Jump to RecipeJump to VideoLeave a ReviewPin Recipe

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

With just 5 minutes of prep, this dump-and-bake cheesy chicken and rice casserole with zucchini is an easy dinner that cooks in one dish! There’s no need to pre-cook the rice or the veggies — just stir everything together and pop it in the oven.

Serving spoon in a blue pan of dump and bake cheesy chicken and rice casserole
Table of Contents
  1. Do you cook rice before putting it in a casserole?
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to Make Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole
  4. What to Serve with Chicken and Rice
  5. Preparation and Storage
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe
  8. Dump-and-Bake Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

I regularly hear from so many of you who love my dump-and-bake recipes for easy weeknight dinners. This particular cheesy chicken and rice casserole happens to be a favorite way to use up those leftovers stashed in your fridge, or a simple option to take advantage of a store-bought rotisserie chicken. It’s quick, kid-friendly comfort food at its best!

Do you cook rice before putting it in a casserole?

While most casserole recipes call for cooking the rice before mixing it into the dish, this particular recipe is designed specifically for uncooked rice. That means that you do not boil the rice in a saucepan on the stovetop before adding it to the casserole dish. Instead, the rice cooks right in the oven with the rest of the ingredients. This requires extra liquid in the pan (since the rice absorbs a lot of liquid as it cooks), and extra cooking time to make sure that the rice is tender.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for this cheesy chicken and rice recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Condensed cream of mushroom soup: creates a creamy sauce that binds the casserole. If you don’t love the flavor of mushroom soup, you can substitute with cream of chicken soup or cream of celery soup.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth: extra liquid in the pan that flavors the rice as it cooks. Milk or water will also work.
  • Seasoned salt: such as Lawry’s brand. Feel free to substitute with regular salt if that’s what you have available. You can also add other seasoning, such as garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, celery seed, and the like.
  • Onion powder and garlic powder: for even more savory flavor.
  • Ground black pepper: for a little bit of zesty kick, without making the dish spicy.
  • Long grain white rice: do not substitute with brown rice, instant rice, or any other variety of rice, since the amount of liquid and the total cooking time are designed specifically for uncooked white rice.
  • Chicken: rotisserie chicken is a great shortcut for a quick-prep meal. See my notes below if you’d like to cook your own chicken at home.
  • Zucchini: coarsely grated, this veggie blends right into the dish. It adds flavor and nutrition, but doesn’t require any sauteing or pre-cooking.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: the perfect companion for ham and broccoli! Use any good melting cheese that you like — Colby, Colby-Jack, mozzarella, Pepper Jack, monterey jack cheese, gruyere, Gouda, or Swiss cheese.
Whisking together sauce in a baking dish.

The Best Chicken to Use for 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 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs until cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken and use in the recipe.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: This is a great shortcut! Purchase a large rotisserie chicken (or two small chickens) from the grocery store, shred the meat, and use in the recipe as instructed.
  • 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!
Pouring rice into a baking dish.

How to Make Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

This southern cheesy chicken and rice casserole is the perfect solution when you need an easy meal. I’ve included the detailed cooking instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here’s the quick version:

  1. Whisk together the liquid and seasoning in a greased 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.
  2. Stir the rice, chicken, zucchini, and some cheese into the soup mixture.
  3. Cover and bake until the rice is tender.
  4. Sprinkle more cheese over top and pop it under the broiler.
  5. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or other herbs, if desired, and serve!
Square overhead image of cheesy chicken and rice casserole in a blue baking dish.

What to Serve with Chicken and Rice

This is basically an entire meal in one dish, thanks to the meat, rice, and veggies. That said, if you’d like to round out the meal, the simple cheesy chicken and rice casserole goes well with any of the following sides:

Close overhead shot of a serving spoon in a pan of cheesy chicken and rice casserole.

Preparation and Storage

  • Make Ahead: You can assemble the casserole a few hours in advance, or even leave it covered in the refrigerator overnight before baking. The rice will start to soften and absorb some of the liquid as it sits, so you may need to decrease the baking time slightly. You don’t want to overcook the casserole or you’ll end up with gummy, mushy rice.
  • Storage: This chicken and rice casserole is best enjoyed immediately from the oven. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The rice will dry out a bit as it sits, so you may need to stir in some additional broth or milk when you reheat the dish.
  • I do not recommend freezing these leftovers, as rice tends to get mushy when thawed.
  • How to Reheat: Cover and reheat leftovers in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until warmed through. You can also reheat individual portions in a microwave for 1-2 minutes on high power.
Overhead shot of chicken and rice casserole on a wooden table.

Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the zucchini for different vegetables. Frozen peas or corn, frozen mixed vegetables, sauteed sliced mushrooms, frozen (thawed) baby broccoli florets or steamed broccoli are all good options.
  • Use cream of chicken soup or cream of celery soup in lieu of the cream of mushroom soup.
  • Try seasoning the dish with other herbs and spices that you enjoy. Good options include paprika, thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, chives, and parsley.
  • Add buttered Ritz crackers, buttered seasoned bread crumbs, or buttered panko breadcrumbs if you like a crunchy topping.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish. The cooking instructions remain the same.
Chicken, zucchini, and rice casserole in a dish with salad and bread on the side.

Tips for the Best Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

  • This recipe is specifically designed and tested with uncooked long grain white rice. Do not substitute with brown rice, wild rice, or instant rice — all of which require different amounts of liquid and different cooking times.
  • Make sure to cover your dish tightly with foil so that none of the liquid or steam escapes during cooking. The rice needs to absorb the liquid as it bakes.
  • The total cooking time will vary on a number of factors, including the type of pan that you use and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the rice. The rice should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Be careful not to overcook the casserole, or the rice will become mushy and gummy.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork — do not stir with a big spoon, which can compact the grains and yield a dense texture.
Close overhead shot of chicken and rice casserole on a table.

More Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipes to Try

Square overhead image of cheesy chicken and rice casserole in a blue baking dish.

Dump-and-Bake Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 373 kcal
With just 5 minutes of prep, this dump-and-bake cheesy chicken and rice casserole with zucchini is an easy dinner that cooks in one dish!

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°F). Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Add condensed soup, broth, seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper to the prepared dish. Whisk together until completely combined.
    Whisking together sauce in a baking dish.
  • Stir in uncooked rice, chicken, zucchini, and 1 cup of the grated cheese.
    Pouring rice into a baking dish.
  • Cover tightly and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  • Use a fork to stir and fluff the rice. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the remaining grated cheese. Place the dish under the broiler for a couple of minutes, just until the cheese melts.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh herbs and serve immediately.
    Serving spoon in a blue pan of dump and bake cheesy chicken and rice casserole

Notes

  • This recipe is specifically designed and tested with uncooked long grain white rice. Do not substitute with brown rice, wild rice, or instant rice — all of which require different amounts of liquid and different cooking times.
  • Make sure to cover your dish tightly with foil so that none of the liquid or steam escapes during cooking. The rice needs to absorb the liquid as it bakes.
  • The total cooking time will vary on a number of factors, including the type of pan that you use and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the rice. The rice should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Be careful not to overcook the casserole, or the rice will become mushy and gummy.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork — do not stir with a big spoon, which can compact the grains and yield a dense texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the casseroleCalories: 373kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 26gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 878mgPotassium: 468mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 458IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 289mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: cheesy chicken and rice casserole, chicken and rice casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
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!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Linda says:

    This sounds so good but I can‘t have cream of anything soup due to allergies. Can you suggest a substitute?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Linda! I haven’t tested this recipe with any alternatives, so I can’t vouch for any specific substitutes. That said, I know that many folks prefer to make their own version of condensed soup to use in recipes like this. There are many, many different versions of homemade condensed soup on the internet (just Google search), but here’s an example: https://www.culinaryhill.com/homemade-cream-of-mushroom-soup/

      1. Karlin Jerke says:

        5 stars
        Great recipe! This one will be put on my arsenal! I love the fact that it uses chicken broth instead of milk. I followed the directions but happened to have some French fried onions in the pantry so I added them on top with the cheese.

        1. The Seasoned Mom says:

          @e’re so glad you enjoyed it, Karlin. French onions sound like a great addition! We’ll have to test it out.

  2. Krissy says:

    5 stars
    This was a very good dish. My husband doesn’t like when I do online recipes, he prefers my recipes but I really wanted to try something new and something I’ve never done before and I came across this on Google search. It doesn’t have a lot of reviews but I still took a chance and this did not disappoint and my husband gave a huge thumbs up which is a very good thing when it comes to food. I will be adding this to my menu. I didn’t have zucchini on hand so I opted for frozen broccoli which turned out so good. I used cream of chicken since that was one of the options on your recipe. I used my left over roast chicken off the bone we had last night and just shredded it up.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you for giving this recipe a chance, Krissy! We’re so glad you were able to make it work for you and you and your husband enjoyed it.