This easy, delicious Chicken Thighs and Rice recipe is made with tender rice, juicy dark meat chicken thighs, a creamy sauce, hidden bits of bacon and simple seasonings that mesh so well together. This chicken rice casserole is also a budget friendly meal. It’s a hearty, easy dinner recipe that’s great to add to your meal planning list to choose from. This creamy chicken thighs with rice recipe has so much flavor yet is so simple to make.
When you make a meal the whole family raves about, you know I’m going to share it. Just like the Chicken Pot Pie Casserole, Beef and Noodles, and Chicken Fajita Casserole, this chicken and rice recipe is something they all ask for and get excited about.
Chicken Thighs and Rice
There’s nothing better than an easy chicken dinner recipe. This chicken thighs with rice dish involves tossing a some ingredients into a baking dish and stirring it all around. No crazy recipe instructions or hard to find ingredients.
Finding a filling chicken dinner recipe that is this easy is so satisfying. This meal is not only convenient, it’s also economical. Chicken thighs are cheaper than tenders or breasts and having dark meat, already packs a punch of flavor.
This is a family friendly meal that attracts both kids and adults. When I find a recipe that everyone can enjoy without complaining then you know I’m all about it.
What is the Best Cut of Chicken to Use?
- I recommend using chicken thighs, specifically boneless and skinless thighs if you can. They’ll be economical and very flavorful. Also, you can easily cut up your serving of chicken without worrying about the skin or bones while cutting.
- If you choose to use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, you can cut off excess skin and place the chicken in the baking dish with the skin side up. If you like crispy skin, after your chicken has finished cooking and reached an internal temp of 165° F, then turn the broiler on for about 2 minutes (you may need extra cook time if using bone-in, depending on the size of the thighs).
- If needed, you can also use chicken breast, chicken tenders, or chicken leg quarters. You will need to adjust the cooking time if using cuts other than boneless thighs.
How to Make Chicken Thighs and Rice
• Gather together all of the ingredients to make this chicken and rice casserole. Preheat the oven to 350° F, and grease or spray a 9″x13” baking dish and set aside.
• Place chicken thighs on a plate and pat dry with a paper towel and cut off any excess skin.
• Add garlic powder, onion powder, and salt to chicken thighs and gently rub it in. Place chicken back in the fridge until ready to use.
• Over medium heat, add bacon bits and butter to a medium saucepan. Stir until the butter completely melts.
• Remove the saucepan from the heat and add ranch dressing powder and mix until combined.
• Add in the cream of mushroom soup and mix until everything is combined.
• Pour the rice into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle flour on top and mix until the rice is fully coated. Spread out evenly over the bottom of dish.
• Pour the butter/bacon/soup mixture over the rice and carefully mix it all together until everything is coated.
• Carefully pour the chicken broth over the rice and use a spatula to mix it until the rice is loose in the pan and everything is combined and not clumped together.
• Add chicken thighs to the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes.
• Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Ensure the chicken and rice are fully cooked before removing. Serve and enjoy.
Why Bake it Covered First?
Wondering why we need to cook the dish covered in aluminum foil first just to take off the foil to finish cooking it? Well, starting to cook it covered keeps the moisture from the chicken broth in the dish to help cook the rice rather than letting it start to evaporate uncovered.
Can You Make This Dish Ahead?
You can sprinkle the chicken with the seasoning and let it sit in the fridge overnight, but I don’t suggest making the entire dish ahead to let it sit in the fridge overnight. The biggest problem is the rice will absorb the chicken broth but will not cook while it’s doing so, so when you go to bake the dish in the oven, your timing won’t work out and it could burn.
What to Serve with Chicken Thighs and Rice Casserole
This dish has both protein and starches covered. I like to whip up some side dishes and a salad when I can. Some of my favorite sides to serve with chicken and rice are:
Slow Cooker Corn on the Cob
Strawberry Pasta Salad with Balsamic Dressing
Chicken Thighs and Rice Variations and Tips
- Meat: As I mentioned before, you can swap out your choice of chicken cut, you will just need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Remember that you should check the internal temperature of your meat with a meat thermometer to ensure that it reaches 165°F to be safe to consume.
- Spices: You may choose to use other seasonings in place of the garlic powder and onion powder, or use a blend in place of the ranch seasoning.
- Bacon: I prefer to use bacon bits as opposed to chopped up cooked bacon strips. When you warm up the bacon bits, they release a subtle extra spice that diffuses throughout the rice.
- Butter: I choose to use unsalted butter since you’ll get added salt from the bacon bits and soup in this recipe. You can choose to use salted butter, but remember you’re using a whole stick, so take that into account for additional salting to taste. 1 can (10.75 oz.) cream of mushroom soup (you can substitute with cream of chicken as well).
- Ranch Dressing: Use the powder seasoning kind, not the liquid dressing.
- Rice: I prefer Jasmine white rice. You can also use other forms of short rice. If you want to use long rice, you’ll need to increase the liquid by ½ to ¾ cup.
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: This is my preference. But if needed, you can also use bleached flour.
- Chicken Broth: I use low sodium chicken broth. You can swap this out for regular chicken broth or stock (reduce salt in the recipe). You can even use vegetable broth if desired.
How to Store Chicken Thighs and Rice
Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
How to Reheat Chicken and Rice
To reheat your chicken and rice, you can reheat it in the microwave or put it back in an oven safe baking dish and reheat it in the oven. You may need to add a little liquid.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
Chicken Thighs and Rice
- Mixing Bowls
- Baking Dish: 9"x 13"
- 2 pounds Skinless/Boneless Chicken Thighs
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter (1 stick)
- ½ cup Real Bacon Bits*
- 1 Tablespoon Ranch Dressing Seasoning Powder
- 1 10.75-ounce can Cream of Mushroom Soup (or substitute with cream of chicken)
- 2 cups Jasmine or White Rice**
- 2 Tablespoons All-purpose flour
- 4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- Gather all of the ingredients together before you begin. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Grease or spray a 9”x13” baking dish. Set aside.
- Place the chicken thighs on a plate. Pat dry with a paper towel and remove any excess fat and skin.
- Sprinkle the garlic powder, onion powder, and salt on the chicken thighs. Gently rub it in. Place back in the fridge until ready to use.
- In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add the bacon bits and butter. Stir until the butter is all melted (If butter is cold it will take about 4 minutes).
- Take off the heat and add the ranch dressing mix. Stir until combined.
- Add the cream of mushroom soup and mix until combined.
- Pour the rice into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the flour and mix until rice is coated. Spread evenly.
- Pour the butter/bacon/soup mixture over the rice and carefully mix until all well combined.
- Gently pour the chicken broth over the rice and, with a spatula, mix until the rice is “loose” in the baking pan (not clumped together).
- Place the chicken thighs into the pan and nestle them into the rice mixture. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the rice in the center is tender and the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° F.
- Serve and Enjoy!