This Crock Pot Chicken and Rice recipe is Peruvian-inspired and super flavorful. A healthy crock pot recipe full of vegetables, delicious cilantro, fiber-rich brown rice and yummy chicken thighs.
After the huge success of my Instant Pot Chicken and Rice but many people asking in the comments how they can convert the recipe to be made in a slow cooker, I just HAD to go in the kitchen and test and test and test some more.
I finally found the magic formula for the Chicken and Rice in Crock Pot version. I assume you can use any slow cooker for this but I’m titling the recipe Crock Pot Chicken and Rice because that’s the brand of slow cooker I used for all my recipe testing. The recipe will for sure work in a Crock Pot brand slow-cooker.
So, based off of my research on Instant Pot Brown Rice cooking times, I assumed I would get the best crock pot rice results using brown rice.
Just like many of you probably I asked myself, too:
Can You Put Rice in a Crock Pot?
Turns out YES you can! And no you can’t cook it like in a regular pot or a pressure cooker or rice cooker.
I first thought, it’ll be in the pot for sooo long, tons of water will evaporate and I’ll have to add A LOT. However, it became extremely mushy with a 1-2 ratio plus veggies and chicken on top.
Vegetables and chicken release quite a bit of liquid so we have to subtract that from the total liquid needed to cook rice in a slow cooker.
So once that was clear I basically just had to find out the perfect rice to liquid ratio when cooking rice in the crock pot alone. It’s 1-1.5. The crock pot’s lid sits on the pot so tightly, only very little liquid evaporates actually.
Chicken juices and water content released by veggies and herbs in this recipe account for about 1/4 cup liquid. So this specific chicken and rice crock pot recipe will require 1.25 cups of water for the 1 cup of brown rice used.
Great, now let’s move on to the second question:
How Long Does it Take to Cook Chicken in a Slow Cooker?
Google search reveals chicken takes 2-3 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low. That calculation apparently applies to all chicken parts. Chicken breasts, chicken thighs, legs, wings….
I tested my Crock Pot Chicken and Rice with chicken breasts and boneless chicken thighs and I must say the chicken thigh version was better!
Chicken breasts kind of dry out when they’re not drenched in some sort of sauce. In this recipe the chicken sits on top of the rice and isn’t “boiled” so to speak but rather steamed.
Dark chicken meat can handle slow-cooking a lot better than than white chicken meat. I highly recommend using chicken thighs. You can even leave the bones in for extra flavor and discard later.
After 2 hours on high the boneless thighs reached the safe temperature of 165F. The rice wasn’t cooked by then though. After 3 hours, the brown rice was cooked and the chicken thighs still had a great texture as opposed to the chicken breasts.
Healthy Chicken and Rice Crock Pot Recipe
To make this Crock Pot Chicken and Rice healthy it obviously needs a lot of veggies. I love using veggies that hold their shape when cooked for a long time.
Carrots, celery and bell pepper are perfect for that! You can also use other vegetables though and simply add later in the process. Zucchini, mushrooms, artichokes for example would taste pretty amazing in this, too.
The large amounts of cilantro make this recipe super special. It’s what gives the dish it’s main flavor. The Peruvian touch!
If you also get your hands on Peruvian “ají amarillo” I highly, highly, highly recommend you add about tablespoon to the sofrita (sautéed onion and garlic). It will transform this Crock Pot Chicken and Rice from a great recipe to an OUT OF THIS WORLD recipe!
Crock Pot Chicken and Rice Recipe Video
Crock Pot Chicken and Rice
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tsp oil
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup short-grain brown rice
- 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
- sea salt
- 1 Tbsp ají amarillo - (optional but recommended. A Peruvian yellow chili, often sold pureed in jars)
- Prepare veggies: Peel and dice onion and peel and crush garlic. Wash, deseed and dice bell pepper. Peel and dice carrots. Wash and dice celery.
- Prepare cilantro water: wash cilantro, shake excess water out a little and add to a blender, stems and all. Add water and blend until smooth and more more herb leaves float around.
- Prepare sofrita: Preheat a small pan over medium heat, add a dollop of oil and fry diced onion and crushed garlic until nice and brown. If you have, add Peruvian ají amarillo once onions are translucent.
- Crock Pot Prep: Add sofrita, brown rice, sea salt, pepper and cilantro water to crockpot and give it a quick stir. Add diced vegetables on top without mixing into the rice. Just smooth out into one layer. Then top everything with salted and peppered chicken thighs.
- Cook: Add the lid to the crock pot and seal it. Set the crock pot to high and adjust the timer to 3 hours. Ensure with a meat thermometer that the chicken's internal temperature is at least at 165F.
- Serve: Use two forks to shred the chicken and mix everything well together. Season with more sea salt and pepper if necessary and plate.
I’ve seriously tried to make this recipe or tried to make it work but it’s just awful. My rice is never fully cooked, always end up having to add extra hours to it and it’s such a mess. I want to like it but the cook time is not good which ruined my whole meal.
Lorena Grater says
I am so sorry to read this. What type of rice exactly did you use? You did use chicken thighs, not breasts? What kind of slow-cooker do you have and what time and setting did you use? Maybe we can figure this out together.
i made this today. it was absolutely delicious. Thank you for posting it.
I work 8-9 hrs days, is there an option to cook on low for 6 hrs and then switch to warm until I or my boyfriend gets home? If not I’ll have to try this on a weekend. Looks delicious!
Lorena Grater says
If you use bone-in skinless chicken thighs you can cook it on low for 8-9 hours I think. I haven’t tried but I would definitely give that a go.
I have no words. Just move along to a better recipe.
Lorena Grater says
May I ask what went wrong or why you didn’t like it?
Hello, thank you for the recipe,,, can this dish be frozen?
Lorena Grater says
Yes, it’s fantastic for freezing.
Maya Collins says
Can I substitute short grain brown rice with long grain brown rice. That’s what I gave in my pantry 😁
Lorena Grater says
Yes, Maya! That should work just fine.
Hi I want to make this. It sounds great. What can I sub for aji Amarillo?
Also can I use dried celandine or parsley? If yes how much would I use. ? Thanks Catherine
Hi Catherine, you can simply leave out the aji or you can use any other chili paste you like (Sambal Olek, Chili Oil, etc). I’m not familiar with dried calendine I’m sorry. Parsley in such high amounts and blended can end up tasting very bitter. If you don’t like cilantro you can always substitute with basil :)
Hi, Can I use this recipe with basmati rice or wild rice?
Basmati brown rise, yes, white rice, no. It will overcook. Wild rice needs more water and longer cooking times usually. I haven’t tested this so I can’t tell you exactly how much water and how much time.
i used Lindbergh Wild Blend which has long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, red rice, wild rice, and black rice. it was delicious.
Hey! Really want to make this but need to aim lower with carbs. How much water should I use if I’m only planning on cooking 3/4 cup rice?
1 cup of water should be enough for 3/4 cups rice.
Awesome thanks! Does this change cooking time at all?
No, timing should work out even with less rice.
I love this! I turned out perfect. I made the brown rice and chicken thighs and it was delicious. I served it with Ají verde. Even my picky husband loved it and said: “Please remember this recipe and make it again”! This is going to become a staple in my house. Thank you so much, Lorena!
This looks delicious! Can I use long grain rather than short grain brown rice?
Yes Karen! Just add 2 minutes to the pressure cooking time.
Anderson Marlene says
Looks delicious but I would like to try make this using low heat… would you be able to recommend a time on this setting?
Hi Marlene, I haven’t tested it on low heat but from experience it’s always double the time of high. Try with 6 hours, I’m pretty sure it’ll turn out great that way.
Have you ever used the slow cooking option of your Instant Pot?
Yes, I’ve tried it and I’m not in love. I mean if I didn’t have a slow cooker I would use it but since I do have a slow cooker I prefer to use that one because it heats evenly also on the sides. The instant pot heats only from the bottom and I feel it takes a lot longer to slow-cook stuff.