Slow Cooker Chicken Rice Casserole

The basmati rice we are using in this recipe usually needs 3 cups of liquid for 2 cups of rice. For this recipe we are only adding 1 1/2 cups of liquid because the chicken and other ingredients will release moisture while the casserole cooks.

If you are using rice that requires a different amount of liquid to cook, you'll need to experiment for the right amount of liquid to reduce.

Also, different slow cookers come to temperature at different rates, and have tighter or looser lids. So you will likely need to experiment with the timing as well as the amount of liquid. Your slow cooker may require adding more liquid to keep the rice from drying out.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skin on chicken thighs)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced yellow onion, 1/4-inch thick slices, sliced root to tip (about 2 large onions)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 2 cups basmati long grain rice
  • 1 cup diced canned (or fresh) tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves


1 Salt the chicken: Sprinkle salt (about 2 teaspoons) on both side of the chicken thighs, and let sit while you prep and cook the onions.


2 Sauté the onions, garlic, spices: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan on high heat. When the oil is shimmery hot, but not smoking, add the sliced onions and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium and stir in the ground cumin and cinnamon. Let cook for a minute. Add the garlic and cook for half a minute more. Place cooked onions and garlic into the bowl of a slow cooker. (Do not wipe down the sauté pan.)

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3 Brown the chicken thighs: Heat the sauté pan on medium. Add the chicken thighs, skin-side-down in the pan. Let cook on medium heat until the skin is well-browned and much of the chicken fat from the skin has rendered out (about 10-12 minutes).

Turn the chicken pieces over and brown the skinless-side for 4 to 5 minutes more.

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4 Add onions, rice, tomatoes, peas, stock, salt, pepper, bay leaves to slow cooker: While the chicken is cooking, add the raw long grain rice into the slow cooker with the onions, stir to combine. Stir in the diced tomatoes, peas (if using), stock, pepper, bay leaves. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.

When the chicken has finished browning, place the chicken pieces skin-side up in the pot.

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5 Slow cook for 2-3 hours on the high setting of your slow cooker. The timing depends on your particular slow cooker. My All-Clad model with a metal bowl heats up very quickly and only takes 2 hours to cook this dish. Slow cooker models with a ceramic bowl heat up much more slowly and probably would take 3 hours to cook.


I suggest checking about halfway through the cooking time to see how the rice is cooking. If it is drying out (could be your lid isn't tight fitting, or the rice just needs more water), add another half cup to cup of water.

Fluff the rice with a fork to serve. Add more salt to taste.

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  • Bonnie

    This meal was basically inedible. The rice was mush and the chicken was still raw. I threw most of it away after choking down a few bites. What a waste of food.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Bonnie, sorry this recipe didn’t work for you! The recipe can be a bit tricky because every slow cooker is different. Some heat more quickly and evenly than others. Also different types of rice need different liquid amounts, and even the chicken itself can put out different levels of moisture. So this recipe is just a guideline to get you started. You need to see what works best for your particular slow cooker situation. If the rice is mushy, there’s too much liquid, so cut back. If the chicken isn’t cooked enough, cook it longer.

  • Christine

    Loved this recipe. Will definitely look for more.

  • Shannon

    Delicious! We made this last night after searching for chicken tjighs and rice in the slow cooker. It was the first recipe that came up and we happened to have all the ingredients. I mostly followed the recipe. I do tend to be a bit heavy handed with the seasonings though. And we did cook it in low so we could run some errands. I use a ceramic crock and four hours on low was just about perfect! It was a hit with all of us (including a three year old). I primted it off so it will become a part of our usual rotation. Plus, I will be perusing your site for other slow cooker recipes. As you said, they are perfect for when we don’t want to heat the house up. Thank you!

  • Jana

    I love this recipe, it’s so tasty and a favourite in my house – though I can never get the rice to cook properly, even if it cook she right I’ve got a burnt crust around my pot.

  • Sue Watanabe

    As others have commented the rice was either too mushy or not cooked , will not be making this again, not impressed waste of ingredients and time.

  • Jessica

    would the recipe change at all if I am using boneless skinless thighs?
    thanks! Jessica

  • Nina

    This recipe does not work for a regular slow cooker. I did not read through the comments first and made the mistake of trying to make it in a regular ceramic slow cooker :( The rice is inedible. I would suggest noting in the recipe that this does not work for regular off the shelf crockpots. This recipe is not labor free and I had to throw everything away :(

    • Calev Canine

      Was wondering too if that was precooked rice? I think it must be.

  • Alia

    Can this recipe be made without tomatoes?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Alia, I suppose so (haven’t tried it without tomatoes), though you probably would need to add another cup of water or stock.

  • Rita Cimprich

    This recipe was excellent! I have a slow cooking crock style cooker and it took exactly 3 hrs and was perfect but did have to add a bit of stock during cooking. Only thing I don’t like is that it is not an all day cooking recipe, but if you want dinner done for company without last minute fuss then it is amazing. I made for 4 and thought I made enough for a left over meal but all the chicken was gone!
    A little more work than some slow cook recipes but every bit worth it…will definitely make again.

  • Michelle

    I just got a four quart slow cooker. Will this recipe fit in it?

    • Elise

      Hi Michelle, sure! It should all fit fine in a 4 quart slow cooker.

  • Angie

    I adapted this and cooked it in a pressure cooker. I sautéed the onions and chicken thighs first, then added everything to the pot except the frozen peas. I cooked that on the poultry setting for 12 minutes. When it was done I added the frozen peas and let them heat from the heat of the dish. It turned out perfect. I think it could have used some more flavor. Next time I would add some tomato paste or tomato sauce as well.

  • brigitte

    I followed the recipe to the letter but unfortunately the rice came out pretty bad. The rice in the middle of the cooker was crispy while the rice on the outside turned brown and caked together. The rice in between was nice and tasty but a bit mushy. Not sure what it was that went wrong here. It seems there was enough liquid. Is it my cooker?

    • Elise

      Could be. Every rice cooker is different. Some heat more evenly than others. Some heat up more quickly than others.

  • Rachel

    I made this with “instant” brown rice and it still turned out perfectly. Mine took about 2-2.5 hours on high in the ceramic bowl of a slow cooker. LOVED THE RECIPE! The chicken is so tender it’s falling right off the bone. Perfect recipe, thanks for sharing!

    • Elise

      I’m so glad you like it Rachel and that it’s working for you!

  • Lyn

    Elise, when I made my chicken I used All Clad slow cooker…now I understand why it came out perfectly delicious!!!

  • Phebe

    Just tried making this dish and so far the rice hasn’t even begun to cook after 1 1/2 hrs on high in the slow cooker. I used brown basmati so I added extra water and figured it might take a little longer. But I still would have expected the rice to start cooking by now. Otherwise the flavors and the dish as a whole looks wonderful. I just don’t think the timing is right. Or it should be done on the stove or in the oven instead.

    • Elise

      Hi Phebe,

      I just figured out today what the timing problem is!

      I developed this recipe using my All Clad slow cooker which has a metal bowl which heats up very quickly.

      Yesterday I bought another slow cooker, a more regular model with a ceramic insert. And today I used the new slow cooker. It took a whole hour to come to temperature, even on High!

      So my guess is that my All Clad slow cooker comes to temperature much more quickly than the type of slow cooker most people have. I will make adjustments to the recipe.

      • Joelle

        Just wondering if you’ve had a chance to make those adjustments yet. Thanks!

  • Jenni o

    Well, as others have said, the chicken was fine but the rice was a combination of mush and uncooked. Pretty much inedible. rice really isnt meant for the slow cooker–not a tight enough seal to steam it properly. I’ll stick with oven or stovetop.

  • Tom

    I made this using “Texmati” brown Basmiti rice and skinless, bone-in thighs (I used about 12). I used 3 cups of liquid (as per the instructions) and the rice was great, however if you are using brown rice, allow 3 hours, not 2 hours.

    • virginia smith

      I’ll be using texmati as well…thanks for the info

  • Sophia

    I will probably use canned tomatoes, should I drain them first or keep the extra liquid?

    • Elise

      I would not drain them, just use them as is with their liquid.

  • Lyn

    I think I forgot to comment after I made this: It came out perfectly…simply delicious! Thanks so much!!! (Rice cooked evenly etc.)

  • Kim

    Hi Elise,
    I made this the other night and the flavors are amazing! But the rice was cooked unevenly; some parts too mushy and others still crunchy. I think it is a result of the uneven heating in my poor-quality slow cooker. Do you have any idea of what time/temp to use if I used a Dutch oven in the oven instead of the crockpot?

    • Elise

      Hi Kim, the rice will never be perfect cooked this way in the slow cooker, it’s just more convenient that way. You might take a look at our Arroz con Pollo recipe, which is similar, but you make it on the stovetop. As for time/temp for a Dutch oven in the oven, your guess is as good as mine. Good luck!

    • Rita Cimprich

      It is probably the slow cooker….I have made it my mission to find a slow cooker that actually cooks slow! i.e. you can leave something on low for 8 hours and its not mush. I test them with water and compare with my old one that my mother in law gave me….the Hamilton beach 5quart stay n go has a great seal and cooks as slow or slower than my 30 year old small one. Still tryin to find a larger one that works as well.

  • Melanie

    Hi- My kid is seriously allergic to garlic, peas, cumin like epi-pen allergic. What can I substitute since my family liked chicken & rice. Thank You!

    • Elise

      Hi Melanie, I would leave out the garlic, peas, and cumin, and instead use 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne or 1 teaspoon of paprika in place of the cumin, and use chopped fresh parsley leaves in place of the peas. There is no substitute for the garlic.

  • Gary In Massena

    I made it last night…. sort of.

    Very tasty – a hit with the kiddo.

    I used my trusty cast iron dutch oven instead of the crock pot and baked it off in the oven for a half hour at 375 to finish off the rice.

  • peggy

    What brand slow cooker do you have? I would like to make this and to use one for other things. It is too hot in Sacramento to turn the oven on!

  • JulieS

    Made this for dinner tonight and I loved the rice! So yummy and creamy — almost like risotto.

    The store didn’t have bone-in thighs, so I used drumsticks. They took a little longer to brown since they really have more than two sides (:, and I was worried about them not getting cooked through in the crock pot, so I cooked the whole thing on high for 2-1/2 hours. Turned out great!

    THanks for the recipe, Elise!

  • mary neal

    I made this with 1.5 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs — this was the only change I made. I enjoyed making something in my slow cooker that was something other than a soup or stew. The chicken was tender and moist, but it still wasn’t completely falling apart. Loved the cinnamon and cumin and the added sweet note of the peas.

    I used low sodium chicken stock and fresh tomatoes so needed salt for flavoring the rice, onions, peas….

    Thanks for the recipe :)

  • Georgia Abela

    Made this recipe this morning and enjoying it for lunch right one. Added a bit more cumin and cinnamon than noted and did not add the extra salt and it turned out perfect. The chicken was very juicy and the rice flavours were divine. I will try with some chopped butternut squash next time. Delish and I have enough leftovers for lunches to work this week.

  • Erica

    I made this recipe tonight. I used 2 cups of chicken broth instead on 1.5. I added the extra 1/2 cup as it was drying out about an hour into the cook time. The flavor was great but overall the dish was inconsistent. Some of the rice was not fully cooked and some of the chicken was not cooked through. And some of the chicken was a little dry. I think next time I’ll try stirring halfway through and repositioning the chicken to get a more even cook.

  • Kristina

    Hi Elise,
    I received your email this morning regarding your two new recipes and decided at 6:30am that I was going to make this chicken dish. I took out 7 chicken thighs and whipped up the recipe when I got home from work and let it cook for about 2.5 hours (simply because we were busy cutting the lawns). I used calrose rice and kept the water the same. It was EXCELLENT. I love, love the addition of cumin and cinnamon – they made everything taste so good. It is a perfect weeknight meal. There are only two of us, but we have the perfect amount leftover for our lunches tomorrow. THANK YOU!

    • Elise

      Hi Kristina, oh, I’m so glad you made the recipe! Good to know it works with Calrose rice. Thanks for letting us know that you made it and liked it!

  • Lyn

    I have a slow cooker and this recipe looks yummy…similar to Arroz con pollo…however, your chicken looks moist and rice looks fluffy. Sometimes Arroz con pollo tends to dry out…Since I tend to cook for 2…I’m thinking this recipe should freeze beautifully…then you really don’t have to heat up kitchen…I live in Palm Springs area…we have enough heat in house without turning on oven…It’s 106 @ 415 PM today…..BTW, watermelon gazpacho is on My “to try” list as well…thanks

    • Elise

      Hi Lyn, it’s a lot like arroz con pollo! See our recipe for arroz con pollo here, though we aren’t browning the rice (we could, it would be good!) and we are using slightly different spices. Hope you enjoy the gazpacho too!

  • Bob Y

    No need to rinse the basmati? Do the fats cut through the starch on the rice? I wonder if this could be done in a dutch oven at 200 degrees? Thanks Elise, this looks wonderful.

  • Lorelei

    Can I cook this for about 4 hours on low instead? Or would that make the rice mushy? I love to use the slow cooker but the high setting on my new one seems to run a lot hotter than the old one.

    • Elise

      Hi Lorelei, I don’t know. I don’t think so, but you’ll have to try it to see.

  • Joanna

    Looks delicious, I would like to make this tonight, but, how would you keep the skin crisp in a slow cooker? Thank you for all your posts – this is my go to recipe site particularly if I’m in a bind.

    • Elise

      Hi Joanna, I don’t think the skin is particularly crisp, just well browned.

  • Tassie

    Hello. I have never used basmati long grain rice. It looks like you used white rice (as opposed to brown). Could you use either white or brown?? Also, you don’t mention rinsing the rice before adding to the pot. I am going to make the recipe exactly as written and I think my husband is going to love it.

    • Elise

      I used white basmatic long grain rice, and I did not rinse it before adding it to the pot. I’m sure you could use brown basmati rice, though you might have to experiment with the liquid amounts.

      • Lauren

        I used brown basmati rice, and followed the instructions exactly. My rice was still crispy? Could the brown rice need more liquid?

        • Elise

          Yes, brown rice usually does need more liquid.

  • Laura

    Love all of your recipes. I have a 6 qt Cuisinart multi cooker. I plan to sauté the onions and then the chicken right in my cooker, before finishing the recipe with the slow cooker feature. I can’t wait to try it.

  • Angel

    Hi Elise…I will be adjusting the portions for our family, but I will also be using 3 cups brown Jasmine rice. Brown Jasmine rice calls for 1 and a 1/4 cups liquid per cup. How do you think this will affect cooking time and liquid ratios? I really would love to make this tonight!

    • Elise

      Hi Angel, so for 2 cups of brown jasmine rice you would normally use 2 1/2 cups of liquid? I would cut the liquid down by half as a start.

      • Angel

        Yes…that’s right. Thank you I will try that. Do you think I can still keep the cooking time the same?

        • Elise

          Yes, 2 hours should be sufficient for any kind of rice.

          • Bethany

            I used long grain brown rice, and my rice was still crispy after 2 hours on high. I put it back on for another 2 hours (with a significant time lapse between the two cooking times), and the rice was still crispy. I think maybe 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low might do the trick. Another thing that I did was prep everything the night before, and stick the whole crockpot bowl in the fridge pre-arranged to stick in the next day. The cold bowl may have made a difference initially. Either way, this is DELICIOUS! Even my steak and potatoes boyfriend loved it.

          • Jennifer Williamson

            I too had issues with the 2 hour cook time. It was not nearly enough. The rice was still very uncooked. I added about 3/4 cup water and cooked another 20 minutes, still not enough. Added another 3/4 cup water and another 20 minutes, still not enough but we needed to eat so we just toughed it out. It was very tasty and I will make it again but will give it a much longer cook time. I just wonder if there was enough liquid from the get go? I used just plain white rice in my recipe.

          • Elise

            Hi Jennifer, hmmm, maybe your slow cooker releases more steam while it cooks than mine?

  • cheryl illinois

    This sounds so good. I only buy skinless,boneless thighs but I plan to try this recipe using those. Thanks.

  • Dawn

    Wonder if this could be done in a rice cooker? I am tempted to try! Will let you know if I do.

    • Elise

      Great idea! Please let us know if you try to make it in a rice cooker and how it turns out for you.

  • KalynsKitchen

    Looks delicious! I’m intrigued that you used chicken thighs with skin and it looks like the skin still stayed somewhat crisp when cooking the chicken on top of the rice.

  • Maryvonne

    Dear Elise,
    This sounds just like the type of meal I like cooking: start it, stick it in a dish and just let it cook. I haven’t got a slow cooker. If I do in a casserole dish in the oven, do you think it will work? Low temperature or medium?
    Thanks for your marvellous recipes. Really appreciate them.

    • Elise

      Hi Maryvonne, I haven’t tried this particular recipe in an oven, though I have another chicken rice casserole on the site that I bake in a casserole dish, covered tightly with foil, for 45 minutes at 375F. The chicken is cut in to pieces though. So if you were doing this with whole thighs it would take longer.

  • susan genatossio

    What would happen, Elise, if I put the slow cooker on low? How much time do you think it would take to cook?

    • Elise

      Hi Susan, your guess is as good as mine. I experimented several times with this recipe to figure out the timing on high that worked. If you find a low setting time that works for you here, please let us know!

  • Martha

    Would it be all right if I use boneless, skinless breasts?

    • Elise

      Hi Martha, I wouldn’t. I suspect they’ll dry out in the cooking. But if you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you.

  • Isabel

    Hi Elise! Will be doing this soon and would like to know with what capacity slow cooker did you make this recipe? By the pictures it looks pretty large… Thanks for all the great recipes and I like the addition of your picture to the blog. Til next time!

    • Elise

      Hi Isabel, great question! It’s a 6 or 7 quart rather large slow cooker.

  • Alice

    Elise thank you for all the brilliant recipes you’ve given us. This one looks wonderful.

    But I don’t have a slow cooker at the moment. Can I do this in the regular oven at a low temperature?

    • Elise

      Hi Alice, thank you! I haven’t tried making this in an oven, but I have another recipe on the site for a similar casserole that requires 45 minutes at 375F in a casserole dish tightly covered with foil. That’s for chopped up chicken though, so maybe 1 1/2 hours at that temp? You’ll have to experiment.

      • Lynne

        Yes it works well in a 225F oven for 2about hours

    • Arroz con pollo

      Hi –

      Just use Elise’s recipe for chicken and rice or google “arroz con pollo.”

  • Alia

    Can I make this recipe without tomatoes?

    • Elise

      Sure. I don’t think it will be as good, but you can leave them out. If you do leave out the tomatoes, add another third a cup of stock to slow cooker. The tomatoes provide some of the moisture needed by the rice.

    • Jen

      I’d think using zucchini in place of tomatoes would be good. Similar moisture content, subtle flavour as well.