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This simple, flavorful, and easy Chicken Broccoli 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 mushroom soup. Top it off with Ritz crackers and serve it alongside a simple green salad or a basket of buttermilk biscuits!

Overhead shot of hands serving cheesy chicken broccoli and rice casserole from a white dish.

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

This Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole is the ultimate in family-friendly dinners! The creamy, cheesy, dish takes advantage of simple, wholesome 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 Ritz cracker topping!

Sauteeing vegetables in a skillet

Ingredients

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

  • Broccoli: I use fresh broccoli florets here, but you can substitute with frozen broccoli instead. See my notes below for that swap. Cauliflower florets will also work!
  • Butter: to sauté the vegetables.
  • Onion, celery, and garlic: savory aromatics that create a flavorful base for the casserole. If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can add a little bit of garlic powder to the sauce instead.
  • Condensed cream of mushroom soup: substitute with other flavors of condensed soup if you prefer. Other good options include cream of chicken soup or cream of celery soup.
  • Mayonnaise: adds creamy texture and rich flavor to the sauce.
  • Paprika, dry mustard, and ground nutmeg: additional seasonings that give the dish a flavor boost.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: if possible, grate the cheese by hand so that it melts smoother into the dish.
  • Milk: to thin the creamy sauce. You can also use chicken broth.
  • Rice: I prefer long-grain white rice in this casserole, but any variety of cooked rice will work.
  • Chicken: you’ll need cooked, shredded chicken, so pickup a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, or cook your own chicken at home.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: season the filling to taste.
  • Ritz crackers: lightly crushed for a buttery, crunchy topping.
Pouring creamy sauce into skillet.

Can you put uncooked chicken in a casserole?

While it’s possible to cook a casserole with raw chicken, 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 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 2 cups shredded. I find that 1 lb. of raw chicken breasts yields about 2 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, so you might have some extra to use in a different dish.
  • 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.
Adding broccoli to a white skillet.

Do I cook the rice before adding it to the casserole?

Yes! This recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked long-grain 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.

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

Yes, if you’re starting with fresh broccoli florets as called for in this recipe, 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, you can use thawed frozen baby broccoli florets, 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!

Sprinkling Ritz crackers on top of casserole

How to Make Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

While we love a made-from-scratch chicken casserole, there are many busy nights when we just need quicker, easier solutions. That’s where this dish comes in! Thanks to help from a handful of store-bought shortcuts like condensed cream of mushroom soup and rotisserie chicken, the casserole comes together in about 20 minutes.

  1. Parboil the broccoli florets just until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. You can also do this by steaming the broccoli in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, if you prefer.
  2. Sauté onion, celery and garlic in butter.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the condensed soup, mayonnaise, cheese, milk and seasoning.
  4. Whisk or stir until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the rice, chicken, and broccoli to the creamy sauce mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish.
  7. Top with additional cheese and crushed crackers.
  8. Bake, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is lightly browned.
Close overhead image of a serving spoon in a white casserole dish full of broccoli rice cheese and chicken casserole.

What to Serve with Broccoli Rice Cheese and Chicken Casserole

This classic chicken casserole goes well with just about any of your favorite sides. Here are a few easy options to try:

Close overhead shot of hands holding a cheesy chicken broccoli and rice casserole on a wooden table.

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 refrigerator 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.
Overhead image of chicken broccoli and rice casserole recipe on a wooden dinner table with a side salad and bread.

Recipe Variations for Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

  • Swap out the fresh broccoli florets for frozen baby broccoli florets. The frozen baby florets 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!
  • Instead of cream of mushroom soup, try a different flavor of condensed soup.
  • Don’t have Ritz crackers? Substitute with crushed potato chipscrushed Corn Flakes cereal mixed with melted butter, or other buttery crackers (like Keebler Club crackers). You can also use buttered panko bread crumbs for a crispy topping.
  • 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 larger group, double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a deep 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.
Overhead image of a serving spoon in a white dish of chicken broccoli rice casserole.

Tips for the Best Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole Recipe

  • If you don’t want to bother with parboiling the broccoli on the stovetop, you can steam the broccoli florets in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes on high.
  • Use an oven-proof skillet to sauté the vegetables, and then just bake the casserole in the same pan. This eliminates washing an extra 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.
Hands holding a pan of chicken broccoli and rice casserole on a wooden table.

More Chicken Casserole Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of hands serving cheesy chicken broccoli and rice casserole from a white dish.

Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

5 from 7 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 429 kcal
This simple, flavorful, and easy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole is an old-fashioned classic!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, not diluted
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • teaspoon paprika
  • teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • ¾ cup 2% or whole milk
  • 2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups cooked, diced chicken
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 15 Ritz crackers (about half of a sleeve), lightly crushed

Instructions

  • Cook the broccoli for about 2 minutes in boiling water, just until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish; set aside.
  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Reduce the heat to a very low flame. Stir in soup, mayonnaise, paprika, dry mustard, nutmeg, 1 cup of the cheese, and milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Add cooked rice, chicken, and broccoli; stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining ½ cup of cheese and crushed crackers.
  • Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is lightly browned.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the casseroleCalories: 429kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 28gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 716mgPotassium: 407mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 675IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 285mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: cheesy chicken broccoli and rice casserole, chicken broccoli and rice casserole, chicken casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in March, 2014. It was updated in December, 2021.

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

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Comments

      1. In the photos of the chicken broccoli and rice casserole nearly every picture shows parsley,yet I do not see that on the recipe.

        1. Hey, Ann! Parsley isn’t a necessary ingredient, but I often add it as a garnish to finished dishes. Totally up to you. 🙂

  1. This is such an “obvious” recipe, but it’s one that I never have considered when staring at a chicken and wondering what to do with it! Pinning and saving for the nights when “Chicken Surprise” means “the surprise is what it decides I should do with it.”

    I’d love for you to share this at my Sunday Sharing Pinterest Party over at Adventures with Jude! I can’t be the only person wondering what to do with a chicken!

    1. Hi Meg! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that you (and your boys) enjoy the meal! I will definitely stop by your Pinterest party…thanks for the invite!

  2. Such an easy recipe and one that I think my whole family would really like. Thanks for sharing it at the Happiness is Homemade link party this week!

  3. I love these kind of recipe! Anyhting with rice is our favorite! Thanks for coming over and sharing at the Happiness is Homemade Link Party, hope to see you back Sunday morning!

  4. It doesn’t feel like spring here in CT either! I love casseroles because they tend to be great make-ahead meals, like this one. This looks delicious and is certain to be a crowd pleaser with my family. 🙂

  5. Two of my favorite things, chicken & broccoli 🙂 I love easy casseroles 🙂 I will be making the dish very soon!!

  6. This casserole looks so delicious, Blair! Thanks for sharing the great recipe with us at SNF!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cathy! This is one of those perfect simple but surprisingly delicious recipes. A keeper! And thanks for pinning it. 🙂

  7. This dinner looks amazing! Swooning over that green dish in the pic, too! Featuring you today at Show & Share Wednesday. 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    This was amazing.An oldie but a goodie. It hit the spot when I fresh out of ideas. Mine tasted like Thanksgiving in July 2018. Easy to make gluten free too. Sub cauliflower rice for rice and sour cream for soup, and grate your own cheese. Thank you for sharing.

  9. 5 stars
    Hi Blair!

    First off I feel like I have been commenting a lot so sorry if I am filling up your inbox with all my newbie questions haha! I made this the other night for dinner and it was so good! However for anyone also using Minute rice I do recommend pre-cooking the rice a little bit since it was still a bit crunchy just tossing it in there straight from the box. Anyways I will be adding this to my recipe book!

    Hope you have a Happy New Year!

    1. Don’t apologize — I love receiving your comments! I’m so glad that you’re trying some of the recipes and that you’re enjoying them. 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    I made this tonight, with a few changes: roasted fresh broccoli for added flavor, cut way back on the mayo (used 2 tablespoons), and made my own cream of chicken soup. There are many delicious versions out there, I haven’t bought a can of soup in many years. Making your own takes 15 minutes, and is so much more flavorful! Thanks for a great recipe, this is going into my “tried and true” box!

  11. 5 stars
    This was really good! I had frozen diced chicken that thawed in the microwave in a minute on defrost. I used fresh broccoli that I cooked until just a bit undercooked in the microwave with a bit of water. Meanwhile I used the pasta method to cook a half cup of regular white rice and canned soup to save time. I only had mont jack and parmesan cheeses, so I used them. I think any cheese would be great on this casserole. Very quick, very good!!

    1. Typically doubling the cooking time works well if you’re starting with a frozen casserole. So here, I would bake the casserole COVERED for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F, then remove the cover and continue baking for 25 more minutes (or until completely warmed through). 🙂

  12. Looks great! I make something similar, but will try this adaption, very soon.
    I never use canned soup in a recipe because of the heavy salt and chemicals. In this case, after the veggies are sauted I will put in a little more butter and 8oz. of cleaned thinly sliced fresh mushrooms. When they have cooked down I would put in up to 3 tablesspoons flour or Wondra, depending on the amount of liquid in the pan. Cook down the roux.I add in up to 2 cups, milk or half and half. Stir it until thickened, then continue. It doesn’t add that much extra time.

  13. 5 stars
    You can substitute Pork chops for the chicken. I do not use cooked chicken, but I do brown the pork chops before adding them to the casserole. Bake chicken 1 hour and pork chops 45 minutes (unless thick chops) if not precooked.