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Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole Recipe [Quick & Tasty]

By: Shivani Choudhary
Updated On: May 16, 2024

There’s something deeply satisfying about a warm, home-cooked meal that brings everyone together around the dinner table, and one of my all-time favorites for this is a hearty Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole. Picture this: tender pieces of chicken, bite-sized broccoli florets, and fluffy rice all enveloped in a creamy, cheesy sauce that not only tastes divine but also fills your kitchen with an irresistible aroma.

On those busy weeknights when time is scarce but the desire for a comforting, wholesome meal is high, this casserole proves to be a lifesaver. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep time, you can have dinner ready without breaking a sweat. It’s the kind of dish that caters to everyone—kids love it, adults crave it, and even the picky eaters won’t leave a morsel behind.

Also Read: Easy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Recipe

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Why You’ll Love This Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole?

Creamy and Rich Texture

One of the biggest draws to this dish is its luscious, creamy texture. Imagine sinking your fork into a medley of tender chicken, perfectly cooked broccoli, and fluffy rice, all enveloped in a rich, cheesy sauce. It’s the epitome of comfort food, delivering a warm embrace with each bite.

Kid-Friendly

For those of you with little ones, you know the struggle of finding a dish that everyone will enjoy. This Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole has been a game-changer in my household. The creamy cheese sauce and familiar ingredients make it a favorite among kids, who often ask for seconds.

Easy Clean-Up

Another reason you’ll adore this recipe is the simple clean-up. Cooking everything in one dish means fewer pots and pans to wash. After a busy day, the last thing anyone wants is a sink full of dirty dishes. This one-pan wonder simplifies both preparation and clean-up.

Balanced, Nutritious Meal

This casserole is essentially a complete meal in one dish. It includes protein, vegetables, and grains. The broccoli provides a delightful crunch and a dose of greens, while the chicken offers essential proteins. The rice ensures you get the carbs needed for full satisfaction.

Versatility

The versatility of this recipe is another compelling reason to love it. It’s easy to adapt to your taste preferences or dietary requirements. Not a fan of broccoli? Swap it for cauliflower or spinach. Lactose intolerant? Opt for a dairy-free cheese substitute. The possibilities are vast, allowing you to customize the dish to your liking and still enjoy a delicious, comforting meal.

Prep, Store, and Reheat

Life can be hectic, and sometimes, preparing meals in advance is crucial. This casserole can be assembled ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. When you’re ready, just reheat it in the oven. The flavors even improve after mingling for a while, making it an excellent option for meal planning.

Crowd-Pleaser

This casserole is always a hit at gatherings, whether you’re hosting a family dinner or contributing to a potluck. Everyone appreciates a hearty, cheesy dish that’s easy to serve, making it a preferred choice for various events.

Ingredients: What You’ll Need

To create this scrumptious Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole, you only need a few basic ingredients. These items are probably staples in your pantry and refrigerator, making this dish a convenient option for a quick dinner on a hectic evening.

Main Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Chicken Breasts: 2 to 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or diced.
  • Broccoli Florets: About 2 cups, fresh or frozen.
  • Rice: 1 cup of uncooked white or brown rice.
  • Cream of Chicken Soup: 1 can (10.5 ounces) to achieve a creamy consistency.
  • Cheddar Cheese: 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, divided.
  • Milk: 1 cup to enhance the creaminess of the casserole.
  • Onion Powder and Garlic Powder: About 1 teaspoon each, for flavor enhancement.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  • Bread Crumbs: Optional, for a crunchy topping.

Ingredient Substitutions and Tips

  • Vegetable Swaps: Not a fan of broccoli? Try substituting it with cauliflower, spinach, or peas. This recipe is adaptable and forgiving.
  • Dairy-Free Option: For a dairy-free version, opt for plant-based milk such as almond or oat milk and use dairy-free cheese. Alternatively, a homemade cashew cream can replace the canned soup.
  • Rice Alternative: To reduce carbohydrates, consider using cauliflower rice as an excellent alternative that integrates well with the other ingredients.

Ingredient Preparation Tips

  • Chicken: If you’re pressed for time, a rotisserie chicken can be a great time-saver—simply shred it.
  • Broccoli: If using fresh broccoli, a brief blanching in boiling water for a couple of minutes will soften it. If you prefer a crunchier texture, use it raw.
  • Rice: Prepare the rice in advance as per the package instructions to ensure it cooks perfectly within the casserole and avoids becoming mushy.

Prepare your ingredients beforehand to streamline the cooking process and ensure a stress-free and enjoyable experience. Now, let’s move on to the detailed cooking instructions to create this comforting casserole!

How to Make Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole? Step-by-Step Instructions

Crafting a delicious Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is easier than you might think. Just follow these simple steps to bring this warm and hearty dish to your dinner table.

Preparing the Ingredients

First, let’s prepare all your ingredients:

  1. Preheat Your Oven: Begin by setting your oven to 350°F (175°C). This ensures it’s ready to go when your casserole is assembled.
  2. Cook the Rice: Follow the package instructions to cook 1 cup of white or brown rice. Once done, set it aside to cool.
  3. Cook the Chicken: If not using pre-cooked chicken, you’ll need to cook 2 to 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Choose to boil, bake, or grill them according to your preference. Let them cool slightly before shredding or dicing.

Blanching the Broccoli

If using fresh broccoli:

  1. Boil Water: Get a large pot of water boiling.
  2. Blanch Broccoli: Toss in the broccoli florets and cook them for about 2 minutes. They should be tender but still vibrant green.
  3. Drain and Cool: Quickly drain the broccoli and rinse it under cold water to halt the cooking process. Set aside.

Assembling the Casserole

With your main ingredients prepared, it’s time to assemble the casserole:

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, shredded or diced chicken, blanched broccoli, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, the can of cream of chicken soup, and 1 cup of milk. Add 1 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Stir Well: Mix everything together thoroughly, ensuring an even coating of the creamy mixture on all ingredients.

Baking the Casserole

Now, let’s bake the casserole to perfection:

  1. Prepare Baking Dish: Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Transfer Mixture: Pour the casserole mixture into the dish, smoothing it out evenly.
  3. Add Cheese: Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. If desired, add bread crumbs for extra crunch.
  4. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the casserole is thoroughly heated.

Serving Your Casserole

Allow the casserole to cool slightly before serving to help it set:

  • Portion and Serve: Scoop out portions with a large spoon or spatula. Serve alongside a simple salad or some garlic bread for a complete meal.

Tips for Picky Eaters and Modifications

Cooking for a household with diverse tastes can indeed be challenging. Fortunately, this casserole offers flexibility to cater to even the pickiest eaters. Here are some tips to ensure everyone enjoys your Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole:

Sneak in the Veggies

For kids or others who aren’t fans of broccoli, try chopping it into tiny pieces so it blends seamlessly into the casserole. You might also add shredded carrots or zucchini to sneak in extra nutrients without altering the overall flavor of the dish.

Alternative Proteins

If chicken isn’t a favorite in your household, consider substituting it with ground beef, turkey, or even tofu for a vegetarian option. Ensure any alternative proteins are well-cooked and seasoned before incorporating them into the casserole.

Dairy-Free Options

For those who are lactose intolerant or following a dairy-free diet, use plant-based milk such as almond or coconut milk and opt for dairy-free cheese alternatives. This way, the casserole remains creamy and delicious without the dairy.

Go Gluten-Free

To accommodate gluten-free dietary needs, ensure you use gluten-free rice and substitute the cream of chicken soup with a gluten-free variant. Check all seasonings and additional ingredients to confirm they meet gluten-free standards.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

Casseroles are ideal for advance preparation. Here’s how to manage your time efficiently while keeping the dish fresh and appetizing:

Preparing Ahead

To prepare this casserole ahead of time, assemble all the ingredients as directed but refrain from baking. Cover the unbaked casserole with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, remove the cover and bake as usual, adding about 10-15 minutes to the cooking time to compensate for the cold ingredients.

Freezing the Casserole

This casserole freezes exceptionally well. Assemble the dish in a freezer-safe container or aluminum tray, cool it completely, then cover tightly with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. Label and date it for future reference. It can be frozen for up to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw the casserole overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.

Proper Reheating

To best preserve the texture and flavor of the casserole, reheat it gently. If it has been refrigerated, bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 20-30 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator first and then bake. While microwaving is quicker, reheating in the oven often yields a better texture, particularly in keeping the top layer crisp.

Storing Leftovers

Should you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. When reheating, consider adding a splash of milk or broth to refresh and maintain its creamy texture.

What to Serve with Your Casserole?

Enhancing your meal with the right sides can elevate your Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole from delightful to absolutely spectacular. Here are several ideas to complete your dinner spread:

Fresh Salads

A crisp, refreshing salad pairs wonderfully with a rich casserole. Opt for a Caesar salad featuring crunchy romaine lettuce, grated Parmesan, and a creamy dressing, or a mixed greens salad adorned with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a zesty vinaigrette. The fresh elements of the salad will perfectly balance the creaminess of your casserole.

Bread Options

A side of bread makes an excellent companion to any hearty casserole. Warm, buttery garlic bread is perfect for mopping up any remaining sauce, while a crusty baguette or fluffy dinner rolls offer a delightful crunch that contrasts nicely with the soft texture of the casserole.

Roasted Vegetables

Adding a variety of roasted vegetables can enrich your meal further. Mix carrots, bell peppers, and brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast them until they are beautifully caramelized. Their deep flavors will complement the comforting taste of the casserole.

Beverages

To accompany your meal, a light Chardonnay with its subtle oak and creamy undertones pairs beautifully with the richness of the casserole. For non-alcoholic options, consider sparkling water with a lemon twist or a refreshing iced tea to cleanse the palate between bites.

Kid-Friendly Sides

For younger diners, consider simpler, familiar sides like buttered corn or a creamy mac and cheese. These kid-friendly dishes ensure even the pickiest eaters enjoy their meal.

Also Read: Best Side Dishes to Serve With Crab Cakes

Conclusion

Gathering around the dinner table offers a special opportunity to share stories and relish the comfort of a homemade meal. The Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is more than just a dish; it’s a heartwarming invitation to create lasting memories and cherish life’s simple pleasures with your loved ones. This recipe, packed with flavor and easy to prepare, is sure to become a cherished favorite.

This casserole not only satisfies hunger but also brings joy and warmth to any gathering. I hope this becomes a beloved addition to your culinary repertoire. If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear about your experience and any unique twists you add to make it your own.

Ready to create a culinary delight that’s sure to impress? Gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and let’s start cooking! Remember, the best meals are those shared with the people you care about. Enjoy!

Food Lover and Storyteller 🍽️✨ With a fork in one hand and a pen in the other, Shivani brings her culinary adventures to life through evocative words and tantalizing tastes. Her love for food knows no bounds, and she's on a mission to share the magic of flavors with fellow enthusiasts.
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