One-Pot Chicken + Rice Bake 


Article by Sara Welch

Photography by Sara Welch

This one-pot chicken and rice bake combines chicken thighs with Parmesan rice and butternut squash for a complete healthy meal.

I’m always looking for easy dinner recipes that don’t dirty up every pan in the house, and this chicken and rice bake is a family favorite!

When my youngest was a baby, I made her a lot of risotto because it seemed like the perfect “real” baby food; it was soft enough that she could chew it despite her lack of teeth. It was easy to vary the flavors so she wouldn’t get bored. It also seemed like a pretty decently balanced meal; I always added some kind of veggie (or puree!) to the rice as well as cheese for protein and calcium. So grains, protein, veggies, dairy—not too shabby.

But really, who has time to stand around and stir risotto? Now that she’s older (and more prone to mischief), I do not have the luxury of standing at the stove cultivating a perfect dish. In fact, I swear my kids have this internal radar that goes off when they sense I am trying to cook something that requires my constant attention. This chicken and rice bake is very similar to risotto but without the stirring. Best of all, it’s a complete meal in a single pot!

How Do You Make Chicken + Rice Bake?

You’re going to want to use chicken thighs in this dish; breasts will be too dry. I used to buy the authentic Arborio risotto rice, but it can be a bit pricey, and do the kids know or care? Of course not. I discovered short grain Calrose rice and have been using it ever since. It’s in with all the regular rice varieties at your grocery store and makes a great substitute for the expensive stuff.

You do have to brown the chicken and sauté the veggies and rice, but after that, you get to pop it in the oven and go play with the kids. The whole family will love this chicken and rice bake. It’s a great meal to put on your regular rotation!

One-Pot Chicken + Rice Bake


  • 6 chicken thighs, bone-in or boneless
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain rice such as Calrose or Arborio
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large deep pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on high heat. Season both sides of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the chicken on high heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and squash, season with salt and pepper. Cook the onion and squash until lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the rice, sauté for 2-3 minutes or until opaque. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until completely evaporated.
  • Return chicken to the pot along with any juices that have accumulated and the thyme sprigs. Add the broth, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil and cover the pot with a lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit, covered for 10 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese before serving.


Make Ahead: The most time-consuming part of this recipe is the peeling and cutting of the butternut squash. That can be done up to two days in advance.

Original post by Sara Welch, Dinner at the Zoo

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