One Pot Chicken and Rice Casserole

4.75 from 16 votes
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Chicken and Rice Casserole is the ultimate comfort food that both kids and adults love. Learn how to make a healthier and faster version in one pot! Giveaway at the bottom of the post.

Chicken and Rice Casserole is the ultimate comfort food that both kids and adults love. Learn how to make a healthier and faster version in one pot!

I lived in Hiroshima, Japan for two years, studying for my master’s degree right after college. At  that point, I’d never lived outside my parents’ house and had never traveled overseas. Living in and exploring Japan by myself was a big adventure. And of course, a big part of my adventure involved food.

As a poor student, I cooked at home most of the time, using cabbage and carrots, the cheapest ingredients I could find. But once in awhile, when I craved something different, I’d go eat outside. Saijo, a small college town, had fresh air, beautiful rice paddies, and peaceful streets. It did not offer many dining options.

Soon I discovered my comfort food at Joyful – a chain restaurant that offered Japanese and localized Western food at bargain prices, a ten-minute walk from my apartment.

Chicken and Rice Casserole is the ultimate comfort food that both kids and adults love. Learn how to make a healthier and faster version in one pot!

My favorite dish there was chicken doria – a rice-based dish topped with chicken, tomato sauce, and cheese. Chicken doria is quite similar to chicken and rice casserole in the US. But instead of the bechamel cream sauce, Japanese restaurants use tomato sauce or whatever sauce goes with chicken.

Some people have suggested the dish originated in Italy, but according to Japanese Wikipedia, the dish was created in Japan. Just as the hamburger ranked as the top food in Japan (I saw this on Japanese national TV back in 2008, titled the top 10 foods that Japanese people love most), Japanese chefs are very good at adapting foreign foods to local taste buds. And by the way, hamburger doria is totally a thing in Japan, and you can imagine why it would be popular.

Thinking back, it’s quite amazing that I got hooked on chicken doria. It is not a dish that I’d eaten growing up. The reason I enjoyed it so much was probably that the dish combined the most comforting Asian and Western elements. That is, soy sauce marinated chicken, rice, tomato sauce, and cheese. The end results brought me the greatest satisfaction while exploring food in a foreign country.

Chicken and Rice Casserole is the ultimate comfort food that both kids and adults love. Learn how to make a healthier and faster version in one pot!

After moving back to China, chicken doria was still my obsession. I couldn’t find it in any restaurants in Beijing. Cooking it at home was the only option. Like I have mentioned previously, an oven is not standard kitchen equipment in China and most families do not own one. Luckily, my parents had a toaster oven back then. Not the ideal equipment for the purpose, but at least it could melt cheese.

The way I used to cook chicken doria was to make the rice in the rice cooker, cook the pasta sauce, saute the chicken bites in the skillet, assemble everything together, and put it into the toaster oven to melt the cheese. Sounds like quite a bit of work, right?

Now, living in the US, I have the “privilege” of using a standard oven. That has opened the door to so many recipes and cooking methods for me. Now I‘m amazed by the fact that I can even cook rice in the oven without burning the toppings.

Today I want to share my new version of the chicken and rice casserole, inspired by my ultimate comfort food – chicken doria – but adapted for cooking in a standard oven.

Chicken and Rice Casserole is the ultimate comfort food that both kids and adults love. Learn how to make a healthier and faster version in one pot!

How this recipe is different from your standard chicken and rice casserole

  • The chicken is marinated in a soy sauce based liquid to achieve maximum flavor.
  • Everything is cooked in one pan and guarantees minimal clean up.
  • We use a moderate amount of tomato based pasta sauce and cheese to create a balanced dish that satisfies your taste buds and keeps you healthy.
  • Oven temperature and cooking time are adjusted to shorten the baking process to just 35 minutes.
  • You get crispy chicken skin with juicy meat. No chopping required and no dried out chicken!
  • Extra flavorful rice that is cheesy and tender. The chicken tastes great and the rice even better.

Chicken and Rice Casserole is the ultimate comfort food that both kids and adults love. Learn how to make a healthier and faster version in one pot!

I used Ragu Pasta Sauce in this recipe because I believe in its quality. The sauce is made from fresh tomatoes that are simmered with a special blend of herbs to build a bold flavor. The sauce does not contain artificial flavors, artificial colors, or high fructose corn syrup. When you scoop the sauce from the jar, you’ll find it rich and thick. I couldn’t help but snack on it during the cooking!

Chicken and Rice Casserole is the ultimate comfort food that both kids and adults love. Learn how to make a healthier and faster version in one pot!

Ragu Pasta Sauce Giveaway (ended)

I’m happy to announce that I’m giving away 6 jars of Ragu Homestyle Sauce to 2 winners. Ragu Homestyle Sauce is a new product line that was just launched. You can visit the Ragu pasta sauce website to see the different flavors they offer, as well as many other comforting recipes you can cook in your kitchen.

Full Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by yours truly.

Chicken and Rice Casserole is the ultimate comfort food that both kids and adults love. Learn how to make a healthier and faster version in one pot!

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One Pot Chicken and Rice Casserole

4.75 from 16 votes
Chicken and Rice Casserole is the ultimate comfort food that both kids and adults love. Learn how to create the healthier and faster version in one pot!
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 2 pounds total skin-on bone-in chicken thighs (or 6 skinless boneless thighs)

Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese sake (or rice wine)
  • 4 garlic cloves , smashed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Casserole

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion , finely diced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) uncooked medium grain (or long grain rice)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup Ragu Homestyle Traditional Sauce
  • 1/2 or 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella cheese , shredded
  • Chopped fresh basil leaves for garnish (Optional)

Instructions

  • Place chicken thighs in a 1-gallon ziplock bag and pour in all the ingredients for the marinade. Squeeze out as much air as you can, and seal the bag. Massage the bag so that the chicken is coated evenly with the marinade. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature, or preferably overnight in the fridge.
  • When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 F).
  • Rinse rice a few times with tap water and transfer it to a colander to drain.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Remove the chicken from the bag, save the marinade for later, and place chicken in the skillet skin side down. Let cook without moving for 1 minute. Cook until both sides turn golden brown and the extra fat is rendered. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  • Now if you want your dish to be super delicious and you don’t mind some chicken fat, remove extra fat in the skillet and leave 1 tablespoon of it in the skillet. If you want the dish lighter, remove all the fat and wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel held in a pair of tongs.
  • If you’ve removed the chicken fat from the skillet or if you’re using skinless chicken, add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Add onion. Cook and stir until tender. Add rice. Cook and stir until the rice turns transparent, 2 to 3 minutes. This process will help the rice cook faster in the oven.
  • Add the remaining marinade and chicken stock. Stir to mix well. Cook until the liquid comes to a simmer. Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the liquid is almost absorbed by the rice.
  • Pour the pasta sauce onto the rice. Place the chicken on top, skin side up. Cover and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  • Uncover. Scatter cheese on the rice, trying not to cover the chicken skin. Bake uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the liquid is fully absorbed.
  • Remove the skillet from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with basil, if using. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Serving: 479g, Calories: 712kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 73.5g, Fat: 22.7g, Saturated Fat: 6.3g, Cholesterol: 207mg, Sodium: 1228mg, Potassium: 869mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 400IU, Vitamin C: 9.1mg, Calcium: 140mg, Iron: 5.6mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!
Chicken and Rice Casserole is the ultimate comfort food that both kids and adults love. Learn how to make a healthier and faster version in one pot!

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Jasline Ng says:

    Won’t be going for the contest because I’m not in the US, but I absolutely love how it’s a one-pot recipe. Definitely keeping to try in the future!

  2. Theresa (@DearCreatives) says:

    Looks so amazing. Can’t wait to try your recipe! Pinned for later.

  3. Thomas says:

    5 stars
    I wanna use the mushroom sauce to make a lazy pizza with pita bread.

  4. Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners says:

    5 stars
    Such a delicious dish, Maggie, and I love that it’s in one pot and you have made it healthy! Everyone needs these kind of dishes to get them through the busy schedule once school starts again and this recipe will be a life saver for so many! Beautiful 🙂 Sharing all over!

  5. Jeffrey says:

    I would use Ragu’s Homestyle Thick & Hearty Roasted Garlic Sauce to make eggplant Parmesan and lasagna roll-ups. The roll-ups are fun because I let the kids make their own, using whatever ingredients they wish. I like mine with ricotta, spinach, meatballs, sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil.

  6. Jeffrey says:

    I follow Ragu on Instagram with the handle @firerunner2379.

  7. Jeffrey says:

    I follow you on Instagram with the handle @firerunner2379.

  8. Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says:

    Chicken and rice in one pot sounds like a great meal to me. Such terrific comfort food. My family would love this!

  9. Tiffany bendayan says:

    5 stars
    Wow that looks amazing! Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner idea.

  10. sue | theviewfromgreatisland says:

    I love this Maggie — the combination of the East and the West is fascinating — I’m super into one pot meals right now, thanks for some great dinner inspiration 🙂

  11. Chris Scheuer says:

    Chicken and rice is always a great option. Add a little Italian and a little Asian and it sounds like a delicious explosion of flavor!

  12. SunnyDaysNora says:

    Your meal look so amazingly good!! I would like to use Ragu sauce with manicotti.

  13. Holly says:

    I’d use the Roasted Garlic to make spaghetti and meatballs, one of my fave comfort foods 🙂

  14. liz vaagen says:

    I would use ragu thick & hearty homestyle mushroom to make my baked cheesy farfalle pasta.

  15. Amy L says:

    I’d like to make baked ravioli with the Ragu Thick & Hearty Traditional sauce.

  16. sharon says:

    The HOMESTYLE THICK & HEARTY ROASTED GARLIC SAUCE would be perfect with an Italian sausage and penne casserole, with parmesan and asiago cheeses.

  17. sharon says:

    I follow Ragu on instagram @rusthawk1.

  18. sharon says:

    I follow you on instagram @rusthawk1.

  19. Mo says:

    5 stars
    I’d use the Ragu T & H Traditional Sauce for tortilla individual pizzas. Thanks!

  20. Starla says:

    5 stars
    That looks so delicious and would be perfect for busy nights during my college courses and both of my jobs. I would love to use the HOMESTYLE THICK & HEARTY FOUR CHEESE SAUCE and make a lobster and spinach ravioli topped with parsley and fresh parmesan cheese!

  21. Starla says:

    5 stars
    I follow Ragu on instagram. Username _ifancythat

  22. Starla says:

    5 stars
    I follow you on instagram. _ifancythat

  23. Brittany says:

    I would use the thick and hearty mushroom sauce to make eggplant “lasagna” in which I replace the noodles with thinly sliced eggplant-so yummy!

    I can’t wait to try this chicken recipe for dinner later this week-looks delicious!

  24. Carolsue says:

    I would use the Thick and Hearty Mushroom Ragu sauce to make my favorite Lentil & Mushroom dish

  25. Carolsue says:

    I follow Ragu on Instagram as @Cezovski9
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  26. Carolsue says:

    I follow you on Instagram as @Cezovski9
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  27. Elena says:

    I’d like to use homestyle thick & hearty four cheese sauce to make baked penne

  28. Elena says:

    Follow Ragu on Instagram as elena1509

  29. Elena says:

    follow you on Instagram as elena1509

  30. Amy Gibby says:

    I would like to use the thick and hearty four cheese sauce. I’d make chicken garlic spaghetti with it 🙂 my kids LOVE anything with cheese.
    *followed both Instagrams 🙂

  31. Kristen says:

    The Thick & Hearty Mushroom would be good in a baked ziti.

  32. Jennie Durren says:

    I’ve always wanted to try chicken doria because it’s a dish in the Harvest Moon games! This looks really good.
    Personally I’d like to try the Ragu Thick & Hearty Mushroom sauce. I love mushrooms.

  33. Jennie Durren says:

    I follow you on Instagram! @jenniedurren

  34. Jennie Durren says:

    I follow Ragu on Instagram, too. @jenniedurren

  35. Christine says:

    I like the Homestyle thick and hearty four cheese sauce just because I love cheese!

  36. Shirley Foey says:

    I’d like to cook with the meat sauce.

  37. Natalie Yarbrough says:

    I would love to try the homestyle thick & hearty four cheese sauce!

  38. Natalie Yarbrough says:

    I follow you on instagram as @yarbr012

  39. Natalie Yarbrough says:

    I follow ragu on instagram (@yarbr012)

  40. Sandy H says:

    I think all the sauces would be good, but if I had to pick just one it would be the Thick and Hearty Roasted Garlic

  41. Sandy H says:

    I am now following Ragu on Instagram as sandyheadtke

  42. Sandy H says:

    I follow you on Instagram as sandyheadtke.

  43. Bonnie says:

    I like to use Ragu Thick and Hearty Traditional as the base for all my spaghetti dishes. From there I can add whatever aromatics and vegetables if choose to.

  44. stella lin says:

    I would like to try the HOMESTYLE THICK & HEARTY MUSHROOM SAUCE as a substitute fof meat sauce?

  45. Arik Issan says:

    HOMESTYLE THICK & HEARTY ROASTED GARLIC SAUCE … garlic and more garlic … no meat or cheese for me … great blended with refried beans or mashed chickpeas … yum

  46. Sharon Shumway says:

    4 stars
    Roasted Garlic for me. Mouthwatering.

  47. stella lin says:

    I would like to try the HOMESTYLE THICK & HEARTY MUSHROOM SAUCE as a substitute for meat sauce?

    Reply

  48. Arik Issan says:

    I follow the Ragu Instagram account as pancrates.

  49. Sharon Shumway says:

    Roasted Garlic is my pick. Yum.

  50. Sharon Shumway says:

    Honestly Thick and Hearty Roasted Garlic is the one for me. Yum!

  51. Arik Issan says:

    I follow you on Instagram as pancrates.

  52. Mo says:

    Thick and Hearty Homestyle is the type I like served over steamed summer garden vegetables. Broccoli and green beans are especially good this way.

  53. Sharon Shumway says:

    4 stars
    Rage Thick and Hearty Roasted Garlic for me please. Just right for penne with sausage and ricotta.

  54. Rodney Holladay says:

    5 stars
    I want homestyle thick & hearty Roasted Garlic, please

  55. Rodney Holladay says:

    I followed Ragu on Instagram under the name shinitaru

  56. Rodney Holladay says:

    5 stars
    I followed you on Instagram under the name shinitaru

  57. marie carbonaro says:

    Thick n hearty mushroom sounds yummy

  58. bizzy says:

    4 stars
    They ALL sound very flavorful and delicious. I want to try them all!

  59. Cindy Brooks says:

    I’d like to use the Thick & Hearty Traditional Sauce. Your recipe looks delicious!

  60. Cindy Brooks says:

    following Ragu on instagram: cindyjbrooks

  61. Cindy Brooks says:

    following you on instagram: cindyjbrooks

  62. Sophie says:

    This chicken rice casserole looks amazing! I would love the four cheese sauce for pasta.

  63. Karen D says:

    I think my favorite would be HOMESTYLE THICK & HEARTY MUSHROOM SAUCE

  64. Karen D says:

    karengdelaney follows Ragu on Instagram

  65. Karen D says:

    karengdelaney follows you on Instagram

  66. Karen D says:

    I am already a subscriber

  67. Alexandra Robertson says:

    The thick and hearty four cheese sauce sounds delicious.

  68. Alexandra Robertson says:

    I follow ragu on Instagram @alexandrarobertson7

  69. Alexandra Robertson says:

    I follow you on Instagram @alexandrarobertson7

  70. Debbie Welchert says:

    My favorite sauce is the Ragu Thick & Hearty Mushroom. The recipe looks fantastic…

  71. Debbie Welchert says:

    I follow Ragu on instagram/captainsmama

  72. Debbie Welchert says:

    I follow you on instagram/captainsmama

  73. julia says:

    meat sauce all the way!

  74. Jason says:

    HOMESTYLE THICK & HEARTY ROASTED GARLIC SAUCE

  75. Ellen says:

    5 stars
    I would like thick and hearty traditional and garlic.

  76. Mickey Berman says:

    I would love to combine the HOMESTYLE THICK & HEARTY MUSHROOM SAUCE with your One Pot Chicken and Rice Casserole.

    Any tips Maggie?

  77. Rachel Eades says:

    I would love to try HOMESTYLE THICK & HEARTY MEAT SAUCE 🙂 xx

  78. Susan Christy says:

    I want Homestyle Roasted Garlic.

  79. Susan Christy says:

    Follow Ragu on Instagram – susitravl

  80. Susan Christy says:

    Follow you on Instagram – susitravl

  81. Kristen Joiner says:

    I would like the Ragu Traditional Sauce and the Ragu Homestyle four cheese sauce. 🙂 Thanks for the chance.

  82. Kristen Joiner says:

    I followed Ragu on instagram. (if you want to check it’s the same as my email. 🙂

  83. Tiffanie Ford says:

    Would love to try the thick and hearty four cheese

  84. Amelie Moore says:

    4 stars
    Another to add to my menu rotation! Love your blog. I have made so many of your recipes and loved every single one! You are the best!

    • Maggie says:

      Glad to hear you like my recipes Amelie! Have a great day 🙂

  85. Sammie says:

    This dish looks so delicious. I cannot believe I haven’t come across your blog before, I shall definitely be back! This is the perfect all in one meal that my family would love. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  86. Jenny says:

    Hey, I was wondering if anyone has made this with Orzo instead of rice – do you think it would be a good substitute?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Jenny, I think it’s possible to use orzo in this dish, however it cooks in a shorter time and absorb different amount of water. If I cook it with orzo, I would not cover the dish while baking and keep an eye on it during the process to make sure it won’t dry out.

      • Jenny says:

        5 stars
        Hi Maggie, thank you for the tip, it came out delicious! The orzo didn’t dry out at all, and I think it actually went well with the dish because of the Ragu and cheese. I love all your recipes btw 🙂

      • Maggie says:

        I’m so glad to hear it Jennny! Now I’m so intrigued and I’d love to try it with the orzo next time. Sounds yummy!

  87. linda young says:

    5 stars
    This is definitely a make again in our house. We all loved it.

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