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Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice Recipe

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Just as creamy and delicious as the original, this Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice will make you feel like you’re sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch with a smile on your face. My Chicken and Rice Casserole easy recipe is made healthy too and feeds 2-3 or double for a family.

Who doesn’t love Cracker Barrel with all of their perfect southern comfort food, right? The biscuits and gravy, cornbread, or chicken and dumplings. And the copycat recipes are divine as well.

If that’s you, then you will 100% LOVE my Biscuits and Gravy Casserole and Best Sweet Cornbread Recipe (Buttermilk Cornbread. or this delicious Kentucky Butter Cake.

Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice Recipe on black plate with cream charger and silver fork, served with green beans.

I found an old copy of the original Cracker Barrel recipe in my recipe box, I used to make it all the time — so this is as real of a Copycat recipe as it get’s — I just made it a bit healthier using organic canned soup.

Why You Will Love this Recipe

  • A Family Favorite | Casserole dishes are America’s family favorite dish because they’re quick and easy recipes that will help stretch your budget any night of the week.
  • Leftovers | The creamy chicken is so yummy whether served straight from the oven or warmed up as leftovers. That full flavor is still there! 
  • Simply Good | If you’re like me, you love simple recipes…something that you can whip up during the week without a lot of fuss and that the whole family will love too. 

Simple Ingredients for Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice Recipe

For the full recipe and instructions, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Labeled ingredients for Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and rice
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken | You can use fresh or frozen chicken. Thighs will give you that tender and moist meat, and boneless chicken breasts are leaner, of course, and offer less fat. You can always do half and half. I used thighs in the gravy, chicken tenderloins for the main dish.
  • Cream of Mushroom (or Chicken) Soup | Organic soup makes it gluten-free, MSG free and a much healthier choice.
  • Onion | Yellow or white, either one works. 
  • Garlic Powder | The powder gives it an intense garlicky flavor. 
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper | Seasoned to a perfect taste. 
  • Mushrooms | I love fresh but canned works just as well and is what is in the original recipe.
  • Chicken Bouillon | Better Than Bouillon is how you want to go for more flavor and less salt to a perfect chicken broth or chicken stock.
  • Water | Water is used to thin out the sauce slightly, so all the flavors are soaked up!
  • Chicken Tenderloins | Again, fresh or frozen tenderloins work for this chicken recipe. 
  • Cooked Rice | Use brown rice or white rice, whichever you prefer. I made it with white rice and ¼ cup of wild rice tossed in.

Healthy Twist

  • Substitute the rice with riced cauliflower for lower carbs, try it with quinoa or farro too!
  • To get added veggies in your family, next time, add fresh broccoli and stir in the chicken mixture before baking.
  • Organic cream of mushroom or chicken soup is definitely the way to go! No nasty ingredients here, but still easy.

How to Make Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice Recipe

Begin making your casserole by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.

Fresh Tip If Using A Countertop Oven

If you have a Breville SmartOven or similar use it. It worked great and didn’t heat up the house! Set rack to second lowest level; set on Bake > Convection > 325 degrees. Reduce time by 5-7 minutes or so until golden and bubbly and chicken reaches 165 degrees F.

First, cook your rice and chop and dice the chicken, onion, and mushrooms to make it easy to assemble. This is a great way to use leftover rice, if using leftover rice, reheat before serving.

Using a small baking dish (about 2 quarts or so), spray the entire thing with cooking oil or non-stick spray. Then lay the tenderloins along the bottom. It’s okay to overlap it if you need to. 

Take a medium bowl and pour in the cream of mushroom soup with the chicken thigh meat. Then whisk in the sliced (diced) mushrooms, chopped onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and bouillon. Stir it constantly until it’s all mixed together well; you certainly don’t want any lumps or clumps here.

Now stir in the water to thin out the gravy a bit. You want it creamy and pourable but not super thin and runny. The gravy will naturally thin out as it cooks. 

Pour the gravy mixture over the chicken tenderloins and bake it uncovered until it’s golden and bubbly. Depending on your oven, it should be 40-50 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 165F. Convection will be ready in about 35-40 minutes.

Place 2-3 tenderloins over about a ½ – 3/4 cup of hot rice and pour gravy on top of the chicken. It makes about two – four servings. 

Fresh Tips for Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice Recipe

  • If you’re using frozen chicken, reduce the water by 2 tablespoons (use 3-4) as the chicken thaws it will release water and you don’t want your chicken gravy too thin.
  • This broccoli casserole dish is ideal for combining the ingredients and baking at a later time. Don’t add the chicken until you’re ready to cook, though. 
  • Vegetables are an added bonus, but you don’t want them to be mushy. Don’t overcook them. If they’re soft veggies, add about halfway through the baking process.
  • If you want to make this recipe in the slow cooker, you can place it all in the slow cooker, cooking on LOW 4 hours. If a golden topping is desired, transfer to a casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbly.
Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice Recipe with wooden spoon in casserole dish, spooning out chicken and gravy.

Variations & Substitutions

  • If you’re using regular cream of mushroom or chicken soup, meaning it’s not organic, DO NOT add the extra bouillon flavoring. Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup adds a lot of flavor, however; you also get undesirable ingredients.
  • Use milk or chicken broth in place of water for a creamier, even more flavorful dish.
  • You can replace the garlic powder and Kosher salt with ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Make it even simpler. Stir the cooked rice into the gravy before pouring it over the chicken. Then bake it all together until it’s bubbly and golden brown. 
  • Crush Ritz crackers in a baggie and sprinkle cheddar cheese and crackers on top before baking this yummy Southern chicken and rice recipe.
  • Double the recipe | it will serve 6-8 people. If you double, use one cream of mushroom and one cream of chicken soup.
  • Veggies | Add broccoli florets (frozen or fresh), frozen or canned green beans, frozen or canned peas to the gravy before baking.
Wooden spoon with chicken tenderloin spooning onto rice.

What to Serve with Southern Chicken and Rice Recipe

Spooning on chicken gravy over cracker barrel chicken and rice recipe.

Storage Tips

As stated earlier, this recipe makes for great leftovers! Cover with aluminum foil or place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 

If you want to freeze your leftovers of southern chicken and rice recipe, make sure to read the FAQs below for key tips. 

Fork with tender piece of chicken, mushrooms and gravy with plate of chicken and rice in background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze my casserole?

If the chicken has been thoroughly cooked, you can freeze your cooled casserole in a freezer-proof container. It’s best to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. 
Line with parchment paper or foil to quickly transfer it from your baking dish to a freezer container. Freeze and then transfer. 

Does it matter what kind of dish I use to bake the casserole?

If you like crispier casseroles, use a thinner aluminum pan. For creamier ones, glass or ceramic baking dishes work well. 

Can I use other proteins instead of chicken?

Great idea- sausage with a Cajun seasoning would spice it up and give you sort of a jambalaya flavor. 
Try using sautéd ground chicken or turkey, if you are sautéing be sure to add the onions and mushrooms to the mixture as well, you will only need to heat about 20-30 minutes in the oven.
Shrimp is another tasty option. Shrimp cooks quicker than chicken, of course, so you need to adjust your time or add the shrimp part through the cooking process. 

What if I cannot find chicken tenderloins?

You may substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the tenderloins, slice into 1 inch slices and layer on bottom of dish, cooking as planned. 1 large chicken breast or 2 smaller breasts may be used.

Casserole dish filled with creamy Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice recipe with wooden spoon.

Like This Easy Recipe? Try These, too.

If you are a casserole or one-dish meal lover, check out these:

Best Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice recipe on black plate with green beans and a pretty fork on the side.

This recipe is perfect for two, you may have one extra serving, but otherwise it’s perfect for two! If desired, this recipe freezes well. Be sure to check out my post on to to freeze anything with cream soup in it and reheating tips.

Casserole dishes are one of the easiest meals to make. You can add a variety of flavors and textures. Just be careful to adjust cooking times if needed or add veggies later in the process, so they don’t become mushy. 

Pin for Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice Recipe with image of creamy chicken tenderloins and chicken gravy on a bed of rice with green beans, on a pretty black plate with antique silver spoon.

I hope you loved this Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice recipe! If so, be sure to comment and rate it below!

Like this recipe?
Don’t forget to give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and comment below the recipe!

Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. 5 stars
    Love the ease of this recipe and the tips for making it healthier. We added petite peas {love the pop of green and flavor they add}. I’ve never had this at Cracker Barrel, but I’m pretty sure this homemade version is better!

  2. 5 stars
    This was great all 4 of my children loved it and asked to have it put in the dinner rotation. Could not have been easier with frozen chicken. Came home from work had it in the oven in less then 10 minutes. Used cambells cream of mushroom. My wife is second generation organic farmer and we always have a chuckle at things like organic cream of. But if you want to spend your money on that and then need to flavor it. Then to each thier own. This was a super easy great tasting recipe thank you for sharing it

  3. 5 stars
    When you are looking for a homestyle meal just like you can get at Cracker Barrel, this easy chicken and rice recipe is just what you need.

  4. 5 stars
    What a great recipe I am sure we are going to love thisbig cracker barrel fans and since the prices are all sky high this will be a new favorites

  5. 5 stars
    This chicken is my favorite recipe at Cracker Barrel and I was so excited to find it on your site. I’ve made it twice already and it’s even better!

  6. 5 stars
    We LOVE this recipe! That Better Than Bouillon Chicken Bouillon takes this thing to the next level- definitely don’t skip it. My husband wants me to make it again next week! 10 stars!!

  7. 5 stars
    Followed your recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly! I had this once at Cracker Barrel on a road trip and was so excited to find the recipe! Thanks!

  8. 5 stars
    OBSESSED with this chicken and rice recipe! Made it tonight for my family, and there are hardly any leftovers! Will definitely make it again!

  9. 5 stars
    We haven’t been out to eat in quite some time but this was even better than what I remember from the restaurant! Love this classic comfort food dish!

  10. 5 stars
    This was easy to make and the family loved it. I added broccoli, and I love all the suggestions on how to change it up. Thanks for the hard work!