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Boiled Rice and Chicken

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Traditional boiled rice and chicken is one of the most comforting, reliable dinners you could make: just a few ingredients, yet so much flavor.

two bowl of rice with shredded boiled chicken and lemon wedges.

An easy recipe for boiled rice and chicken, this is not only a Southern staple; you can find variations of it in many other countries of the world. One of those comfort foods that is bound to make your whole family happy, you can be sure that your kids will eat chicken and rice. Even picky eaters love this simple recipe.

And if you like combining these two ingredients, check out other international recipes made with chicken and rice. For instance, Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice, Chicken and Rice in White Wine Sauce, Chorizo Chicken Paella, Aji de Gallina, or Romanian Pilaf with Chicken and Vegetables.

Recipe ingredients

bowls with rice, broth, cooked chicken, butter, and spices.

One whole chicken of medium size, about 2 ½ lbs/ 1.2 kg.

  • It can be any size you like; even if it’s small, you will probably have enough meat to cook this dish. And if it’s huge, you use some of the meat for something else.
  • Vegetables and spices for boiling the bird: Celery sticks, carrots, onion, and a few cloves of garlic. Coarse sea salt, black peppercorns, or about one teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper.
  • Rice: About 2 cups of long-grain white rice.
  • Butter: Salted or unsalted; adjust the salt accordingly.
  • Spices: A chicken stock cube to increase the chicken flavor (optional), salt, and black pepper.
  • Other ingredients: A little lemon juice to uplift the flavor and fresh parsley to sprinkle on top.

Step-by-step instructions

Boil the chicken

  • See detailed instructions in the post How to Boil a Whole Chicken if you like.
  • Prepare: Place the bird in a large pot. Add the vegetables and the spices. Cover it with plenty of cold water, about 1 inch/ 2 ½ cm above the bird, and place the lid on top.
  • Cook: Bring to a gentle boil on medium-high heat but don’t let the water come to a rolling boil. Remove the foam.
  • Simmer: Turn down the heat, and remove the lid. Let the chicken cook on low heat until cooked through but not overcooked (1).
cooked whole chicken with carrots in a pot.
  • Strain: Carefully remove the bird from the poaching liquid. Strain the broth and discard the solids (2). You can keep the carrots and add them to the rice if you like; they are still tasty.
  • Remove the chicken skin and bones once the bird is cool enough to handle. Shred the meat (3).
collage of two pictures of a jar of broth and shredded chicken on a plate.

Chicken and rice

  • Combine meat, rice, about 5 cups of the homemade chicken broth, the crumbled stock cube, ¼ – ½ salt (See Expert tips), and black pepper in a pot (4).
  • Boil the rice and chicken dish for about 15 minutes until the rice is soft but not mushy (5).
  • Once the rice is cooked, stir in the butter.
  • Rest for 10-15 minutes, covered.
  • Adjust the taste with salt, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
collage of two pictures of broth in a pot and rice and chicken in a pan.

Expert tips

Salt: The dish must contain enough salt to bring out the flavor, but you should not oversalt it either. The salt you need depends on a few factors, like the type of salt, the stock cube, the saltiness of the chicken’s boiling liquid, and the kind of butter.

  • Type of salt: I always use fine sea salt or Kosher salt. They are more delicate than table salt. Using table salt is fine, but make sure you start with less (about ¼ teaspoon) and only add more after tasting the dish.
  • Stock cube: It can contain a regular amount of salt, or it can be low sodium. If it’s a normal cube, use less salt.
  • Cooking liquid: You will use salt when boiling the chicken so the broth is already salted.
  • Butter: It can be unsalted or salted; you must also consider that when you add salt to the dish.

Lemon juice: It is not a traditional ingredient, but just a little bit brings the boiled rice and chicken dish to a new level; it enlivens the flavor like nothing else.

close up plate with rice, meat and parsley with lemon wedges.

Recipe FAQ

Do I have to cook a whole chicken for the dish?

No. You can boil a few raw legs (quarters, chicken thighs, or drumsticks), it’s quicker, and the dish will be just as delicious.
Check out this post to learn How to Boil Chicken Legs. If you choose drumsticks, you can make a one-pot meal by cooking them together with the rice; they will be cooked at about the same time (check that they are cooked through).

Can I use boneless chicken breasts?

Sure. Cut the breasts into large chunks and cook them with the rice; they have a shorter cooking time than dark meat. You will definitely need a stock cube to increase the flavor in this case.

How to store?

Refrigerate for 2-3 days in an airtight container and reheat well before serving.
Freeze the completely cooled food in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat before serving.
Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. If reheating on the stovetop, add a good splash of stock to loosen the rice. Stir frequently but gently while reheating.

What to do with leftover broth?

Use it to make a good chicken soup, for instance, Chicken and Potato Soup, chicken noodle soup, or chicken rice soup.

Refrigerate it for 4-5 days in a jar or freeze it to keep it longer.

What to serve with boiled chicken and rice?

Green salads with vinaigrette or yogurt dressing are a great option.

A plate of fresh vegetables like thickly sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, or bell peppers (our favorite choice for this Southern chicken recipe).

Cooked vegetables like Green Beans, Buttered Peas, Buttered Vegetables, Roasted Carrots, and so on.

overhead view of a bowl with southern chicken and rice served with lemon.

More rice dishes

Do you like this recipe?

Please leave a good rating in the recipe card below. Stay in touch through social media: Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me #whereismyspoon when you try a recipe!
close up boiled chicken and rice with lemon wedges.

Boiled Rice and Chicken

Traditional boiled rice and chicken is one of the most comforting, reliable dinners you could make: just a few ingredients, yet so much flavor.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Poultry
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 628kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • 1 Large stockpot
  • 1 Large saucepan

Ingredients 

Boiled chicken:

  • 1 chicken medium Note 1
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion medium
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt less if using fine salt
  • 10 black peppercorns

Rice and chicken

  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 5 cups chicken stock more if required
  • 1 chicken stock cube optional
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher, Note 2
  • freshly ground black pepper generously
  • 2 tablespoons butter salted or unsalted
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Instructions

Boil chicken:

  • Prepare: Place the chicken in a large pot. Add the roughly chopped celery sticks, carrots, and halved onion, the whole garlic cloves, bay leaves, salt, and peppercorns. Cover it with plenty of cold water, about 1 inch/ 2 ½ cm above the chicken, and place the lid on top
  • Boil: Bring to a gentle boil on medium-high heat but don’t let the water come to a rolling boil.
  • Remove the foam.
  • Simmer: Turn down the heat and remove the lid. Simmer on low heat until cooked through but not overcooked, it should take about 45 minutes, but make sure to check that the chicken is cooked through. Carefully remove the chicken from the broth.
  • Strain the poaching liquid and discard the solids.
  • Remove the skin and the bones of the bird once it’s cool enough to handle. Shred the meat.

Chicken and rice

  • Wash the rice and place it in a large saucepan.
  • Add the shredded meat, about 5 cups of the broth, the crumbled chicken stock cube, ¼ – ½ salt (Note 2), and black pepper.
  • Cook rice: Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes until the rice is soft but not mushy (check the rice packet’s instructions regarding the cooking time as well).
  • Check the liquid stand from time to time and add a little more of the broth if the dish seems dry.
  • Once the rice is cooked, stir in the butter.
  • Rest for 10-15 minutes, covered.
  • Adjust the taste with salt, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Notes

  1. About 2.5 lbs/ 1.2 kg. Once deboned, it will yield about 1 – 1 ½ lb/ 450 – 650 g of meat.
  2. How much salt you need depends on the type of salt, the stock cube, the saltiness of the chicken’s boiling liquid, and the type of butter (Read Expert tips for details).

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 628kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1866mg | Potassium: 630mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3709IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




Gill

Thursday 23rd of June 2022

This was delicious in an easy comfort food way! My chicken stock had been made with a spoonful of turmeric in it, so my rice went a lovely shade of yellow.

Adina

Friday 24th of June 2022

Hi Gil. Turmeric sounds great, I will try it. I am glad you liked the recipe.