Chicken Perloo is a South Carolina classic one pot chicken and rice dish that’s smokey, a little sweet, hearty, and so delicious. It’s Southern comfort food at its best. And — easy to make, with simple ingredients and amazing flavor… even for weeknight dinners.
In the coastal Lowcountry region of the Carolinas and Georgia, Perloo is an iconic rice dish. Much like jambalaya, its base is a flavorful combination of vegetables, aromatics, and rice. We’re using chicken in this dish, but you can substitute other protein, like shrimp or pork.
What is Chicken Perloo?
Perloo is a rice-based dish that’s very similar to other Southern classics, often referred to as “pilaf” or “pilau.” For instance, in Louisiana, it’s similar to jambalaya, a dish often requested at my house. In South Florida and Spanish-speaking countries, it’s much like paella.
It’s even, sometimes, called Chicken Bog. If you would like to try an Instant Pot version, see our Instant Pot Chicken Bog recipe.
Tradition versions of this versatile dish often use a whole smoked chicken. And it does add delicious flavor.
But keeping things simple, I most often opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Which, after cooked in deliciously fragrant and seasoned rice, can be shredded and stirred back into the rice, or served whole for individual servings.
For a smokey flavor, I’ve always bacon, along with onions, peppers, and garlic. And when they cooked alongside the bacon, well, you know. It’s just simply wonderful!
The result is a fluffy rice dish cooked in a rich, flavorful broth, with tender chicken and vegetables. Be prepared for seconds on this one!
Equipment Needed to Make Chicken Perloo
A deep, heavy pot. That’s it.
I like to use a Dutch Oven, but any heavy-bottomed large pot will do.
Chicken Perloo Ingredients
As mentioned, Perloo is an incredibly adaptable dish. In fact, most home cooks, who make Perloo, have their own take on this iconic Southern dish. Here’s my version of our favorite Chicken Perloo.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to read specific ingredient measurements in the recipe card — but here’s an ingredient summary list:
- Olive oil
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Bacon, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
- Onion, chopped
- Garlic, minced
- Green bell pepper, chopped
- Bay leaf
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- White rice (medium or long grain)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Chicken broth
- Fresh parsley
How to Make Chicken Perloo
This dish begins by browning chicken thighs in a large Dutch Oven, before removing them to a holding plate.
To the same pot, the bacon and vegetables will saute before adding the rice.
Then it’s simply adding additional vegetables, broth, and herbs to the pot, and bringing it all to a simmer.
Chicken Perloo is then finished in the oven for 30 minutes.
It’s delicious and simple. And my guys are always going back for seconds.
Plus — leftovers make superb, splurge-worthy lunches.
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- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 6 to 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 4 slices of bacon, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups white rice (long or medium grain)
- 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 (15-ounce) cans chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch Oven. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a plate; set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the bacon. Cook until browned; about 4 minutes. Stir in the onion and green pepper; saute until softened and translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Finally, stir in the rice until it's coated.
- To the pot, add the tomatoes, chicken stock, 1 cup water, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes (if using). Bring to a simmer, stirring well, then add the chicken thighs and bring back to a simmer.
- Cover and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. To serve, garnish with fresh parsley.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 678mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 31g