Dinner couldn’t get any easier with this cheesy broccoli chicken and rice casserole! You love this tender chicken and broccoli combined with creamy, cheesy rice–ready in 30 minutes!
Hey fam! Today, I am back with the easiest busy weeknight dinner recipe you can imagine—a cheesy broccoli chicken and rice casserole! I love this recipe because it’s quick comfort food at its finest. This rice casserole recipe is hearty and filling, includes cheese, a creamy sauce, chicken, and vegetables–what more could you want?! You’ll want to make this cheesy chicken and rice casserole over and over again, so it’s a good thing that it’s freezer-friendly!
My recipe for cheesy broccoli chicken and rice is pretty straightforward. It’s not quite a dump-and-go recipe, but it’s close enough! I’ll show you how I make this easy recipe, and then I’ll share a few ways you can jazz it up to your liking. Let’s jump right on into the ingredients you need.
Ingredients for Cheesy Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole
The great thing about this recipe is that it calls for just a few simple ingredients, and you’ll likely have all of them on hand already!
- Chicken: For my recipe, I use chicken thighs. They’re tender and juicy and easy to cut up into bite-sized pieces. Of course, you can also use chicken breast if you prefer. You could even use rotisserie chicken to cut down on cooking time.
- Broccoli: You can use fresh broccoli florets or frozen broccoli, whatever is easiest for you. You want the broccoli florets to be broken apart into smaller pieces. You don’t want giant pieces of broccoli in this casserole.
- Creamy soup: Here is where your recipe can get creative. There are many ways to make a creamy sauce for a chicken and rice casserole (I will get into that a little later). I use cream of mushroom soup. Cream of celery or cream of chicken soup would also work just as well.
- Rice: I use regular white rice made in my rice cooker—that’s my recommendation for this recipe. However, instant rice (or Minute Rice) should also work fine! (More on the best types of rice for rice casseroles later!)
- Cheese: I use shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Mild cheddar would be fine too, but stick to cheddar—it definitely works best in this recipe! I recommend buying a block of sharp cheddar cheese and shredding it yourself; you can’t beat freshly shredded cheese!
- Seasonings: For my cheesy broccoli chicken and rice, I keep it simple. Seasoning salt and pepper are all you need, but feel free to spice it up to your liking—garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, or red pepper flakes are all great additions! (Pro-tip: check out all the delicious seasoning options at Rosamae Seasonings!)
How to Make Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole
As far as equipment, all you need for this cheesy rice casserole recipe is a skillet and a baking dish. That’s it! Now, let’s get into how to make this cheesy chicken broccoli and rice casserole.
First, prepare your chicken. Cut the chicken thighs or chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and season them with the seasonings of your choice (I simply use seasoning salt and black pepper).
Next, in a skillet over medium-high heat, add some vegetable oil (olive oil works fine) and the chicken. I also add half a diced white or yellow onion at this point, but this is optional! I love the added flavor of the cooked onion throughout the rice casserole. Feel free to leave it out if you’re not a huge fan of onions. After the chicken is cooked and the onions have softened, it’s time to add your fresh or frozen broccoli. Fresh broccoli will cook in less time than frozen, so keep that in mind and adjust your skillet cooking times accordingly!
Next, add the white rice. I don’t recommend using uncooked rice in this recipe. While this rice casserole recipe is nice and creamy, it does not have enough liquid to fully cook the rice. So I recommend using pre-cooked rice; that way, the rice won’t be undercooked from too little liquid, but it also won’t be overcooked and mushy.
After adding the rice, you will add the cream of mushroom soup (feel free to use cream of chicken or celery if that suits your tastes better) and the shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Mix all these ingredients until they’re well combined. Finally, transfer everything into a greased baking dish, top with more shredded cheese, and bake! I also added some paprika for color, but that’s up to you.
What’s the Best Rice for a Rice Casserole?
What rice should you use for this cheesy broccoli chicken and rice casserole? I think that plain, medium-grain white rice is the winner, but there are many other rice options you could use.
- Instant rice or Minute Rice: Instant rice is a quick-and-easy option, and there are many instant rice brands. Instant rice is just regular rice that’s been cooked and dehydrated. You’re simply rehydrating it in the cooking process, so it cooks much quicker. However, keep in mind that instant rice can easily overcook, so you may need to adjust cooking times if you use instant rice for this recipe.
- Brown rice: Brown rice is a little bit healthier, but it does take longer and requires more liquid to cook. You can easily substitute brown rice for white rice in this cheesy rice casserole recipe—just account for the change when you cook the rice before adding it into the casserole.
- Wild rice: Wild rice is a bit fancier of an option. Wild rice isn’t actually even rice at all, but a seed! It’s gluten-free, high in protein, and has a nuttier, earthy flavor. However, it’s definitely not your everyday rice, so keep that in mind before substituting it for white rice in this recipe. Also, wild rice takes quite a bit longer to cook than ordinary rice, so if you’re time-crunched on a busy weeknight, this isn’t the best rice substitute for this recipe.
While these three rice options are some of the most popular white rice substitutes, there are a lot of other kinds of rice you can use. Y’all know I like to keep it simple, so it’s white rice for me! I have a rice cooker, which makes the perfect batch of rice every time. (I have many rice recipes, so my rice cooker gets plenty of use.) If you don’t have a rice cooker, making the perfect rice batch is an art form. Don’t stress—use what works best for you, and I’m sure your cheesy chicken and broccoli rice casserole will turn out bomb.com anyway!
How to Jazz Up Chicken and Rice Casserole
Don’t get me wrong, Cousins—I love this cheesy broccoli chicken and rice casserole. It’s easy, has simple ingredients, and is perfect for busy weeknights. It will be a favorite meal in your weekly rotation as is. But there are many ways to jazz it up with even more flavor with different ingredients.
- Add a topping layer before baking: In my recipe, I add a layer of shredded cheese before baking. However, you could also top your chicken and rice casserole with a crispy topping to add some texture and crunch! Crushed-up butter crackers (like Ritz crackers), cornflakes, or even seasoned breadcrumbs would add some crunch and flavor, crisping up nicely in the oven when baking.
- Make a homemade cream sauce: I love the ease of dumping a can of cream of mushroom soup and calling it a sauce—you can’t beat that! However, you could make a delicious homemade cream sauce if you have the time. Use cream cheese, sour cream, or milk as the base. An easy bechamel sauce only calls for a handful of ingredients and is perfect for a cheesy chicken and rice casserole.
- Add extra veggies: While you can’t go wrong with cheesy broccoli, adding extra veggies to this cheesy chicken casserole recipe could add some fun flavors and color. Try diced bell peppers, carrots, or peas for a chicken pot pie-type rice casserole. Onions and garlic are delicious aromatics that always taste great in a casserole. You could even add green beans if you like!
Quick and Easy Cheesy Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe Card + Video
Alrighty y’all, it’s time to get cookin’! This chicken casserole is a great meal for busy nights. Tender chicken, cheesy goodness, simple ingredients… you can’t go wrong with this pure comfort food! Try this cheesy chicken broccoli and rice recipe for dinner tonight and tell me what you think! Don’t forget to subscribe to I Heart Recipes on YouTube to see all of my recipe videos, cooking tips, and more! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to keep up with all things Rosie and I Heart Recipes!
If you want more easy casserole recipes, check out these recipes next:
- Creamy Corned Beef Casserole
- Easy Tuna Casserole
- Tex Mex Corn Casserole
- Pork Chop Rice and Broccoli Skillet
Cheesy Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thigh cut into bite sizes
- 1/2 white onion diced
- 2 cups frozen of fresh broccoli chopped
- 14 oz can of cream of mushroom
- 1 1/2 cup cooked rice
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp seasoning salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika optional, for garnish
- 1 tsp parsley flakes optional, for garnish
- Prep your chicken. Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces, then set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, pour in vegetable oil, chicken, and onion. Sprinkle in seasoning salt and black pepper.
- Cook the chicken until it is done, then add in the broccoli. Give everything a nice stir, then add in the cream of mushroom soup and rice.
- Stir until chicken, broccoli, rice, and soup is well incorporated. Then sprinkle in 1/2 cup cheese. Stir, then place the ingredients into a greased baking dish.
- Top off the casserole with the remaining cheese (and paprika and parsley flakes if you choose).
- Bake at 375 F, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes. Once done, let it set for about 5 minutes.
- SERVE & ENJOY!