The Best Clay Pot Chicken Rice (鸡肉煲仔饭)

4.57 from 16 votes
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This clay pot chicken rice is so addictive! Beyond the greatness of the tender and moist chicken, the rice absorbs all the extract from the mushrooms and chicken grease, and is then seasoned with oyster sauce. It is SO good! My recipe teaches you the easiest way to create a super flavorful one-pot dinner without a clay pot or rice cooker.

Clay pot chicken close up

A brief introduction to Chinese clay pot cooking

Clay pot rice (煲仔饭, bao zai fan) originated from Cantonese cuisine, but is now becoming popular throughout China. The term generally refers to rice with marinated meat and vegetables, cooked in one pot, then drizzled with a flavorful sauce. A perfectly cooked claypot rice has a great flavor of all the ingredients, with nicely crisped rice on the bottom of the pot.

There are many types of clay pot rice, for example, pork ribs with black beans, Chinese sausage, salted fish, and even frog (unusual, but really delicious).

When cooking a perfect clay pot rice, the trickiest part is to control the heat so that all the ingredients are cooked perfectly at the same time. On the flip side, you might end up with uncooked rice on the top, burnt rice on the bottom, the rice ending up like porridge, or the meat not cooked through.

While I was doing research for this dish, I encountered two theories for cooking it. One theory is to cook everything together with the rice from the beginning, until cooked through (it is supposed to be the authentic way). The other theory is to cook the rice and meat separately. When the rice is half cooked, the meat and veggies are added to the rice.

My recipe uses the second approach.

The reasons behind this are:

  1. The chicken tastes better if browned first
  2. It is easier to control the doneness of the whole dish
  3. This method is more suitable for cooking without a clay pot or rice cooker.

Clay pot chicken with rice, mushrooms, and baby bok choy

Why this recipe

When I develop a recipe, I don’t sacrifice flavor in order to reduce the number of cooking steps. So you might find an easier clay pot chicken rice recipe than this one. But remember, sometimes you need to spend some time and energy to create a better flavor. I’ve tried my best to simplify the cooking process and reduce the total number of ingredients, while still achieving the best flavor. This way, you can:

  • Cook it without a clay pot or rice cooker
  • Learn all the tips to avoiding uncooked, soggy, or burnt rice
  • Finish prep and cooking in less than 1 hour (including soaking the rice)
  • Create a super tasty one-dish meal with relatively few ingredients
  • Use the cooking video below to go through the cooking process in 5 minutes

Chinese chicken dinner

The doneness of the rice

If you have a kitchen scale, please use it to measure the rice. Although 1 cup of rice can generally be converted to 210 grams (7.4 ounces), my measurement somehow ended up with 1 cup of rice equaling 230 grams (8.1 ounces) for the rice I used. If you’re using a measuring cup instead of a kitchen scale, it won’t cause any serious issues, but the rice might end up a bit softer.

Adjust the amount of water according to the ingredients you’re using, because the ingredients themselves contain water and will add extra moisture to the rice. For example, if you add more green vegetables than called for in the recipe, you might want to slightly reduce the amount of water.

Even if you measure everything, you might still need to adjust the amount of water according to the cooking results, because there are so many factors affecting the doneness of the rice. For example, the type of grain, the type of stove, and the cooking equipment used all have an impact.

Preparing clay pot chicken

Cooking tips

Soak the rice for 30 minutes and drain. This is very important. It helps the rice cook through evenly.

Use a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. It will hold and disperse heat better, so the rice will cook evenly.

In the end, I hope you won’t be scared away by this relatively long cooking note! If you try to cook this dish once, you’ll actually find that the cooking process is very easy and quick. Be prepared if the texture of the rice doesn’t come out perfectly the first time, though. If you have trouble with the doneness of the rice, please leave a note below and let me know your cooking process in detail, so I can help with troubleshooting.

Clay pot chicken cooking step-by-step

More delicious one-pot dinner

Homemade clay pot chicken

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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Clay pot chicken close up

The Best Clay Pot Chicken Rice (鸡肉煲仔饭)

4.57 from 16 votes
This clay pot chicken rice is so addictive! After I developed this recipe, I was so hooked and couldn’t help but cook this dish every week. Beyond the greatness of the tender and moist chicken, the rice absorbs all the extract from the mushrooms and chicken grease, and is then seasoned with oyster sauce. It is SO good! My recipe teaches you the easiest way to create a super flavorful one-dish meal without a clay pot or rice cooker.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: one pot
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 2 to 3

Ingredients

For the rice

  • 1 cup (230 grams) raw white rice (short round) (*see footnote 1)
  • 350 milliliters water (about 1 and 1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 15 (20 grams / 0.5 ounces) dried shiitake mushrooms (or 2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms)

For marinade

  • 2 (500 grams / 1 pound) bone-in chicken leg-and-thigh portions , chopped (*see footnote 2) or 4 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or Japanese sake)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger , minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic , crushed
  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups Chinese broccoli, baby bok choy or chopped broccoli (Optional)

Instructions

For the Prep

  • Rinse rice a few times and drain. Add water and mix. Let the rice soak for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse shiitake mushrooms. Place dried shiitake mushrooms in a medium sized bowl and add warm water to cover. Mix a few times so that the mushrooms are coated with water. Set aside and allow to rehydrate for about 20 minutes. (Slice fresh mushroom if you use it instead.)
  • Combine chicken, light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, ginger, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Blend in cornstarch and mix well by hand until chicken is evenly coated. Marinate at room temperature.
  • When the shiitake mushrooms turn soft, carefully rinse mushrooms to remove any dirt. Drain and set aside.

Start cooking

  • Drain rice and add into a medium sized dutch oven (or clay pot). Add 350 milliliters water. Add Heat over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil and mix well. Bring to a boil while stirring regularly, just like cooking risotto. Turn to medium heat. Continue to cook and stir, until the water is almost absorbed by the rice, about 5 minutes. Cover and simmer over lowest heat for 10 minutes.
  • While simmering the rice, cook the chicken and mushrooms. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil into a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until warm. Add chicken and let it cook for 1 minute without stirring. Place the chicken so that you cook the skin side first, until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, and the chicken is half cooked through. Turn to lowest heat. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • (Optional) Use a spoon to transfer the extra oil to a small bowl, until just a thin layer of oil remains in the skillet. If you use skinless chicken, skip this step.
  • Turn back to medium high heat and add shiitake mushrooms. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • When the rice is ready (the water should be fully absorbed by now), arrange chicken, mushrooms, and Chinese broccoli on top of the rice. Cover and continue to simmer for 18-20 minutes (the longer you simmer, the more crispy the rice on the bottom will be). Be careful - you should move as quickly as you can, so the temperature of the rice won’t drop too much.
  • While the rice is cooking, mix the oyster sauce with the sugar and garlic in a small bowl.
  • When the rice is done, remove from heat and uncover. Drizzle oyster sauce on top immediately, while the rice is hot, and mix everything well with a spatula. I suggest you scrape the rice from the bottom while the pot is still warm. Otherwise, it will be a bit difficult to scoop out.
  • Serve hot as a main dish/

Notes

  1. If you have a kitchen scale, please use it to measure the rice. Although 1 cup of rice can generally be converted to 210 grams (7.4 ounces), my measurement somehow ended up with 1 cup of rice equaling 230 grams (8.1 ounces) for the rice I used. If you’re using a measuring cup instead of a kitchen scale, it won’t cause any serious issues, but the rice might end up a bit softer.
  2. Ask the butcher to chop the chicken leg-thigh portions into 4 to 5 pieces. Alternatively, you can use chicken drumsticks, boneless thigh, or wings. Chicken breast won’t work very well in this recipe.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 332g, Calories: 558kcal, Carbohydrates: 54.1g, Protein: 25.3g, Fat: 26.2g, Saturated Fat: 7.3g, Cholesterol: 112mg, Sodium: 773mg, Potassium: 191mg, Fiber: 1.4g, Sugar: 3.8g, Vitamin A: 1550IU, Vitamin C: 23.1mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 3.1mg
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Clay Pot Chicken Rice - This clay pot chicken rice is so addictive! Beyond the greatness of the tender and moist chicken, the rice absorbs all the extract from the mushrooms and chicken grease, and is then seasoned with oyster sauce. It is SO good! My recipe teaches you the easiest way to create a super flavorful one-pot dinner without a clay pot or rice cooker.

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. helen @ scrummylane says:

    Clay pot frog rice? Yikes!
    I bet it tastes good, but I think I’ll stick with the chicken version!
    😉
    I love how you add oyster sauce to this at the end. Another easy and delicious one -pot meal!

    • satou says:

      5 stars
      Ive had the frog at place in china town in Portland Oregon and it was amazing better than the chicken

  2. Marissa | Pinch and Swirl says:

    5 stars
    You amaze me with the details in your recipes. What a hard worker you are!! This dish looks incredible – I’ve never done any clay pot cooking. But now I must!

  3. Kathleen | HapaNom says:

    5 stars
    You always have such incredible flavors and technique in your cooking, Maggie! I’ve never cooked with the clay pot method, but looking at your recipe, I definitely need to give it a try! Hope you had a fantastic time in Thailand – so jealous 😉

  4. Thalia @ butter and brioche says:

    I always pick up some new ideas & flavour combinations every time I visit Maggie. I’ve never heard of clay pot cooking before & think it’s definitely something i need to research into…

  5. 5 stars
    OMG OMG!! I have wanted to try clay pot for ages! I have never come across a recipe that I felt I could trust, but I totally trust you. And guess what? I actually have the real clay pots! I got them when I was in Hong Kong, I use them to make things like bibimbap and some Japanese dishes that use a similar technique. Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

  6. Vivian Tang says:

    Your claypot chicken rice not only looks yummy but also beautiful!! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks for stopping by and glad you like this one Vivian! Hopping over to check out your blog 🙂

  7. mira says:

    5 stars
    Looks delicious Maggie! So glad I can make it without a clay pot 🙂 Love all the details, pictures and the video 🙂

  8. Kayiu @ Saucy Spatula says:

    5 stars
    So glad you made a 煲仔饭! I’m so proud as a Cantonese 😉

    I went to have clay pot rice just last week when I was still in Hong Kong! I can’t get over the Cantonese version with pork, preserved veggies and lots and lots of dark soy sauce!

    Next time when I make clay pot rice at home, I’ll definitely look into your cooking method though!

    p.s. Your photography keeps getting better and better!

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks Kayiu! I was really nervous when I was cooking this, because we don’t usually cook it here in Beijing and I did quite some research to find a delicious approach. It’s not a very authentic one, but I really like its taste 🙂
      I used the dutch oven because I broke my new clay pot the first week when I got it! lol Will definitely get another clay pot and try out the Hong Kong version. So yummy!

  9. Lokness @ The Missing Lokness says:

    LOVE this, Maggie! When I was in HK last time, I made a special requested for clay pot rice. Your rice was cooked perfectly, especially the crispy rice. Looking at this makes me so hungry!

  10. Linda @ Roti n Rice says:

    I love clay pot chicken rice. Such a tasty one-pot meal. I need to try your method one of these days.

  11. Robi says:

    4 stars
    I tried your techniques, and it is great! I did add in 1 tsp of oyster sauce in the chicken marinate and also layered Chinese sausages on the rice before adding the chicken and mushrooms on top. And I skipped the marinate for the veggies. And also, before serving, I added in 1 tsp of thick fragrant soy sauce and 1 tsp of sesame oil. It was yummy! My first time making Claypot rice and my family loved it. It is really thanks to your techniques which helped me pull it off.

    • Maggie says:

      I’m glad the dish worked for you Robi! It’s such a great idea to add some Chinese sausages on the rice. YUM! I believe the authentic Cantonese claypot dishes do use sausages. Can’t wait to try it out in my own kitchen next time 🙂

  12. Ling says:

    Hi Maggie,

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I was divided between using the claypot and rice cooker to do this dish. I decided to give the claypot a shot. The taste was very good. I modified the recipe a bit to suit my taste. Added 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce , 1 tbsp of light soy sauce and 1 tsp of sesame oil to the rice seasoning sauce, marinated the mushrooms by rubbing in some oyster sauce and sugar, and blanched romaine lettuce and then drizzled some diluted leftover rice seasoning sauce over it. The rice was quite burnt at the bottom – must have left it on the stove for too long. I will use your recipe to cook in the rice cooker the next time to avoid the trickiness of timing.

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks for trying out my recipe Ling! I think using a claypot will produce a slightly better result than rice cooker, but the cooking time can be tricky to control. Your adjustment sounds nice. I especially like the idea of marinating the mushrooms. Yum!
      Thanks for taking time and share you cooking experience. Hope the dish will turn out well in the rice cooker too 🙂

  13. Mylifeinfood says:

    2 stars
    I am sure that Maggie is a fabulous cook but this recipe struck me as mediocre at best.

    I have been cooking Szechuan Chinese for over 30 years and recently have begun exploring Cantonese, including a variety of noodle dishes (seafood fried noodles among them) and dumplings, despite my love of spice. Finely-executed Cantonese can be absolutely over-the-top, just as chili, Szechuan peppercorn and garlic-laden dishes can be if properly executed. I have studied traditional Chinese cooking methods which, regardless of the ingredients, always result in a fabulous and authentic meal as long as you follow the rules – balance between flavors and contrast in textures.

    I was impressed with the detail in Maggie’s recipe and followed it to the letter but. unfortunately, found the result to be the rough equivalent of Chinese fast food – the Chinese equivalent of American crock-pot cooking perhaps?. The ingredients were spot-on but the methods resulted in a bland, mishmash of flavors and textures, not the cleanly differentiated flavors and textures that traditional Chinese cuisine always provides. The rice was nicely browned on the bottom but the ingredients on top of the rice were nondescript, except for the Chinese broccoli and baby bok choi that I used which were crisp and tasty. I thought the marinade was good but the sum of the parts just didn’t seem to come together. I’m sorry.

    As I said, I am sure that Maggie is a wonderful cook but this is not the traditional Chinese cuisine that I have grown accustomed to over the past 40 years. That said, it may well appeal to the Western palate that is not accustomed to traditional Chinese cuisine and there is virtue in that..

  14. Elsie says:

    Tried the recipe, follow exactly the weight of the rice and water but came out so wet!

  15. Annie Won says:

    Hi Maggie,
    Can you make the clay pot chicken rice in an Instant Pot pressure cooker? Thanks!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Annie, I’m pretty sure you can. Once you brown the chicken, add the raw rice, water, chicken and mushrooms into the Instant pod. Then drizzle with rice. Try to cover the chicken with sauce without stirring, because the sauce turns to burn the bottom of the pot. If you use boneless thigh or breast, cut them into 1.5-inch pieces and cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. If using bone-in pieces, you probably need 12 to 15 minutes.

  16. Wong Mei Leng says:

    Super tasty recipe! My family loves it. Thank you for this great recipe !

  17. Jen says:

    Hi Maggie, I stumbled across this recipe and it looked so delicious that I definitely want to try cooking it! I don’t own a dutch oven or a clay pot but I have a Scanpan tagine. The one with the heavy steel base and the ceramic cone lid. https://www.kitchenwarehouse.com.au/Scanpan-Impact-Tagine-32cm
    Do you think it will suitable to use in this recipe? Thank you.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Jen, I think the tagine will work just as well!

      • Jen Lee Fai says:

        Thanks Maggie! I will try with the tagine.

  18. Eric says:

    5 stars
    This was fantastic. Haven’t written a review in over a decade but just finished eating and feel it deserves it. Also, always use recipes as general guidance, but followed this a bit more closely than most. Growing up in Singapore and eating Chinese food in NYC without much satisfaction, this completely hit the spot for Chinese comfort food. Beautifully simple with fantastic depth. Used gai lan in place of bok choy and had crispy chili paste on the side. Thank you, Maggie!

  19. Frank says:

    I notice that you used an enamel Dutch oven and the title is “Clay Pot”. Can I just use my clay pot and follow the instructions as you have noted?

  20. Frank says:

    Maggie- I did use my clay pot instead, but followed all your instructions/ingredients. Aside from being a bit greasy (chicken fat?), it was absolutely delicious.

  21. Bo says:

    Hello. Was wondering what qt size is your Le Cresuet pot and how many cups of rice did you cook ? I have a 4qt Staub and was wondering if it would cook 3 cups of rice.

    • Maggie says:

      I think I used a small pot, 3.5 qt. I don’t think 4qt is enough if you plan to triple the recipe (including the chicken). I would use a bigger dutch oven, maybe 5.5 qt or even bigger.

  22. Cheryl Ambrose says:

    5 stars
    Tried it just today. Was amazing. I’ve tried a couple of recipes for claypot before but this was probably the best one to date. Also, I omitted the ShaoXing Wine coz I didn’t have any and it still tasted fine! The whole family loved it. Thanks for all the details 😁

  23. Anna says:

    3 stars
    My rice unfortunately turned out like porridge. It was dry before I added in the chicken, chinese yu choy, and mushrooms and after the simmering it for 20 mins it was a watery mess hahaha maybe I’ll have half the water next time to cook the rice.

  24. Wt says:

    Hello! Just wondering if it will work if I cook it in a CorningWare pot? Thanks!

    • Maggie says:

      I’ve never used a CorningWare pot before but i think it should work the same.

  25. Hannah Lee says:

    Is your clay cooking pot glazed or unglazed? Does it matter, and how does it matter, whether the pot used is glazed or unglazed? If I can purchase only one Chinese Clay Pot, should it be glazed?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Hannah, I actually didn’t use a clay pot for this recipe, so it doesn’t really matter for this one.
      If you’d like to purchase a clay pot, the traditional way is to use unglazed.
      The moist of the rice will be cooked off better and result in a crispy crunchy crust. The glazed one will not have this effect.

  26. Li says:

    Should the cooking time vary depending on the rice and water measurements? If so, do you know an approximate total cooking time for 1, 2, 3 and 4 cups of rice? thank you!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Li, the rice cooking time does not change depending on the rice volume.

  27. Sharon Lim says:

    Hi there, I love your blog and have consistently gotten great results by following your recipes! For this claypot rice, what would liquid proportions be if I was using brown rice?

    • Maggie says:

      For brown rice, the water ratio is usually 1:2. I would either soak the brown rice beforehand, or increase 10 minutes simmer time, because brown rice takes longer to cook through.

  28. Diana says:

    5 stars
    I loveeeeee clay pot chicken and rice!!! I had some chicken breasts that needed to be cooked so this recipe saved the day!

    I increased the amount of rice to 2 cups, but will definitely do 3 cups next time. I used a short grain rice and adjusted the liquid to 1 3/4 cups of water which was perfect. Pro tip: since the rice was soaked in water, use a 1:1 ratio for rice to water, but use a little less water to account for the liquid from the steam + chicken, etc. This will prevent the rice from getting mushy.

    I also omitted the sugar in the sauce and added half of it to the rice while it was cooking and the other half of the sauce to the mushrooms when they were sautéing. Perfect!

    Thanks for a delicious recipe, Maggie!

    • Maggie says:

      So happy to hear you like the recipe 🙂 And yes, it totally makes sense to use slightly less water so the rice will stay crispy.
      Thanks for leaving a thorough and positive review!

  29. Susan says:

    Watching your video, I’m wondering…you show the choy in the pot to cook, but when you stir in the sauce at the end, it’s not there. Do you take it out, stir in the sauce, & then add it back in?

    • Maggie says:

      I did take them out because my pot was too tiny and there’s no space for stirring (I made this video when I was living in China and pan sizes are small). You don’t need to take it out if your pot is big enough for the mixing.

  30. Susan says:

    4 stars
    The taste was yummy, but my rice came out mushier than I prefer & I had to cook it longer to get the rice crunchy at the bottom. I soaked the rice longer than instructed, so maybe that’s why? I added Chinese sausage as well, yum! I used book choy, but I think next time I’ll add it more towards the end of cooking or use a sturdier veggie because it seemed to melt into the rice & wasn’t that noticeable. I was also thinking of adding baby corn, but my pot was kinda full. Thanks for the recipe, I will try it again!

    • Maggie says:

      I think soaking the rice longer can be one of the reasons. Also, the type of rice and the condition of other ingredients would also affect the water ratio (e.g. sometimes larger cut of chicken would release more juice). If you’re cooking it next time, I would totally reduce the water for a firmer texture.
      Re veggies – maybe try Chinese broccoli or regular broccoli next time. To add more veggies and cook them to a more perfect texture, I would just blanch them separately and mix them in at the end with the sauce.

  31. Malar says:

    5 stars
    My family loved it . Thank you Maggie.

  32. Casey P says:

    5 stars
    I wasn’t sure if I could get the same crispy bottom as the ones at the bo zai fan places in HK. Used your recipe with a staub pot, added extra ingredients with lap cheung and lap meat.
    BEST CRUST ever, also just delicious and smells amazingggg!

  33. Meng says:

    I cannot use chinese wine or sake is there any replacement to that?

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      For this dish you can use some chicken broth to replace the wine.

  34. Ayana says:

    I have a 4qt dutch oven! Is this recipe ok to use with that size?

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      Yes, a 4 qt pot should work.

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