Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole


Everyday Culinary Delights 👩‍🍳


Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole is not just a dish; it’s a comforting embrace in the form of food. Originating from the heart of home cooking, this casserole combines chicken, broccoli, and rice with a creamy cheese sauce, creating a meal that is both satisfying and nutritious. The beauty of this casserole lies in its simplicity and the joy it brings to the dinner table, making it a favorite across generations.

The popularity of Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole has grown due to its ease of preparation and versatile nature. Whether it’s a weeknight dinner or a special occasion, this casserole fits perfectly into any meal plan. Its cultural significance is rooted in the tradition of sharing, with recipes passed down through families, each adding their own twist to the classic.

Beyond its delightful taste, this casserole brings numerous health benefits. Broccoli, a key ingredient, is a powerhouse of nutrients, offering everything from fiber to vitamin C. Learn more about the nutritional benefits of broccoli. When combined with lean chicken and rice, the dish becomes a balanced meal that supports overall wellness. It’s a testament to the fact that comfort food can also be healthy, proving that the best meals are those that nourish both the body and soul.

Let’s embark on a culinary journey to explore this classic dish, from its rich history to the tips and tricks that make it a modern favorite.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Creating a Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole requires a simple list of ingredients, each contributing to the dish’s creamy texture and rich flavor. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of diced rotisserie chicken – a perfect shortcut for adding cooked chicken without extra preparation.
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets – for a dose of green and a burst of nutrients.
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup – the base for the creamy sauce. For a healthier version, consider a low-sodium or Healthy Request variant.
  • 2 cups of cooked rice – acts as the hearty foundation of the casserole.
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese – because everything is better with cheese. Cheddar works great, but feel free to experiment.
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise – adds to the creaminess.
  • Seasoning to taste – salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder bring out the flavors.

For those with dietary restrictions or preferences, fear not! There are plenty of substitutions available:

  • Gluten-Free Alternatives: Use a gluten-free cream of chicken soup and ensure your mayonnaise and seasonings are certified gluten-free.
  • Dairy-Free Substitutions: Swap out the cheese for a dairy-free alternative and use dairy-free cream of chicken soup. Pinterest has great dairy-free casserole ideas.
  • Vegan and Vegetarian Options: Substitute chicken for a plant-based protein like tofu or a veggie mix. Use vegan cheese and a cream of chicken soup alternative.

With these ingredients and substitutions, Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole can be tailored to fit any diet, ensuring everyone can enjoy this comforting dish..

Step-by-Step Cooking Guide

Preparation of Ingredients

Before you begin, ensure all your ingredients are ready to go. This means:

  • Dicing the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  • Breaking down the broccoli into florets, if not pre-done.
  • Cooking the rice according to package instructions – remember, you’ll need 2 cups cooked.

Cooking Process Explained

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish to prevent sticking.
  2. Combine the chicken, broccoli, cream of chicken soup, rice, cheese, mayonnaise, and seasonings directly in the greased baking dish. Mixing these ingredients ensures that each bite is infused with flavor.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly across the dish, ensuring a uniform layer that will cook evenly.
  4. For the topping, sprinkle the crushed corn flakes over the casserole. This adds a delightful crunch that contrasts the creamy texture beneath.
  5. Drizzle the melted butter over the corn flakes. This step is crucial for achieving that golden, crispy topping everyone loves.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. You’re looking for the casserole to be heated through and the topping to have that golden crispiness.

Tips for Perfect Casserole Consistency

  • Ingredient Ratios: Ensure the rice to liquid ratio is correct to avoid a soggy or dry casserole.
  • Don’t Overcook: Keep an eye on the baking time. Overcooking can dry out the chicken and make the rice mushy.
  • Resting Time: Let the casserole sit for a few minutes after baking. This allows the ingredients to set and makes serving easier.

Following these steps and tips will help you create a perfect Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole every time – a dish that’s not just delicious but also brings comfort and joy to the table.

Nutritional Information

The Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole is more than just comfort food; it’s a balanced meal that contributes to your daily nutritional needs. Here’s a breakdown of its key components:

  • Chicken: A great source of lean protein, chicken helps in muscle growth and repair. Opting for rotisserie chicken reduces cooking time while still providing these benefits.
  • Broccoli: This green powerhouse is loaded with vitamins C and K, fiber, and other minerals, supporting overall health and digestion. Incorporating broccoli into this casserole ensures you’re getting a dose of essential nutrients.
  • Rice: Serving as the casserole’s base, rice is a good source of energy through carbohydrates. Using brown rice can offer more fiber and nutrients than white varieties.
  • Cheese: While adding a delicious creamy texture and flavor, cheese is also a good source of calcium and protein. However, for those watching their calorie intake, opting for a reduced-fat version can be beneficial.
  • Cream of Chicken Soup: This ingredient adds to the creamy texture of the dish. Selecting a low-sodium option can help manage the dish’s salt content, making it healthier.

Caloric Breakdown

A single serving of this casserole is not only filling but also nutritionally balanced. An average serving contains approximately:

  • Calories: 350-450 kcal
  • Protein: 25-30 g
  • Carbohydrates: 30-40 g
  • Fat: 15-20 g

Making It Healthier

To enhance the nutritional profile of your casserole, consider the following adjustments:

  • Increase the broccoli to boost fiber and nutrient intake.
  • Use brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice for added fiber and protein.
  • Opt for low-fat cheese and mayonnaise to reduce saturated fat without compromising flavor.

By understanding the nutritional content and making mindful substitutions, Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole can be a wholesome addition to any meal plan, offering comfort without compromise.

Variations of the Casserole

The beauty of the Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole lies in its versatility. Here are some creative twists on the classic recipe that can cater to different tastes and dietary needs:

Creative Twists on the Classic Recipe

  • Buffalo Chicken Version: Add a spicy kick by mixing in buffalo sauce with the chicken. Top with blue cheese crumbles before baking for a bold flavor.
  • Mexican-Inspired Casserole: Incorporate taco seasoning, swap rice for quinoa, and add black beans and corn to the mix. Garnish with fresh cilantro and avocado slices after baking.
  • Veggie-Packed Casserole: Double the broccoli and add in other vegetables like diced bell peppers, mushrooms, and spinach for an extra nutrient boost.

Incorporating Different Proteins and Vegetables

  • Proteins: Apart from chicken, you can use turkey, ham, or even plant-based proteins like tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian version.
  • Vegetables: Experiment with different greens such as kale or Swiss chard. Carrots, peas, and asparagus also make great additions.

Seasonal Variations

  • Fall Twist: Incorporate roasted butternut squash and swap cheddar cheese for Gouda to create a comforting fall dish.
  • Spring Version: Lighten it up for spring by using asparagus, leeks, and a lighter cream sauce, perfect for a fresh seasonal twist.

By embracing these variations, the Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole can be adapted to fit any season, preference, or dietary requirement, proving its place as a timeless and adaptable dish in your cooking repertoire.

Serving Suggestions

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole is a hearty dish that can stand alone or be complemented with various sides. Here are some serving suggestions to turn your casserole dinner into a feast:

  • Garlic Bread: A side of garlic bread is perfect for scooping up the creamy sauce. Its crispy texture contrasts nicely with the softness of the casserole.
  • Green Salad: A light, fresh green salad dressed with a vinaigrette can balance the richness of the casserole. Consider ingredients like mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
  • Steamed Vegetables: For an extra dose of veggies, serve the casserole with a side of steamed carrots, green beans, or peas. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cranberry Sauce: A tangy cranberry sauce can add a sweet and sour element, cutting through the creaminess of the dish and adding a pop of color.

Presentation Tips for Different Occasions

  • Casual Family Dinner: Serve the casserole in the baking dish for a family-style meal, allowing everyone to help themselves.
  • Formal Gathering: For a more formal setting, plate individual servings. Garnish with a sprig of parsley or thyme for a touch of elegance.
  • Buffet Setup: If serving at a buffet, consider a warming tray to keep the casserole at the right temperature. Label dishes for guests with dietary preferences.

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole is a versatile dish that pairs well with various sides and can be presented in multiple ways to suit any dining occasion, making it a reliable and delicious choice for any meal.

Storage and Reheating Tips

Ensuring your Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole remains delicious even after storage is key. Here are some best practices for storing leftovers and reheating them to perfection:

Best Practices for Storing Leftovers

  • Cool Quickly: Allow the casserole to cool to room temperature within two hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Airtight Containers: Divide leftovers into airtight containers. This helps maintain freshness and prevents the casserole from absorbing other flavors in the fridge.
  • Refrigeration: Store in the refrigerator if you plan to eat within 3-4 days. For longer storage, freezing is your best option.

How to Reheat for Best Quality

  • Oven Reheating: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out. Heat for 20-25 minutes, or until warmed through. For a crispy top, remove the foil in the last 5 minutes.
  • Microwave: For a quick option, microwave individual servings on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel to keep the moisture in, heating in 30-second intervals until warm.
  • Thawing Frozen Casserole: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating to ensure even warming.

Tips for Freezing and Reheating

  • Freeze in Portions: Freeze in individual portions for easy thawing and reheating. Label each container with the freezing date.
  • Avoid Freeze Burn: Wrap the container in foil before placing it into a freezer bag for extra protection against freeze burn.

By following these storage and reheating tips, you can enjoy your Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole just as much the second time around, ensuring that none of your delicious cooking goes to waste.


Do You Have to Cook the Rice Before Adding It to the Casserole?

  • No, cooking the rice beforehand is not necessary if your recipe is designed to cook the rice within the casserole. However, ensure there’s enough liquid in the dish for the rice to absorb and become tender.

Will Raw Rice Cook in a Casserole?

  • Yes, raw rice will cook in a casserole as long as there is sufficient liquid and the casserole is covered to trap steam. The cooking time may vary based on the type of rice used.

Can You Put Raw Chicken in a Casserole?

  • It’s generally recommended to use cooked chicken to ensure even cooking and to avoid any potential food safety issues. Using pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken can also save time.

Can I Freeze Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole?

  • Absolutely! This casserole freezes well. Cool it down completely, then store it in airtight containers or freezer bags. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?

  • Yes, frozen broccoli can be used directly in the casserole without thawing. It may release extra water, so adjust the liquid in your recipe accordingly.

Can I Substitute Cauliflower Rice or Brown Rice for White Rice?

  • Cauliflower rice can be a low-carb substitute but reduce the cooking liquid since it doesn’t absorb as much as rice. Brown rice can be used; just note it has a longer cooking time than white rice.

Can I Make This Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole in the Instant Pot?

  • While the traditional recipe is for baking, an Instant Pot can be used for a quicker version. Adjust liquid ratios and consult Instant Pot conversion charts for specific cooking times.

Can I Make It Without Chicken?

  • For a vegetarian version, omit the chicken and add more vegetables or a plant-based protein like chickpeas or tofu.
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Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

  • Author: Naomi
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


This Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole is the epitome of comfort food, blending tender chicken, nutritious broccoli, and hearty rice under a creamy, cheesy sauce, topped with a crispy breadcrumb layer. Perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or any day you need a comforting meal, it’s a dish that promises satisfaction in every bite.


2 cups diced rotisserie chicken (or any other cooked chicken)
2 cups broccoli florets, broken down into bite-sized pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup (can use low-sodium or Healthy Request)
2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder)
For the Topping:
1/2–3/4 cup crushed corn flakes
2 tbsp butter, melted


Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
In the baking dish, combine the chicken, broccoli, cream of chicken soup, cooked rice, shredded cheese, mayonnaise, and your choice of seasoning. Mix well to ensure even distribution.
Sprinkle the crushed corn flakes evenly over the top of the casserole mixture.
Drizzle the melted butter over the corn flakes.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and the topping is golden and crispy.
Serve hot and enjoy the creamy, cheesy goodness!


  • Ingredient Preparation: Using pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken saves time and ensures your casserole comes together quickly. Similarly, opting for pre-cut broccoli florets can cut down on prep time.
  • Rice Selection: While the recipe calls for cooked rice, choosing quick-cooking varieties like basmati or a pre-cooked rice packet can simplify the process further.
  • Seasoning Adjustments: The recipe’s seasoning is customizable. Feel free to adjust the amounts of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder according to your taste preferences.
  • Making Ahead: This casserole is a fantastic make-ahead meal. Assemble the dish, cover it, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. Just add a few extra minutes to the cooking time if baking from cold.
  • Freezer-Friendly: Fully assembled but unbaked casseroles freeze well. Wrap the dish tightly with plastic wrap and then foil. When ready to enjoy, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.
  • Serving Suggestion: While this casserole is a hearty meal on its own, serving it with a side salad or steamed vegetables can add a refreshing contrast to the rich, creamy textures.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Chicken
  • Cuisine: American

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