Get ready for a classic chicken dinner packed with more flavor than ever before! This healthy Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice will have everybody reaching for a second helping.
Cozy Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Recipe
Have you ever wished that dinner would just cook itself? As a mom of two, I’m always trying to save time in the kitchen while still providing my family with nutritious home-cooked meals. This flavorful chicken and rice is a healthy, comforting dinner that’s almost completely hands-off!
Even though this slow-cooked family favorite is ideal for a busy weeknight, you’ll catch me making it on lazy Sundays all the time. I like to take it a step further by sautéing the onions with the canned tomatoes and seasonings to make the sauce. This is optional, but it’s a simple way to add tons of flavor to the dish, so I highly recommend it.
Let’s go over each ingredient that goes into this classic meal. All of them are affordable and easy to find at your local grocery store.
- Olive Oil: Some will be used to make the sauce and some to brown the chicken.
- Yellow Onions: Thinly sliced.
- Garlic: Freshly minced.
- Canned Tomatoes: Be sure to grab a can of diced tomatoes – not tomato puree. I suggest using canned tomatoes with the liquid, but you could dice up some fresh ones instead if you’d like.
- Ground Cumin: Added to taste.
- Garlic Powder: This supplements the fresh garlic.
- Salt & Pepper: To taste.
- Long-Grain Brown Rice: White rice is a no-go when it comes to slow-cooked dishes. Brown rice is a healthier option anyway!
- Chicken Broth: I like to use fat-free, low-sodium broth.
- Chicken: Feel free to use the cut of your choice.
- Smoked Paprika: For some nice smokiness and a hint of heat.
- Dried Parsley: To garnish the dish.
What Kind of Chicken is Best?
Thighs, legs and breasts can all be used for this recipe. My personal preference is to use chicken legs. I can usually fit up to six of them, but this will depend on the size of your Crock Pot and chicken pieces.
For fewer calories and less fat, I recommend using skinless chicken. Bone-in and boneless cuts will both work well, so you can pick whichever one you fancy.
How to Make Chicken and Rice in the Slow Cooker
With this hearty Crock Pot recipe, getting dinner on the table is a breeze. Just follow the instructions below!
- Heat Oil: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Sauté Onions: Add the sliced onions to the skillet and cook them for 3 minutes.
- Add Garlic: Stir in the garlic, continuing to cook and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add Tomatoes & Seasonings: Add the diced tomatoes and the liquid from the can, followed by the ground cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 3 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender and heated through.
- Add Rice to Slow Cooker: Transfer the rice to the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Stir in Sauce & Broth: Stir the prepared tomato sauce into the rice, then add the chicken broth and set the mixture aside.
- Heat Oil: Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat.
- Season Chicken: Season the chicken with paprika, salt and pepper.
- Brown Chicken: Add the chicken pieces to the pan and brown them on both sides. This should take about 2-3 minutes per side but will depend on the cut of your chicken.
- Add to Slow Cooker: Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker and arrange it over the rice and tomatoes.
- Cook: Cover your Crock Pot and cook the rice and chicken on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 3-3.5 hours.
- Garnish & Serve: Fluff the rice before serving and garnish the dish with dried parsley.
Tips & Tricks
I have a few pieces of advice that will help you knock this rice and chicken out of the park. Here they are!
- Don’t Substitute the Rice: The type of rice you use is very important – be sure to stick with long-grain brown rice. White rice will turn to mush in your slow cooker and short-grain brown rice will come out a bit too soft.
- Check the Chicken’s Internal Temperature: I like to check the internal temperature of my chicken about 30 minutes before the dish is done, as it can sometimes cook faster than the rice. It’s best to do this with an instant read meat thermometer. Fully cooked chicken should register at 165°F.
- In a Hurry? If you’re rushing to get your rice and chicken into the Crock Pot, you can skip the browning of the chicken and the sautéing of the veggies and tomatoes. Dinner will still be delicious! But if you have the time, I highly recommend going through with these steps – they’ll provide tons of added flavor.
This recipe features both a main course and a side dish, but there’s still room for more! Consider adding one of the following dishes to your dinner.
- Pair with Roasted Broccoli: Introduce some green to your meal by whipping up this Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli. Tossed with fresh lemon juice and garnished with parmesan cheese, it’s satisfyingly crispy and downright addicting.
- Serve with Fruit Salad: The chicken and rice will satisfy your craving for something savory, so why not round out the meal with a sweet component? This simple Melon Pineapple Fruit Salad is a fail-proof choice.
- Pair with Homemade Biscuits: I can’t put the amazingness of these Skillet Biscuits into words. They’re loaded with bacon and garlic-basil olives, and not to mention, they’re ultra-soft and fluffy!
Storage & Reheating
Once they’ve cooled completely, leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container. They’ll stay good for 3-4 days. Reheat the rice and chicken in a single pot over low heat, covered. Add a little extra broth to make up for lost moisture and stir every couple of minutes until the rice and chicken are warmed through.
To Freeze: Store chicken and rice in a freezer-safe container and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon (or to taste) ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups long grain brown rice
- 1½ cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 6 (about 1.5 to 2 pounds) chicken pieces, you can use chicken legs, thighs, and/or breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- dried parsley, for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add sliced onions to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and continue to cook and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add diced tomatoes with the liquid, ground cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; continue to cook for 3 minutes, or until tender and heated through.
- Layer the rice on the bottom of the insert of your slow cooker.
- Stir the prepared tomato mixture into the rice; stir in the chicken broth and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet over medium heat.
- Season chicken with paprika, salt, and pepper and add the chicken pieces to the pan and brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on the cut of chicken.
- Transfer chicken pieces to the slow cooker and arrange over the rice and tomatoes.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 3.5 hours.
- Fluff the rice before serving and garnish with dried parsley.
- Stick to Long-Grain Brown Rice: The rice type matters. Use long-grain brown rice; white rice could get mushy, and short-grain brown rice might be too soft.
- Check Chicken Temperature: About 30 minutes before it’s done, check your chicken’s internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Chicken is cooked through when its internal temperature is 165°F.
- Time-Saving Tips: You can skip browning the chicken and sautéing the veggies and tomatoes if pressed for time.
- To Store & Reheat: Refrigerate cooled leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat in a covered pot over low heat, adding a splash of broth and stirring every couple of minutes until warmed through.
- To Freeze: Freeze cooled leftovers in a freezer-safe container. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
More Healthy Crock Pot Meals
Looking for more lunches and dinners to make in your slow cooker? Leave it to me!