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Spicy Citrus Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice

This is one of the most flavor-packed slow cooker chicken and rice recipes you’ll come across. The chicken is cooked in a blend of orange, lemon, and lime juice with a blend of spices to create ultra tender chicken. And to absorb all the remaining flavor and nutrients, the rice is cooked right there in the same pot.

You’re left with an amazingly hearty dish with just 215 calories and 3 SmartPoints per serving! 

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Spicy Citrus Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Ingredients

The seasoning blend for this chicken is heavily inspired by my Cuban Style Baked Pork Tenderloin. So if you’ve made that recipe, you’ll be familiar with what you’ll need: 

  • oranges, lemons, and limes
  • cilantro and garlic 

And a handful of spices:

  • black and cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • sugar substitute 
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • allspice

sauce ingredients for slow cooker chicken and rice in a food processor

Just throw everything in a food processor or blender before adding to a slow cooker with boneless skinless chicken breasts, and you’re done. 

Once the chicken is cooked, simply remove the chicken and add the rice to cook for 20-30 minutes before serving. 

Note: You can use most of these ingredients to make my infamous Ninja Foodi crispy pork tenderloin carnitas next! 

Recipe Modification FAQs

I tested three different versions of this slow cooker chicken and rice during development. In those tests, I learned that it’s difficult to really mess it up. I’ll briefly cover a few potential ingredient questions and share a few alternative ideas I came across in testing. 

Can I use cauliflower rice or another type of rice?

The recipe calls for Jasmine rice, but you’re welcome to use any type of rice you like. I used Right Rice (a higher protein rice) during testing and it worked out great. 

Cauliflower rice might take a little tinkering since it’s not going to absorb the remaining juices the same way. If you wanted to use cauliflower rice, reduce the sauce to thicken before stirring in the cauliflower rice. 

If it’s fresh cauliflower rice, you may need to cook it in the juices a bit longer than frozen cauliflower rice.

how to cook rice in a slow cooker

Side note: I used my Ninja Foodi to make this spicy citrus chicken and rice. Similar to an Instant Pot, it has a sauté function which would work great for reducing the remaining juices. If you’re using a crockpot, you can transfer the juices to a saucepan to do this. 

How spicy is this slow cooker chicken and rice?

I’ve been accused of being numb to spice at this point so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I don’t think it’s that spicy. Even at the higher end of the cayenne pepper range, it’s perfectly okay to eat without a beverage on hand (for me). 

That said, feel free to pull back on the cayenne pepper, paprika, and black pepper just a touch if you’re sensitive to spice. 

Also, if you modify other ingredients like omitting the sugar, reducing the citrus, or using less rice, those will affect the spice level. 

slow cooker chicken and rice before serving

Can I use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker?

Definitely! The flavors will develop much better with a slower cook so if you have the time, let the chicken marinate for 30-60 minutes before cooking. 

For pressure cooking time, I’d say 8-10 minutes on manual pressure with 5-10 minutes natural release pressure should do the job. My Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken, for example, calls for 2.5 pounds of chicken and a 10 minute cook time.

What if I don’t have allspice on hand?

Allspice tastes a bit like a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. So if you have any of those on hand, you could get away with some sort of mixture. Don’t sweat the amount too much, it’s just a teaspoon. 

Final Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Notes

While I decided to shred the chicken and stir everything together, you could certainly slice and serve with a side of rice and other veggies. 

If you go the shred route and regularly make shredded or pulled chicken recipes like my Carolina BBQ Crockpot Chicken or Pineapple Chipotle Chicken, I can’t recommend a pair of meat claws highly enough. You can find the ones I use on my Amazon list

spicy citrus chicken shredded with meat claws

Okay, I think that’s all ya need to know. You’ll find the printable recipe card below. If I missed an ingredient question, feel free to drop a comment. 

And when you try this slow cooker chicken and rice, I wanna know what you think. Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @mason_woodruff or share it with my free Facebook group. Happy cooking! 

spicy citrus slow cooker chicken and rice

Spicy Citrus Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Boneless chicken breasts slow cooked in a spicy orange-lemon-lime sauce with rice that's cooked in the remaining juices to lock in all the flavor and nutrients.


  • 2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 2 large (320g) Navel Oranges, peeled
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2 Limes
  • 10 cloves (40g) Peeled Garlic
  • 1 handful (10g) Cilantro
  • 1/4 C (48g) Granulated Sugar Substitute (I used Swerve)
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Allspice
  • 1-2 tsp Cayenne, to spice preference
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt, or 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 1/2 C (270g) Jasmine Rice, or your choice of rice


  1. Add the peeled orange, cilantro, garlic, spices, and sugar substitute to a food processor. Zest 1 lemon and 1 lime into the food processor before juicing both lemons and limes. Pulse until smooth and add the sauce to a crockpot or slow cooker (I used the Ninja Foodi's slow cooker function).
  2. Add the chicken breast to the pot and toss a few times to coat in the sauce.
  3. Cook on HIGH for 2.5-3 hours or until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165F.
  4. Transfer the cooked chicken to a bowl and add the rice to the pot.
  5. Cover/seal and cook for 20-30 minutes until the rice absorbs the remaining juices and is cooked how you like. (If you cooked the chicken on low, the rice may take a bit longer to cook.)
  6. Shred or chop the cooked chicken before adding back to the pot with the rice. Serve and enjoy!


Each serving has 3 Smart Points.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Servings Serving Size: 150g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 3gCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 20g

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Wednesday 15th of April 2020

I am not sure what happened here, but for me, this did not turn out. I think it had to do with the amount of garlic I put in. I ended up having to pitch the rice , and the chicken didn't taste amazing. I'm wondering if the fact that I used swerve brown had something to do with it. Out of all of the recipes I've tried from this site, this one and the sweet potato salad are the only two that I didn't end up liking. Maybe I just wasn't a fan of the flavor? Like I said, I think its the fact that I put swerve brown in and too much garlic.


Thursday 9th of April 2020

Could I use swerve brown for this?

Mason Woodruff

Friday 10th of April 2020

In place of the granulated sugar? I think that would be fine.

Olivia Young

Monday 27th of January 2020

If we make this a slow cooker recipe, ( say... 6-8 hours) would you recommend increasing the liquid at all?

Mason Woodruff

Monday 27th of January 2020

I wouldn't think so. I'd still add the rice in the final 30-60 minutes or so.

Andrea Rodriguez

Monday 13th of January 2020

My rice didn’t ever cook all the way, even after going for an hour! Pointers?

Mason Woodruff

Wednesday 15th of January 2020

Oh no! Sorry about that. It could've been a difference in the type of rice or different piece of equipment used.

Danielle Gerke

Wednesday 27th of November 2019

The spice is sneaky with this one. I wasn’t sure about the citrus because I’m not a huge orange fan but this has a good balance. I went a little too spicy because my nose was running and I know it’s spicy if I’m reacting. Next time I’ll cut back a little to have a better balance.

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