Easy arroz con pollo is a Mexican chicken and rice casserole, with flavorful spices and smoky chipotle. Even better that it simmers in the slow cooker while you do other things!
Oh the beauty of a slow cooker. A machine designed for a simple purpose–to cook food slowly enough that you can walk away, and come back to a nice meal.
When done correctly, these stewed dinners can be comforting, sustaining and down right delicious.
As far as how to make chicken and rice, I think the great country of Mexico got it right!
In this slow cooker arroz con pollo the tender poultry is seasoned with spices, nestled and simmered in rice with chicken broth and enhanced with some smoky chilies.
I wanted to enjoy this meal, without having to tend it. Traditional one pot chicken and rice needs to be watched so the chicken is cooked through, and the rice is done, all at the same time.
So what's my trick for cooking rice in a crock pot without it getting soggy? I'll tell you my one great swap below.
More chicken crockpot ideas and slow cooker meals from Tara Teaspoon:
- Slow Cooker Brisket with Fruit and Wine Sauce
- Ropa Vieja (Slow Cooker Beef and Peppers)
- Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
- Turkey and Veggie Meatloaf in the Slow Cooker
How to make it
An authentic arroz con pollo recipe is usually made in a Dutch oven, on the stove top or in the oven.
I've done my chicken and rice casserole recipes countless times in a Dutch oven, and it's delicious, but I have to tend the heat, crack the lid occasionally, and watch it like a hawk so everything is cooked perfectly at the same time.
I wanted a an arroz con pollo crock pot recipe that was not only easy, maybe a little healthy and still crowd-pleasing.
After a few times through trial and error I came to a surprising solution. A surprise for me because I NEVER use this ingredient.
Well, the secret here is instant rice.
I've always stayed away from instant rice because it comes out water logged and flavorless. But when I tried it in this one pan chicken and rice dish, it worked.
No one will ever guess, you didn't just slave away over this savory and flavorful slow cooker arroz con pollo.
I loaded the casserole with extra flavor, browned the chicken for good caramelization, and added the rice just at the end of slow cooking so it became just the right texture.
Serve this with some fresh cherry tomatoes and cilantro. And for me, I like a generous squeeze of lime.
Best slow cooker
I'll sing the praises of slow cookers a bit more. Working in test kitchens for over 15 years, I've used many different slow cookers. I've liked the fancy ones with bells and whistles, and I've liked the simplest versions.
Most slow cookers are very comparable. They cook up one dish meals with ease and things don't often go wrong.
One thing I like to make sure of on a slow cooker or crock pot, is that the lid isn't super loose. Some have the rubber gasket around the edge that helps seal them to the base.
I like the rubber seal, it holds the heat in. I've worked so hard (just kidding, not at all. It's a slow cooker so it's supposed to be easy!) to build up the heat in the slow cooker, why do I want it seeping out of the lid area?
My solution is to simply cover the top with a folded kitchen towel. It holds in the heat and helps the food inside cook evenly and at the right speed.
I added some simple and authentic flavors to this easy chicken and rice.
• Use bone in chicken breasts so they stay juicy. You can use boneless if you'd like.
• Spices from your cupboard, like oregano, chili powder and cumin are the perfect trifecta of Mexican seasonings.
• Diced tomato, onion and garlic are a fresh hit of authentic flavor for this simmered stew. Then add a sprinkle of fresh cilantro at the end.
• Canned chipotle in adobo adds a smoky taste and depth of flavor.
Slow cooker arroz con pollo recipe
Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken With Rice)
- 6 small chicken breast halves skinless, bone-in chicken breast halves - about 4 lbs
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz can) 14 oz diced tomatoes
- 1 small onion cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 chipotle chile from canned chipotle in adobo sauce
- 1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz low-sodium)
- 1 ½ cups instant rice
- 1 ½ cups frozen peas
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro coarsely chopped
- Lime wedges for serving
- Rinse chicken and pat dry. Combine oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle half of spice mixture over chicken and rub in with fingers, set remaining aside.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add chicken and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.
- Place canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle and remaining spice mixture in a blender. Cover and blend until almost smooth; pour over chicken. Add broth.
- Cover and cook, 4 to 5 hours on low or 2 to 2½ hours on high. Gently stir in rice, cover and cook on high, stirring once, 30 minutes. Turn cooker off, stir in peas, cover and let stand 15 minutes.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and toss with cilantro; serve over chicken and rice with lime wedges on the side.
Kitchen equipment for this recipe:
Recipe by Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes and food styling for magazines, books, television and advertising. Find out more about me!
Recipe & Food Styling Tara Bench. Photography by Steve Giralt. Prop Styling Gerri Williams.
Originally published 10/2007 in Ladies' Home Journal.