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Chicken and Yellow Rice.. HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!!

Every time I make chicken and yellow rice it messes up. I boil a whole chicken and then debone it. I take two bags of family size yellow rice (vigo). I bring 10 cups of my chicken stock to a boil and then add my rice. I cook for a 1 min then add my chicken and cover. I turn the heat down to simmer (side note if it matters it's a gas stove) and cook for 35 min. The rice is always hard and mushy. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? I have no problems with white rice but my husband loves the yellow. Any tips?

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    1. re: C. Hamster

      Why not do it like the Cubans do, it is a Cuban dish. Saute the chicken first. do not boil it. Get it nice and brown, take out of skillet and saute your onions,green peppers and garlic. Put over the chicken and in same pan add white wine,saffron,salt,bay leaf chicken broth and rice. Bring to a boil Pour over chicken in casserole, cover and bake.

      That's how to get good chicken and yellow rice.

      1. re: Bebes

        Great idea with the saffron. The OP could also do a Risotto Milanese. Very yellow and creamy good.

    2. What do the directions say to do? Sometimes you do have to follow them precisely...

      1. How can it be both hard and mushy? Are some pieces hard and some mushy?

        1. I always fry my rice in olive oil before adding the water

          1. Have you tried cooking the yellow without the chicken? In other words try to solve the problem in steps.

            I suspect by 'hard and mushy' you mean that rice at the bottom, especially under chicken pieces is mushy, while rice at the top is hard. So some of the rice has been pressed down and over cooked, while other parts did not have enough contact with the liquid and steam.

            Cooking rice evenly with additions like meat is always trickier than plain rice.

            One possibility is that the proportion of chicken is too high, pressing on some, while shielding other parts from cooking.

            1 Reply
            1. re: paulj

              A big bed of well cooked yellow rice, maybe with some peas and pimentos with pan roasted chicken on top is one way.

              when mixing shredded chicken with the yellow rice at the onset baking in the oven is another way to get more even heating.

            2. I wouldn't add the deboned chicken (it's already cooked). I would follow the rice bag's directions for liquid proportions and cooking time. When I cook white rice I only simmer for 15 min. and then let it rest covered off the heat for five min. I've never cooked yellow but imagine it's the same. Good luck.

              1. how much rice is that? is there enough liquid?

                am unsure why you're putting a cooked chicken on top of uncooked rice? it's going to press down unevenly on the rice.

                i usually boil rice for about 5 minutes or so, turn off the heat, but leave it covered to finish for about 20-30 mins.

                1. I do it a different way. Separately (same pan, serially) I brown large chunks of boneless chicken breast and saute onions, red or green peppers, and mushrooms. I then sort of layer all of this in a very big Corningware casserole with raw rice, saffron strewed about, frozen green peas, some olives, and water or chicken stock, with salt. I use water or stock to cover the rice, as full as I can get the dish. Cover very tightly with foil and bake 60-90 minutes but watch it. You may have to add more water or stock but you don't want standing liquid in it when you're done, and you want the rice grains done but not split. Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan. BTW once in a vacation rental in Portugal I had only a microwave, no range top at all, and made this without the saute-ing step and it was not as pretty but quite tasty and it went really well with Vinho Verde.

                  Trying making your rice yellow with saffron. That way your rice is the real thing and has a delicate flavor. Trader Joe's is a good place to get saffron.

                  1. Are you using a big enough pot? And why are you cooking it for so long? Rice doesn't take 35 minutes to cook on the stove. It should only take 20-25 minutes. Do you stir it at all?

                    I have never used those prepackaged yellow rice packs, but I would follow the directions, and mix in the chicken towards the end.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: boogiebaby

                      Now I am the go to person for using Pre-packaged seasoned

                      yellow Rice.Tony's and Zataran's have all the seasoning I

                      need.I love that the a box of this delicious rice cost me

                      less at Winco.

                    2. I wouldn't start with cooked chicken. You'll end up with dried-out fluff.

                      This is a good recipe for the process -- brown the chicken and pull it out to the side, stir-fry the rice for a few minutes, add the liquid, then put the chicken back in and let it simmer.

                      Just for what it's worth, I've never had good luck with Vigo -- as popular as it is, it's never given me rice that we all just love.

                      Instead, I use the Mahatma yellow rice mix (family size) or I use white rice and sazon (I use Badia's Sazon Tropical) like in this recipe.

                      (If you use the Mahatma or Vigo, you do need to leave out the other spices...)


                      1. The first thing I'd look at it the size and type of pot you are using. Just to amplify the point let's say the pot is really tall but really narrow across. That's going to effect how the rice cooks. Important point: I once saw a HUGE rice pilaf being made for an entire village. The special pan was about ten inches high and TEN FEET across! If you want to make a lot a rice try a heavy gauge short but WIDE pan with a good lid. Otherwise do what I do. I have a little electric rice cooker. When I need to make a lot of rice I just pre-make it in a few batches. The little cooker has made all types of rice and coccus and kinwa perfectly every time. When I read that someone has "boiled" a chicken my heart sinks but that's not for now.

                        1. It's hard to say, "hard and mushy" seems to be a contradiction. Maybe you could be a bit more descriptive of the texture.
                          Also, 35 minutes is a long time, unless you are living on a mountaintop. :)
                          The website for the product states to cook it for only 20-25 minutes, so I am not sure why you are cooking it for 35 minutes. That would certainly affect the outcome.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: wyogal

                            In a sense, rice only cooks as long as there is water. Once it has absorbed all the water, it is done, whether that is 20 minutes or 35. After that it toasts or burns.

                            However, I will qualify that a bit - rice usually benefits from a sitting period, during which steam in the covered pot further softens the rice, and evens out the cooking. That especially helps the rice at the top can be dry and undercooked.

                            I have an old rice cooker that does just that. It cooks the rice on high until the water has been absorbed, and the temperature at the bottom starts to rise. Then a thermostat kicks in and switches the power to low. Instructions are to hold the rice another 15 minutes before serving.

                            An Indian way of cooking rice with meat is to partially cook the rice (boil in lots of water and then drain). Then layer it with the cooked meat and cover. Let the combination finish over low heat.

                            Paella is a Spanish way of cooking rice with meat, that uses the wide pan idea. That allows for a lot of evaporation, which means you may have to add more stock along the way. And if your heat isn't even, rice around the rim can remain raw. The Spanish also cook rice with meat in deeper pots, but in those cases it is left wetter (melloso) or even soupy (caldoso).

                            1. re: paulj

                              I'm just saying that her rice may not be turning out because she is cooking it too long according to the package directions, that's all.

                            1. Yep, I looked at the cooking directions on the package at the store (just got back), not sure why you are cooking it for 35 minutes, it clearly states a shorter cooking time.

                              1. - Speaking from experience, try using a wider pot rather than a deep pot (a wide pot more evenly distributes liquid), especially when cooking a lot of rice.

                                - turn your heat down to the lowest setting.

                                - try not to uncover the rice while cooking. After it has cooked, turn off the heat and leave the cover one for about 15 minutes or so.

                                - add the chicken after cooking the rice.

                                1. According to the Vigo instructions, it only needs to be simmered for 22- 25 minutes.

                                  There are 3 things that could affect your results.

                                  If the pan is too small, that would cause very inconsistent results. If you are adding an entire chicken to the rice, I would think you would need a covered pan of more than 3 quart capacity. There should still be plenty of room in that pan when the rice is cooked. If not get a bigger pan. I would be tempted to use my 5 quart, enameled, cast iron dutch oven.

                                  If the lid doesn't properly seal, steam would escape and result in very inconsistent cooking. If steam is escaping from under the lid and the liquid isn't boiling to fast, your lid isn't sealing.

                                  If you turn the heat down too low to properly simmer. Turn down the heat to a simmer before putting the lid on. It should go from a rapid boil to a very few bubbles forming. Let it simmer for 25 minutes then take it off flame and let it steep for 5 minutes, covered.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                    Brown the chicken well. pour out the excess fat, add the rice and vegs (if you put them in there) Brown the rice and veg in the oil.

                                    you should just add enough liquid to come to the first knuckle of your index finger - one inch.

                                    Also, after it's cooked, let it sit covered for at least 10 minutes... no peaking.

                                    I got these tips from Daisy Marteniz and they work. Though getting chicken and rice perfect is one of the more difficult things in cooking IMHO.

                                    Also, Many people swear by par-boiled rice hope this helps.

                                    1. re: sparky403

                                      If you don't put in the veggies or chicken stock it will not be Yellow Rice and Chicken. The part about the first knuckle for the water level is good for cooking rice-Asians
                                      cook rice this way but with the chicken in there it throws the liquid level off. Best you use 2x the amount of liquid to
                                      the amount of rice. Your also correct in keeping the rice covered and letting it sit the 10 minutes. Makes it soft and fluffy. There is a wonderful recipe for Yellow Rice and Chicken on the Columbia Restaurant site to check out.
                                      comes out perfect and wonderful every time.

                                  2. Me, too! The only thing I have been able to surmise after much contemplation is that perhaps there is so much fat/oil in my chicken stock that it coats the rice and it renders the rice unable to absorb enough water? I cook my whole chicken in a crock pot, then use the liquid for the rice, but my rice is usually undercooked. I don't put the chicken in with my rice until after it has cooked. I have tried several brands of rice, using Uncle Ben's with saffron and have even tried adding additional liquid and cooking the rice longer. Nothing seems to help. I wrote to Vigo and asked what I was doing wrong, but did not get a reply. I am going with C. Hamster's advice. I love Cuban food and did not even know arroz con pollo was made partially in the oven. Yum!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: ChickE

                                      first thing is to walk away from the Vigo rice dinner. It has a nice flavor, but it's really sticky and I've never gotten it to come out any other way.

                                      Try Mahatma yellow rice mix -- it's a good one -- or try Sazon Tropical by Badia. (I use the Sazon Tropical, as it doesn't have MSG)

                                      Here's the direct link to my instructions above: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8857...

                                      1. re: ChickE

                                        You can fry rice in a decent amount of oil and then add water and it should cook well

                                        Do you ever have problems making rice at other times using a similar technique?

                                        My most current method of making yellow rice and chicken is to brown my boned out chicken pars then remove and then fry veg of onions, green and red peppers, garlic and bay leaf until the vegetables are soft then add the rice and seasonings then mix to coat. Add the water or stock. Usually 1 1/2-3/4 liquid to 1 rice. Bring to boil until the water is nearly at the surface of the rice the add the chicken back and frozen peas and either cook stove top or the oven is working well for me with this dish. Normally I cook rice for 15 min then let sit to rest. With this dish I add a tad more water and cook a bit longer to make sure the chicken is cooked through and the flavors have time to meld

                                      2. I use a rotisserie chicken. First, I saute a chopped onion and chopped yellow bell pepper in a few tablespoons of olive oil for a few minutes. Then I add the proper amount of liquid (chicken stock) and bring to a boil. Add the butter and the rice and bring to a boil FOR SEVERAL MINUTES. This is the key. Let the rice boil for 5 minutes or more before simmering and your rice will cook properly and turn out perfect.
                                        After you boil for 5 minutes, add the chicken pieces (that you have picked off the bone of the rotisserie chicken), mix well then cover and simmer for AT LEAST 45 minutes.

                                        I make this all the time for my son and the rice was ALWAYS undercooked...until I started letting the rice boil for at least 5 minutes before simmering. Good luck!

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: shellbelle

                                          doesn't that leave you with dry, cottony chicken after it's been roasted and THEN simmered?

                                          What rice/seasoning do you use?

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            Nope, the chicken is still perfectly tender... I think because it was a rotisserie chicken.

                                            1. re: shellbelle

                                              sorry, I'll pass on twice-cooked (and long-cooked) chicken.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                if we use rotisserie chicken, i only add it in in the last five minutes -- to heat through.

                                        2. too much rice in too much stock in too big of a pot.

                                          reduce the amounts. try again.

                                          1. Please use a good recipe for Yellow rice and chicken if you want something decent to eat. Here is a link for REAL CUBAN YELLOW RICE AND CHICKEN.

                                            Some of suggestions and recipes are so far off the real thing it is laughable.
                                            Please, please please just use a real recipe. Follow it exactly and you will not have hard mushy rice.


                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Bebes

                                              i had to laugh when i read this line from your recipe: "Sometimes you can find yellow rice already packaged."

                                              1. re: Bebes

                                                I never said my recipe was authentic, I was just telling her the way that I personally ensure that my rice is cooked through.

                                                1. re: Bebes

                                                  I never said my recipe was authentic, I was just telling her the way that I personally ensure that my rice is cooked through.

                                                  1. re: Bebes

                                                    When I was a young Air Force bride, I went to one of the Airman's home for dinner. His (Latin) wife made a chicken dish and just said it was a family recipe. It was fabulous. I've never really been able to replicate it, but this recipe sounds spot on.

                                                    I'm giving it another try this fall.

                                                    Thank you.


                                                  2. NEXT TIME i'll look to see if the OP ever engaged after the post before i answer. here, this was the one and only on the topic.

                                                    1. I love Yellow Rice.I love yellow rice with Chicken livers
                                                      cooked in Recipe Secrets beefy onion gravy that I use from
                                                      the package.I use packaged Yellow Rice Mix,like Tony's or
                                                      Zataran's.How many people are you feeding?Let me give you
                                                      a suggestion.Cook your Rice separate,because the more water
                                                      you add to rice,the more the rice multiplies.Once the rice is
                                                      done just put your rice over into the broth.Then add your chicken.