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.

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 a pan of chicken and rice casserole.
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make this Chicken and Rice Casserole | 1-Minute Video
  2. Chicken and Rice Casserole Ingredients
  3. How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole
  4. Preparation and Storage
  5. Recipe Variations
  6. Tips for the Best Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe
  7. Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

How to Make this Chicken and Rice Casserole | 1-Minute Video

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 chicken that you cook at home — anything goes! The kids will go crazy for the creamy combination of rice, meat, and veggies finished with a buttery, crunchy, Ritz cracker topping!

Chicken and Rice Casserole Ingredients

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

  • 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.
  • Rice: any variety of cooked rice will work here. I’ve shown long-grain white rice, but brown rice, basmati rice, or wild rice will all work, too.
  • Mayonnaise: adds flavor and richness to the creamy sauce.
  • Condensed cream of chicken soup: the creamy base that binds the filling together. You can substitute with cream of mushroom soup, cream of celery soup, or any other flavor.
  • Chicken broth: to thin the sauce. Use low-sodium chicken broth to control the salt in the dish.
  • Onion and celery: for savory flavor. I like a little bit of crunch in the filling, so I don’t saute the veggies first. If you like the vegetables softer, you can cook them in butter or olive oil in a skillet until soft before adding them to the filling.
  • Slivered almonds: add a nice, crunchy texture to the casserole filling. You can omit this ingredient if like.
  • Ritz crackers and melted butter: for the crunchy topping.
Stirring filling for chicken and rice casserole.

The Best Chicken 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 ½ lbs. 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!

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

Yes! This recipe calls for 3 cups of cooked 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 instant rice, cook the rice according to the package directions before using it in this casserole. Each packet of the Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice contains about 2 cups of cooked rice, so you’ll need about 1 ½ pouches for this recipe.

Process shot showing how to make chicken and rice casserole.

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, and pop it in the oven! The full step-by-step directions are included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here’s the quick version:

  1. Stir together the filling, and then pour the rice mixture into a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish.
  2. Combine the cracker crumbs and melted butter.
  3. Sprinkle the buttered crumbs on top of the casserole.
  4. Bake, garnish, and serve!
Overhead shot of a dish of chicken and rice casserole.

Serving Suggestions

This classic, old school chicken and rice casserole goes well with any of your favorite vegetable sides. Here are some easy options to try:

Overhead image of a plate of chicken and rice casserole on a turquoise table.

Preparation and Storage

  • 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. Thaw completely in the fridge before baking according to recipe directions.
  • Leftovers 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°F oven until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • 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.
  • Use any flavor of condensed soup that you like: cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, or cream of celery are all nice options.
  • Add more veggies to the filling, such as steamed broccoli, frozen mixed vegetables, canned corn, frozen peas, or sautéed mushrooms.
  • Don’t have Ritz crackers? Crushed Corn Flakes cereal mixed with the melted butter, buttered panko breadcrumbs, or crushed potato chips are great substitutes for a crunchy, flavorful topping.
  • Omit the almonds for a nut-free dish, or substitute with a different nut of your choice. Chopped pecans are also great!
  • For a tangier flavor, use sour cream instead of mayo, or replace half of the mayo with sour cream for a combination of both.
  • Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese (or another variety of cheese) on top of the casserole before adding the cracker crumbs.
  • Season the filling with extra herbs or spices. Good options include chives, parsley, thyme, oregano, or basil, as well as garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika.
Square overhead shot of chicken and rice casserole recipe.

Tips for the Best Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

  • The celery and onion become slightly tender in the casserole, but still have a firm bite (which I prefer for crunch in the dish). If you like your celery and onion very soft, I recommend sautéing the vegetables in a skillet with butter or olive oil before adding them to the casserole.
  • Use microwaveable rice for a shortcut. If you’re using Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice, microwave the rice according to the package directions before adding it to the dish. Each pouch contains about 2 cups of rice, so you’ll need about 1 ½ 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.
  • 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.
Chicken and rice casserole in a vintage baking dish on a dinner table with a side salad.

More Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of chicken and rice casserole recipe.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

5 from 11 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 366.6 kcal
This old-fashioned chicken and rice casserole comes together in just 10 minutes!

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°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.
    Stirring filling for chicken and rice casserole.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together Ritz cracker crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle over top of the casserole.
    Process shot showing how to make chicken and rice casserole.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes (or until hot, bubbly, and golden brown on top).
    Square overhead shot of chicken and rice casserole recipe.

Video

Notes

  • The celery and onion become slightly tender in the casserole, but still have a bit of a firm bite (which I prefer for crunch in the dish). If you like your celery and onion very soft, I recommend sautéing the vegetables in a skillet with butter or olive oil before adding them to the casserole.
  • Use microwaveable rice for a shortcut. If you’re using Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice, microwave the rice according to the package directions before adding it to the dish. Each pouch contains about 2 cups of rice, so you’ll need about 1 ½ 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Use any flavor of condensed soup that you prefer: cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, or cream of celery are all nice options.
  • Add more veggies to the filling, such as steamed broccoli, frozen mixed vegetables, canned corn, frozen peas, or sautéed mushrooms.
  • Don’t have Ritz crackers? Crushed Corn Flakes cereal mixed with the melted butter, buttered panko breadcrumbs, or crushed potato chips are great substitutes for a crunchy, flavorful topping.
  • Omit the almonds for a nut-free dish, or substitute with a different nut of your choice. Chopped pecans are also great!
  • For a tangier flavor, use sour cream instead of mayo, or replace half of the mayo with sour cream for a combination of both flavors.
  • Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese (or another variety of cheese) on top of the casserole before adding the cracker crumbs.
  • Season the filling with extra herbs or spices. Good options include chives, parsley, thyme, oregano, or basil, as well as garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika.

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, chicken and rice casserole recipe, chicken and rice casserole with cream of chicken soup, creamy chicken casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in April, 2020. The photos were updated in January, 2023.

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. Jen says:

    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. Blair says:

      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. Esther Brinson says:

        How many people can you feels many people can you feed and what size of dish

        1. Blair says:

          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!

          1. Mary Eliza Puppe says:

            5 stars
            This was pretty easy to adapt for our allergies and sensitivities! (Gluten and dairy)
            Thanks for the recipe, I’ll be making it again!!

          2. The Seasoned Mom says:

            We’re so glad you were able to make it work for you, Mary!

  2. Jaime says:

    5 stars
    So easy and delicious – it reheats well, too!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a note, Jaime! So glad that you enjoyed it!

  3. Arlene says:

    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. Blair says:

      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. 🙂

  4. Denise says:

    Just wondering if this freezes well? Looks great!

    1. Blair says:

      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!

  5. Jonathan Bryans says:

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

    1. Blair says:

      Oh, good! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  6. Elaine Caswell says:

    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. Blair says:

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

  7. Bill says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is awesome! The whole family loves it and it is easy to make.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Bill!

  8. Janie says:

    5 stars
    Hello and good evening! This recipe, Blair, was very good!! Made it this evening and my husband and I both loved it! Served it with green beans and a tossed salad. Thank you! I look forward to your post each Sunday and have made several of your recipes. Your boys are getting big! Have a great week!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Sounds delicious, Janie! Thank you so much for trying it out and continuing to read the blog. Have a great week as well!

  9. Diana says:

    5 stars
    AMAZING!!! I added poultry seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and parsley flakes, and broccoli florets. I also mixed cheddar cheese in with it, as well as on top. My husband said this is definitely a keeper.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Awesome! Thank you, Diana! I’m so happy to hear that!

  10. Lisa says:

    5 stars
    Comforting casserole—just what we needed with 2 family members under the weather! I added extra celery and sauteed it before baking casserole. I love the flexibility of this recipe! Thank you for sharing it!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Lisa! So glad that it was the perfect comfort food!

  11. Jessica says:

    5 stars
    My husband loves chicken and rice and this has become a favorite of his! I love your site. It has become a go to for me. My family is very happy! Thank you 🙂

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you so much, Jessica!

  12. CJ says:

    5 stars
    My sister and I love this recipe! I am 76 and she is 65 years old. Yum!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      I’m so glad to hear that, CJ. Thank you!!

  13. Nancy Bazemore says:

    This recipe saved “the day” for me. I had no soup so used chopped chicken, a big glob of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of curry powder and 2 tablespoons plus of a jarred chutney sauce with a dusting of grated cheese on top. It was good, I didn’t figure out calories and I used up leftover chicken.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re so glad you were able to make it work for you, Nancy!

  14. Karen says:

    5 stars
    This recipe was wonderful! I was looking for a recipe of chicken and rice without sour cream. It was perfect! Great taste and crunchy with celery, crackers topping. My husband loved it as well. I will definitely share it the next that I make it again.

    By the way, I am originally from East Tennessee and know the Blue Ridge Mountains and Virginia very well. Keep putting those good recipes out! I miss the food back there. I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years.

    Thanks again!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you so much, Karen! We’re happy to have you here and hope you continue to enjoy the recipes.