Discover a delicious way to bring warmth and comfort to your dining table with our easy Sausage and Rice Casserole recipe! Its combination of savory sausage, tender rice, and a blend of vegetables, all topped with melted cheese, makes it a hit with the whole family!

An overhead image of sausage and rice casserole in a white pan.

Table of Contents
  1. Why We Love This Recipe
  2. What You'll Need
  3. How to Make Rice and Sausage Casserole
  4. Recipe FAQ's
  5. Tips for Success
  6. Choosing the Right Sausage
  7. Substitutions and Variations
  8. More Casserole Recipes
  9. Sausage and Rice Casserole Recipe

I mostly grew up in the midwest, so nothing says comfort like a good old casserole topped with melted cheese. This Sausage and Rice Casserole is a simple, hearty meal that is perfect for adding to your weeknight recipe book.

The smoked sausage is salty and delicious and goes perfectly with the texture of rice and plenty of veggies. And it's one of those great casseroles where you can adjust it to what you have on hand for a sort of "clean out the fridge" approach to use up all the vegetables in the crisper drawer.

For more delicious recipes featuring sausages, check out my Easy Cajun Chicken and Sausage GumboSausage Rigatoni Pasta Recipe, Dublin Coddle (Irish One-Pot Dinner Recipe with Potato, Sausage, & Onion Stew)Sauerkraut and Sausages with Apples, and Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers!

Why We Love This Recipe

  • The combination of savory sausage, creamy sauce, and tender rice creates a full-bodied flavor and texture that's hard to beat.
  • Whether you prefer smoked Kielbasa, spicy Italian sausage, or a milder chicken sausage, this simple casserole recipe can be tailored to your taste preferences.
  • With basic ingredients and a simple recipe, anyone can whip up this delicious casserole without much fuss.

What You'll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Smoked Sausage - Polish sausages like kielbasa or German bratwursts add a rich, smoky flavor. Beef or pork sausage works well, and turkey or chicken sausage can be used for a lighter version.
  • Long Grain White Rice - Provides the perfect texture and absorbs all the flavors of the casserole. Brown rice or wild rice can be substituted for a nuttier flavor and more fiber.
  • Chicken Broth - Adds depth and moisture to cook the rice. Vegetable broth can be used for a vegetarian version.
  • Onion - White or yellow onion offers a sweet, aromatic base that complements the sausage.
  • Red, Yellow, or Green Bell Peppers - Adds color, sweetness, and a slight crunch. I used a red bell pepper and a green bell pepper, but you can use one color or a mix of your favorite peppers.
  • Garlic Cloves - Infuses the dish with a warm, aromatic flavor.
  • Can of Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies - Brings a mild heat and acidity, balancing the richness of the sausage and cheese. This is my preferred choice for this recipe as the flavor shines through beautifully,  but fire roasted tomatoes or even plain diced tomatoes can be used for less spice.
  • Frozen Peas - Adds a pop of color and sweetness. Can be substituted with other frozen or fresh vegetables.
  • Dried Oregano - Contributes earthy, slightly bitter notes. Italian seasoning can be used for a more complex flavor profile.
  • Paprika - Provides a sweet-smoky taste. Smoked paprika can be used for a deeper smoky flavor.
  • Salt - Enhances the overall flavors of the dish.
  • Black Pepper - Adds a slight heat and complexity.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese - Melts into a creamy, tangy layer. Other types of cheese like mozzarella, gouda, pepper jack, and provolone are good alternatives.
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley - Adds a fresh, herbaceous note to garnish the dish.
Ingredients for sausage and rice casserole.

How to Make Rice and Sausage Casserole

  1. Prepare oven and cook sausages. Firstly, preheat your oven to 375°F. Then in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat, brown sausage until slightly crispy on the edges. This step is crucial for developing a deep, savory flavor foundation for the casserole. Remove the sausage from the skillet and set it aside.
  2. Sauté vegetables. In the same skillet, add the chopped onion, diced bell peppers, and minced garlic. Sauté these until softened, which should take about 5 minutes. The remnants of the sausage in the pan will add extra flavor to these vegetables.
  1. Add rice. Next, stir in the long-grain white rice, coating it well with the oil and vegetable mix. This lightly toasts the rice which locks in flavor before baking.
  2. Finish casserole mixture. Pour in the chicken broth along with the drained diced tomatoes, frozen peas, dried oregano, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Stir the browned sausage back into the skillet.
  1. Pour into dish. Transfer the entire mixture into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish, spreading it evenly. Cover the dish with aluminum foil to prevent the top from burning and to ensure the rice cooks evenly and absorbs all the liquid.
  2. Bake the casserole. Bake the covered casserole dish in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. The rice should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed.
  1. Add cheese. Remove the foil, sprinkle the shredded sharp cheddar cheese over the top of the casserole, and return it to the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. This final step adds a creamy, savory topping that perfectly complements the smoky sausage and tender rice.
  2. Garnish and serve. Once baked, let the casserole sit for a few minutes before serving. This allows it to set slightly, making it easier to serve. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley for a burst of color and a fresh flavor contrast to the rich, hearty ingredients of the casserole.
An overhead image of baked smoked sausage and rice casserole.

Recipe FAQ's

Can I use any type of sausage for Sausage and Rice Casserole?

Yes, you can use any type of cooked smoked sausage you prefer, including kielbasa, brats, or even turkey or chicken sausage for a lighter option.

Can I use leftover rice for this recipe?

Using cooked rice can make the dish mushy since it won't absorb the flavors from the broth and vegetables as uncooked rice does.

Is it possible to make this dish vegetarian?

To make a vegetarian version, substitute the sausage with a plant-based alternative and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You can also add more vegetables to bulk it up, such as mushrooms, zucchini, or spinach. Add them when sautéing the onions and bell peppers.

Is this casserole spicy?

The spiciness largely depends on the type of sausage and tomatoes with green chilies used. For a milder version, choose mild sausage and plain diced tomatoes. If you like spice, adding a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper can give it an extra kick, or try a Cajun seasoning blend for extra flavor.

Is Sausage and Rice Casserole suitable for large gatherings?

Definitely! Sausage and Rice Casserole is an excellent choice for potlucks, family dinners, or any gathering. It's easy to make in large quantities and always a crowd-pleaser.

How do I store Sausage and Rice Casserole?

Store leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It reheats well in the microwave or oven.

Can Sausage and Rice Casserole be frozen?

Yes, this casserole freezes well. Cool it completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven or microwave.

A close image of smoked sausage with melted cheese on top of rice and veggies.

Tips for Success

  • The key to a great casserole is perfectly cooked rice. Be sure to check the rice's cooking progress towards the end of baking. If the rice seems too firm, add a bit more broth and continue cooking. Remember, different types of rice may require adjustments in liquid amount and cooking time.
  • Season your casserole to taste, keeping in mind the saltiness and spices from the sausage and broth. Start with less salt than you think you need; you can always add more later. Don’t forget a dash of acidity from lemon juice or vinegar can brighten up the entire dish.
  • For an extra cheesy experience, consider layering some of the cheese within the casserole as well as on top. This creates pockets of melted cheese throughout the dish, adding a gooey texture and rich flavor that cheese lovers will appreciate.
  • Incorporate fresh vegetables and herbs for a burst of flavor and color. Fresh parsley, basil, or green onions added after baking can enhance the dish's appearance and taste, adding a fresh element to contrast the hearty, baked ingredients.

Choosing the Right Sausage

The type of savory sausage you use can significantly affect the flavor of the casserole.

Smoked sausages like kielbasa or andouille add depth with their smoky taste, while Italian sausage can introduce a spicy or sweet element.

Consider the overall flavor profile you’re aiming for and select your sausage accordingly.

Substitutions and Variations

  • If smoked sausage isn’t your preference or you’re looking for something lighter, try chicken, turkey, or vegetarian sausages. For a spicier kick, chorizo or spicy Italian sausage can be great alternatives.
  • Long-grain white rice is standard, but for more texture and nutrition, use brown rice, wild rice, or a mix. Adjust cooking times and liquid amounts as necessary.
  • The recipe includes onions, bell peppers, and peas, but don’t hesitate to add mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, or kale for extra nutrients and flavors.
  • While sharp cheddar adds a nice tang, experimenting with mozzarella for stretchiness, pepper jack for heat, or a blend of your favorites can tailor the dish to your taste buds.
  • Swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth to keep the dish vegetarian, or beef broth for a deeper flavor. Homemade or low-sodium broths are excellent choices for controlling salt intake.
  • For those sensitive to spice, plain diced tomatoes without green chilies can reduce heat. Alternatively, adding fresh or canned chilies can spice up the dish for those who prefer it hot.
  • The recipe calls for oregano and paprika, but thyme, rosemary, cajun seasoning, or a pinch of red pepper flakes can add different flavor profiles. Fresh herbs added towards the end of cooking preserve their vibrant taste and color.
  • For a richer, creamier texture, consider stirring in a dollop of sour cream, cream cheese, or a splash of heavy cream before baking.
A serving of sausage and rice casserole on a white plate.

More Casserole Recipes

Sausage and Rice Casserole

5 from 1 vote
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Discover a delicious way to bring warmth and comfort to your dining table with our easy Sausage and Rice Casserole recipe! Its combination of savory sausage, tender rice, and a blend of vegetables, all topped with melted cheese, makes it a hit with the whole family!


  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced (like kielbasa, brats, or other cooked smoked sausage)
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (any color)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  • In a large skillet, brown the sliced smoked sausage over medium heat until slightly crispy. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add chopped onion, diced bell peppers, and minced garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are softened.
  • Add the rice to the skillet and stir to coat with the vegetables.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, frozen peas, dried thyme, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked smoked sausage.
  • Transfer the mixture to a greased 9x13-inch baking dish.
  • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.
  • Remove the foil and sprinkle shredded sharp cheddar cheese over the top and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the cheese has melted.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.


  • Store: For leftover Sausages and Rice Casserole, cover or place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. To reheat leftover casserole, place in a microwave-safe dish and heat until warmed through.
  • Freeze: Cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container and freezing for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven or microwave.
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Kim says:

    5 stars
    This is really good. My hubby loved it and wants to have it again soon.