This easy Chicken Thighs and Rice Casserole recipe is super delicious, easy to come together, and a family favorite! Made with chicken thighs, seasoned rice, and bacon-infused deliciousness, it’s all done with a bit of prep time then the oven does the rest!
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Baked chicken thighs casserole – one of my favorite family-friendly meals to make throughout the week. My kids love it so it’s a no-brainier because I know I won’t hear any complaints!
It’s made with juicy pieces of tender chicken and flavorful rice infused with the flavor of smoky bacon. It’s loaded with delicious flavors and textures!
I love casseroles simply because they’re always a classic comfort food that I make from scratch so it’s an easy way to make a healthy homemade meal that fills our belly and our hearts.
With easy prep and everything baked together in the oven, this complete meal couldn’t be easier to make! It just needs a simple side salad or quick veggies to round it out and dinner is served!
Ingredients Needed for Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Bacon: The first thing we do is sauté the bacon not only to add delicious bacon bits to the casserole but we also use the bacon fat to cook the aromatics giving everything that bacon-infused flavor!
- Butter: We add butter to the remaining bacon grease for even more flavor. I mean, butter and bacon and onions? Is there anything better?!
- Onion & garlic: The aromatics that give the rice casserole a big flavor.
- Chicken: I use chicken skinless and boneless chicken thighs because I find the dark meat much more flavorful and juicy. Cooking the thighs and the chicken together might mean drier chicken if you were to use a leaner cut like breasts.
- Rice: Uncooked long-grain rice like basmati or jasmine rice. Make sure to rinse it well before adding it.
- Chicken broth: I have a great homemade chicken broth recipe I usually have on hand, especially during the cooler months when I make a ton of soups and stews. You can also use a store-bought broth if you have it.
- Spices: I use meat seasoning or poultry seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper to season the chicken.
How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole
Step 1: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped bacon to sauté for about 5 minutes until golden in color. No need to make them super crispy, otherwise they’ll burn as they continue baking.
Step 2: Drain the bacon grease, leaving about 1 Tablespoon inside the skillet. Add a Tablespoon of butter to the grease. You can also drain all the bacon grease and just use butter if you prefer. Add the chopped onion and sauté the onion with the bacon until it is soft, stirring a few times.
Step 3: Next, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, stirring a few times.
Step 4: Transfer the cooked bacon, onions, and garlic to a greased casserole dish and add in the rice. Set that aside for a minute.
Step 5: Mix all the spices in a small bowl. Rub half of the mixture on all sides of the chicken thighs and add the rest of the seasoning to the rice in the casserole dish.
Step 6: Pour the chicken broth into the casserole dish and stir everything to combine. Season with salt to taste.
Step 7: Place the chicken on top of the rice and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 45 minutes covered, then uncover for another 15-20 minutes until the liquid evaporates.
Step 8: Remove the casserole dish from the oven and enjoy! I like to serve mine with a sprinkling of fresh parsley for a pop of color.
- If you are going to use chicken breasts, to even out the time make sure to use thick chicken breasts. That way they won’t overcook by the time the rice is finished cooking.
- You can even use bone-in chicken thighs if you’d like.
- Keep any leftovers stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Make it a few hours ahead of time and assemble it completely then bake when you’re ready!
What to Serve with Chicken and Rice Casserole
A casserole is often a complete meal all in one! Complete with protein and carbs, all you need is a side of veggies and dinner is done!
How long to bake chicken and rice casserole?
This recipe is written with boneless chicken thighs in mind and yields perfect results when baked for 45 minutes covered and another 15-20 minutes uncovered.
Keep in mind that cooked chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, no matter what!
If using a different cut of meat, you’ll want to account for the time and check on it a couple of times throughout.
Can you bake raw chicken and rice together?
Yes! That’s the neat thing about a casserole that is pretty much all done in the oven. The chicken is cooked by the time the rice is cooked, and it has so much more flavor that way!
Is this casserole freezer-friendly?
Technically yes, but I don’t recommend it. Once it is thawed the texture will be a little different.
However, if you have a ton leftover, by all means wrap it tightly and keep it frozen for up to 1 month.
More Easy Chicken and Rice Recipes:
Easy Chicken Thighs and Rice Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 400F and grease 9 by 13" casserole dish. Using a skillet, add 5 chopped bacon strips and saute until golden color about 5 minutes.
- Next remove bacon grease leaving about 1 tablespoon inside the skillet add 1 tablespoon butter (Or remove all of the bacon grease and add 2 tablespoon of butter!) and 1 chopped onion. Saute onion with bacon until onion is soft about 9 minutes, stirring few times. Now, add 3 finely chopped garlic cloves and saute for 1 minutes, stirring few times.
- Place 1 1/2 cup of rice and saute onion with bacon into a casserole dish.
- Using small dish, mix all spices together. Rub 1/2 of the spice mixture onto both sides of the chicken thighs and the rest of the spice mixture add it to the casserole to flavor the rice. Pour in 4 cups of homemade chicken broth. Stir the rice and broth try it, and add more salt if needed.
- Place chicken on top the rice, cover the casserole and bake for 45 minutes. After uncover, then bake for 15-20 more minutes, or until water evaporates.
- Sprinkle with freshly chopped greens like parsley and enjoy!
Q. Do YOU like this Chicken Rice Casserole Recipe?
Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!
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