Nana’s Epic Chicken and Rice
The BEST Easy Chicken and Rice Recipe! Learn How to Make Chicken and Rice just like grandma used to make. Stovetop, Instant Pot, or Crockpot.
Our Southern Chicken and Rice Tradition
When I think of the foods I ate the most as a child, chicken and rice is at the top of the list.
My mom was (still is) an adventurous cook. Yet over the years she definitely had her fall-back recipes… Comforting dinners she knew we would never complain about, and that would feed a crowd on a budget.
My Mom’s Favorite Go-To Recipes Included:
- Beef Stew
- Sunday Pot Roast
- Potato Soup
- Beef Chili
- Burgers or Grilled Chicken with her Famous Potato Salad
- Navy Bean Soup
- And of course… Chicken and Rice!
Because mom made these dishes so often, she literally became an expert on them. Her version of the recipes mentioned above are all still the best I’ve ever tasted. Honestly!
Easy Chicken and Rice Recipe
Chicken and Rice is an unassuming dish, with massive comfort food appeal.
It’s cozy and nostalgic, yet pretty darn healthy! It’s also extremely easy to make.
Although I prefer to make chicken and rice on the stovetop, some people make it in the oven. Yet I find this involves unnecessary time, steps, and dishes to wash. I say skip the oven. Make this One Pot Chicken and Rice the easy way, on the stovetop!.
However, you can also make our Best Chicken and Rice Recipe in the Instant Pot and Crockpot.
If you can’t get enough of your electric pressure cooker or slow cooker, I have included additional instructions in the recipe card below.
Nana’s Best Chicken and Rice
So why is my mom’s chicken and rice recipe so darn good?
Because Nana keeps it simple, yet doesn’t cut corners… She knows exactly where the best flavors come from!
Nana always uses a combination of light and dark meat chicken, plenty of fresh veggies, and just the right amount of herbs and spices.
This recipe is not meant to be spicy. It’s meant to be mild and calming. The kind of dinner anyone can enjoy, from the very young to the very old.
Yet it’s also not meant to be boring.
Nana’s Chicken and Rice is one of those classic dishes that might sound ho-hum, yet once you start eating it, you just can’t seem to get enough!
One-Pot Chicken and Rice Ingredients
- Olive Oil – Sometimes I also like to use butter. But be sure to use half butter and half oil, so the chicken doesn’t brown too quickly.
- Bone-In Chicken – You can buy a whole chicken and cut it into pieces, buy a fryer pack of chicken, or even use a combination of bone-in thighs and boneless chicken breasts. Just make sure you have some bone-in chicken pieces so you get the flavor from the skin and bones.
- Onion – Make sure to sauté the onions first.
- Celery – Sliced or chopped into small pieces.
- Carrots – To add a touch of sweetness and color.
- Garlic – The more the merrier.
- Thyme – Fresh or dried
- Parsley – Fresh, to add in at the end.
- Cumin – For smoky undertones. Or use paprika if you are sensitive to cumin.
- Long-Grain Rice – Preferably white. But brown rice will work as well… You just have to cook it longer.
- Salt and Pepper
How to Make Chicken and Rice
- Brown – Sizzle the chicken pieces until they are golden-brown and crispy. This releases the flavor into the oil.
- Sauté – Cook the vegetables to soften and sweeten them, before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Layer – Stir in the rice and water. Then lay the chicken on top of the rice. This helps the rice to cook evenly at the bottom.
- Simmer – Cover and cook the rice until all the water has absorbed.
- Chop – Remove the chicken bones and chop the chicken.
- Fluff – Stir the chicken back into the rice.
Get the Full (Printable) Nana’s Epic Chicken and Rice Recipe Below
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
Anytime I make a stovetop recipe, I always get questions about electric pressure cooker instructions. So I’ve started adding them as often as I can.
This Easy Chicken and Rice Recipe is a big feed-a-crowd recipe that is actually too large for a standard 6 quart Instant Pot.
Therefore in order to make it, you will need to reduce the ingredients by half.
Directions are included in the official recipe below.
Crockpot Chicken and Rice
Can you make Chicken and Rice in a Slow Cooker?
This is sort of a trick question… Maybe you can; maybe you can’t.
Of all our easy recipes here on A Spicy Perspective, one of the few recipes that receives negative feedback is a slow cooker rice recipe.
This is because slow cookers vary so much in form and function. Some slow cookers run hotter than others. Some only heat on the bottom, while others heat on all sides. Some hold in moisture better than others. There are different sizes and shapes that affect cooking time.
I personally have 4 slow cookers I use for recipe testing, and they all offer slightly different results.
Therefore, it’s tricky to pinpoint an exact cooking time and method on something like rice, that usually needs a very specific amount of liquid, heat, and time.
In some slow cookers, the rice on the bottom of the crock will turn mushy before the rice on the top is fully cooked. However, I have made this recipe in two of my slow cookers with great results. (I tested it in a third crock, and ended up with dense mushy rice.)
In conclusion, if you’ve ever made rice in your slow cooker and liked the way it turned out, you should have no problems with this recipe.
Yet if you tend to have issues with rice in the slow cooker, you can expect more of the same. (Sorry!) See the official instructions below.
Is Chicken and Rice Healthy?
Yes. The chicken skins are removed after cooking. Therefore, it’s loaded with lean chicken, vegetables, herbs, and whole grains.
There are ZERO processed ingredients in this recipe.
Assuming you use oil (instead of butter) to sauté the vegetables, this recipe is dairy-free… As well as gluten-free, nut-free, and egg-free.
Chicken and Rice for Meal Prep?
Yes! As mentioned above, this is a large recipe, and it does keep up to a week in the refrigerator.
The rice helps hold the moisture in the chicken pieces so they don’t dry out over time. Chicken and Rice tastes just as good on day 5 as it does on the first day!
More One-Pot Recipe Favorites
- Cuban Arroz Con Pollo
- Creamy Lemon Parmesan Chicken and Rice
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Easy Jambalaya
- Buffalo Chicken and Rice Skillet
Nana’s Epic Chicken and Rice Recipe
- 2 tablespoon olive oil (or 1 tb oil + 1 tb butter)
- 3 1/2 – 4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (whole cut-up chicken, or mix of thighs and boneless breasts)
- 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups long-grain rice
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (2 tsp dried)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Set a large 7-8 quart dutch oven on the stovetop, over medium heat. Add the oil. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces liberally. Then place them skin-side-down in the pot. Brown the chicken on both sides, until the skin is crisp, 8-10 minutes. Then remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. *If using a combination of bone-in and boneless chicken, brown the bone-in pieces for 5-6 minutes before adding the boneless chicken. Cook another 2 minutes.
- Add the onions to the pan drippings. Sauté for 3 minutes. Then stir in the celery, carrots, and garlic. Sauté another 3-5 minutes to soften.
- Stir in the rice, thyme, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 6 cups water. (Reserve the parsley for the end.) Stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Then set the chicken pieces on top of the rice.
- Cover the pot with a heavy lid and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked. There should be pores at the top of the rice and no liquid is present.
- Remove the chicken pieces. Discard the chicken bones and skins. Shred (or chop) the chicken meat into bite-size pieces. Stir the parsley and shredded chicken back into the rice. Serve warm.