An old favorite gets a few upgrades! This chicken and rice dish has a creamy Gruyere cheese sauce and fresh broccoli and all of it cooks up in just one pan on the stovetop. It’s a hearty and comforting dinner for a chilly night.
One-Pan Creamy Chicken and Rice
If it was 30 years ago a chicken and rice dish might have been one baked in a blue and white Corningware dish along with some cream of something soup that slid from it’s can in one gelatinous glop. And if it were 30 years ago I would have been happy to have that casserole sit center-stage on our family table because it was one of my most favorite dinners growing up. A scoop of a hearty chicken and rice casserole was a dinner that powered us through many chilly nights and the memory of those long-ago dinners is one that always strikes a sappy chord.
But it’s not 30 years ago, so instead of a blue and white Corningware baking dish, we’re making a chicken and rice casserole-esque dinner in one pan on the stovetop. And instead of gloppy cream of something soup, we’re using nutty Gruyere cheese and just enough cream to create a cheesy sauce that binds all of the tender chicken and rice together. There are some chopped shallot and a splash of white wine to make it feel a little more sophisticated than it’s more humble casserole cousin, but the end result has the same cozy spirit. It’s my favorite sort of thing to make – a familiar, but upgraded version of a dinner that my much (much, much) younger self would have been happy to gather ’round the table for any night of the week.
Some Ingredients You’ll Need (Plus a Few Tips)
- I used a 10-inch skillet for this recipe, which is an important note as a different sized skillet could yield different results. It’s a bit of a tight squeeze with all the ingredients, but works well and, if you follow the steps, all of the ingredients will cook to the right level of doneness in the time listed. Especially the rice, which is what could get messed up if a different size pan is used.
- It starts with a boneless, skinless chicken breast that you’ll want to pound to a thickness of about 1/2 an inch. This ensures the chicken will cook evenly and faster than it otherwise would if you skipped the step. Plus, it’s an appropriate way to vent any negative steam build-up from the day, a fact I’m pretty sure I mention every time a recipe calls for this step. So, it’s a two-for-one step: you get some stress relief and tender, evenly cooked chicken.
- Cooking the chicken first means some browned bits, otherwise known as flavor-makers, are left behind in the pan. To them, you will add some chopped shallot and white wine that, as it bubbles and simmers, will loosen all of those browned bits adding lots of flavor to the dish.
- And because a little green goes a long way to add some color and texture, I added broccoli florets that simmer along with the chicken stock and rice. It’s a good idea to cut the florets into similarly-sized pieces.
- Once you add the broccoli, it’s time for the chicken stock and rice. Depending on your stove, heat levels, and evaporation potential I want to encourage you to use your best judgment for the rice cooking step. In testing this recipe I found that 20ish minutes was plenty of time for the rice to cook and a cup and a half of chicken stock was just enough liquid. But, depending on your kitchen conditions, you will want to note if the pan starts looking dry before the rice is tender. You can always add additional chicken stock if needed, which I’ve detailed in the recipe instructions.
- And what takes this from a simple chicken, broccoli, and rice dinner to something a little extra special is some grated Gruyere cheese and a generous splash of cream. Add them right at the end and stir just until the cheese melts into the rice and creates a thick sauce with the cream.
- A note about salt: I found the only added salt the dish needs is the amount needed to generously season the chicken on both sides (several generous three-finger pinches) before cooking it because the chicken stock I used had plenty of salt in it already. That said, depending on the kind of chicken stock you use it’s always a good practice to taste as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- This recipe makes three big servings and the leftovers keep well in the fridge for a day or so.
More One-Pan Dinner RecipesPrint
An old favorite gets a few upgrades! This chicken and rice dish has a creamy Gruyere cheese sauce and fresh broccoli and all of it cooks up in just one pan on the stovetop. It’s a hearty and comforting dinner for two on a chilly night.
- 8-ounce chicken breast
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped shallot
- 1/4 cup of white wine
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
- 1/2 cup long grain white rice
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
- Place the chicken breast on a cutting board and cover it with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken to about 1/2″ thickness. This will ensure it cooks evenly. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- In a 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Place the chicken in the pan and cook it on one side for four to five minutes, or until it’s browned and is no longer sticks to the pan. Cook it on the other side for a few minutes, or until it’s cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board.
- In the same pan, cook the shallot until it’s fragrant, about a minute or so. Add the wine to the pan and stir. As the wine simmers, scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Add the broccoli florets and stir. Cook the florets for five minutes or until they start to cook down and lose their moisture.
- Add the chicken stock and the thyme leaves. Adjust the heat to medium-high and bring the stock to a boil. Add the rice and stir to combine. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pan and simmer the rice for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender. If needed, you can add up to a 1/4 cup of chicken stock if your pan gets too dry before the rice is done.
- While the rice cooks, slice the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Once the rice is tender and the liquid in the pan is absorbed, add the chicken to the pan and stir to combine. Add the cream and cheese. Stir continuously until the cheese has melted. If needed, add another tablespoon of cream to thin the sauce if yours is too thick.
- I tested this recipe several times using a 10-inch skillet. If you use a different sized skillet you may need to adjust the amount of chicken stock so that the rice cooks properly.
- A note about salt: I found the only added salt the dish needs is the amount needed to generously season the chicken before cooking it because the chicken stock I used had plenty of salt in it already. That said, depending on the kind of chicken stock you use it’s always a good practice to taste as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- The leftovers keep well in the refrigerator up to a day or so. To reheat, just pop them in the microwave. If needed, add a little bit of cream to reactivate the creaminess.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/3 of Recipe
- Calories: 537
- Sugar: 8.1g
- Fat: 29.9g
- Carbohydrates: 30.9g
- Fiber: 6.3g
- Protein: 36.2g
Keywords: one-pan creamy chicken and rice, cheesy chicken and recipe recipe