There's something so nostalgic and comforting about a good casserole for a weeknight dinner and this Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole hits all the comfort food buttons. It's cheesy and savory with tender bites of chicken and broccoli in every bite.
You will love this Chicken Rice and Broccoli casserole!
With all our instant pot, slow cooker, sheet pan or one pan dinners and skillet meals that are so popular these days, I feel like the good ol' casserole gets overlooked.
These vintage-y creations bring to mind potlucks and church suppers and have often served the function of stretching food during tough times.
And today I'm teaming up with some of my favorite food blogging friends to share casserole recipes of all sorts, including this cheesy chicken broccoli and rice casserole, so be sure to keep scrolling to the end of the post to get all the casserole inspiration you need!
With a vegetable, protein, and starch, this chicken, broccoli and rice casserole is a complete meal in one dish. And while many casserole recipes call for cans of cream of something soup, I skipped it in favor of making a super simple from scratch version for the sauce.
All it takes is a little chicken broth mixed into sauteed onions and garlic, thickened with a little flour to create a quick base that you can doctor up with some sour cream and seasonings.
Then the rest of the dish is mostly about assembly. You could either layer everything into a casserole dish, starting with rice, then the shredded chicken, broccoli, sauce and cheese, or mix it all together.
I mixed everything together in this version, but I like it both ways.
I also included a panko topping here for a little extra texture and crunch, but you can forgo that as well if you prefer a cheesy top.
As for the protein in this casserole, I'm all about roasting an extra whole chicken or doubling up my crispy cast iron skillet chicken thighs and using the extra meat in meals like this during the week.
Or picking up a rotisserie chicken from Costco. It just makes life that much easier. It also makes it super easy to double up your cooking and assemble more than one chicken broccoli and rice casserole at once if you need to take a meal to a friend in need of a helping hand or some comfort.
Because although they may not be foodie-forward or fancy, nothing quite says "I'm here for you" like a casserole dinner prepared by someone else so you don't have to worry about what to put on the table that night. And that's something that will always be in style.
Broccoli Rice Casserole ingredients
- Butter - For sauteing the onions and garlic.
- Onion - Adds savory depth of flavor and extra veggies
- Flour - To help thicken the sauce.
- Chicken broth - You can use homemade, storebought, or make it from chicken bouillon and water.
- Black pepper
- Poultry seasoning - A wonderful seasoning blend of dried herbs.
- Sour cream - This will add a wonderful creaminess to the sauce and will also help thicken it up a bit.
- Cooked chicken - A rotisserie chicken works well with this recipe but any chicken shredded or chopped into bite size pieces will work.
- Cooked rice
- Broccoli florets - Fresh or frozen can be used. I like to blanch my fresh broccoli to help speed up the cooking process.
- Freshly grated cheddar cheese - This melts much better than pre-shredded cheese from the store which has a powdery substance around it that prevents it from sticking and clumping but also impedes it’s melting ability.
- Panko bread crumbs or crushed cornflakes
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salted butter
Can I substitute fresh broccoli for frozen in a casserole?
Yes! If you are planning on using fresh broccoli, I would recommend blanching it first. One way to do this is to bring a pot of salted water to boil and boil the broccoli florets for 2-3 minutes. Or you can set the broccoli in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 2-3 minutes. If you prefer a crunchier broccoli and less soft, just skip the blanching step.
How to make Broccoli and Rice Casserole
- Preheat. Lightly spray a 9X13” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and then preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Make sure you have chopped chicken and cooked rice ready to go.
- Saute onions and garlic. Grab a large skillet or pot and melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the melted butter and saute until fragrant and the onions are translucent. Next you will want to add the flour and whisk it around with the onions and garlic.
- Whisk the sauce. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth a little at a time until there are no clumps of flour left. If you do have clumps of flour that are not mixing in, you could put some of the sauce in a blender and blend it smooth. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. You want to cook the sauce until it has thickened slightly. Stir in the salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning, and remove from the pan from heat. Stir in the sour cream and milk. Sour cream and milk will curdle if heated too high or too quickly so it is best to add these ingredients last on low heat.
- Blanch the broccoli. While the sauce cooks, microwave the broccoli florets in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap, until bright green and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes (no need to add water). Be careful not to overcook or they will become soggy and discolored. You can also boil broccoli for 2-3 minutes to blanch it. This step is optional, but it helps the broccoli be more tender with less overall cooking time for the entire casserole. If you prefer your broccoli to be less soft, just skip this step.
- Combine ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, chopped chicken, broccoli, and sauce, folding everything together until evenly coated and ingredients are mixed. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of the casserole evenly with the grated cheddar cheese.
- Make breadcrumb topping. In a small bowl, mix together the panko, parmesan cheese, and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over the cheese layer.
- Bake. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25-35 minutes or until heated through. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the panko crumbs are golden brown. Take the casserole out and let cool for 10 minutes then enjoy!
Serving this Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole
This casserole is a meal in itself with your protein, veggie, carbs, and dairy all in one delicious dish. But you wouldn’t go amiss serving it with a crisp salad, some crusty bread, or fresh fruit.
How to store Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole
You shouldn’t leave the finished casserole out at room temperature for more than two hours. Once the casserole has cooled, cover tightly with plastic wrap or tin foil or place in an airtight container. Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Does broccoli rice casserole freeze well?
Yes you can! Broccoli and rice freezes well. You can freeze this casserole before or after baking. Store it properly in the freezer and it will be good for a couple months in the freezer. When ready to reheat, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight or place directly in a preheated oven and cook for 60 minutes.
Chicken Broccoli Rice FAQs
I would say it depends on the casserole, but for chicken and broccoli casserole you definitely need to adjust the cooking time if the rice is not cooked before, uncooked rice will take more time than cooked rice. You will also need to add more liquid for the rice to absorb. I find it easier to just precook the rice beforehand. That way I know the rice is cooked thoroughly and evenly.
Covering a casserole helps it cook more evenly and prevents burning. Casseroles with rice, grains, or pasta are usually covered for a portion of the baking time. Uncovering the casserole will help with browning and crisping. If you need a browner top, uncover for part of the bake time.
I honestly love a good casserole. Sweet or savory. It’s a one pot meal that goes straight in the oven to the dinner table. A good combination of ingredients in the right baking dish is important. Casseroles usually involve a type of protein, poultry, or fish, a starch, vegetables or fruit, and a good sauce. They can be topped with a crunchy topping to give it texture or top it off with gooey cheese.
More Casserole Recipes Your Family Will Love
- Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- Biscuits and Gravy Casserole
- Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
- Fresh Green Bean Casserole
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup milk
- 3 cups cooked chicken shredded or chopped into bite-size pieces
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 4 cups broccoli florets cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese freshly grated
- 1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs or crushed cornflakes
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- ⅓ cup butter melted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large skillet or pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the melted butter and saute until fragrant and the onions are translucent. Whisk in the flour.
- Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, a little at a time, until there are no lumps of flour remaining. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning, and remove from heat. Stir in the sour cream and milk.
- While the sauce cooks, microwave the broccoli florets in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap, until bright green and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes (no need to add water). Be careful not to overcook or they will become soggy and discolored. This step is optional, but it helps the broccoli be more tender with less overall cooking time for the entire casserole. If you prefer your broccoli to be less soft, just skip this step.
- In a large bowl, combine the rice, chicken, broccoli, and sauce, folding everything together until evenly coated and ingredients are mixed. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of the casserole evenly with the grated cheddar cheese.
- In a small bowl, mix together the panko, Parmesan cheese, and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over cheese layer.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25-35 minutes or until heated through. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes until the panko crumbs are golden brown.