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A simple, old-fashioned Chicken and Rice Casserole is a staple in American home cooking. The comforting, flavorful and easy dinner recipe comes together in about 10 minutes, making it a delicious way to feed your family on busy nights.

Overhead image of baked chicken and rice casserole with a wooden serving spoon

This particular Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe is 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 combination of rice and chicken that are finished with a buttery, crunchy Ritz cracker topping!

Overhead shot of chicken and rice casserole on a blue and white plate with a side of green beans

How to make Chicken and Rice Casserole:

This easy Chicken and Rice Casserole is a simple combination of condensed soup, cooked chicken, and fresh celery and onion. In about 10 minutes, you can stir everything together, finish with a cracker crumb topping, and pop it in the oven! Let’s get started…

Ingredients:

In order to keep the prep time to a minimum, I often rely on shortcuts like microwaveable rice and pre-cooked chicken. Of course, you can cook your own rice on the stovetop or boil or bake your own chicken. Do whatever works best for your schedule and your family, but these options are definitely handy on a busy night!

Ingredients for chicken and rice casserole

First, stir together the chicken, rice, mayonnaise, condensed soup, chicken broth, onion, celery and almonds. Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.

Chicken and rice casserole filling in a white baking dish

Next, prepare the topping by stirring together the crushed Ritz crackers with the melted butter. Sprinkle the topping over the top of the dish.

Ritz cracker crumb topping for a casserole in a white bowl

Bake the casserole in a 350 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes. It’s ready when the topping is golden brown and the inside is hot and bubbly!

Close overhead shot of a wooden spoon scooping up chicken and rice casserole in a dish

What to serve with Chicken and Rice Casserole:

This classic, Old School Chicken and Rice Casserole goes well with any of your favorite vegetable sides. Here are a few easy options to try:

Storage and Preparation Tips:

  • This is a great make-ahead dinner. You can assemble the entire casserole up to 24 hours in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Before baking, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30 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 and rice casserole will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • To reheat the casserole: If reheating an entire casserole, cover the dish loosely with foil and bake in a 350 degree F oven until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Overhead image of a plate of chicken and rice casserole on a wooden table with fresh parsley nearby

Cook’s Tips:

  • Any variety of cooked rice will work in this casserole. I typically use white rice, but you can substitute with wild rice or brown rice, if you prefer. You need a total of 3 cups of cooked rice for this dish.
  • I like to use microwaveable rice as a shortcut. If you’re using Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice (as shown here), you’ll need to microwave the rice according to the package directions before adding it to the dish. Each package contains 2 cups of rice, so you’ll need about 1 1/2 packets for this recipe.
  • For another shortcut, try using pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store, leftover chicken from another meal, or a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You’ll need a total of 3 cups of cooked, diced chicken for this recipe.
  • If starting with raw meat, you’ll need about 1.5 – 2 lbs. of raw chicken tenderloins (breast meat is fine too, but the tenders cook faster). My preferred cooking method is to place the chicken tenderloins in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Cover with foil and bake in a 400F (200C) oven for about 30 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through). Allow to cool before chopping and using in the recipe.
  • The celery and onion become slightly tender in the casserole, but still have a slightly firm texture (which I prefer for a bit of crunch in the dish). If you like your celery and onion very soft, I recommend sautéing the vegetables in a skillet before adding them to the casserole.

Recipe Variations:

  • Use any flavor of condensed soup that you prefer: cream of chicken, cream of mushroom or cream of celery are all nice options.
  • Try adding other vegetables to the dish. Steamed broccoli, frozen mixed vegetables, canned corn, or sautéed mushrooms would all be great additions!
  • For a cheesy chicken and rice casserole, sprinkle the top of the casserole with 1-2 cups of grated cheese before adding the Ritz topping.
  • Don’t have Ritz crackers? Crushed Corn Flakes cereal mixed with the melted butter is a great substitute for a crunchy, flavorful topping.
  • Add herbs and other seasonings to the casserole. Try a dash of garlic powder, or use fresh or dried thyme, parsley, basil or rosemary.
  • Swap out the mayonnaise and use an equal amount of sour cream instead. You may need some extra seasoning (such as salt) if you’re using sour cream instead of the mayonnaise.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish. The rest of the cooking instructions remain the same.
Front shot of a white dish full of chicken and rice casserole

More chicken and rice casserole recipes that you might enjoy:

Overhead image of baked chicken and rice casserole with a wooden serving spoon

Chicken and Rice Casserole

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings 6 – 8 people
Calories 366.6 kcal
This old-fashioned Chicken and Rice Casserole comes together in just 10 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup, NOT diluted (or use cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • ½ cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, coarsely crushed (about 30 crackers or 1 ½ cups crumbs)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, stir together chicken, rice, mayonnaise, condensed soup, chicken broth, onion, celery and almonds. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together Ritz cracker crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle over top of the casserole.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes (or until hot, bubbly, and golden brown on top).

Notes

  • Any variety of cooked rice will work in this casserole. I typically use white rice, but you can substitute with wild rice or brown rice, if you prefer. You need a total of 3 cups of cooked rice for this dish.
  • I like to use microwaveable rice as a shortcut. If you’re using Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice (as shown here), you’ll need to microwave the rice according to the package directions before adding it to the dish. Each package contains 2 cups of rice, so you’ll need about 1 1/2 packets for this recipe.
  • For another shortcut, try using pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store, leftover chicken from another meal, or a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You’ll need a total of 3 cups of cooked, diced chicken for this recipe.
  • If starting with raw meat, you’ll need about 1.5 – 2 lbs. of raw chicken tenderloins (breast meat is fine too, but the tenders cook faster). My preferred cooking method is to place the chicken tenderloins in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Cover with foil and bake in a 400F (200C) oven for about 30 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through). Allow to cool before chopping and using in the recipe.
  • The celery and onion become slightly tender in the casserole, but still have a slightly firm texture (which I prefer for a bit of crunch in the dish). If you like your celery and onion very soft, I recommend sautéing the vegetables in a skillet before adding them to the casserole.
  • Use any flavor of condensed soup that you prefer: cream of chicken, cream of mushroom or cream of celery are all nice options.
  • Try adding other vegetables to the dish. Steamed broccoli, frozen mixed vegetables, canned corn, or sautéed mushrooms would all be great additions!
  • For a cheesy chicken and rice casserole, sprinkle the top of the casserole with 1-2 cups of grated cheese before adding the Ritz topping.
  • Don’t have Ritz crackers? Crushed Corn Flakes cereal mixed with the melted butter is a great substitute for a crunchy, flavorful topping.
  • Add herbs and other seasonings to the casserole. Try a dash of garlic powder, or use fresh or dried thyme, parsley, basil or rosemary.
  • Swap out the mayonnaise and use an equal amount of sour cream instead. You may need some extra seasoning (such as salt) if you’re using sour cream instead of the mayonnaise.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish. The rest of the cooking instructions remain the same.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casseroleCalories: 366.6kcalCarbohydrates: 31.6gProtein: 16.5gFat: 19.7gSaturated Fat: 5.7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 54.6mgSodium: 657.3mgPotassium: 274.4mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2.1g
Keyword: chicken and rice casserole, creamy chicken 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!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Hi. This looks delicious!! But all I have is canned chicken and condensed cheese or onion soup. Do you think these would work as substitutions? Thanks

    1. Hey, Jen! Those ingredients should work fine. The canned chicken is a good option, and you can use either soup flavor — whichever you would prefer in the casserole. Enjoy!

        1. Hi, Esther! I said in the recipe that it feeds 6-8 people, but that’s obviously just an estimate. It will totally vary depending on the size of your diners’ appetites! 🙂 I think 6 people is safe, but you may get 8 servings if some of those are smaller eaters or children. You’ll need a 9 x 13-inch dish. Enjoy!

  2. This is a wonderful casserole! Very easy to make and serve the same day or make ahead for a meal (leaving crumbs off until you bake it). I had all ingredients except for soup so made a white sauce (~ 3 cups) and it was wonderful. I will be making this again in the future!

    1. Thank you, Arlene! I’m so glad that you liked it, and that you made it work with the ingredients that you had on hand. Thanks for taking the time to come back here and leave me a note. 🙂

    1. Hi, Denise! Yes! This is a great make-ahead dinner. You can assemble the entire casserole up to 24 hours in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Before baking, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
      You can freeze the casserole before baking. Wrapped tightly, the assembled casserole will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Enjoy!

  3. 5 stars
    You are my kind of cook…..plenty of flexibility…..I will try this tomorrow night….tnx for the ‘sparkle’….:)

  4. 5 stars
    This is a delicious recipe when using up left over chicken….thank you for posting it. I used left over green beans and carrots, crm chicken soup, uncle Ben’s rice, plus sprinkled top with shredded cheese and smashed Italian croutons, then grated Romano/parmesan cheese. Yummy with garlic bread for dinner.

    1. Sounds perfect, Elaine! Thanks so much for coming back here to leave me a note. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it. 🙂