Crockpot Chicken and Rice

Crockpot Chicken and Rice from scratch (without any mystery condensed soup) is easy, flavorful, comfort food the whole family will love!

This Chicken and Rice Crockpot recipe is an astonishingly easy, creamy, cheesy comforting dream laced with aromatic Italian herbs and cheese.  The juicy chicken, textural brown rice, broccoli and carrots are cooked until tender then swaddled in a luxurious, creamy, cheesy sauce that is downright swoon worthy – you will be licking your plate! This recipe requires less than 20 minutes of hands-on prep, reheats like a dream and is wonderfully versatile. It also avoids the pitfalls of many other recipes such as dry chicken, mushy rice and/or bland delivery.  Instead, this stunner is a low maintenance high reward win you will have on repeat.  Your family will love this Crockpot Chicken and Rice with a side of Caesar Salad and breadsticks for an easy chicken dinner win!

I love using my crockpot all year round because it creates the richest, complex flavor profiles and the juiciest chicken, beef or pork with hardly any effort in ONE POT.  Some of readers’ favorite crockpot recipes include: crockpot chicken and gravy, crockpot beef tips and gravy, crockpot Mexican chicken, crockpot beef stroganoff, crockpot creamy white chicken chili, crockpot Mongolian chicken and now this Crockpot Chicken and Rice!

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How to make crockpot CHICKEN AND RICE Video

up close of a scoop of crockpot chicken and rice showing how creamy it is

CHICKEN AND rice crockpot recipe

Creamy Chicken and Rice is one of those meals you CRAVE.  For me, it goes back to being a little girl making my own chicken and rice after school and devouring it in front of The Partridge Family reruns.  Today, chicken and rice is still one of my all-time favorite foods – when it is done right.  And this Crockpot Chicken and Rice recipe is done right.  It’s the best of rustic comfort food with the ease of modern-day cooking.   

Why this recipe works:  

No mushy rice! This recipe took some repeat experimenting to get it right.  I discovered brown rice is the only way to ensure brilliantly al dente rice every time.  Brown rice takes longer to cook but is incredibly forgiving and very hard to become mushy – so please only use brown rice!  It would be so frustrating to wait through the tantalizing aroma of the recipe for hours only to discover your rice is a goopy mess.  With brown rice, you will never have that problem and it reheats like a champ.

A killer sauce made with minimal processed ingredients.  Most recipes for crock pot chicken and rice are made with cream of celery, mushroom or chicken soup.  Instead of using any mystery canned soups or making homemade cream of chicken soup on the stove, I opted for an easier method by blending evaporated milk, cream cheese and cornstarch until smooth then adding to the cooked chicken and rice.  I’ve used a similar method in my crockpot potato soup and crockpot creamy white chicken chili with stellar results -and it delivered again.  This creamy blender sauce takes less than 5 minutes to make and you get the added bonus of luxurious cream cheese!

Succulent, flavorful chicken.  The chicken is gloriously flavorful, and juicy by being lightly coated in olive oil then independently seasoned with Italian herbs and spices – and then the clincher – it is not overcooked.  In my first attempt at perfecting this recipe, I cooked the chicken and rice together until the rice was done.  I have never had more disgusting chicken in my life.  It was unappetizingly dry, rubbery and almost chalky tasting.  I learned my lesson.  The chicken has to be removed from the crockpot when it is done, before the rice to create chicken so fabulous you will be eating it plain.  In a perfect world, the chicken and rice would cook at the same rate, but seeing as brown rice is the best option and it takes longer to cook than chicken breasts, you’ll have to suffer through it. 

Versatile.  This Chicken and Rice recipe can be made with whatever veggies you like.  You can omit the broccoli and carrots and just stir in frozen peas at the end or add corn, mushrooms, peppers etc.  You can also skip the chicken breasts altogether and stir in rotisserie chicken or any leftover protein or swap the chicken for ground beef or Italian sausage. 

INGREDIENTS FOR CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND Rice 

This Crockpot Chicken and Rice recipe is the epitome of low effort high reward.  It creates comfort food so addicting you won’t be able to stop eating it.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rice:  please only use short grain brown rice.  White rice will inevitably become mushy due to the excess starch.
  • Chicken breasts: use four 7–8-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to an even thickness. You can use smaller or larger breasts and adjust cooking time accordingly.
  • Olive oil: is used to coat the chicken before the spices are added.  This helps insulate the chicken against drying out. Always use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Chicken broth: please use reduced sodium chicken broth so we can control the salt.  Low sodium chicken broth also allows us to use chicken bouillon – a flavorful secret weapon.
  • Chicken bouillon:  adds an even richer, deeply satisfying chicken flavor.  You can use granulated bouillon (powder), bouillon cubes or better than bouillon.  Add the bouillon directly to the broth without dissolving it in liquid first. If using cubes, you will need 1 ½ which you crush up and then add directly to the broth.
  • Carrots:  chop the carrots small, about ¼-inch so they cook in the same amount of time as the rice.
  • Broccoli:  chop the broccoli into bite size florets.  The broccoli will become tender in the crockpot, just how we like it, but if you want firmer broccoli, add it halfway through cooking.
  • Herbs and seasonings:  garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, dried basil, paprika, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt and pepper add a depth of complex flavor. No bland chicken and rice here!
  • Cream cheese: is combined with evaporated milk and cornstarch to create a creamy sauce added to the chicken and rice once cooked.  
  • Evaporated milk: NOT to be confused with sweetened condensed milk! Evaporated milk is the secret to making an ultra-creamy sauce in the crockpot without it curdling.
  • Cornstarch: helps thickens the sauce so it’s not watery.
  • Cheese:  freshly grated cheddar is stirred into the chicken and rice once cooked for that extra sharp gooey cheesiness.  
  • Olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. 
top view of a plate of chicken and rice garnished with parsley

RECIPE VARIATIONS TO TRY 

  • Add veggies or swap in your favorites: add mushrooms, bell peppers, corn, green beans, etc.  A popular combo is chicken, rice and peas or chicken rice and spinach.  If using, add the petite frozen peas or spinach at the end of cooking with the cheese. Keep in mind that if you add vegetables, you’ll want to reduce the amount of chicken so there is enough cream sauce to swaddle both the chicken and all the vegetables.
  • Add Parmesan: I’ve kept this recipe simple but with just cheddar but I’ve also tried it with both cheddar and Parmesan and it was fantastic!
  • Swap herbs:  mix up the flavor profile by changing the herb or herb quantities.  You can add rosemary, tarragon, etc. just to name a few.
  • Use rotisserie chicken: skip the chicken breasts and instead stir in about 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken when the recipe calls for adding the cooked chicken back to the crockpot.
  • Swap in ham: ham can be quite salty so reduce the salt in the recipe and add salt to taste.
  • Swap in Italian sausage, ground beef, or ground turkey:  Brown the ground protein before adding to the crockpot. If using Italian sausage, skip the chicken seasonings. If using plain ground beef or ground turkey, season with the chicken seasonings. .
  • Swap cheese:  change the flavor profile by changing one or both of the cheeses.  You can try gouda, Colby, pepper Jack, etc.
  • Add beans: stir in cannellini beans for sweetness, creaminess and meaty texture. 
  • Add sour cream:  for an extra decadent finish, stir in ½ cup sour cream at the end of cooking.

HOW TO MAKE CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND rice

This Crockpot Chicken and Rice recipe is wonderfully easy to make.  The hardest part is waiting until it’s done!  Here’s how (full recipe with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post): 

Step 1: Add the rice and veggies.    Add the rice, chicken broth and bouillon and stir to combine.  Add the broccoli and carrots on top.

showing how to make Chicken and Rice Crockpot recipe by adding rice, chicken broth, carrots and broccoli to a slow cooker

Step 2: Add the chicken.   Line the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables.  Drizzle the top of the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with half of the seasoning and rub in a bit (I find it easiest to combine the seasonings first).  Flip the chicken over and repeat. 

showing how to make Chicken and Rice Crockpot recipe by adding chicken breasts on top of the rice in the slow cooker

Step 3:  Cook until chicken is done. Cover, and cook on HIGH for approximately 2-2 ½ hours, just until the chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees F (don’t overcook!). Remove the chicken to a cutting board and tent with foil.  Chop the chicken when cool enough to handle.

showing how to make Chicken and Rice Crockpot recipe by cooking chicken until 165 degrees F on top of the rice in the slow cooker

Step 4:  Cook until rice is done.  Cook for an additional 60 minutes to 90 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Every slow cooker is different so I apologize I can’t give you a more specific time window. For me, it was an extra 60 minutes.

showing how to make Chicken and Rice Crockpot recipe by cooking until the rice is tender

Step 5:  Add cream cheese mixture.   Add the cream cheese, cornstarch and evaporated milk to blender and liquefy until smooth. Add to the rice along with the chopped, cooked chicken.  Cover and cook on low until warmed through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  

showing how to make Chicken and Rice Crockpot recipe by adding adding cubed cooked chicken and evaporated milk and cream cheese to the slow cooker

Step 6:  Add cheese.   Add the cheese in batches, stirring to combine in between.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese. 

showing how to make Chicken and Rice Crockpot recipe by adding cheese to the chicken and rice in the crockpot

Step 6:  Season to taste   Add additional salt and pepper and garnish with parsley if desired. Dig in!

top view of chicken and rice with cheese in the crockpot

TIPS FOR MAKING crockpot CHICKEN AND rice 

  • Use short grain brown rice. Set yourself up for success and only use brown rice! Brown rice is heartier, hard to overcook, very forgiving and doesn’t become mushy in the crockpot.  Please do not use another rice or you’ll likely end up with a goopy mess.
  • Pound the chicken to an even thickness. Use the side of a can or meat mallet to pound the chicken to an even thickness.   This will tenderize the chicken and help it cook more evenly.  If you skip this step the chicken won’t be as tender and you’ll end up with dry chicken on the thinner end.
  • Grate the cheeses yourself. Please don’t use the pre-shredded cheese. Freshly grated cheese tastes far superior and melt much more easily because it’s not coated in anti-clumping chemicals.
  • Don’t skip the olive oil. The olive oil insulates the chicken from drying out during the prolonged cooking time.
  • Cook on HIGH.  This recipe must be cooked on high or the rice will end up mushy.  This is because rice needs to be cooked at a simmer or, like pasta cooked on low, tastes terrible.  So please, save yourself time and wasted ingredients and make the recipe according to instructions.
  • Check the chicken early and don’t overcook! There are many factors effecting cooking time such as type and age of crockpot and thickness of chicken breasts, etc. so check the temperature of the chicken breasts towards the earlier end of the cooking window to make sure they don’t overcook.  Cook just to 160 – 165 degrees F. 
  • Use a meat thermometer.  I highly recommend investing in a meat thermometer, otherwise there is no accurate way to check and see when your chicken is cooked without slicing it open and loosing valuable juices.  You can pick up an inexpensive instant read thermometer at any grocery store or Amazon, or I’m obsessed with my digital meat probe thermometer which is more accurate. You stick the probe in the chicken (or any protein), weave the cable out of the crockpot and set an alert for the temperature, walk away and it will beep when ready!  You’ll never overcook chicken again!  
  • Don’t be tempted to leave the chicken in with the rice for the full cooking time.  Unless you have extra thick chicken breasts, the chicken will be done cooking an hour or so before the rice. You must remove the chicken or it will taste incredibly dry, chalky and inedible.  Been there, regretted that.  
  • Plan on more time. Plan on the full cooking time to be safe, especially if it’s your first time making a recipe but still check the chicken and rice early for doneness so they don’t overcook. 
  • Make it creamier. This Crockpot Chicken and Rice may be more or less saucy than the photos depending on how much liquid your rice absorbed while cooking. If you’d like the recipe creamier or saucier after it’s finished cooking, stir in milk, evaporated milk, or half and half a little at a time until it reaches desired consistency.
  • Season to taste.  As with all recipes, make it your own!  With this recipe, you’ll want to season to taste at the very end.  I like additional salt and pepper but you can also added extra herbs, fresh herbs, cheese, etc.
up close of a creamy crockpot chicken and rice with cheese and veggies

CAN I MAKE THIS RECIPE IN ADVANCE? 

Absolutely!  You can make the recipe in its entirety, cool to room temperature then store the ceramic crockpot insert in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat it or transfer to an airtight container.  This Crockpot Chicken and Rice reheats very well as long as you don’t overcook the rice or chicken initially.

CAN I PREP THIS RECIPE IN ADVANCE? 

In addition to being made entirely in advance, ingredients in this recipe can also be prepped ahead of time: 

  • Veggies:  can be chopped and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator 48 hours ahead of time. You can even add the rice and veggies to the crockpot WITHOUT the broth and store them in crockpot ceramic insert in the refrigerator
  • Chicken:  can be seasoned and stored in a single layer in the refrigerator up to 24 hours ahead of time. 
  • Cheese: can be shredded and stored in the same container in the fridge.
  • Blender cream sauce:  can be blended and stored in the refrigerator up to 48 hours ahead of time.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT chicken and rice 

  • How to store: store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • How to reheat on the stove: heat chicken and rice in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through. You may need to add a splash of milk to make it saucier.
  • How to reheat in microwave:  transfer chicken and rice to a microwave safe bowl or plate.  Heated on high for 90 seconds, stir then continue to cook at 30 second intervals as needed until heated through.  
  • How to reheat in the crockpot:  heat on low for 1-2 hours until warmed through.  The time will depend on how much leftovers you have.

CAN I FREEZE crockpot chicken and rice? 

Yes, this Chicken and Rice Crockpot recipe freezes pretty well because brown rice keeps its texture and evaporated milk is used instead of cream but you may notice a slight change in the sauce texture due to the cheeses.  Here’s how to freeze:

  1. Let the chicken and rice cool completely.
  2. Transfer leftovers to either a large freezer size bag or divide into smaller size bags.  Alternatively, transfer to airtight container(s).
  3. Press air out of the freezer bag, seal, label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. When ready to eat, thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. Heat per above instructions.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH crockpot CHICKEN and RICE?

This Chicken and Rice Crockpot recipe is complete with veggies, protein and carbs so it doesn’t need much as way of sides. You can go as simple as a green salad, grapes and crusty bread or choose any of the options below to make dinner a feast:   

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showing how to serve creamy, cheesy crockpot chicken and rice by garnishing it with parsley

Crockpot Chicken and Rice

This Chicken and Rice Crockpot recipe is an astonishingly easy, creamy, cheesy comforting dream laced with aromatic Italian herbs and cheeses.  The juicy chicken, textural brown rice, broccoli and carrots are cooked until tender then swaddled in a luxurious, creamy, cheesy sauce that is downright swoon worthy – you will be licking your plate! This recipe requires less than 20 minutes of hands-on prep, reheats like a dream and is wonderfully versatile. It also avoids the pitfalls of many other recipes such as dry chicken, mushy rice and/or bland delivery.  Instead, this stunner is a low maintenance high reward win you will have on repeat.  Your family will love this Crockpot Chicken and Rice with a side of Caesar Salad and breadsticks for an easy chicken dinner win!
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours

Ingredients

RICE AND VEGGIES

  • 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice, uncooked (Do NOT use any other rice or it will be mushy)
  • 3 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon see notes
  • 1/4 tsp EACH salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (1/4-inch cubes)
  • 4 cups broccoli florets

CHICKEN

  • 4 (7-8 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp EACH salt, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp EACH paprika, dried oregano, dried thyme, pepper

ADD LATER

  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided, at room temperature

Instructions

  • Lightly coat a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Add the rice, chicken broth, bouillon, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; stir to combine. Add the broccoli and carrots, then line the chicken breasts on top. Drizzle the top of the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with half of the seasoning and rub in a bit (I find it easiest to combine the seasonings first). Flip the chicken over and repeat.
  • Cover, and cook on HIGH for approximately 2-2 ½ hours, just until the chicken is cooked through to 160-165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer (don’t overcook!). Remove the chicken to a cutting board then chop when cool enough to handle.
  • Give the rice and veggies a stir, cover, and continue to cook on high until the rice is tender, about 60 to 90 minutes (will depend on slow cooker).
  • Meanwhile, add the cream cheese, cornstarch and evaporated milk to a blender and liquefy until smooth.
  • When the rice is tender, stir in the cream cheese mixture and the chopped chicken. Cover and cook on low until warmed through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. If you would like it saucier, stir in additional milk, evaporated milk, half and half or even sour cream a little at a time until it reaches desired consistency.
  • Add the cheese in batches, stirring to combine in between. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste (I add ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper).
  • Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Video

Notes

Cooking tips for success

  • Mix up the recipe!  See the recipe post for fun recipe variations.
  • Use ONLY short grain brown rice! Brown rice is heartier, hard to overcook, very forgiving and doesn’t become mushy in the crockpot.  Please do not use another rice or you’ll likely end up with a goopy mess.
  • Cook on HIGH.  This recipe must be cooked on high or the rice will end up mushy.  This is because rice needs to be cooked at a simmer. 
  • Check the chicken early and don’t overcook!  You must remove the chicken as soon as it’s cooked. Don’t be tempted to leave it in with the rice the entire cooking time or it will taste incredibly dry, chalky and inedible. 
  • Be patient with the rice.  There are many factors effecting cooking time such as exact rice used and type and age of crockpot so I’m sorry I can’t give you a more specific cooking window (for me it took 60 minutes). Once you make this recipe once, you’ll know for the future closer to how long the rice cooks in your crockpot.  
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT chicken and rice 
  • How to store: store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days How to freeze:  let the chicken and rice cool completely.  Transfer leftovers to a large freezer size bag/container or divide into smaller size bags/containers.  Press air out of the freezer bag, seal, label and freeze for up to 3 months.  When ready to eat, thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator.
  • How to reheat on the stove: heat chicken and rice in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through. You may need to add a splash of milk to make it saucier.
  • How to reheat in microwave:  transfer chicken and rice to a microwave safe bowl or plate.  Heated on high for 90 seconds, stir then continue to cook at 30 second intervals as needed until heated through.  
  • How to reheat in the crockpot:  heat on low for 1-2 hours until warmed through.  The time will depend on how much leftovers you have.

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2 Comments

  1. AnnCP says

    Taste was good. It came out thick and had to add some milk. Wondering how to cook this so veggies do not lose all their color. Because there is more than two can eat, I get to share which is always a plus.

    • Jen says

      Hi Ann, different slow cookers will cook the rice differently so you did just the right thing adding milk make it your desired consistency.

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