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 rice 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 the 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 Gruyere 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 you have a ready-made meal.
Ingredients in Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Chicken- I like to use chicken breast, but you can use rotisserie (or left over chicken), or chicken thighs, I have also used left over turkey from a dinner in this casserole.
- Broccoli- To save time I use frozen broccoli and cut 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 which 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 slight 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.
What size baking dish do I need
This casserole recipe fits perfectly in a 9 x 13 baking dish, or what I like to do sometimes is make two 8 x 8 dishes, have one for dinner and freeze another, or gift one to someone you know who could use a quick meal.
There are quite a few great toppings you can use instead of panko. They all work really well. You just can not go wrong with any of these.
- Ritz Crackers 1 sleeve Ritz crushed with 1/4 cup melted butter, mix well Sprinkle the mixture over the casserole and bake as instructed.
- Cornflakes 2 cups of cornflakes crushed with 1/4 cup of melted butter, stirred together. Then pour the mixture over the casserole and bake according to directions.
- Potato chips Crumble the desired number of potato chips you desire over the casserole and bake as instructed. You can even get a little exciting and different and use different flavored chips such as salt-and-vinegar, sour cream and onion or jalapeno, or cheese nachos, etc.
One of the things I really like about this casserole is that you can customize it to what you have on hand. You don’t have to stick to broccoli and chicken breast.
- Vegetables like I said, you don’t have to use broccoli in this casserole, which goes with a wide range of vegetables such as asparagus, zucchini, cauliflower (this is a vegetable I like to combine with the broccoli), or mushrooms.
- Cheeses Mix up the cheeses. I love all kinds of cheese and honestly think all cheeses work in this casserole. Here are a few of my favorite melting cheeses. Pepper Jack, Havarti, Monterrey, and Gouda.
- Protein Switch up the chicken for another protein like ground beef, ground turkey, cubed ham, and left over chicken or turkey.
Tips for a great Chicken, Broccoli Casserole
This recipe is pretty straight-forward, but here are a few additional tips to help you succeed.
- Small pieces of broccoli make sure to cut the pieces of broccoli into bit size pieces so that they will cook or steam in time.
- Cook rice to al Dante no matter what type of rice you are using for this rice cook it until it just about done. If you generally cook your rice for 15 minutes cook it for only 10 minutes for this rice.
- Grate your cheese I like to grate my cheese because one I feel it has a much better flavor and two it melts really well I find as much as it is convenient to get a bag of already grated cheese it sometimes just doesn’t melt the same.
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- 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
- ⅓ cup flour
- 2-1/2 cup Chicken Broth divided
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tsp chicken bouillion
- 1-1/2 tsp worchestershire
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1-1/2 cup chedder cheese grated
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 cups basamati rice cooked
- ¾ cup panko
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 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.