Seasoned chicken, steamed broccoli, and fluffy rice tossed in a savory, creamy cheese sauce, covered in cheese, and baked until bubbling hot!

Visual learner? Watch me make this chicken broccoli rice casserole from start to finish!


“Monique, you ok over there? Girl, we haven’t heard from you since Thanksgiving?”

I’m alright y’all! Just over here looking crazy while trying to balance work, blogging, school, life, travel, holidays, home renovations, homeschooling, and planning a last-minute 2-week road trip. 

Lawd, take the wheel and drive me to the liquor store pronto!!! I don’t know why I wait until the last minute to do stuff. Apparently, I thrive off of pressure. 

Oh, and I’m still not used to this whole getting dark early mess. Ok, enough complaining. Let’s talk about something fun.

Like this ultra cheesy chicken broccoli rice casserole!!!

easy chicken broccoli rice casserole

Baaaaaaby! Can you say comfort food 101?!?

Now, I’m not really a casserole type girl (which you can probably tell from the lack of casserole recipes on my blog), but there are some that I love, and this chicken broccoli rice casserole is one of them!

What is not to love about cheesy rice, broccoli, and chicken snuggled together in one creamy dish? 

 Grab a bowl, curl up on the couch and enjoy. Bonus points if you make this on a snowy or rainy day. It just makes it even more comforting. That’s my kinda meal!

What is chicken broccoli rice casserole?

This casserole consists of fluffy long-grain rice, seasoned tender chicken, and steamed broccoli.

It’s tossed in a savory, creamy homemade cheese sauce and topped with freshly grated cheese. Finally, it’s baked until the cheese is bubbling and browned.

It’s so simple, rich, and hearty, and it stays creamy even at room temperature.

best chicken broccoli rice casserole

Ditch the canned cream of soup!

Normally, chicken broccoli rice casserole calls for cream of chicken soup, mushroom soup, or celery soup. We aren’t going there. Canned cream of soup doesn’t hold a candle to this homemade version! It’s full of flavor! 

This creamy sauce recipe is so delicious and creamy! It’s loaded with sauteed onions, celery, garlic, chicken broth, cheese, and savory spices!

You won’t want to go back to the canned stuff after having this version. And it’s so simple to make!

chicken broccoli rice casserole

How to make  the BEST cheesy  chicken broccoli rice casserole recipe

INGREDIENTS

Broccoli Florets (steamed and diced)

RICE

  • water
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • long grain rice ( I use Basmati)

SEASONED CHICKEN

  •  chicken breasts, cut into very small pieces( or chicken thighs)
  • all-purpose seasoning salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning

CREAM SAUCE

  • butter
  • celery
  • onions
  • garlic
  • all-purpose flour
  • chicken broth (I use Better Than Bouillon paste)
  • whole milk
  • cheddar cheese
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • celery salt

Mixed Cheese Topping

  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Mozzarella Cheese

best chicken broccoli rice casserole

INSTRUCTIONS

Add steamed broccoli to a large bowl. Set aside.

Prepare the Chicken:

  1. Mix together seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle generously over the chicken.
  2. Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet and add chicken.
  3. Cook until done and place in the large bowl with the broccoli. Set aside.

Cook the Rice

  1. Add water, salt, and garlic powder to a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir rice. 
  3. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Cook for about 11 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the water is absorbed.
  5. Remove rice from heat and allow to sit covered for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add cooked rice to the bowl with the chicken and broccoli and toss to combine.

Prepare the Sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter and set aside.
  2. Melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large deep skillet.
  3. Add onions and celery and saute until tender.
  4. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  5. Add in the remaining butter.
  6. Once melted, whisk in flour and cook until flour is golden.
  7. Slowly stir in chicken broth and spices and cook until the sauce thickens.
  8. Slowly stir in milk and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken.
  9. Stir in cheese and continue simmering for about 2-3 minutes.
  10. Taste and add additional seasoning if needed (Go easy on the salt since we’ll add more cheese later).
  11. Pour the sauce into the bowl with the rice, broccoli, and chicken and toss until everything is coated.
  12. Pour half the mixture into the casserole dish and top with half of the shredded cheese. Repeat.
  13. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over a bit. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil on low until the cheese becomes slightly golden. (Keep an eye on it the entire time)
  14. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  15. Serve hot.

chicken broccoli rice casserole recipe-1

Tips for Making the Best Chicken broccoli rice casserole.

  1. Watch the sodium! Since this recipe has several parts that come together (rice, chicken, broccoli, sauce, cheese), it’s easy to over-salt things. Be sure to salt your cream sauce just enough to where the flavors come through. 
  2. Pressed for time? No worries! You can use steam-in-a-bag broccoli, rotisserie chicken, pre-shredded cheese, and even minute rice. (although these cheats can sometimes
  3. Use your favorite cheese! I load this casserole with cheese, so use your favorite! I like the tanginess of sharp cheddar cheese, but my kids prefer this with mild or medium cheddar.

What to serve with chicken and rice casserole?

Chicken and rice casserole is a complete meal served without any sides. If you desire side dishes, pair this casserole with a garden salad and yeast rolls.

best chicken broccoli rice casserole recipe

Change it up!

This recipe is VERY versatile. If you can, replace the broccoli with green beans, peppers, and mixed vegetables, or leave it out altogether.  You can also use your favorite cheese combination.

Where’s the Ritz Cracker Topping??

In my house, my kids and I prefer this WITHOUT the bread crumbs topping (It’s a texture thing); however,  my husband LOVES this with a topping. If you are like him, here’s an amazing recipe for the crumb topping. 

Crush up 1 cup of Ritz crackers (You can also use buttered panko, breadcrumbs, or even corn flakes). Mix it with two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and two teaspoons of parsley. Stir in 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Spread crumb topping over the cheese topping and bake for another 10 minutes.

chicken broccoli rice casserole recipe

FAQ’s

Can I add other things to this chicken and rice casserole? Yes, you may add mushrooms, more meat, or whatever you desire.

Can leftovers be frozen?  Do this casserole freeze well?  Yes, this casserole freezes and reheats well.  Place it in a freezer storage container. Let it thaw in the fridge before reheating.

Can I use frozen broccoli? Yep, fresh broccoli or frozen broccoli works.

Can I use a rotisserie chicken? Yes, you can. Make sure that it is one that’s seasoned well.

Can I add sour cream to this chicken broccoli casserole? You can stir in a little sour cream if you’d like. Since the homemade sauce is rich and creamy, I never add it.

Can I use brown rice? Yes, you can, but long-grain white rice works the best, in my opinion.

Can I make this gluten-free? You can use gluten-free flour in the sauce.


best chicken broccoli rice casserole

Get the Recipe: Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

5 from 3 ratings
Seasoned chicken, steamed broccoli, and fluffy rice tossed in a savory, creamy cheese sauce, covered in cheese, and baked until bubbling hot!
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Servings: 8

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups steamed broccoli florets, finely diced, (1 fresh bunch)

Seasoned Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken breasts (or chicken thighs)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Rice

  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cups Long-grain rice (I used Basmati)

Cheese Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • ¼ cups onions, finely diced
  • ¼ cups celery, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I use Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, freshly shredded (I used sharp)

Mixed Cheese Topping

  • cups Freshly shredded mixed cheese (I use ½ mozzarella and ½ sharp cheddar)

Instructions
 

  • Place the cooked, chopped broccoli into a large bowl. Set aside.

Cook The Chicken

  • Dice the chicken into small pieces.
  • Mix seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle generously over the chicken, tossing to coat.
  • Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet and add chicken.
  • Cook until the chicken is done, and place it into the large bowl with the broccoli. Set aside.

Make The Rice

  • Add water, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder to a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the rice.
  • Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  • Remove from heat and let the rice sit covered for 10-12 minutes.
  • Add the rice into the bowl with the broccoli and chicken and toss to combine. Set aside.

Prepare the Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter and set aside.
  • Melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large deep skillet.
  • Add onions and celery and cook until tender.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  • Add remaining butter (4 tablespoons).
  • Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and cook until bubbling and golden (about 2-3 minutes)
  • Slowly pour in chicken broth and stir in black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and celery salt.
  • Pour in the milk and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken (the texture will be like a thick chowder)
  • Stir in cheese.
  • Taste the mixture and adjust the seasonings if needed (Very important. The sauce should taste like a savory soup)
  • Pour the sauce into the bowl with the broccoli, chicken, and rice and toss to coat.
  • Spread half the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with half the mixed cheese topping. Repeat. (You can use more or less cheese if desired)
  • Place the baking dish on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over a bit. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil on low until the cheese becomes slightly golden. (Keep an eye on it the entire time)

Video

Cuisine: American, southern
Course: Main
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.