Welcome to the Slow Cooker Green Chile Chicken & Rice Casserole recipe. This comforting dish contains flavor from green chilies, garlic, and cilantro. The chicken is perfectly cooked in a rich, creamy rice mixture, making it a perfect meal for busy weeknights. It’s easy to prepare and will leave your family asking for seconds!
- Chicken Thighs (2 pounds): You can use any chicken you prefer. The chicken will be the main protein in this casserole dish.
- Medium Grain Rice (2 cups) will serve as the recipe’s base. You can substitute with jasmine or white rice, but avoid using instant rice as it can get mushy.
- Green Chili: The heat level is up to you. If you can’t find green chili, substitute it with salsa.
- Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth (32 ounces) will cook the rice. The ratio of liquid to rice is 2 to 1.
- Salt and Pepper: These are used to season the chicken and the rice.
- Medium Cheddar Cheese (Freshly Grated): Three-quarters will be used in the rice, and the rest will be sprinkled on top. Freshly grated cheese tends to melt better.
- Cilantro: This herb will be used for flavor. Add a few sprigs on top of the chicken before cooking, and add fresh cilantro at the end.
- Garlic (2 cloves): This will be added to the rice and broth mixture for flavor.
- Sour Cream: This will be mixed in at the end to add a nice creaminess to the recipe. The amount is up to your personal preference.
Making The Crockpot Green Chile, Chicken & Rice Casserole
Season the Chicken: Salt and pepper the chicken thighs and set them aside. This will ensure that the chicken is flavorful.
Prepare the Crockpot: Add rice, chicken broth, garlic cloves, and green chili to your crock pot. Stir to combine these ingredients. This mixture will serve as the base of your casserole.
Season the Rice: Add salt and pepper to the rice mixture. This will enhance the flavor of the rice.
Add Cheese: Add freshly grated cheddar cheese to the rice mixture and stir. The cheese will melt and become incorporated into the mixture as it cooks.
Add the Chicken: Nestle the seasoned chicken thighs into the liquid in the crock pot. This will ensure that the chicken is fully submerged and will cook evenly.
Add Cilantro: Place a few fresh cilantro sprigs on the chicken. The cilantro will infuse the dish with its unique flavor as it cooks.
Cook the Casserole: Cover the crock pot and cook the casserole on low for about 6 hours. This slow cooking process will allow the flavors to meld together and the chicken to become tender.
Remove Cilantro and Chicken: After cooking, remove the wilted cilantro and the chicken from the crock pot. Set the chicken aside for serving.
Add Sour Cream and Cheese: Add sour cream and the remaining grated cheese to the rice mixture in the crock pot. Stir well to combine. The sour cream will add a creamy texture to the dish, and the cheese will provide extra flavor.
Serve the Casserole: Plate up the creamy rice mixture, top with a chicken thigh, and garnish with extra green chili, grated cheese, and fresh cilantro. This creates a visually appealing and delicious dish.
Tips and Variations
- Chicken Variations: While this recipe uses chicken thighs, you can also use chicken breasts. Just ensure the chicken is fully cooked through before serving.
- Vegetarian Option: Replace the chicken with a plant-based protein like tofu or beans for a vegetarian version. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
- Cheese Variations: You can experiment with different types of cheese. Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack could add a nice kick to the dish.
- Rice Options: You can use different types of rice, like basmati or brown rice, for a variation. Just remember to adjust the cooking time as per the type of rice.
- Spice Level: Adjust the amount of green chili or salsa based on your preferred spice level.
- Add Vegetables: For added nutrition, consider adding some vegetables like bell peppers, corn, or peas to the casserole.
- Garnish: Try different garnishes like chopped green onions, avocado slices, or a squeeze of lime for a fresh twist.
- Slow Cooker Tip: Every slow cooker is different. If you know yours runs hot, check the casserole earlier to prevent it from drying out.
- Serving Suggestion: This casserole pairs well with steamed vegetables or a fresh salad. For a complete meal, serve it with a refreshing virgin watermelon margarita.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?
Can I make this recipe vegetarian?
Can I use a different type of cheese?
Can I use a different type of rice?
Can I add vegetables to this casserole?
How can I adjust the spice level?
What can I serve with this casserole?
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Can I prepare this dish ahead of time?
- 2 pounds of chicken thighs
- 2 cups of medium grain rice
- Green chili (to taste)
- 32 ounces of reduced sodium chicken broth
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Freshly grated medium cheddar cheese (to taste)
- Cilantro (to taste)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Sour cream (to taste)
- Season chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Add rice, chicken broth, garlic, and green chili in a crockpot. Mix well.
- Season the rice with salt and pepper.
- Add grated cheddar to the rice mixture. Stir.
- Nestle chicken thighs into the mixture. Top with cilantro.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
- Remove cilantro and chicken.
- Add sour cream and the remaining cheese to the rice. Mix well.
- Serve the rice with chicken on top. Garnish with extra chili, cheese, and cilantro.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: per serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450 kcalTotal Fat: 20gSodium: 500mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 30g