Turmeric Chicken and Rice Casserole

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A chicken and rice casserole – with a healthy, turmeric twist! It’s just what you need for an all-in-one easy dinner that’s full of comforting flavors. Plus, it serves as a great balance of protein, carbs, and sneaky veggies. A win all around.

Turmeric chicken and rice casserole

Turmeric Chicken And Rice Casserole – A Healthy, Weeknight Favorite

There are chicken and rice casseroles, and then there’s this turmeric chicken and rice casserole, which, I think you’ll agree is an elevated version. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner idea that nestles whole chicken breasts into the most vibrant golden rice that’s infused with warm and earthy flavors plus some sneaky grated carrot for a veggie boost.

The whole thing bakes together in the oven, and when it’s done, you simply have to fluff the rice, scoop out a chicken breast and serve it up! It’s easy and super delicious with curry-like flavors. Yes, turmeric can easily be added to a variety of recipes for anti-inflammatory boost!

Ingredients for a turmeric chicken and rice casserole on a table.

What You Need For This Chicken Casserole Recipe

The name of this recipe says it all. But it’s the turmeric spin and little additions that makes this chicken and rice casserole so much better than the classic. In my opinion, it’s the perfect combo of fresh and warming flavors.

  • Onion & Garlic: I like to use sweet yellow onions, but white onions will also work. You’ll also need a generous amount of garlic (of course).
  • Turmeric & Ginger: The ultimate duo that gives this casserole a super healthy, antioxidant boost, and a punch of deliciously warm flavors.
  • Cumin: Cumin is a great spice that pairs well with turmeric and ginger, helping to bring out the curry-like flavors.
  • Coconut Milk: Make sure to grab a can (not carton) of full-fat coconut milk. The canned version helps to add moisture to the chicken and rice as it cooks.
  • Basmati Rice: After a few test runs with different types of rice, I found that basmati rice tastes the best as it stays light and fluffy. But you could also use an alternate long-grain white rice, like jasmine rice. You can read more about the differences in this how to cook rice post.
  • Carrot: Just one large carrot is needed for a sneaky veggie boost.
  • Lime: Opt for fresh lime juice instead of the bottled version!
  • Cilantro: This is used for garnish at the end, and feel free to add more per serving if you love cilantro, like I do! If you don’t love cilantro, you can swap it with parsley.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How To Make This Chicken and Rice Casserole

A full meal that’s made in just one hour? Heck yes! All this casserole really needs is a bit of prep work, some sautéing, and a little baking. Just make sure to use a 9×13-inch baking dish to give enough room for everything to cook evenly. Lightly grease it up and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) to get started.

Cook the spiced onion mixture. Sauté the chopped onions for 3 to 4 minutes (or until translucent) in a separate skillet. Add the garlic, turmeric, salt, pepper, ginger, and cumin, and stir for another 30 seconds. Then pour in the coconut milk and gently stir until the mixture is smooth.

Add everything into the casserole pan. Transfer the creamy onion mix into the casserole pan, along with the water, rice, carrot, and lime juice. Stir it all together until combined, then add the chicken breasts on top. And to give the chicken breasts a bit more flavor, spoon the creamy liquid over them or flip them with tongs.

Bake away. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The rice should be perfectly tender and the chicken juicy and cooked through. If not, let it cook for a few more minutes!

Garnish it up! Fluff up the rice, season the chicken with extra salt and pepper, and sprinkle with lots of fresh cilantro before serving.

A plate of turmeric chicken and rice casserole

Storage & Meal Prep Tips

Casseroles always makes for a great meal prep recipes. You can portion it out for the week, or freeze it to enjoy a month later whenever you’re staring at a blank fridge. So here’s how to properly store it.

  • To store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
  • To freeze: You can freeze a leftover portion by storing in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

Chicken And Rice Casserole Recipe Video

More Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas

You can always count on chicken breast for a healthy meal. But avoid rubbery breasts that lack flavor with any of these reader favorite chicken breast recipes!

Just getting into turmeric? This chicken and rice casserole is a great start – plus it’s super delicious for a healthy dinner. If you make it, I’d love to hear what you think in a comment below!

A dish filled a turmeric chicken and rice casserole

Turmeric Chicken and Rice Casserole

4.91 from 118 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This easy chicken and rice casserole has a delicious and healthy turmeric twist! It's just what you need for an easy dinner idea loaded with flavor.

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) full fat coconut milk
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 ¼ cup long grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • roughly chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly grease a 9×13-inch casserole pan.
    A greased pan for turmeric chicken and rice casserole
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until slightly translucent.
    A pan of sauteed onions for turmeric chicken and rice casserole
  • Add the garlic, turmeric, salt, pepper, ginger, and cumin, and stir for another 30 seconds. Then add the canned coconut milk and gently stir until there's no longer lumpy coconut milk bits. Transfer the mixture to the casserole pan.
    Stirring coconut mixture in pan for turmeric chicken and rice casserole
  • Add the water, rice, carrot, and lime juice to the casserole pan, and stir together.
    Pan with turmeric chicken and rice casserole ingredients
  • Nestle the chicken breasts on top of the rice mixture (I like to coat both sides of the chicken breast in the liquid for more flavor). Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.
    A baking dish with turmeric chicken and rice casserole ingredients.
  • Before serving, fluff the rice with a fork, season the chicken with additional salt and pepper, and sprinkle with cilantro.
    A baking dish of turmeric and chicken and rice casserole

Lisa’s Tips

  • For those who prefer boneless skinless chicken thighs, simply swap them out! Just note thighs might cook a little faster than chicken breasts, depending on how thick they are.

Nutrition

Calories: 593kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 744mg | Potassium: 853mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2595IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken and rice, Chicken and Rice Casserole, Turmeric Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




293 Comments

  1. This dish is a favorite in our household. It’s healthy, filling, and packed with flavor (without being too spicy). It also makes excellent leftovers!4 stars

  2. Have made this several times and it’s always delicious, in fact it’s one of our favorite dinners. I like to add a 1/2-1 teaspoon curry with the rest of the spices, and a generous amount of fresh spinach to the bottom of the pan. Thank you for this recipe!5 stars

  3. This was sooo tasty!! Family LOVED it! Definitely making this again. We used brown rice instead of long grain because we didn’t have any. Two thumbs way up.5 stars

      1. If I wanted to make this ahead of time as a freezer meal could I prepare it up to the point of baking but freeze it instead? Then pull it out the night before to unthaw before baking?
        Or how would you recommend doing that?

  4. This recipe is a favorite at my house. When I made it this past week I was out of carrots so I substituted broccoli. I liked the added green veggie but missed the carrot sweetness.

  5. Hi Lisa,
    Could boneless skinless chicken thighs be used? If so what is any adjustments to the recipe would you do?

  6. This recipe is so easy and so yummy. It is a hit with young and old, and has become a staple recipe. I have made this with chicken breast, chicken thighs, jumbo shrimp, sole, and salmon and it has always been delicious. I will eventually try using lamb or pork chops, and sausage.5 stars

  7. I loved this recipe is very refreshing and it tastes really good!! BUT I don’t know why the rice was still hard. :( and I left it 50 min and I used Jasmin rice. what I did wrong?5 stars

  8. I have tried four of your recipes and love them all.
    If a recipe calls for olive oil or coconut oil to sauté. Is it okay to use avocado oil?5 stars

    1. This is my new favorite recipe! I have made it 3 times and feeds me for multiple meals. Easy to pack and reheat in my glass containers and the microwave at work. Stands alone and is sooooo pleasing. I do the recipe as written, as usual though, I double the garlic.5 stars

  9. Another of my favs! I often mix up the liquid the day before so I can throw this together quickly. I also add partially cooked broccoli. Great flavor and is a perfect meal to bring to someone recovering.

    1. Hi Kimberly – yes, you can use avocado oil. And thighs might cook at a different rate, so you may need to just watch the cook time and casserole a bit more closely.

  10. Made this last night. YUMMO! So good and now I have meals for a few days! The recipe is fantastic as written, easy, and delicious. This is such a solid base recipe that I thought next time I may try adding more veggies and no meat for a great side dish or a meatless meal, or maybe chicken thighs instead of breast. Just love this… thanks, Lisa!5 stars

    1. Thanks Linda! I’m happy you loved this recipe. And yes, it would be great with more veggies as well. Have fun with it!

  11. This was the first time I tried this recipe and overall, I’m a big fan. The flavor is good and it was certainly easy. I added about 2 cups of kale to get some greens in there, and with that needed more liquid than was called for. Pre-bake I added another ¾ cup of water, and post bake it was pretty dry so I added a cup of chicken broth.4 stars

  12. This is my go-to recipe, I make it every 4-6 weeks. But pretty soon I’m leaving for my winter in Florida, in an RV. The oven does not work well. Can I somehow “crockpot” this? Any ideas?5 stars

  13. I just made this for the first time tonight, and it won’t be the last! My husband, 2 year old and myself all love it.
    I just made your sautéed cabbage recipe 2 days ago and had some extra raw cabbage sliced up, so I threw that in there too! It was amazing and I’m always so amazed at how easy your recipes are.
    We’re excited to try something new next week too!5 stars