This Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is an easy recipe your family will love. With tender chicken, rice, and broccoli, it’s a one-pot meal that comes together on a weeknight.

This creamy, cheesy, meaty, cozy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole has it all — it’s casserole heaven for the whole family! It’s prepared with juicy, tender chicken, crisp broccoli, and fluffy rice, all in a decadent, creamy cheese sauce and topped with golden crispy panko. This chicken broccoli and rice casserole is ideal for hectic nights since it can be prepared ahead of time and baked right before dinner OR frozen for later use.

Why you’ll love chicken broccoli casserole

  • No canned soup: Instead of canned soup, this from-scratch chicken broccoli cheese rice casserole is made with a simple homemade chicken soup that takes only minutes to prepare and tastes so much better than canned soup.
  • Flavor: With hints of Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, salty chicken bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, and both sharp cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, this recipe is seasoned to perfection.
  • Texture: The proportion of chicken, broccoli, rice, and sauce produces the perfect saucy with homemade chicken soup without being overpowering.
  • Pantry Friendly: All you need is chicken broth, flour, and seasoning, and we all generally have that in our pantry.
  • Versatile-Chicken, broccoli, and rice casseroles can be topped with almost anything. Replace the chicken breasts with rotisserie chicken, add mushrooms and peas, cauliflower instead of broccoli, or both, and replace the Parmesan with Gruyère or pepper jack.
  • Make ahead: This chicken broccoli cheese rice casserole can be made ahead of time and refrigerated and then refrigerated for up to two days, then just popped in the oven to bake to perfection.
  • Freezer Friendly: Another reason to love this recipe is that you can easily freeze it, thaw it out, and have a ready-made meal.
Chicken broccoli casserole

Ingredients in Chicken Broccoli Casserole

  • Chicken- I like to use chicken breast, but you can use rotisserie (or leftover chicken), or chicken thighs, I have also used leftover turkey from a dinner in this casserole.
  • Broccoli- To save time I use frozen broccoli and cut it into bite-sized pieces, you of course can use fresh broccoli.
  • Made from scratch Cream of Chicken soup-This homemade cream of chicken soup is a game changer. It starts with making a roux (butter and flour or cornstarch), then whisking in chicken broth and milk whisked with cornstarch, which creates a nice thick sauce. In this case, you want a nice thick sauce because it will thin out quite a bit in the oven.
  • Cheese- I use freshly grated cheddar or marble cheese because it has a nice sharp richness.  I recommend using freshly grated cheese because the pre-shredded varieties don’t melt nearly as well.
  • Sour cream- I use 1/2 cup, but you can use more if you prefer, and I like to use sour cream to give the casserole a slightly tangy flavor. I haven’t tried it before, but you can try using Greek yogurt as well. If you want a lower-fat option.
  • Panko- I know sometimes you want to skip the panko in recipes, but honestly, that is a great part of this recipe, so try not to skip it. I use Italian panko for some additional flavor.

How to make chicken broccoli casserole

  • Preheat Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Prepare Ingredients: Cook and shred the chicken. Chop the fresh broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Ensure the rice is cooked and ready.
  • Mix Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, chopped broccoli, cooked rice, and cream of chicken soup. Mix them together until well combined.
  • Season: Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix again to ensure the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  • Layer in Casserole Dish:
  • Transfer the mixture to a greased casserole dish, spreading it evenly.
  • Cheese Layer: Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese over the top of the mixture, creating a delicious cheesy layer.
  • Bake: Place the casserole dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 25–30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the casserole is heated through.
  • Serve: Once done, let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Scoop out a portion, and enjoy the comforting flavors of your homemade Chicken Broccoli Casserole.

Variations

Chicken Broccoli Casserole is a versatile dish, and you can experiment with various ingredients to create different flavors. Here are a few variations:

  • Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole: Add extra cheese to the mix or use a combination of different cheeses like mozzarella, Parmesan, or Swiss for a gooey and cheesy delight.
  • Mushroom Chicken Broccoli Casserole: Include sautéed mushrooms in the mixture to add an earthy flavor to the casserole.
  • Buffalo Chicken Broccoli Casserole: Toss shredded cooked chicken with buffalo sauce before mixing it with broccoli and rice. Top with blue cheese or ranch dressing for a spicy kick.
  • Alfredo Chicken Broccoli Casserole: Instead of cream of chicken soup, use Alfredo sauce for a creamy and indulgent twist. Add garlic and Parmesan for extra flavor.
  • Tex-Mex Chicken Broccoli Casserole: Mix in some black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes with green chilies. Season with taco seasoning for a Tex-Mex flair.
  • Bacon Ranch Chicken Broccoli Casserole: Crumble crispy bacon into the mixture and add a ranch seasoning mix for a savory and tangy profile.
  • Italian Chicken Broccoli Casserole: Incorporate Italian seasoning, diced tomatoes, and fresh basil for a Mediterranean-inspired flavor.
  • Healthy Quinoa Chicken Broccoli Casserole: Substitute rice with quinoa for a protein-packed, gluten-free option. Add a variety of colorful veggies for a nutritious boost.

Feel free to mix and match these ideas or get creative with your own favorite ingredients to customize the Chicken Broccoli Casserole to suit your taste preferences!

Tips and Suggestions

  • Prep Ahead: Save time by prepping ingredients in advance. Cook and shred the chicken, chop the broccoli, and have the rice ready to go.
  • Use Rotisserie Chicken: Speed up the process by using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. It adds a flavorful touch and reduces cooking time.
  • Fresh vs. Frozen Broccoli: While fresh broccoli is ideal, frozen broccoli works well too. If using frozen, thaw and drain excess water before adding to the casserole.
  • Add Crunch: Introduce texture by topping the casserole with breadcrumbs, crushed crackers, or even French-fried onions before baking for a crunchy layer.
  • Customize Seasonings: Experiment with herbs and spices. Thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, or onion powder can add depth to the flavor.
  • Choose the Right Cheese: Pick cheeses that complement the dish. Cheddar is classic, but you can also try Swiss, Gruyere, or a blend for a unique taste.
  • Creamy Consistency: Adjust the creaminess by altering the ratio of cream of chicken soup or by adding a bit of milk or chicken broth. Be cautious not to make it too soupy.
  • Layer Flavors: Create layers of flavor by seasoning each component separately before combining. This ensures an even distribution of taste.
  • Experiment with Grains: Explore different grains like quinoa, farro, or couscous instead of traditional rice for a unique twist.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle chopped green onions, grated Parmesan, or a drizzle of hot sauce on top just before serving for an extra flavor boost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prep Ahead: Save time by prepping ingredients in advance. Cook and shred the chicken, chop the broccoli, and have the rice ready to go.

Use Rotisserie Chicken: Speed up the process by using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. It adds a flavorful touch and reduces cooking time.

Fresh vs. Frozen Broccoli: While fresh broccoli is ideal, frozen broccoli works well too. If using frozen, thaw and drain excess water before adding to the casserole.

Add Crunch: Introduce texture by topping the casserole with breadcrumbs, crushed crackers, or even French-fried onions before baking for a crunchy layer.

Customize Seasonings: Experiment with herbs and spices. Thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, or onion powder can add depth to the flavor.

Choose the Right Cheese: Pick cheeses that complement the dish. Cheddar is classic, but you can also try Swiss, Gruyere, or a blend for a unique taste.

Creamy Consistency: Adjust the creaminess by altering the ratio of cream of chicken soup or by adding a bit of milk or chicken broth. Be cautious not to make it too soupy.

Layer Flavors: Create layers of flavor by seasoning each component separately before combining. This ensures an even distribution of taste.

Experiment with Grains: Explore different grains like quinoa, farro, or couscous instead of traditional rice for a unique twist.

Garnish: Sprinkle chopped green onions, grated Parmesan, or a drizzle of hot sauce on top just before serving for an extra flavor boost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use frozen broccoli in the casserole?

Yes, you can use frozen broccoli. Make sure to thaw and drain excess water before adding it to the casserole.

Can I prepare Chicken Broccoli Casserole ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it. Bake when ready to serve.

How can I make the casserole healthier?

Use lean chicken, whole-grain rice or quinoa, and incorporate more vegetables. Consider reducing the amount of cheese or using a lighter cheese.

How do I prevent the casserole from drying out?

Adjust the amount of cream of chicken soup or add a bit of milk or chicken broth to maintain the desired level of creaminess.
chicken broccoli casserole

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Delicious and easy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole: a comforting one-dish meal with tender chicken, wholesome broccoli, and fluffy rice, all baked to perfection. Perfect for busy nights or whenever you crave a tasty, no-fuss dinner!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 277 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Chicken breast chipped into bite size pieces
  • ¼ tsp Paprika
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil divided
  • 3 tbsp butter divided
  • 1 Yellow onion chopped
  • 1 Red pepper chopped
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • 4 cups Broccoli florets cut into bite size pieces
  • cup flour
  • 2-1/2 cup Chicken Broth divided
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp Corn starch
  • 2 tsp Chicken bouillon
  • 1-1/2 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Dried parsley
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1-1/2 cup Cheddar cheese grated
  • ½ cup Sour cream
  • 3 cups Basmati rice cooked

Panko Topping

  • ¾ cup panko
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • While the chicken is still on the cutting board, dab it with paper towels and season with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon paprika; set aside.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions, carrots and bell peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook just until the outsides are opaque.
  • Layer broccoli on top of chicken/vegetables. Add ½ cup chicken broth, cover pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until tender. Remove and place in a bowl,
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Whisk in flour then cook, while stirring, for 1 minute. Turn heat to low, then gradually whisk in remaining 2 cups chicken broth and 1 cup of milk. Whisk cornstarch with remaining 1 cup milk Worcestershire sauce, chicken bouillon and all spices.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat to a simmer, whisking often until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in ½ cup cheddar until melted. Whisk in sour cream until blended.
  • Add veggies/chicken to the sauce if your pan is large enough, otherwise pour sauce over the veggies/chicken in the bowl and stir to combine. Fold in rice. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Top with remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese.
  • Panko topping: Melt butter in olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add panko and stir to coat. Continue cooking until crumbs become golden brown. Evenly sprinkle over cheese.
  • Cover casserole with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.
Keyword broccoli, chicken, cream cheese, rice

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