This chicken casserole is a blend of cooked chicken, rice and broccoli, all tossed together in a creamy cheese sauce then baked to perfection. A hearty meal that’s family friendly and easy to make!

Easy casseroles are a staple in my house. My family loves sausage and rice casserole, chicken enchilada casserole, chicken noodle casserole and this simple yet satisfying chicken, broccoli and rice version.

A spoon serving up a portion of chicken casserole made with rice and broccoli.

You can never go wrong with a good casserole, and this cheesy chicken casserole happens to be my all time favorite. It’s loaded with chicken, broccoli and rice, making it a complete meal. This casserole is so easy to customize to your tastes, which makes it perfect for even the pickiest eaters. Best of all, it’s all made from scratch, no canned cream of chicken soup here! For more great chicken dinner ideas, be sure to check out my Chicken Vesuvio, chicken pad thai, Peruvian chicken and creamy chicken gnocchi soup.

Chicken Casserole Ingredients

To make this recipe, you will need butter, flour, onion, milk, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, steamed broccoli, cooked rice, cooked chicken, buttery crackers and parsley.

How Do You Make Chicken Casserole?

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven. Melt butter in a pot, then add the onion and cook until tender. Next, stir in the flour to thicken the sauce. Whisk in the milk, then add cream cheese, cheddar cheese, spices and seasonings. Place the broccoli, chicken and rice in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the creamy sauce to the chicken mixture and toss gently to combine. Pour the chicken and rice mix into a casserole dish and add cheddar cheese and crackers on top. Bake until the casserole is golden brown and bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.

Chicken, broccoli and rice in a mixing bowl.

Tips For Chicken Casserole

  • I recommend using freshly grated cheese for this recipe. The pre-shredded cheese that comes in a bag is often coated with anti-caking agents and does not melt as smoothly as freshly grated cheese.
  • I use long grain white rice when I make this dish, but short grain white rice, brown rice, or wild rice will also work.
  • You can pre-cook your broccoli by steaming it in the microwave, or blanching it in a pot of boiling water.
  • If you feel that the cheese sauce is too thick, you can thin it out with a little chicken broth.
  • I typically use Ritz crackers for the cracker crumbs topping, although a cheese cracker would also be a great way to go.
  • Leftovers will stay fresh in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Quick Tip

This casserole can be assembled up to 8 hours before it’s baked. Omit the crackers and add them just before the dish goes into the oven.

Creamy rice, chicken and broccoli in a casserole dish.

Recipe FAQs

Do you have to pre-cook chicken in a casserole?

You need to pre-cook the chicken in this casserole. You can use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, sauteed chicken breasts, shredded chicken thighs, whatever you have on hand. The rice and broccoli are also cooked before they go into the pan.

How long should a casserole cook?

This casserole bakes for about 20 minutes, as all the ingredients are warm and pre-cooked before they go into the oven. If you’re baking a cold casserole, it will take more like 30-35 minutes. If the topping gets browned before the casserole cooks through, you can cover the dish with foil for the remainder of the bake time.

What are the five components of a casserole?

Most casserole recipes contain 5 components: a protein, a grain/starch, a vegetable, cheese and a sauce.

Do you cook a casserole covered or uncovered?

Most casseroles cook uncovered, especially if there’s a topping that needs to get crispy and browned, such as crackers or breadcrumbs. If you feel like your casserole is getting overly browned during the cooking process, you can cover it with foil.

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Chicken casserole topped with crushed crackers and cheddar cheese.

Chicken Casserole Flavor Variations

I typically make this casserole as written, although sometimes I switch up some of the ingredients depending on what I have on hand.

  • Protein: Instead of chicken, try chicken sausage, ground beef or ground turkey.
  • Grains: I’ve substituted cooked quinoa and small pasta such as orzo for the rice with great results.
  • Vegetables: Instead of broccoli try zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, bell peppers or corn.
  • Cheese: While this dish is typically made with cheddar cheese, other options include mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Sauce: Try using sour cream instead of cream cheese in the sauce. You can also add a little onion powder for extra flavor.
Baked chicken casserole with a crunchy cheesy topping.

This chicken casserole is a great dish to have in your repertoire for when you need a comforting meal to feed a crowd. It’s full of familiar flavors and is simple to make, yet always gets rave reviews!

A spoon in a dish of chicken and rice casserole.

More Great Casserole Recipes

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5 from 23 votes

Chicken Casserole

AuthorSara Welch
A spoon serving up a portion of chicken casserole made with rice and broccoli.
This chicken casserole is a blend of cooked chicken, rice and broccoli, all tossed together in a creamy cheese sauce then baked to perfection. A hearty meal that’s family friendly and easy to make!
Time
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 8

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 2 1/2 cups milk I use whole milk
  • 3 1/2 cups cheddar cheese shredded, divided use
  • 2 ounces cream cheese cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups broccoli florets lightly steamed or blanched
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 3 cups cooked chicken diced or shredded
  • 1 cup buttery crackers such as Ritz, coarsely crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • cooking spray

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9″x13″ pan with cooking spray.
  • Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the flour to the pot and stir to coat the onions; cook for 1 minute.
  • Slowly whisk the milk into the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until sauce has thickened (coats the back of a spoon).
  • Add the cream cheese, 2 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and the salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic to the sauce. Stir until smooth.
  • Place the broccoli, rice and chicken in a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the top and toss to coat evenly.
  • Pour the broccoli mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top, along with the crushed crackers.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until casserole is bubbly, topping is browned and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley and serve

Notes

  1. I recommend using freshly grated cheese for this recipe. The pre-shredded cheese that comes in a bag is often coated with anti-caking agents and does not melt as smoothly as freshly grated cheese.
  2. I use long grain white rice when I make this dish, but short grain white rice, brown rice, or wild rice will also work.
  3. You can pre-cook your broccoli by steaming it in the microwave, or blanching it in a pot of boiling water.

Nutrition

Calories: 462kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 778mg | Potassium: 280mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1155IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 482mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Comments

  1. Is this a good cassarole for freezing and using later? If so do you recomment baking first then freezing or freezing and then thawing and baking? Can you recommend some of your cassaroles that are good for use out of the freezer?

  2. Hi For the Chicken Casserole How fo l need to cook the chicken breast ? The Broccoli Florets Do l buy them frozen ? Thank You

    1. I often pan cook or roast the chicken. You can use fresh broccoli that’s been steamed or frozen, either works!

  3. 5 stars
    Omg so delicious!!! This is a keeper! I added cauliflower in addition to the broccoli. My family loved this ❤

  4. I love a great casserole recipe! So great to have on hand for busy weeknights and leftovers for whenever I need them.

  5. 5 stars
    I have recently discovered smoked paprika and love that I have another recipe to enjoy it with! Delicious!

  6. 5 stars
    I love a good baked chicken dish!! Comforting for the whole family and yours looks fantastic well done. I have seen a few of your recipes now and they are always such great quality and the photos are easy to follow. Thanks!!

  7. 5 stars
    This casserole was amazing! I had a dinner party and everyone was asking for the recipe after!

  8. 5 stars
    Yum! Looks so comforting. I have a ton of cheese lying around in my fridge right now and now I know how to use it.

  9. 5 stars
    OMG this sounds like heaven!!! I love all the ingredients. I’m sure my kids would be very happy if I made it for them for dinner tonight