Searching for a hearty and comforting cheesy chicken and rice casserole? Then try this super cheesy casserole that's easy to make, super hearty, and tastes delicious!
This one-pot creamy and cheesy chicken and rice casserole is loaded with cheese and broccoli.
Reasons you'll love this recipe
- EASY: This is an extremely easy recipe to make! Everything is prepped and cooked in the same 1 pot before baking. This makes the instructions super easy to follow and avoids making a mess of too many dishes!
- COMFORTING: This cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole is the perfect comfort meal for a cold day. It's warm, hearty, creamy, and did I say cheesy? It tastes amazing and will keep you full all day, just like this Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Recipe, Hearty Stove Top Beef Stew Recipe, Old Fashioned Shepherd's Pie Recipe, Hearty Chili Recipe, and Easy Jambalaya Recipe with Sausage.
- LEFTOVERS: This cheesy chicken and rice casserole recipe makes eight servings, so depending on how many guests you might be sharing this with, you can expect some leftovers to heat up and enjoy the next day again.
- BUTTER: For cooking the chicken and for making the crispy cracker topping. For the chicken, you will need about 2 tablespoons for cooking the chicken and for making the cracker topping.
- CHICKEN: This recipe uses 6 chicken thighs. You can also substitute and use 2 chicken breasts; however, this recipe uses chicken thighs because they are 10x more flavourful, making this recipe so good.
- ITALIAN SEASONING: Use 2 teaspoons. If you don’t have Italian seasoning, try making your own with a few spices you may already have in your pantry.
- RICE: You can use your desired type of rice and cook it according to its package. Aim to make about 1.5 cups of rice. This recipe uses basmati rice.
- CHICKEN BROTH: Chicken broth is used for cooking rice; instead of cooking it in water. This gives the rice SO much flavour. Cook the rice in the required amount of liquid according to your rice package. You’ll need about 3 cups of liquid for 1.5 cups of rice.
- OLIVE OIL: You’ll want to add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to your rice while its cooking. This will help keep the rice from sticking to each other.
- BROCCOLI: Fresh broccoli is best here! Use 4 cups worth of broccoli florets.
- MILK: Use whole milk, like 2%. This will help make the casserole creamy. You will need a ½ cup.
- SOUR CREAM: Where all the creaminess comes from! Use whole-fat cream cheese. Use ¾ of a cup.
- CHEDDAR CHEESE: Where all the cheesiness comes from! Use cheddar cheese. This recipe uses old cheddar for a sharper rich flavour. You will need 2 cups worth. Half will go in the casserole, while the other half will be sprinkled on top.
- RITZ CRACKERS: 1 cup of Ritz crackers is crushed and mixed with some melted butter for a perfectly crispy delicious topping. This recipe uses the low/reduced sodium version of these crackers.
- SALT & PEPPER: For enhancing all the flavours.
- KNIFE: For slicing your chicken into bite-size pieces and chopping the broccoli.
- LARGE POT & LID: For cooking the casserole mixture! Use a large pot to ensure you’ve got enough room for all the ingredients! A lid is needed while cooking the rice.
- CHEESE GRATER: For shredding the cheddar cheese.
- BAKING DISH: You will need a 9x13-sized baking dish for baking the casserole. Don’t forget to prepare this dish with oil spray!
- PLASTIC SANDWICH BAG: For crushing the ritz crackers.
- MEASURING SPOONS AND CUPS: For measuring the ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 350° F or 177° C.
- Prepare a 9x13 baking sheet with spray. Set aside.
- Season chicken with Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, about 1 inch. Set aside.
- In a medium to large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat.
- Add chicken to the pot, and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
- Add the chicken broth, rice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt to the pot. Follow the cooking instructions on your rice package. Allow the rice to cook covered for half the required time. At the halfway point, stir the rice once, and add broccoli florets (do not stir after adding the broccoli). Cook for the remaining time as indicated on the rice package.
- Turn off the heat and leave the cover on to allow the rice and broccoli to stand for 10 more minutes.
- Add the sour cream, milk, and half of the shredded cheese to the same pot. Mix everything until fully combined.
- Add the mixture to your 9x13 baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese.
- Cover with tin foil and bake for 15 minutes.
- While the casserole is baking, make the cracker topping. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Allow to cool slightly, 1 minute. Crush crackers in a ziplock/sandwich bag and combine with the bowl of melted butter.
- Add the topping to the baked casserole. Bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.
- Allow the casserole to sit for 2 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Recipe expert tips
- For more flavour, use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Chicken breasts are kind of a staple in casseroles, but chicken thighs bring SO much more flavour.
- For a cheesier casserole, add 1 more cup to the top of your casserole before baking it. This casserole has the perfect ratio of each ingredient to give you a balanced bite of every ingredient each time. However, some people enjoy that cheesy layer that you get when you make a lasagna so if that’s you, add 1 more cup of shredded cheese!
- Use low-sodium products. If you use standard chicken broth and ritz crackers, this casserole tastes overly salty. This is why this recipe uses low sodium for each of these ingredients. If you’re really big on the saltiness, go for the standard versions.
- Use the rice-to-liquid ratio. Always double the amount of liquid per the amount of rice. For example, this recipe uses 1.5 cups of rice with 3 cups of liquid (chicken broth).
It helps the dish cook evenly, stay moist, and helps prevent the casserole from burning on the top.
In the same dish you baked the casserole, cover and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
This is because a day later, the casserole has had time to marinate with all of its ingredients and give a more enhanced flavour.