Cheesy Chicken & Broccolini Rice is absolute weeknight perfection! It’s ideal for nights when you want to whip up a hearty, feel-good meal that involves very little chopping and no thinking about what sides to make. It’s a fully satisfying dish all made in one pan (which you know I love!), so doesn’t require tackling a mountain of dishes after dinner – and means I can go virtually straight from kitchen to couch!


The cream, cheeses and starchy arborio rice in this Chicken & Broccolini Rice all combine to create an incredibly luscious dish with a silky texture.

The dish has risotto vibes but is much, much easier – no hovering over the stove needed! Broccolini (or broccoli) is involved, but any non-fans will be completely won over by the fact that it’s cooked in a garlicky, creamy, cheesy sauce, bursting with flavour. Of course, you can swap out the broccolini for whatever other vegetable you like, or add even more veg for extra colour, taste and nutrition – I’ve provided suggestions for some of my favourite options below. If you have any leftovers, they will taste amazing the next day, so maybe make a big batch, if you want to be sure of having some of this sensational comfort dinner left over!

Chicken & Broccolini Rice is a bit like a cheat’s risotto. It’s made in a similar way and has that same comforting flavour and texture, but is much, much easier!

Tips for cooking one-pot rice recipes

●  Use a thick, heavy-based pan with a lid. This will allow the heat to distribute evenly and cook the rice evenly without leaving pockets of rice uncooked.

●  Make sure the heat is just right! Too much heat and the liquid will evaporate too quickly; too little heat and the liquid will not evaporate enough. Ensure there is a gentle simmer (small bubbles appearing in the liquid) before covering and continuing to cook on low.

●  Let the rice rest for 2–5 minutes with the lid on before stirring! This allows any residual liquid to absorb and the steam continues the cooking process. If there is still residual liquid left in the pan, stir it vigorously for the remaining liquid to be absorbed. Liquid will continue to absorb the longer the rice sits.

●  Rice still not cooked? It’s likely the heat wasn’t high enough. Add ½ cup (125 ml) of boiling water from the kettle. Cover and continue cooking until the rice is cooked

What other vegetables can I add?

Try sliced zucchini (courgette), asparagus, red capsicum (bell pepper), sun-dried tomatoes, shredded kale or silverbeet (Swiss chard). You could also add shredded baby spinach or frozen peas in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Use up to 4 cups of vegetables of choice.

Can I use boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of thighs?

Absolutely, yes. You can swap out the chicken thigh for chicken breast without any further adjustments to the recipe needed.

I love to make this using boneless, skinless chicken thighs and broccolini, but you could easily swap to chicken breast and broccoli instead.

Could I make this vegetarian?

Yes! Substitute the chicken for extra vegetables, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock (and use parmesan that is labelled as using “non-animal rennet” if you want to be strictly vegetarian).

Can I spice it up?

Add 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes at the same time as the garlic, or sprinkle with chilli flakes at time of serving.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Cheesy Chicken and Broccolini Rice in bowl

Cheesy Chicken & Broccolini Rice

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

Cheesy Chicken & Broccolini Rice is a comforting, hearty meal made with simple, low-cost ingredients. It’s stress-free, easy to prep and, because it’s made in just one pan, it means there’s virtually no washing up.

  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp freshly minced garlic
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, plus extra to taste
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, thyme or Italian mixed herbs (Italian seasoning)
  • 11/2 cups (330 g) arborio rice
  • 4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) thick (heavy/double) cream, optional (see note 1)
  • 1 bunch broccolini, cut into bite-sized pieces, or 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 cups (250 g) freshly grated cheddar
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) freshly grated parmesan, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over medium–high heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1–2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the chicken, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3–5 minutes until golden.
  4. Stir through the sweet paprika, onion powder and oregano, followed immediately by the arborio rice, chicken stock and cream.
  5. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat to low so that it is just simmering. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
  6. Scatter the broccolini or broccoli over the surface of the rice and chicken mixture and stir gently to combine. Cover again and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the cheddar and parmesan. Put the lid back on to melt the cheese for a further 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the extra parsley and parmesan and serve immediately!

Notes

Note 1 – I love adding cream for an extra indulgent, creamy finish but it is not essential. You can achieve a similarly silky, creamy result even without cream thanks to the starches in the arborio rice and with the cheese added at the end.

Make ahead:

Here are some meal prep tips if you want to make this an even faster weeknight dinner!

Veg – Wash and cut the broccolini or broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Ensure it is completely dry and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 3–4 days (or longer depending on the freshness to start with). A single sheet of paper towel on the bottom of the container will help to absorb extra moisture and keep the veg fresh, ready for when you need it.

Chicken – Cut the chicken ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for up to 2 days (or the use-by date), so that it is ready to go. Less prep = easier mealtimes!

Leftovers:

Cheesy Chicken & Broccolini Rice can be refrigerated for up to 2 days in an airtight container. It’s best reheated in the microwave to prevent the chicken and rice drying out. Reheat until piping hot and serve immediately.

 

Recipe source:

This recipe is inspired by Jo Cooks One Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole. I love Jo’s recipes and as soon as I saw this one, I knew I wanted to make my own version of it. Jo uses canned chicken soup and regular rice in her recipe. My main adaptations were using cream, arborio rice and the addition of parmesan. You can view the original recipe here.

 

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: mains, rice, quick and easy, one pan, quick risotto, chicken
  • Method: simmering, pan
  • Cuisine: Italian, American, Italian