Honey Glazed Chicken Rice Bowl
I love a good rice bowl. Fluffy rice, loads of tasty veggies, a protein, and a delicious sauce that is sweet and just a little tangy. Each component in a rice bowl is vital, but this meal can be pulled together surprisingly quickly and with very little fuss. Plus (if you know me, then you know this part is VITAL), the whole family likes this meal. In fact, it is one of the dishes that the kids request most when I ask what they want for dinner. So let’s break it down…
Everyone has a favorite way to make rice. If I’m in a time crunch, I’ve been known to swing through a Chinese food restaurant and just get a large container of white rice. They look at you weird, but they’ll sell it to you.
But usually I make my own. No matter how you make it, they key to fluffy rice is rinsing the rice first. Run it through a strainer until all the starches wash off and the water runs clear. If you like sticky rice, then cook it without rinsing out all the starches. The choice is yours.
My other hint is to salt the water. I salt the water like I would with pasta. That way the rice absorbs some of the flavor and the salt helps bring out the flavors of whatever you are eating it with.
I like to make mine in the instapot. 2 cups rice / 2.5 cups water / tablespoon of salt. 12 minutes with a natural release. Done.
If you prefer a stovetop method, finecooking.com has a great article on “How to Cook Rice Perfectly” here.
How you cook your vegetables is a matter of personal preference. You can steam or saute them, but my personal preference is roasting them.
I generally tend to use whatever veggies I have on hand. Broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots are the most commonly used at my house, but feel free to use whatever veggies you and your family enjoy and it’ll be great.
I chop all the veggies into bite size chunks, toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil (I like the buttery flavor it brings to roasted veggies) and a little salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until the vegetables start to brown. I am usually throwing these in the oven with whatever protein I am cooking, so I just roast them at the temperature the meat is cooking until they start to brown. For this chicken that means 350° F for about 30-45 minutes (depending on what veggies you are using).
OK. I know. You like chicken breasts. Everyone likes chicken breasts. They are THE THING. But you know what? I just can’t get into them. They don’t have much flavor and they’re always kind of dry compared to the moist and flavorful thigh. So I make this with boneless skinless thighs. If thighs aren’t your thing and you prefer the breast – go forth with my blessing. Just know it would have been better with thighs 😜. All kidding aside, it should be fine with chicken breasts, just use a digital meat thermometer to determine when your chicken reaches 180° F (it will continue to cool about 5° after it is removed from the oven, bringing it to a safe temperature for chicken).
Once you’ve decided that chicken thighs are better (just kidding), you have two options for how to prep this meal. If you are a meal prepper, then you’re going to love this meal. When you buy your chicken, mix up the sauce before you freeze it. Wait for the sauce to cool completely then pour it over the chicken in freezer safe ziplock bag and freeze. And leave it there until it’s time to cook dinner. Yep, you read that right – you don’t have to defrost – making this the perfect “Oh crap I forgot to take something out for dinner!” meal. The chicken cooks from frozen, which does take a couple hours, and you can make your rice and veggies while it cooks.
If you didn’t freeze the chicken with the sauce, then you can STILL make this meal from frozen. 45 minutes into the cooking time you separate the frozen chicken thighs. During that 45 minutes make your sauce and add it to the thighs at that time. It’ll turn out great. I’ve done it.
Honey Glazed Chicken Rice Bowls
- 8 chicken thighs boneless & skinless
Honey Glaze Sauce
- 1½ cup honey
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 3-4 cups vegetables cut into bite size pieces (zucchini, squash, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms work great)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups rice rinsed well
- 2½ cup water
- 1 tbsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In medium saucepan, combine honey, butter, curry powder, and salt. Cook over medium heat until all ingredients dissolve into a smooth sauce. (Approx 3 minutes)
- Place frozen chicken thighs in small roasting pan or baking dish and cover with sauce.
- Bake for 45 minutes and then remove from oven and separate thighs into a single layer (meat side down to retain moisture).
- Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of thigh and set desired temperature to 180° F. (Chicken will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven in order to reach a desired internal temperature of 185° F).
- Return to oven and bake for approximately 1½ hours longer (until temperature reaches 180° F). The sauce at this point should be thick, sticky, and delicious.
- Allow 10 minutes for chicken to cool and then slice into thin strips or shred. Toss chicken half a cup of the sauce from the pan, reserving the rest of the sauce to drizzle over the top of the rice bowls.
- While chicken is cooking, chop vegetables into bite size pieces.
- Toss with olive oil and spread on baking sheet in single layer.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- 45 minutes before chicken is supposed to come out of the oven, put vegetables on a low rack in the oven.
- After 25 minutes, stir and return to oven. Remove when they are starting to brown and caramelize on the bottom.
- After the vegetables are in the oven, rinse 2 cups of long grain white rice until the water runs clean (for fluffy rice - if you want sticky rice, skip rinsing or just give a quick rinse).
- Put rice, 2½ cups of water, and 1 tbsp salt in InstantPot. Seal lid and vent and press "Rice" button (12 minutes). Allow rice to natural release when it is done.
Putting it together
- Fill bowl about one third full with rice. Add vegetables and chicken.
- Drizzle with remaining sauce.
- Optional: Top with roasted sesame seeds, chives, and/or fresh chopped cilantro
Aromatic wines with a hint of sweetness like a Riesling or Arneis are good choices to compliment the sweet honey notes in this dish.