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This simple, flavorful, and easy broccoli cheese chicken and rice casserole is an old-fashioned classic! You just can’t beat the convenience of a make-ahead one dish meal, complete with tender chicken, fresh broccoli, white rice, and cheddar cheese in a creamy sauce made from cream of chicken soup. Top it off with buttered breadcrumbs and serve it alongside a simple green salad or a basket of buttermilk biscuits!

Overhead image of a baking dish full of broccoli cheese chicken and rice casserole on a table

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

This chicken and rice casserole is the ultimate in family-friendly dinners! The creamy, cheesy, dish takes advantage of simple ingredients for a flavorful meal that you can assemble in advance. It’s a basic dish that can be tweaked in a variety of ways to suit your family’s taste preferences and schedule. Use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or baked chicken — anything goes. The kids will go crazy for the creamy dish that’s finished with a buttery, crunchy bread crumb topping!

Stirring chicken and rice casserole filling in a large white bowl

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need for an old fashioned Sunday chicken and rice casserole. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Cream of chicken soup: substitute with other flavors of condensed soup if you prefer. Good options include cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup.
  • Mayonnaise: adds creamy texture and rich flavor to the sauce.
  • Sour cream: for a touch of acidic tang in the filling.
  • Garlic powder and onion powder: for savory flavor.
  • Chicken: you’ll need cooked, shredded chicken, so pickup a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, or cook your own chicken at home.
  • Rice: I prefer long-grain white rice in this casserole, but any variety of cooked rice will work.
  • Broccoli: I use these frozen baby broccoli florets, which you don’t need to chop before adding directly to the filling. You can substitute with fresh broccoli florets or cauliflower, if you prefer. See my notes below for those instructions.
  • Celery: slice it very thinly so that you don’t have big crunchy chunks in your finished dish.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Cheddar cheese: because every good casserole needs plenty of cheese! You can substitute with other types of grated cheese, such as Monterey Jack, Colby, Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, mozzarella, Swiss, or Gruyere.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: for a crunchy topping on the casserole.
  • Butter: use salted butter to give the otherwise plain breadcrumbs some rich flavor.
Sprinkling cheese on top of a casserole

Do you cook rice before adding to casserole?

Yes! This recipe calls for 3 cups of cooked white rice. You can boil your own rice on the stovetop, use leftovers from a previous meal, or cook parboiled rice (such as Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice) in the microwave for a shortcut. If using the microwaveable rice or Minute Rice, cook the rice according to the package instructions before using it in this casserole.

Can you use regular rice in casserole?

Yep, regular white rice works great in this dish. If you prefer, feel free to substitute with wild rice, brown rice, or any other variety that you enjoy. Just make sure that your rice is cooked before measuring it out and adding it to the filling.

Can you cook raw chicken with rice?

While it’s possible to cook raw chicken and rice together in a casserole, you’ll need cooked chicken for this recipe, and a variety of options will work. Pick the most convenient method for you:

  • Boiled and Pulled Chicken: Boil about 1 ½ lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken into bite size pieces. You’ll need a total of about 3 cups shredded. I find that 1 ½ lbs. of raw chicken breasts yields about 3 cups of pulled chicken, but there’s some flexibility here — it doesn’t need to be exact.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: This is a great shortcut! Purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred the meat, and use in the recipe as instructed. One large rotisserie chicken should yield about 3-4 cups of meat.
  • Leftover Chicken: If you have leftover grilled or baked chicken from a previous meal, put those extras to good use in this casserole.
  • Canned Chicken: Yep, you can even use canned chicken in this casserole.

Do you have to cook broccoli before putting it in a casserole?

Yes, if you’re starting with fresh broccoli florets, you’ll need to pre-cook the broccoli slightly before adding it to the casserole. This way it will be nice and tender by the time the casserole heats through. For a shortcut, I like to use thawed frozen baby broccoli florets in this recipe, which are soft enough when thawed so that you don’t need to steam or pre-cook them before just adding them to the dish. The baby florets are also small enough that you don’t need to chop them. Just thaw, drain, and stir into the casserole!

Bowl of buttered breadcrumbs

How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole

This easy chicken rice casserole doesn’t require any sauteing in a skillet, so it comes together quickly. You can also assemble it in advance for even faster weeknight dinners!

  1. Whisk together the condensed soup, mayo, sour cream, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the chicken, rice, broccoli, and celery. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. Pour the rice mixture into a greased 13 x 9-inch casserole dish.
  4. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over the top of the casserole.
  5. Melt the butter and stir it into the breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over the top of the dish.
  6. Bake the casserole uncovered in a 375°F oven for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is crisp and golden brown.
Square overhead shot of a pan of chicken and rice casserole

What to Serve with Chicken Casserole

This convenient one-dish meal includes meat, rice, and veggies in every bite! If you’d like to add some other options to your table, here are some sides that go well with the cheesy chicken rice casserole:

Close overhead shot of a bowl of chicken rice casserole

Preparation and Storage

  • This is a great make-ahead dinner. You can assemble the casserole up to 24 hours in advance and keep it covered in the fridge until ready to bake. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes.
  • You can freeze the casserole before baking. Wrapped tightly, the assembled casserole will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • Leftover chicken casserole will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • How to Reheat: If reheating an entire casserole, cover the dish loosely with foil and bake in a 350°F oven until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the frozen broccoli florets for fresh broccoli or cauliflower florets. Cook the fresh vegetables in boiling water for 2 minutes (or steam in the microwave) until they’re crisp-tender before adding them to the dish.
  • Instead of cream of chicken soup, try a different flavor of condensed soup.
  • Don’t have panko breadcrumbs? Substitute with buttered Ritz cracker crumbs, crushed potato chips, or crushed Corn Flakes cereal mixed with melted butter.
  • Instead of the broccoli, add frozen peas, frozen mixed vegetables, corn, steamed green beans or asparagus, or sautéed mushrooms to the casserole.
  • Try other types of cheese instead of cheddar. Good options include Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby, Colby Jack, Swiss, and American.
  • Any variety of cooked rice will work. I like long-grain white rice, but a short grain rice, basmati rice, wild rice, or brown rice are fine, too. Just make sure that your rice is cooked before adding it to the casserole.
  • To serve a smaller family, cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square pan.
Overhead image of a bowl of chicken rice casserole on a dinner table

Tips for the Best Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

  • Slice the celery very thin so that you don’t have to bite into any large, crunchy, chunks in the finished dish.
  • Quick prep: to help this casserole come together quickly and easily, use store-bought rotisserie chicken, baby broccoli florets that you just have to thaw (no cooking or chopping), and microwaveable packets of rice.
  • Bake the casserole just until it’s heated through. All of the ingredients are already cooked, so you just want to warm it in the oven until bubbly. Don’t bake it for too long or it will dry out and the rice will get mushy. You know a casserole is done when the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is toasted and golden brown.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley, thyme, chives, or other herbs for a bright, colorful touch at the end.
Close overhead shot of a serving spoon in a pan of chicken rice casserole

More Chicken Casserole Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of a pan of broccoli cheese chicken and rice casserole on a wooden table with fresh herbs

Broccoli Cheese Chicken and Rice Casserole

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 482 kcal
This simple, flavorful, and easy broccoli cheese chicken and rice casserole is an old-fashioned classic!

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together condensed soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir in the chicken, rice, broccoli florets, and celery. Taste the mixture and season with kosher salt and ground black pepper, if desired.
  • Transfer the chicken mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is golden brown.

Notes

  • Slice the celery very thin so that you don’t have to bite into any large, crunchy, chunks in the finished dish.
  • Quick prep: to help this casserole come together quickly and easily, use store-bought rotisserie chicken, baby broccoli florets that you just have to thaw (no cooking or chopping), and microwaveable packets of rice.
  • Bake the casserole just until it’s heated through. All of the ingredients are already cooked, so you just want to warm it in the oven until bubbly. Don’t bake it for too long or it will dry out and the rice will get mushy. You know a casserole is done when the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is toasted and golden brown.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley, chives, or other herbs for a bright, colorful touch at the end.
  • Swap out the frozen broccoli florets for fresh broccoli or cauliflower florets. Cook the fresh vegetables in boiling water for 2 minutes (or steam in the microwave) until they’re crisp-tender before adding them to the dish.
  • Instead of cream of chicken soup, try a different flavor of condensed soup.
  • Don’t have panko breadcrumbs? Substitute with buttered Ritz cracker crumbs, crushed potato chips, or crushed Corn Flakes cereal mixed with melted butter.
  • Instead of the broccoli, add frozen peas, corn, steamed green beans or asparagus, or sautéed mushrooms to the casserole.
  • Try other types of cheese instead of cheddar. Good options include Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby, Colby Jack, Swiss, and American.
  • Any variety of cooked rice will work. I like long-grain white rice, but a short grain rice, basmati rice, wild rice, or brown rice are fine, too. Just make sure that your rice is cooked before adding it to the casserole.
  • To serve a smaller family, cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square pan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casseroleCalories: 482kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 16gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 496mgPotassium: 336mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 725IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 152mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: chicken and rice casserole, chicken broccoli rice casserole, Chicken Rice Casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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