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This Dump and Bake Italian Chicken and Rice is an easy and healthy dinner recipe that comes together in about 10 minutes! Even the rice cooks in the dish, making this a fast and wholesome casserole to please even the pickiest little eaters.

Overhead image of Dump and Bake Italian Chicken and Rice casserole in a baking dish and in a bowl

Wondering, “what can I do with chicken breast and rice?!”…

These two pantry staples offer a variety of delicious dinner options, but I love a recipe that doesn’t require me to spend too much time pulling out equipment, dirtying (and washing) dishes, or slicing, chopping, and prepping a variety of ingredients! Instead, I want baked chicken and rice recipes that I can toss together in advance (preferably while my boys are at school for the morning), and then just pop it in the oven when my crew gets hungry. Can you relate?

This Dump and Bake Italian Chicken and Rice is definitely one of those gems!

Front view of Italian chicken and rice in a bowl with a fork and casserole dish in background

How do you make chicken and rice in the oven?

Let’s start with a few basic ingredients: you’ll need uncooked white rice, marinara sauce, boneless, skinless chicken breast, and a can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano.

Ingredients for dump and bake italian chicken and rice

You’ll also need some Italian seasoning and salt. Between the sauce, the seasoned diced tomatoes, and the additional spices, we’re adding lots of flavor to this dish!

Salt and Italian seasoning in a small glass bowl

First, in your baking dish or in a separate bowl, stir together uncooked rice, marinara sauce, and diced tomatoes (in their juice).

Rice, diced tomatoes and sauce in a glass mixing bowl

In a separate bowl, toss together uncooked chicken with salt and Italian seasoning.

Raw chicken breast diced in glass bowl with Italian seasoning and salt

Combine the seasoned chicken with the rice mixture, and your job is basically done!

Uncooked chicken and rice casserole in a blue dish before it goes in the oven

Cover the dish tightly with foil or a lid, and bake the chicken and rice casserole in a 425 degree F oven for 35 minutes.

Lid covering blue baking dish

After 35 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and take off the cover. Give everything a good stir. At this point, the rice should be just about tender and finished cooking, but may still be slightly al dente.

Once the rice is almost done, it’s time for the cheese!

Can of grated Parmesan and bag of shredded mozzarella cheese

Sprinkle grated mozzarella and grated Parmesan over the top of your casserole. Return the dish to the oven, uncovered, for about 5 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted, the rice is tender, and the chicken is cooked through.

Sprinkling Parmesan cheese over top of Italian Chicken and Rice casserole

The end result is this delicious, satisfying, and nutritious baked chicken and rice casserole! It’s truly the best!

Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole in blue baking dish garnished with fresh parsley

Is this Italian Chicken and Rice gluten free?

Yes! These ingredients are naturally gluten free, but of course — always double check your labels to make sure that there is no gluten hiding in your pasta sauce or tomatoes!

Can Chicken and Rice Casserole be frozen?

If you want to freeze this dish, I recommend baking it first. Uncooked rice does not freeze well, because its texture breaks down and the end result is a mushy dish. Baked rice freezes fine, though!

To freeze, bake the casserole as instructed. Allow the dish to cool to room temperature, wrap tightly, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Can Chicken and Rice Casserole be cooked in the Crock Pot?

Yes, but you have to be careful! Different slow cookers cook the ingredients at slightly different temperatures, so cooking times will always vary depending on your appliance.

You’ll need to watch your rice closely towards the end of the cooking time, since you want to be sure to turn it off when the rice is tender. If the rice cooks for too long, it will become mushy.

In general, this dish cooks in a Crock Pot on LOW for 3 1/2 – 5 1/2 hours, or on HIGH for 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours. Again, check your rice regularly, give it a stir if possible, and turn off the slow cooker as soon as the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.

Overhead image of Italian Chicken and Rice in a white bowl with blue trim

What to serve with Chicken and Rice?

If you’re wondering “what goes with chicken and rice?” then the answer is easy: just about anything! With protein, veggies, and starch all in one dish, I consider this a complete meal on its own. That said, if you’d like to offer a couple of other sides, try these easy favorites:

COOK’S TIPS AND RECIPE VARIATIONS — THE BEST CHICKEN AND RICE RECIPE:

  • If you prefer, you can use about 2 cups of chopped, cooked chicken instead of the uncooked chicken.
  • Try using frozen (thawed) meatballs instead of the chicken.
  • If you prefer to use brown rice, you will need to increase the total baking time to 75-90 minutes. I suggest adding the chicken during the final 35 minutes so that the meat doesn’t get overdone and dry.
  • After 35 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and take off the cover. Give everything a good stir. At this point, the rice should be just about tender and finished cooking, but may still be slightly al dente. If the rice is still hard, return the dish to the oven (covered) for another 5-10 minutes before adding the cheese on top. Total baking times can vary depending on the type of dish that you’re using (for instance, glass dishes may require a longer baking time than a nonstick metal pan). Your best bet is to just taste the rice and make sure that it’s almost finished before you sprinkle that cheese on top!

Close up image of front view of baked chicken and rice in a blue and white bowl with fork

You might also enjoy these other easy chicken and rice recipes:

Dump-and-Bake Italian Chicken and Rice

5 from 12 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 4 - 6 people
Calories 308 kcal
This Dump and Bake Italian Chicken and Rice is an easy and healthy dinner recipe that comes together in about 10 minutes! Just stir together the raw ingredients and pop it in the oven!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups marinara (or tomato basil) sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (NOT drained)
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 ½ lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast or chicken tenderloins, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Stir marinara sauce, tomatoes (in their juice), and uncooked rice together in the prepared dish (or in a separate bowl).
  • In a small bowl, combine diced, uncooked chicken with Italian seasoning and salt.
  • Add seasoned chicken to the rice mixture and stir to completely combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  • Cover tightly with foil or with a lid.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, remove the cover, and give the dish a good stir. At this point the chicken should be cooked through and the rice should be just about tender (but still slightly al dente). If the rice is too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes, or until it’s ready.
  • Once the rice is just about tender, sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over top. Return dish to the oven, uncovered, for about 5 more minutes, or just until cheese is melted and rice is completely done.
  • Garnish with parsley before serving.

Notes

COOK'S TIPS AND RECIPE VARIATIONS:
  • If you prefer, you can use about 2 cups of chopped, cooked chicken instead of the uncooked chicken.
  • Try using frozen (thawed) meatballs instead of the chicken.
  • If you prefer to use brown rice, you will need to increase the total baking time to 75-90 minutes. I suggest adding the chicken during the final 35 minutes so that the meat doesn't get overdone and dry.
  • After 35 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and take off the cover. Give everything a good stir. At this point, the rice should be just about tender and finished cooking, but may still be slightly al dente. If the rice is still hard, return the dish to the oven (covered) for another 5-10 minutes before adding the cheese on top. Total baking times can vary depending on the type of dish that you're using (for instance, glass dishes may require a longer baking time than a nonstick metal pan). Your best bet is to just taste the rice and make sure that it's almost finished before you sprinkle that cheese on top!
Is this Italian Chicken and Rice gluten free?
Yes! These ingredients are naturally gluten free, but of course -- always double check your labels to make sure that there is no gluten hiding in your pasta sauce or tomatoes!
Can Chicken and Rice Casserole be frozen?
If you want to freeze this dish, I recommend baking it first. Uncooked rice does not freeze well, because its texture breaks down and the end result is a mushy dish. Baked rice freezes fine, though!
To freeze, bake the chicken and rice casserole as instructed. Allow the dish to cool to room temperature, wrap tightly, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can Chicken and Rice Casserole be cooked in the Crock Pot?
Yes, but you have to be careful! Different slow cookers cook the ingredients at slightly different temperatures, so cooking times will always vary depending on your appliance.
You'll need to watch your rice closely towards the end of the cooking time, since you want to be sure to turn it off when the rice is tender. If the rice cooks for too long, it will become mushy.
In general, chicken and rice cooks in a Crock Pot on LOW for 3 1/2 - 5 1/2 hours, or on HIGH for 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours. Again, check your rice regularly, give it a stir if possible, and turn off the slow cooker as soon as the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 308kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 31gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 878mgPotassium: 739mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 600IUVitamin C: 8.8mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 1.8mg
Keyword: chicken and rice, chicken and rice casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan

This post was originally published in May, 2015. It was updated in January, 2019.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. I love the name of this recipe, Blair! And I also love that it’s a one dish meal, too. I always gravitate towards easy meals like this for during the week. Love the flavors in here, too! And even better that my husband would devour this! Heading over to check out the recipe!

    1. Thanks, Gayle! On a busy weeknight, “Dumping” my dinner is about all that I have time for! My hubby loved this one, too. 🙂

    2. Hi Blair, I am thinking of making this with cooked chicken, does it change the cooking directions?
      Thank you

      1. Hi, Annette! You will still need to follow the same instructions in order to get the rice to cook through, so there’s no need to change anything. 🙂

        1. 5 stars
          All my boys loved this Even better that I already had leftover rice and a chicken roast from night before. Although my ingredients where more organic so was loaded for flavour, this dish was a huge time saver.
          Thank you so much! Will be enjoying this again.

          1. That’s wonderful, Vanessa! A huge win when everyone approves! Thanks for taking the time to come back here and let me know. 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness Blair…YUM!! I’m getting so hungry! 🙂 I love how easily it all comes together…Definitely making this for my family soon!!

    1. Thanks, Anna! Thanks to the delicious, simple ingredients it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser. Enjoy! 🙂

    1. Hah! Thanks, Gina! Simple, easy, and delicious. You can’t go wrong! I bet your family will devour it. 🙂

  3. Oh, I love easy meals like this! De-lish! I would love for you to share this at our weekly link party , The Mommy Club, that starts every Tuesday night.

  4. I love dump and bake type recipes. I don’t think of rice and Italian very often (except risotto, yum!), but this looks great! We will have to try it!

    1. Thanks so much, Carlee! I love the ease of recipes like this, too. No fussing in the kitchen! 🙂

  5. Okay you got my attention with “dump and bake”. This dish has everything that I cook for my family in one pan…love it.

  6. This looks incredible! Pinned and tweeted. We appreciate you taking the time to party with us. I hope to see you tonight at 7 pm.. Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

  7. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great weekend and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen

        1. Hi, Karen! Probably, but I’m not sure exactly how. I’ve never cooked a meal like this in the Instant Pot, so I can’t recommend specific settings or times.

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious! I was out of long-grain rice, so I substituted orzo that I had in the pantry. So yummy. Looking forward already to eating leftovers tomorrow! Thanks for an easy, tasty recipe.

  9. 5 stars
    This dish is comprised of my three favorite things. Yummy, quick, and easy! Add a fourth favorite, it’s only 5 WW freestyle SmartPoints! I served it up with a simple Italian style salad, dressed with Olive Garden’s light dressing.

  10. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious!!! I love the ease of preparation, and will be making this often. Thanks for sharing such great recipes with us! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    Made this last night and it was a hit with the family. Thank you for the delicious and easy recipe. I’m new to your website and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

    1. Hi, Poppy! I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for taking the time to leave me a note. I hope that you find some other new recipes to try as well!

        1. Hi, Zumra! Absolutely! You can use cooked chicken without making any other modifications to the recipe. If you want to use cooked rice, you’ll need to adjust the amount of liquid that you use, since the cooked rice will not absorb liquid in the same way that the raw rice would. If you’re starting with cooked ingredients, you can also decrease the baking time. I would bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. Hope that helps!

  12. 5 stars
    I made this last night and it was DELICIOUS, everyone loved it, even my picky toddler!! And I loved that it was a one pot meal! Definitely going to be making this again.

  13. 5 stars
    sounds great to me will probably make either with cooked chicken or leftover meatballs or sausage thanks for all your hints

  14. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe! I used tomatoes from our garden and added red pepper, garlic, shallot and zucchini to simulate the marinara sauce. Also doubled the spices on the chicken. So good!