This Baked Chicken and Rice recipe is made entirely in the oven! Buttery garlicky rice topped with baked chicken thighs with a terrific seasoning crust. The little thing that makes all the difference is to “oven sauté” onion and garlic before adding the rice and chicken. The rice is outrageously delicious!
You’re about to read one of the all time most popular recipes on my site. Ever.
A Chicken and Rice recipe. It totally caught me by surprise. Not to undermine my own recipe, because really, if the juicy seasoned chicken with its crispy skinless skin doesn’t get you then the buttery garlicky rice certainly will.
I just never expected that an everyday recipe like a Chicken and Rice would capture the hearts of people all around the world!
But I love that it did. I am very fond of this recipe. 🙂
CHICKEN AND RICE BAKE SECRET: “OVEN SAUTEED” ONION
Most one-pot-rice this and that recipe starts off on the stove then is finished in the oven. The reason being that they start off by sautéing garlic and onion with oil or butter because it is such an essential flavour base for the whole dish. And also for recipes that are made with skin on chicken thighs, you need to sear the chicken to render out the fat, otherwise it all ends up in the rice.
If you skip the stove step, just chuck everything in a pan and bake it, then it comes out ok…….but it’s missing that extra something something that you get from sautéing garlic and onion.
My solution: Just pop the onion, garlic and butter into the pan and bake it for 10 minutes to replicate sautéing on the stove. 🙂 Then proceed with the usual steps of adding rice, liquids and chicken.
SEASONING FOR THE BAKED CHICKEN THIGHS
This is the spice mix I use to season the chicken thighs. It’s one of my favourite everyday spice combinations because you get maximum depth of flavour for minimum number of spices. Plus, I always have these spices on hand – always.
Switch out the thyme for herb of choice – I quite often use oregano – and add a dash of cayenne for heat if you feel like it!
HOW THIS DIFFERS FROM CLASSIC CHICKEN AND RICE
The “classic” way to make a baked chicken and rice is to start off on the stove and finish in the oven. Like the ever-popular One Pot Greek Chicken & Lemon Rice. Sear chicken to render out the fat, then sauté onion and garlic, add rice and liquid and bring it to a simmer.
This recipe by passes all of that. Active effort time totals less than 10 minutes.
And the difference in the result?
Getting technical, the rice cooks slightly more evenly using the classic method because you can bring it up to temperature in the liquid before popping it in the oven. Also the flavour base is a bit better because the onion is sautéed to golden perfection.
But hand on heart, the overall flavour difference is pretty small. I don’t think most people would notice the difference if they did a blind taste test. (Me included!)
The rice is outrageously good. It’s buttery and garlicky, it’s tender but not mushy (I’m of Japanese background, all Asians are snobs when it comes to rice). It’s got all the flavour from the juices of the chicken and you get the most insanely gorgeous crust on the chicken that I just want to pick off and have all to myself.
Dinner just got real easy. – Nagi xx
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Oven Baked Chicken and Rice recipe video!
Recipe VIDEO above. Made entirely in the oven (no stove!), the rice in this recipe is outrageously delicious! It's buttery and garlicky, tender but not mushy. The secret tip is to briefly bake onion with garlic and butter before adding the rice, liquids and chicken - it adds a great flavour base!
- 5 chicken thigh fillets , bone in, skin OFF (Note 1)
- 1 onion , chopped (brown, white or yellow)
- 2 cloves garlic (large) , minced
- 2 tbsp/ 30 g butter (or olive oil)
- 1 1/2 cups / 270 g long grain white rice (Note 3)
- 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml chicken broth/stock
- 1 1/4 cups / 312 ml water, hot (tap is fine)
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- Fresh thyme leaves or finely chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Scatter onion and garlic in a baking dish (about 10 x 15" / 25 x 35 cm), then place butter in the centre. Bake for 15 minutes (check at 12 minutes, mix if some bits are browning too much).
Meanwhile, mix together Chicken Rub. Sprinkle on both sides of the chicken.
Remove baking dish from the oven. Add rice then mix.
Place chicken on rice. Then pour chicken broth and water around the chicken.
Cover with foil, then bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, spray chicken with oil (optional), then bake for a further 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
Stand for 5 minutes, then remove chicken and fluff up rice. Garnish with parsley if desired, serve and enjoy!
If scaling recipe up, use multiple pans. If scaling recipe down, use a smaller pan. Scale recipe using slider - click on Servings.
1. Drumsticks will also work great with this, no need to remove the skin and no change to cook time or temp.
The skin must be removed from the thighs otherwise the rice will be too greasy.
If you make this with boneless skinless thigh fillets or breast, put the rice in the oven covered with foil WITHOUT chicken. Bake for 30 minutes per recipe, then remove pan, take foil off, top with chicken then return to oven (no foil) for a further 20 - 25 minutes or until liquid in the pan is absorbed, per recipe.
2. This Rub can be substituted with any seasonings you want! Lemon Pepper Seasoning, Italian Herb Mix - just use what you have.
3. This recipe is best made with long grain rice because it's less sticky than short and medium grain. Basmati and jasmine will also work - around the same cook time. For brown rice, leave it covered for 45 minutes then bake uncovered 15 - 20 minutes until rice is tender.
This recipe is not suitable for Minute Rice, Risotto or Paella Rice.
4. This recipe makes 5 very generous servings! The nutrition assumes all the rice is consumed which it may not be.
Originally published March 2017, updated June 2018 with an improved video, new photos and new commentary in post.
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