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Cinnamon-Poached Chicken and Rice

by Jacqueline Newgent, RDN CDN

Servings: 8 (1 1/4 Cups Per Serving)
Prep Time: 20
Cook Time: 40
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 1/4 Cups
Amount per serving
Calories 340
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 
 Saturated Fat 5g 
Cholesterol 40mg 
Sodium 930mg 
Total Carbohydrate 40g 
 Dietary Fiber 2g 
Protein 14g 

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

I grew up with cinnamon in savory dishes, not sweet. This savory recipe has gone through some changes over the years. It's now a lighter version, since it no longer has ground beef. My grandmother, straight from Lebanon, served the original version to my mother, who was raised in Peoria, Illinois. A large Lebanese community exists there today. In my Bath, Ohio, home, my mother later served it to me. Now, in New York City, I serve it to my close friends. It's a comforting dish that always "takes me home." This recipe can easily be halved.


4 bone-in chicken breast halves, skin removed
1 tablespoon sea salt
½ cinnamon stick
2 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
1 bay leaf 
½ teaspoon white or black pepper
 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons butter
1 large white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 
⅛ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste 
⅛ teaspoon white or black pepper, or to taste
¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley 
¼ cup toasted pine nuts 
¼ cup slivered toasted almonds


  1. Place the chicken breast halves in a stockpot. Add 6 cups cold water (or more, if needed to cover the chicken), the salt, and the cinnamon stick. Over medium-high heat, bring just to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is firm and just cooked through. Remove the chicken. Strain the cooking liquid and set aside.
  2. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it into large bite-size pieces. Discard the bones.
  3. In the same stockpot, place the chicken pieces, 4 cups of the strained cooking liquid, the rice, bay leaf, pepper, cinnamon, and ¼ cup butter. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in small skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion in 2 teaspoons butter with the oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Mix the sauteed onion into the chicken and rice prior to garnishing. Remove the bay leaf. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve on a large platter garnished with parsley, pine nuts, and almonds.
Rate this article:  Average 4 out of 5

About the author:

Jacqueline A Newgent RDN CDN

Jacqueline Newgent, RDN CDN




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