This Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake has it all - tender chunks of chicken nestled amongst perfectly cooked rice, vibrant green broccoli and topped with melty cheese. Similar to Chicken Divan, this dish is creamy and has hearty flavors but without added cream of soup.
This is the ultimate comfort food, perfect for any occasion, and sure to bring a smile to your face with every delicious bite.
- Cooked chicken - we are going to use fresh skinless chicken breasts (or chicken thighs) and sear them lightly in a skillet. But for convenience and time-saving, any leftover chicken dinner or rotisserie chicken can be used.
- Rice - white long grain or brown rice. I cook the rice upfront and never in a casserole. Uncooked rice texture is not the same and it can easily be overcooked and become mushy while baking. Unless you are an expert in rice casserole recipes, don't risk it. I like to use long-grain rice for skillet dinners and casseroles as it holds up its shape well.
- Fresh broccoli florets - fresh or frozen cut into small florets. No need to cook the broccoli before adding it to the casserole.
- Cheese - the key ingredient that I wouldn’t make this casserole. Any melty cheese will do, cheddar, Colby Gouda, Gruyere, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and even Pepper Jack.
- Toppings - optional, but many like a little crunch added on top. You could make your own breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, ritz crackers, or cornflakes. Fried crispy onions are one of our favorites too. I add these on top right before serving.
- Flour - all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend will work too.
For the full list of ingredients, please scroll down to where you'll find the recipe card.
✅ EXPERT TIP for more flavor, cook the rice in low-sodium chicken broth instead of just water.
Let's learn how to make chicken and rice bake from scratch!
Cook the rice according to package instructions.
Prep the broccoli florets, wash and pat dry.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare an 8x11 casserole dish by greasing lightly with olive oil or butter.
In a large skillet, over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and sear the chicken for about 5-6 minutes. Set aside.
In the same skillet, add the remaining cooking oil. And once hot, saute the onion until it starts to get brown.
Add in the flour and whisk quickly for about a minute or so.
In batches, stir in milk, continuously whisking. When all the milk is added, add in the spices and season with salt and black pepper.
Simmer the mixture on low heat until it thickens. Stir every once in a while. Remove from the heat and add 1-½ cup of cheddar cheese.
Stir until cheese is melted and incorporated into the mixture.
In a large bowl or right in the prepared casserole dish, mix rice, broccoli, chicken, and sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining ½ cups cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top cheese layer is nicely melted.
If the top gets too dark (usually not), you can cover it with a piece of aluminum foil while baking. Let the casserole rest for 5-10 minutes.
Serve the chicken rice casserole warm and as it is or with a side of light green salad.
Love casseroles? We love a good comforting dish, from our Alfredo Pasta Bake, Stuffed Zucchinis, to readers favorite Ritz Casserole. And this cheesy chicken and rice bake is sure to become your favorite too!
- You need an 8x11-inch or 9-inch baking dish or another casserole-style baking dish.
- This chicken recipe uses no canned soup, but for convenience's sake, you can use Cream of Mushroom Soup or Cream Of Chicken Soup instead (skip the sauce ingredients in this recipe). Make this soup 1-2 days ahead and you don’t have to worry about the sauce on the day of baking.
- Just like in Chicken Divan, which is a very similar dish, you can sprinkle chicken bake with breadcrumbs or ritz crackers on top of the cheese layer. If the top gets too brown while baking, cover it with aluminum foil until the end.
✅ EXPERT TIP This casserole is a great candidate for making ahead. Cook the chicken and rice a day or two before and prepare the rest of the ingredients as well. On the day just throw everything in a casserole dish, make the sauce, add cheese and bake as per recipe instructions.
Please note that the casserole will taste the best on the day of making or within 24 hours.
- 🍱To Store. Store the cooled casserole covered tightly in plastic wrap. Or divide into smaller portions and store in individual airtight containers for up to 2-3 days in the fridge.
- 🥶Freezing leftovers. Let the casserole cool, and transfer it into a freezer-friendly airtight container. Or freeze individual portions. Freeze for up to 2-3 months and thaw overnight in the fridge. Bake until warmed through. Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave.
- 🔥Make ahead. Follow the recipe until baking instructions, cover with foil or plastic wrap, and freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Bake as directed.
Overall, this dish is quite fulfilling on it's own, but for a wholesome meal try one of these sides we love:
- Dinner rolls, garlic bread, crusty bread or cornbread muffins
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Mediterranean cucumber salad
- Green beans
- Corn salad
- Beet salad
- Grilled vegetables
🤷Frequently Asked Questions
For Freezing. Leftovers: Let the casserole cool, and transfer into freezer-friendly airtight containers. Freeze for up to 2-3 months and thaw overnight in the fridge. Bake until warmed through. Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave.
To make ahead and freeze: follow the recipe until baking instructions, cover with foil or plastic wrap, and freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Bake as directed.
Yes, we need to cook the rice before adding it to the broccoli casserole. Cook the rice on the stovetop, in the rice cooker, or multicooker (Ninja Foodi is great for this), or use leftover rice from previously made dinner. instant rice or minute rice is also fine.
No, I wouldn’t recommend cooking broccoli before baking. It is simply not needed and will ruin the broccoli's texture, and flavor and it will lose all its nutrients. The broccoli can be eaten raw and here we bake it until just warmed through and softened nicely.
It’s very easy! Just follow the instructions on how to mix the ritz crackers and butter topping from my Casserole recipe.
I hope you love this one pot Chicken and Rice Casserole as we do!
Easy Chicken Recipes
❤️Did you make this recipe? Please be sure to leave a rating and a comment below. Thank you!❤️
Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake With Broccoli (No Canned Soup)
For Chicken Casserole
- 1 pound chicken breasts cut into bite-sized smaller pieces
- 2 cups brown rice cooked or white rice
- 4 ½ cups fresh broccoli cut into small florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded and divided
- 2 tablespoon curly parsley freshly chopped to garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare an 8x11 casserole dish by greasing lightly with olive oil or butter.
- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and sear the chicken for about 5-6 minutes. Set aside.
- In the same skillet, add the remaining cooking oil. And once hot, saute the onion until it starts to get brown.
- Add in the flour and whisk quickly for about a minute or so.
- In batches, stir in milk, continuously whisking. When all the milk is added, add in the spices and season with salt and black pepper.
- Simmer the mixture on low heat until it thickens. Stir every once in a while. Remove from the heat and add 1-½ cup of cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and incorporated into the mixture.
- In a large bowl or right in the prepared casserole dish, mix rice, broccoli, chicken, and sauce.
- Sprinkle the remaining ½ cups cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Serve while the casserole is still warm and the cheese melty.