Chicken broccoli rice casserole is the ultimate hearty, comforting one-dish meal. This cheesy baked casserole combines tender chicken, fresh broccoli florets, and fluffy rice all baked together in a creamy, flavorful sauce.
Chicken broccoli rice casserole is perfect for easy family dinners, potlucks, or meal prepping for your week. It reheats beautifully and leftovers can be frozen for busy nights when you need a quick dinner option.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will be covering everything you need to know about making the best chicken broccoli rice casserole from scratch. You’ll learn key ingredients, step-by-step cooking directions, tips for customizing flavors, how to freeze and reheat it properly, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Whether you’re a seasoned cook or beginner in the kitchen, this chicken broccoli rice casserole recipe is simple to whip up with incredible results every time. So let’s get started!
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole Ingredients
The great thing about this classic baked casserole is that it uses simple ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. Here is what you’ll need:
Chicken – Boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts work best. Chicken tenders can also be used if you prefer smaller pieces.
Rice – Long grain white rice or brown rice work well. I recommend using day-old cooked rice which helps the casserole hold together better.
Broccoli – Fresh or frozen broccoli florets are perfect. Chop into bite-sized pieces if using large florets.
Cheese – Shredded cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella or combination creates a gooey topping. Gruyere or gouda also delicious.
Cream soup – Cream of chicken, cream of mushroom or celery soup provides creaminess.
Spices – Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika.
Egg and Milk – Helps bind the ingredients together in the sauce.
Onion and Carrots (optional) – Diced onions and shredded carrots add veggie flavor.
Butter or Oil – For sautéing veggies and cooking chicken.
That covers the key ingredients! Now let’s go over the step-by-step directions on putting together this easy one-pan meal.
Steps to Make Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Follow these simple steps for baked casserole perfection:
1. Cook the Rice
- Prepare the rice according to package instructions. Using pre-cooked rice is best.
- For 4 servings, cook 1 1/2 cups dry white or brown rice.
2. Steam or Boil Broccoli Florets
- Place broccoli florets in a steamer basket or saucepan with 1 inch salted water.
- Steam or boil for 5-7 minutes until just tender. Drain and set aside.
3. Sauté Onion and Carrots (optional)
- In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil or butter over medium heat.
- Cook 1 cup diced onion and 1 cup peeled and shredded carrots for 5-7 minutes until softened.
4. Cook Chicken
- Dice or shred 2 cooked chicken breasts or 4 thighs into bite-sized pieces. Can substitute with raw chicken cooked in the skillet from Step 3.
5. Make Sauce
- In a large bowl, whisk together soup, spices, milk, egg and shredded cheese.
6. Assemble Casserole
- Layer half each of rice, broccoli, chicken and veggie mix into a 9×13 baking pan.
- Pour sauce evenly over top then repeat layers using remaining ingredients.
- Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and bake 15 minutes more until hot and bubbly.
8. Let Sit & Serve
- Allow casserole to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle extra shredded cheese or parsley on top.
And your chicken broccoli rice casserole is ready eat! Now let’s go over some tasty ways to customize this recipe.
Tips for Best Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Follow these tips for rice casserole success:
Don’t Overcook the Rice
- Be careful not to overcook the rice or it will become mushy in the casserole when baked. Cook just until tender.
Cut Broccoli & Chicken Evenly
- For the best texture, cut broccoli florets and chicken pieces to a uniform size so they cook evenly.
Let Cheese Brown Slightly
- When baking uncovered towards the end, allow cheese topping to brown slightly for crispy baked texture.
Let Sit Before Serving
- Let casserole sit for 5-10 minutes once baked. This helps lock in moisture and makes dishing out simpler.
Stir Gently Before Serving
- Gently stir casserole before serving to distribute flavors throughout. Be careful not to break rice grains.
Follow those tips and your chicken broccoli rice casserole will be perfectly cooked from top to bottom!
FAQs About Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Can I assemble this casserole ahead of time?
Yes! One of the huge benefits of this recipe is that it can be assembled 1-2 days in advance. Just store tightly covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Allow fridge-cold casserole to bake a few extra minutes.
Can I freeze chicken broccoli rice casserole?
Freezing unbaked or baked casseroles is perfect for quick meals later. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Freeze unbaked casseroles up to 2 months. Reheat frozen casserole still covered at 350°F until hot, about 60 minutes.
Is chicken broth needed or can I just use cream soup?
The cream soup provides plenty of moisture and flavor. Chicken or vegetable broth can be used to cook the rice or steamed veggies, but isn’t necessary in the casserole itself.
What if my rice isn’t getting tender while baking?
First make sure not to overcook rice initially before adding to casserole. You can stir in a splash of water or broth if rice still seems underdone part way through baking. Tent with foil if rice browns too much on top before fully cooked.
What type of pan should I use?
A 9×13 glass or metal baking dish offers the best heat distribution for this recipe. Ceramic also works well. For smaller batches, an 8×8 pan can be used instead.
And there you have it – everything you could need to know for baking up the best chicken broccoli rice casserole!
- Chunk chicken cans 2 Drain it properly
- Uncooked rice 2 cups
- 1 small packet of frozen broccoli chopped
- Chopped onion 1
- 1 cup of processed cheese food
- Milk 1 cup
- 2 tbsp of butter
- Cream of chicken soup 1 can
- Cream of mushroom soup 1 can
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Take a saucepan and boil the uncooked rice in water for 5 minutes. Drain the rice from the water and let it rest.
- Take a baking dish and grease it a little.
- In a bowl add all the ingredients (keep a little cheese for later) and mix it well.
- Add the mixture to the baking dish and cook it for 30-35 minutes. Take the dish out add the remaining cheese on top and again bake for 5 minutes. Your cheesy and delicious casserole is ready to serve.