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The easiest chicken tzatziki bakes in a casserole with rice and is finished with a creamy, garlicky yogurt sauce, fresh lemon, and bright herbs. Pair the dish with crisp veggies and pita bread for a light, healthy, and flavorful meal!

Close up side shot of a bowl of chicken tzatziki with rice.
Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love this Chicken Tzatziki
  2. Use Homemade Tzatziki or Store-Bought Tzatziki
  3. Ingredients
  4. How to Make Chicken Tzatziki
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Preparation and Storage Tips
  7. Recipe Variations
  8. Tips for the Best Chicken Tzatziki Recipe
  9. Dump-and-Bake Chicken Tzatziki and Rice Recipe

If you enjoy Mediterranean-inspired chicken recipes, be sure to try this chicken souvlaki, our favorite chicken shawarma, Crock Pot chicken gyros, and these 30-minute lemon garlic chicken skewers, too!

Why You’ll Love this Chicken Tzatziki

  • Easy. Thanks to the dump-and-bake method, the tzatziki chicken comes together with just a few minutes of prep. You don’t have to pre-cook the chicken, boil the rice, or saute the veggies before popping the pan in the oven. Everything bakes together in a single dish!
  • Healthy. Simple, light, and fresh ingredients come together in a meal that includes fresh vegetables, lean protein, and minimal saturated fat.
  • Flavorful. No boring chicken allowed! Between the warm spices like smoked paprika, turmeric, and cumin, as well as the savory ingredients like garlic powder, onion powder, and fresh herbs, this chicken and rice casserole is jam-packed with flavor.
  • Versatile. Offer the chicken and rice as a simple dish on its own, or set out a variety of optional toppings and let each family member customize his own chicken tzatziki bowl. My topping suggestions are included below, and will keep everyone at the table happy!
Overhead shot of a pan of baked chicken tzatziki with rice.

Use Homemade Tzatziki or Store-Bought Tzatziki

Tzatziki is a classic sauce from Southeast Europe and the Middle East, which is made of salted strained yogurt or diluted yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice, and herbs such as dill, mint, parsley, and thyme. It’s a cool, creamy, garlicky contrast to the warm, smoky chicken and rice.

For convenience, you can pick up a tub of prepared tzatziki sauce to serve with this meal. If you have a few extra minutes to spare, just stir together a homemade tzatziki sauce while the chicken and rice bake in the oven. Either option is delicious!

Horizontal side shot of chicken tzatziki with rice on a table.

Do Not Cook the Rice Before Putting it in the Casserole

While most casserole recipes call for cooking the rice before mixing it into the dish, this particular recipe is designed specifically for uncooked rice. That means that you do not boil the rice in a saucepan on the stovetop before adding it to the casserole dish. Instead, the rice cooks right in the oven with the rest of the ingredients. This requires extra liquid in the pan (since the rice absorbs a lot of liquid as it cooks), and extra cooking time to make sure that the rice is tender.

Chicken tzatziki marinade in a dish.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for tzatziki chicken and rice. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chicken: either boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs are fine — whichever you prefer.
  • Lemon juice: the acid that tenderizes the chicken and adds fresh flavor to the meat.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: the fat in the marinade, which helps transfer fat-soluble flavors onto the meat and also helps the meat retain moisture.
  • Oregano, thyme, and parsley: use fresh herbs when available, or sub with dried herbs in a pinch.
  • Smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric, seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper: warm spices that add a smoky, savory flavor to the chicken tzatziki marinade.
  • Long grain white rice: do not substitute with brown rice, instant rice, or any other variety of rice, since the amount of liquid and the total cooking time are designed specifically for uncooked white rice.
  • Zucchini: coarsely grated, this veggie blends right into the dish. It adds flavor and nutrition, but doesn’t require any sauteing or pre-cooking. You can omit this ingredient if desired.
  • Chicken broth: I prefer regular chicken broth in this recipe (rather than unsalted or low-sodium chicken broth). The rice needs to absorb some salt for flavor.
  • Tzatziki sauce: you can easily stir together this garlicky Greek yogurt dip in a matter of minutes, or purchase a store-bought sauce for a shortcut.
Process shot showing how to make chicken tzatziki with rice.

How to Make Chicken Tzatziki

This tzatziki chicken is the perfect solution when you need an easy meal. You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Toss the chicken with lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, and spices.
  • Let the meat marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  • Add the uncooked rice, zucchini, and chicken broth to the dish.
  • Cover tightly and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender, about 40 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Dollop tzatziki on top, garnish with lemons and fresh herbs, and serve!
Square overhead shot of chicken tzatziki and rice in a casserole dish.

Serving Suggestions

This dish is particularly good when you set up a toppings bar and let each person design his own chicken tzatziki bowl. Good toppings include the tzatziki sauce, fresh lemons, fresh herbs, quick pickled red onions, sliced olives, feta cheese, hummus, and chopped fresh veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers.

If you’d like to offer some extra sides, here are some easy options that go well with the chicken tzatziki and rice:

Close overhead shot of a bowl of chicken tzatziki with rice and pita.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: You can assemble the casserole a few hours in advance, or even leave it covered in the refrigerator overnight before baking. The rice will start to soften and absorb some of the liquid as it sits, so you may need to decrease the baking time slightly. You don’t want to overcook the casserole or you’ll end up with gummy, mushy rice.
  • Storage: The chicken and rice is best enjoyed immediately from the oven. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The rice will dry out a bit as it sits, so you may need to stir in some additional broth or milk when you reheat the dish.
  • I do not recommend freezing these leftovers, as rice tends to get mushy when thawed.
  • How to Reheat: Cover and reheat leftovers in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until warmed through. You can also reheat individual portions in a microwave for 1-2 minutes on high power.
Square side shot of a bowl of chicken tzatziki with rice and fresh herbs on a dinner table.

Recipe Variations

  • If you prefer to start with cooked chicken (such as the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken or leftovers from a previous meal), you’ll need about 2 cups of cooked, shredded or diced chicken.
  • If you don’t have time to marinate the chicken before baking, that’s fine. The dish will still be delicious!
  • Omit the zucchini if you don’t want any veggies in your dish.
  • Swap out the zucchini for different vegetables. Frozen peas or corn, frozen mixed vegetables, sauteed sliced mushrooms, frozen (thawed) baby broccoli florets or steamed broccoli are all good options.
  • For even more flavor, replace ½ cup of the chicken broth with a dry white wine.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish. The cooking instructions remain the same.
Overhead image of chicken tzatziki with rice in a green baking dish on a wooden table.

Tips for the Best Chicken Tzatziki Recipe

  • This recipe is specifically designed and tested with uncooked long grain white rice. Do not substitute with brown rice, wild rice, or instant rice — all of which require different amounts of liquid and different cooking times.
  • Use smoked paprika rather than regular sweet paprika, since the smoky flavor of the seasoning mimics the smoky, charred flavor of the grill (like this grilled chicken shawarma or chicken souvlaki).
  • Make sure to cover your dish tightly with foil so that none of the liquid or steam escapes during cooking. The rice needs to absorb the liquid as it bakes.
  • The total cooking time will vary on a number of factors, including the type of pan that you use and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the rice. The rice should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Be careful not to overcook the casserole, or the rice will become mushy and gummy.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork — do not stir with a big spoon, which can compact the grains and yield a dense texture.
Side shot of tzatziki chicken in a bowl with rice and pita bread.

More Dump-and-Bake Chicken and Rice Recipes to Try

Square side shot of a bowl of chicken tzatziki with rice and fresh herbs on a dinner table.

Dump-and-Bake Chicken Tzatziki and Rice

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 384 kcal
This dump-and-bake version of chicken tzatzikii and rice is fresh, flavorful, and incredibly easy!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast or boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or ½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or ½ teaspoon dried oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon seasoned salt (such as Lawry’s brand)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (about 1 ½ cups grated)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • For serving: tzatziki sauce, pita bread, chopped fresh herbs such as fresh dill, basil, parsley, or chives, and fresh lemon

Instructions

  • Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In the prepared dish, toss chicken with lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, oregano, thyme, smoked paprika, seasoned salt, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, turmeric, and cayenne. Let the chicken sit and marinate in the herbs and spices at room temperature for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°F).
    Chicken tzatziki marinade in a dish.
  • Add the uncooked rice, zucchini, and chicken broth to the pan with the chicken. Stir to combine.
    Process shot showing how to make chicken tzatziki with rice.
  • Cover tightly and bake for 40 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. If the rice is still crunchy after 40 minutes, cover the dish and return the pan to the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until it’s done. Use a fork to stir and fluff the rice. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve the chicken and rice topped with tzatziki, fresh herbs, and lemon.
    Overhead image of chicken tzatziki with rice in a green baking dish on a wooden table.

Notes

  • This recipe is specifically designed and tested with uncooked long grain white rice. Do not substitute with brown rice, wild rice, or instant rice — all of which require different amounts of liquid and different cooking times.
  • Use smoked paprika rather than regular sweet paprika, since the smoky flavor of the seasoning mimics the smoky, charred flavor of grilled chicken shawarma or chicken souvlaki.
  • Make sure to cover your dish tightly with foil so that none of the liquid or steam escapes during cooking. The rice needs to absorb the liquid as it bakes.
  • The total cooking time will vary on a number of factors, including the type of pan that you use and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the rice. The rice should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Be careful not to overcook the casserole, or the rice will become mushy and gummy.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork — do not stir with a big spoon, which can compact the grains and yield a dense texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the dishCalories: 384kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 29gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 1012mgPotassium: 670mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 504IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: chicken tzatziki, chicken tzatziki and rice, tzatziki chicken
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: Blair Lonergan
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!

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Comments

    1. Hi Inesita! Feel free to double or triple any of the recipes to suit your needs. You can even plug the serving sizes into the recipe card to get accurate ingredient measurements. Hope that helps!

        1. Hi Michele! We do not recommend substituting any other kind of rice as the amount of liquid and the total cooking time are designed specifically for uncooked white rice. Hope this helps!