Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole Recipe

By: Cassy Joy

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This cheesy chicken broccoli and rice casserole is the ultimate comfort food! We've replaced the traditional canned condensed soup with a simple homemade cream sauce for a healthier take, and there's no need to pre-cook the rice, broccoli, or chicken – simply dump it all into a casserole dish and bake.

chicken broccoli and rice casserole with cheese in a white casserole dish on a marble surface

Here at Fed and Fit, we love a good casserole. Typically, they're easy to make, a great candidate for hiding veggies, and they can feed an army. This cheesy chicken broccoli and rice casserole is no exception. In fact, it's probably one of the easiest and tastiest casseroles you'll ever make because it doesn't require any cooking ahead of time. Instead, you'll simply mix up the raw ingredients, dump them into a casserole dish, and bake. The resulting dish is creamy, flavorful, and perfectly balanced. Your whole family will love this one!

How to Make Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

If you ever look at the recipes for the casseroles you ate growing up, you'll probably notice that cream of chicken or mushroom soup was included in the recipe. We wanted to make this chicken broccoli rice casserole a bit healthier, so we decided to skip the traditional gloppy, flavorless, filled-with-odd-ingredients canned soup in favor of a homemade version. Don't be intimidated though – it only takes a few steps and the homemade cream of chicken soup will give this casserole tons of flavor!

  1. Saute onion and garlic. The first step for the soup is to saute half a diced onion and 3 cloves of garlic until they are just lightly browned. If you're short on time, you can skip this step and add in 1 teaspoon each of onion and garlic powder instead!
  2. Whisk in 2 tablespoons flour. Next, you'll sprinkle the flour over the onions and garlic and whisk to combine it with the butter in the pan. This recipe works great with a gluten-free flour like this one as well!
  3. Whisk in the broth and milk. Finally, you'll pour in the chicken broth, whisking constantly, until there are no lumps, then pour in the milk. For a dairy-free version, we recommend substituting full-fat coconut milk.

While making the homemade cream of chicken soup is super easy, you can still rely on canned if you need to! This gluten-free, organic version from Pacific Foods is our go-to. Just use two boxes plus one cup of broth in place of the broth, milk, and flour in the recipe.

cheesy chicken broccoli rice casserole in a round white pot with a scoop taken out of it and set on a white plate on a marble surfaceDo you have to cook the rice before putting it in the casserole?

Nope! Once you've made the sauce, all you have to do is chop up the raw chicken and broccoli, then combine it with the rice and sauce. Then, you'll place it all in the casserole dish, cover with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil, and cook for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, you'll remove the lid from the pot and sprinkle the cheese over, then bake for another 15 minutes to let it melt.

Can I freeze chicken broccoli rice casserole?

Yes! This casserole freezes like a dream. You can either freeze a fully-baked casserole whole then reheat it in a 350 F oven for 1 hour, or you can freeze individual portions and reheat them by microwaving for 3-4 minutes or by baking in a 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes.

broccoli chicken and rice casserole

Here are the most common questions we've gotten about this Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Can I use frozen broccoli?

Yes! You can use 3/4 pound frozen broccoli florets in place of fresh for this recipe.

Can I substitute cauliflower rice or brown rice for white rice?

Unfortunately, you can't substitute cauliflower rice for white rice. The liquid in this recipe is absorbed by the rice, so substituting cauliflower rice would result in a very soupy texture. BUT the good news is that we've already got a Paleo cheesy broccoli casserole. If you want to make it a full meal, we recommend adding about 4 cups shredded chicken to the broccoli and cauliflower mixture before baking.

We haven't tested substituting brown rice for white rice in this recipe yet. Typically, brown rice requires more liquid to cook than white rice, so we'd recommend adding an extra cup of broth to the recipe.

Can I make this chicken broccoli rice casserole in the Instant Pot?

We tested this casserole in the Instant Pot but found that the Instant Pot failed to come to pressure and the casserole routinely burned the bottom of the pot – so we can only recommend the oven method for now!

Can I make it without chicken?

Many of you have asked about making this casserole without the chicken so you can make it as a side dish for Thanksgiving. You can absolutely leave the chicken out and it will still bake up perfectly.

We hope you love this easy chicken broccoli and rice casserole as much as we do!

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Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

broccoli chicken and rice casserole

This cheesy chicken broccoli and rice casserole is so comforting and delicious, and comes together in minutes!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

For the cream of chicken soup*:

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter or ghee
  • 3 tablespoons flour (we used this one for gluten-free)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or full-fat coconut milk

For the casserole:

  • 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 pound broccoli florets (about 5 cups)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Add the butter to a saute pan over medium heat, once melted, add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
  3. Add the flour to the pot and whisk to combine, then slowly pour in the chicken broth, whisking the mixture constantly to ensure there are no lumps. Once smooth, whisk in the milk, salt, pepper, and thyme and let cook for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce is thick and bubbling.
  4. Add the rice, chicken, and broccoli to a 4 quart baking dish, then pour the sauce over and toss to combine. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked through and the liquid is absorbed, then remove the foil and sprinkle with cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Notes

  • If you'd like to save time, you can use 2 boxes of this cream of chicken soup plus one cup of chicken broth in place of making the homemade version.
  • For dairy-free: use full-fat canned coconut milk in place of the milk.

Keywords: gluten free, dairy free, broccoli, cheddar, easy, make ahead

Comments

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  1. Brittany Rondello says:

    I will be making this this week as I was going to do a wing it version anyway! Curious if I wanted to freeze a portion for another night would this do well to do so before baking? And if so do you have suggestions on any substitutions for bake time or temp? Thank you!! Can’t wait to try!

  2. Rosey says:

    I made this tonight and it was wonderful! So easy and my kids all loved it.

    5.0 rating

  3. Andrea says:

    So easy and so delicious!

    5.0 rating

  4. Gray says:

    Can you use light buttermilk in place of regular milk?

  5. Dahlia says:

    Thinking about making this without chicken and just having chicken on the side! Will it cook the same? Can’t wait to make this cozy meal!

  6. Michele says:

    Just put this in the oven, but my largest baking dish is only 3 quarts! Hope it doesn’t overflow.

  7. NIkki says:

    Could I do it as a one pot meal in a dutch oven?

  8. Jessica says:

    Is the chicken supposed to be cooked before you add it? Or it goes in raw and cooks through in the oven?

    1. Jessica says:

      Same with the rice? It goes in without being cooked first? Thanks!

  9. Melanie VanMeter says:

    I am baking this recipe right now! I used jasmine rice instead of white, and it’s been in the oven for 55min thus far and I just stuck it back in because the rice is still hard. Is this because I used jasmine rice?

  10. Shanna says:

    I love the flavour of this dish and the idea but my rice didn’t cook and it was covered with foil for the allotted time then cooked uncovered for the 15. Any ideas? I used white long grain rice for reference.

    2.0 rating

  11. Jessica says:

    Can I use sprouted whole grain rice?