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This Cranberry Chicken and Rice is made in completely in the oven in just one pan! Featuring juicy chicken thighs baked with tart fresh cranberries, fluffy rice and flavorful seasonings. This recipe for chicken with cranberries is healthy, delicious and perfect for any occasion!

Overhead photo of Baked Orange Cranberry Chicken & Rice in a white casserole dish garnished with orange slices and fresh thyme with a ramekin of cranberries, neutral linen, stack of plates, knife and carving fork arranged around the dish.

Update: This post was originally published in December 2018. I made edits to the post below to include more information about cranberry baked chicken. Plus, I added a recipe video to show you how easy this chicken and rice is to make!

See that photo above?! Say hello to your new favorite winter family dinner, my friends!

Seriously, dinner does not get any better than this chicken and rice!

Crazy easy to throw together, packed with flavor and utterly delicious, todays recipe is perfect for any and every occasion! Whether you serve this as a quick weeknight family dinner or to guests while entertaining, this cranberry chicken is sure to be a winner, winner chicken dinner!

Overhead photo of a small food processor bowl filled with the ingredients to make orange cranberry marinade - step 1 of the Baked Orange Cranberry Chicken & Rice recipe.

About this recipe for chicken with cranberries 

Tender, juicy, moist cranberry and orange marinated chicken thighs baked with fluffy, nutty basmati rice studded with aromatic onions and fragrant garlic.

Strewn with juicy, tart balsamic glazed cranberries and garnished with bright orange slices and earthy thyme, this is not your average, run of the mill chicken with rice!

If you’re looking for more easy and delicious baked chicken dinners, try these next: chicken with figsbaked chicken with brussels sprouts, and chicken with sun dried tomatoes.

Overhead photo of skinless chicken thighs soaked with an orange cranberry marinade in a large glass bowl - step 2 of the Baked Orange Cranberry Chicken & Rice recipe.

How to make cranberry chicken rice?

This easy chicken and rice is made in one pan and incredibly simple to prepare!

  1. Make the marinade: In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add all of the ingredients for the marinade along with 2 cloves of garlic (whole, peeled) and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Blend until combined and smooth.
  2. Marinate the chicken: Add the chicken to a large zip-closure bag or large mixing bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken, tossing to evenly coat the chicken. Transfer the chicken to the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large (10×13-inch) baking dish.
  4. Bake the onions and garlic:  Add the onions and minced garlic to the prepared baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until onions are softened and translucent in color.
  5. Add rice and liquid:  Remove baking dish from the oven and add the rice. Stir to combine. Pour the broth, water and wine evenly over the rice. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on top of the rice.
  6. Cover and bake: Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile marinate cranberries: In a small bowl, toss together the cranberries, sugar and balsamic. Set aside
  8. Remove foil and add cranberries: Remove foil from baking dish and spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray. Use a slotted spoon to sprinkle cranberries over the chicken. Return to the oven and continue to bake (uncovered) for 22-28 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. (OPTIONAL – Switch oven to broil during the last 3-4 minutes of baking. Making sure to watch the chicken closely to prevent burning.). Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
  9. To serve: Transfer chicken to serving plates and use a fork to fluff rice in baking dish before serving. Garnish as desired and serve. Enjoy!

Tips for the best chicken with cranberries

  1. This baked chicken and rice recipe calls for bone-in and skin-off chicken thighs. You can either ask the butcher to peel the skin off the chicken thighs for you, or do it yourself as it is really easy! You need to remove the skin from the thighs for this recipe or the rice will become very greasy.
  2. You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs if you would like, however you will need to alter the cook time slightly by partially baking the rice before adding the chicken. I have included instructions in the notes section of the recipe below.
  3. The chicken has the most flavor if allowed to sit in the orange cranberry marinade overnight, however you can get away with marinating the chicken for as little as 30 minutes.
  4. While I used basmati rice for this dish, you can use any variety of long grain rice.

Step-by-step photos: making chicken cranberries recipe 

FAQs: frequently asked questions

How to bake chicken with cranberries and rice together?

Baking chicken and rice together in one pan is super simple and a great option for hectic, busy weeknight dinners!

To cook chicken and rice together, first lightly brown the diced garlic and onion right in the casserole dish in the oven. Next, add the rice and liquids and place the chicken on top of the rice. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and continue to bake until the chicken is fully cooked and the liquid is absorbed.

Voilà! Fluffy rice and succulent chicken!

How long to bake chicken with cranberry rice?

Chicken and rice take approximately 55 minutes to bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F (or 180 degrees C).

If you are baking chicken thighs and rice, both will take the full 55 minutes. If you are baking chicken breasts and rice, you will need to bake the rice partially first (for 30 minutes), then add the chicken and continue to bake 20-25 minutes.

Angled photo of a white wine being poured into a white casserole dish filled with rice, baked diced onions, minced garlic, salt and pepper - step 5 of the Baked Orange Cranberry Chicken & Rice recipe.

Nutritional information

Is cranberry chicken and rice healthy?

Yes, this baked chicken with rice is healthy!

While the recipe does utilize chicken thighs, the skin is removed prior to cooking to keep this dish high in protein and low in unnecessary fats. If you are looking to make the chicken portion of this dish even healthier, you can substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you will need to reduce the cooking time.

As well, this baked chicken and rice calls for basmati rice which is high in fiber and significantly lower in saturated fats than other types of rice, making it diet-friendly.

And, if all that health wasn’t enough, this chicken and rice is served with super food cranberries! Cranberries are low in calories and packed with disease-fighting antioxidants.

Unlike so many other recipes for chicken and rice casserole, this is a dish you can feel good about eating!

Overhead photo of a white casserole dish filled with marinated chicken, rice, liquid, diced onions, minced garlic, salt and pepper prior to baking - step 6 of the Baked Orange Cranberry Chicken & Rice recipe.

Serving baked chicken with cranberries

This easy chicken and rice recipe is baked and served with long-grained rice. While I used basamati rice, you can use any variety of long-grained rice you would like!

Looking to serve something alongside this baked chicken and rice dish? Here are some delicious side options:

  • Roasted vegetables (brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots or cauliflower are my favorite pairings)
  • Autumn or winter salad
  • Potatoes (roasted, baked or mashed)
  • Light soup

More recipes with cranberries!

Lean into cranberry season and serve your chicken dinner with more cranberries:

Overhead photo of brown sugar and fresh cranberries drizzled with balsamic vinegar in a small glass bowl - step 7 of the Baked Orange Cranberry Chicken & Rice recipe.

What are you waiting for?! Add this easy Chicken and Rice bake to your winter dinner rotation post haste!

Until next week friends, cheers – to next level chicken and rice!

Cheyanne

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Overhead photo of Baked Orange Cranberry Chicken & Rice on a white plate with a pair of hands holding a knife and fork off to the sides of the plate.

More chicken with rice dinners!

If you’re looking for more easy, restaurant-quality chicken dinners try these family favorites next:

The best chicken with cranberries recipe (plus step by step video!)👇

Baked Chicken & Rice

5 from 11 votes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
This Orange Cranberry Baked Chicken & Rice is made in entirely in the oven in just one pan!  This juicy, tangy chicken with tart cranberries and fluffy rice is healthy, delicious and perfect for any occasion!

Equipment

  • Food Processor or Stand Blender
  • Large Bowl or Zip-Closure Bag
  • 10x13-inch Baking Dish
  • Aluminum Foil

Ingredients 

  • 6 Chicken Thighs - Bone In & Skin Off (SEE NOTES)
  • 1 Sweet Onion - Diced
  • 4 large cloves Garlic divided – 2 cloves finely diced & 2 peeled, whole
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ Cups Basamati Rice
  • 1 ½ Cup Reduced-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • ¼ Cup White Wine - OPTIONAL, or use hot water
  • 1 ¼ Cup fresh Cranberries
  • 2 TBS Brown Sugar - packed (I used light brown sugar)
  • 2 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper

Marinade:

Optional for serving: Fresh thyme, Fresh Rosemary, Orange Slices

Instructions

  • Make the marinade: In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add all the marinade ingredients along with 2 cloves of garlic (whole, peeled) and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Blend until combined and smooth.
  • Marinate the chicken: Add the chicken to a large zip-closure bag or large mixing bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken, tossing to evenly coat the chicken. Transfer the chicken to the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large (10x13-inch) baking dish.
  • Bake the onions and garlic:  Add the onions and minced garlic to the prepared baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until onions are softened and translucent in color.
  • Add rice and liquid:  Remove baking dish from the oven and add the rice. Stir to combine. Pour the broth, water and wine evenly over the rice. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on top of the rice.
  • Cover and bake: Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
  • Meanwhile marinate cranberries: In a small bowl, toss together the cranberries, sugar and balsamic. Set aside
  • Remove foil and add cranberries: Remove foil from baking dish and spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray. Use a slotted spoon to sprinkle cranberries over the chicken. Return to the oven and continue to bake (uncovered) for 22-28 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. (OPTIONAL – Switch oven to broil during the last 3-4 minutes of baking. Making sure to watch the chicken closely to prevent burning.). Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • To serve: Transfer chicken to serving plates and use a fork to fluff rice in baking dish before serving. Garnish as desired and serve. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  1. This baked chicken and rice recipe calls for bone-in and skin-off chicken thighs.  You can either ask the butcher to peel the skin off the chicken thighs for you, or do it yourself as it is really easy!  You need to remove the skin from the thighs for this recipe or the rice will become very greasy.
  2. You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs if you would like, however you will need to alter the cook time slightly.  Follow the recipe instructions cooking the onions and garlic and then add the rice and liquids.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and discard the foil.  Top the partially baked rice with the chicken and bake (uncovered) for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid is absorbed.
  3. The chicken has the most flavor if allowed to sit in the orange cranberry marinade overnight, however you can get away with marinating the chicken for as little as 30 minutes.
  4. While I used basamati rice for this dish, you can use any variety of long grain rice.
Recipe Serves:  4-6 people
Nutritional Information is an approximation and based upon 6 servings.

Nutrition

Calories: 504kcal    Carbohydrates: 59g    Protein: 27g    Fat: 17g    Saturated Fat: 3g    Cholesterol: 107mg    Sodium: 130mg    Potassium: 542mg    Fiber: 4g    Sugar: 18g    Vitamin A: 48IU    Vitamin C: 10mg    Calcium: 48mg    Iron: 2mg

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