (You may also want to trim the fat off the meat. Clearly, I did a terrible job of this.) You can read more about cooking plain Crockpot Express Chicken Breast (thawed or frozen) here.
If you want to add vegetables, frozen or canned vegetables are perfect. Place them right on top of the chicken. There’s no need to stir after this step-just leave things layered and let them cook. You can also add any condensed soups at this point, but do not stir!
Close it up, let it cook and when you’re done you’ve got flavorful rice and cooked chicken breast ready to go! Add some Parmesan cheese for a little creaminess and salty zing. At this point, you can serve it as is, or pull apart the chicken into smaller pieces for mixing together.
I served this meal two different ways: one with whole chicken breasts and the rice as a side dish, and the other more as a casserole dish with the added vegetables and cheese. You can also add cheddar cheese on top if that’s the way you like your chicken and rice.
Basically, use this recipe for Crockpot Express Chicken and Rice as a starting point and then add your personal touch to make it something that your family will love!
Can I use frozen chicken breasts for Crockpot Express Chicken and Rice?
Technically, yes. But it’s better if you don’t. Frozen chicken is much harder to get cooked evenly (because you can’t pound it out to even thickness) and it releases a bit more liquid while it’s cooking. However, it is certainly possible.
My advice would be to use very evenly cut breasts that are on the thinner side if you want to make this recipe using frozen chicken. But my stronger advice would be to thaw your chicken first for best results.
Can I add condensed cream soups?
If you REALLY want that creamy texture that comes with using canned condensed soups, you can use a 1/2-1 can in this recipe. Add it on top of the chicken (or vegetables if that’s your top layer) and do NOT stir it into the rice/water mixture. You need the thin liquids for best results.
If you don’t want to risk getting the E6 error, you can stir some in to the finished the recipe after cooking and let it heat through a by using the Simmer setting.
Can I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts?
Absolutely! I love dark meat because it doesn’t dry out as much as white meat and it packs a lot of flavor. Typically, chicken breast is a little cheaper than the boneless chicken thighs, so we don’t use them as often. But it’s a great substitution and the cook time would be the same.
Can I use fresh vegetables instead of canned or frozen?
Sure! Sometimes fresh vegetables give off a lot of liquid when cooking (depending on what you’re using) so just be aware of that before adding liquid to the pot. Personally, I prefer canned vegetables for this recipe because they are already cooked and it’s easy to open a can and toss it in to the pot.
Often, broccoli is used with baked chicken and rice. I would advise against using broccoli in this recipe, however. It will just turn to mush and you’ll end up with weird green rice. 🙂 If you really want broccoli, wait until after you’ve cooked the chicken and rice. Then add some fresh broccoli to the pot and just let it sit in there to kind of “steam” while you do other things. Or cook it in the microwave and stir in the cooked broccoli when it’s ready to serve.
Crockpot Express Chicken and Rice
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp chopped garlic (3 cloves) or 3/4 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp Better than Bouillon chicken stock "paste"
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (3-4 breasts) pounded to 1" thickness
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots optional
- 1/4 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups long grain white rice, 2 cups water, 1 Tbsp chopped garlic (3 cloves), 2 tsp Better than Bouillon, 1/2 tsp dried parsleyAfter rinsing the rice well, add the rice, water, garlic, bouillon and parsley to the pot. Stir to mix the paste into the water.
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, 1 cup frozen peas and carrotsPound out the chicken to 1" thickness. Place the chicken breast directly on top of the rice mixture. If desired, add vegetables on top of the chicken.
- Close and lock the lid, turning the steam release valve to closed. Press Rice/Risotto (low pressure, 12 minutes) and then Start/Stop. When the cooking cycle is done, allow a full natural pressure release. (10-12 minutes)
- 1/4 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan cheeseOpen the lid and remove the chicken. Fluff up the rice with the rice paddle (and mix in the veggies if you used them.) Add the Parmesan cheese and gently mix into the rice.
- Serve the chicken breasts whole, or cut into smaller pieces to mix into the rice mixture.
- To make this recipe more creamy and traditional, add cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup. This can be done as a top layer over the chicken and vegetables (do not stir it into the rice/water mixture!), or stirred in and heated through after cooking (using simmer fuction.)
- Adjust the vegetables to your liking-add more, less, different varieties, etc. Frozen or canned vegetables work well. Be aware that some frozen vegetables will release a lot of liquids while cooking, so use a little less water.
- If you're watching your sodium levels, use reduced/low sodium chicken bouillon
- Top with your favorite cheese after cooking!