Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
This Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole includes homemade condensed or Campbell’s Soup, flavorful rice cooked in chicken broth, and a buttery, crunchy Ritz topping. Cook up some fresh chicken or use Rotisserie!
Are you ready for the ultimate comfort food recipe? My family and I have been eating this chicken and rice casserole for years now. Who needs to separate chicken, rice, and broccoli when you can whip up a creamy casserole?!
This recipe is one of my favorite freezer foods. I’m pretty sure readers come back for this recipe more than any other. Once you try it, you’re pretty much hooked.
See recipe card below for full ingredient amounts and instructions
- Unsalted Butter
- Chicken Breasts– Rotisserie chicken makes a good shortcut, ham works well too.
- Italian Seasoning
- Olive Oil
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- White Long Grain Rice– Don’t use Instant Rice (see below for more info). Brown rice may also be used.
- Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup– Try my homemade recipe!
- Sour Cream
- Cheddar Cheese– Shred your own from a block at home for best results. This is always my brand of choice as it melts really well.
- Ritz Crackers
Optional Seasonings: 1 tsp dried thyme + 1/2 tsp garlic powder
How to Make Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Season the chicken and sear it in butter. Remove from pot.
- Steam the rice in chicken broth for 15 minutes. Add the broccoli halfway through. Refrain from stirring.
- Remove from heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes uncovered after cooking, any rice on the bottom of the pot will release during this time.
- Mix in half of the cheese and remaining casserole ingredients.
- Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish, cover and bake at 350° for 15 minutes.
- Combine melted butter and Ritz crackers, add to casserole. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes.
Cream of Chicken Soup Substitutes
- This recipe can be made with Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Broccoli, Cheddar Cheese, and Broccoli Cheese.
- OR, skip the can and make my 15-minute Cream of Chicken Soup recipe!
Don’t Use Minute Rice
I highly recommend you use regular long grain rice instead of minute rice:
- Long grain rice = creamier consistency. Short grain rice tends to be stickier.
- Regular rice has higher nutritional value and better flavor.
- We’re only cooking the rice for 15 minutes before baking it, and we steam the broccoli in the same pot.
Using Brown Rice
Brown rice takes longer to cook and requires more liquid than white rice.
- For that reason I would cook it separately, portion it out so that you have 2 cups cooked rice at the end.
- You may want to throw a bouillon cube into the water to add some additional flavor.
- You can then combine it with the other ingredients as outlined and skip the chicken broth ingredient which is only needed to cook the white rice.
Using Frozen Broccoli
–2 cups of frozen broccoli (and/or cauliflower) can also be used. Just be sure you thaw and pat it dry!
-Frozen broccoli is already blanched so you don’t need to cook it prior to mixing the casserole together.
Using Rotisserie Chicken
This is a great casserole for rotisserie chicken, 2 cups is the perfect quantity to use.
Since rotisserie chicken can sometimes be salted, I highly recommend sticking with low sodium chicken broth so that your meal doesn’t turn out overly salty.
-This casserole can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 days prior to baking. Let it sit out for 30 minutes prior to baking or add 10 minutes to baking time.
-If prepared 2 days in advance, it should be used within 1-2 days or leftovers should be frozen.
-The cracker/butter topping should be added at the end of baking and not prepared ahead.
-Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.
-If baking from a frozen state, add 1 hour of baking time at 350°, covered. Then bake as outlined in the recipe.
-Or let thaw overnight in the fridge. Let it sit out for 30 minutes prior to baking or add 10 minutes to baking time.
-The cracker/butter topping should always be added at the end of baking.
-Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
-This casserole is a great meal to freeze and is best if used within 3 months of freezing.
-I often reheat frozen lunch-sized portions in the microwave from a frozen state. If possible, I’ll also bake it 350 degree oven at the end to crisp up the top.
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Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, or 2 cups diced rotisserie chicken
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- Salt/Pepper, to taste
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, low sodium
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups white long grain rice, uncooked
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, uncooked
- 10.5 oz. Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, separated
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and season with Italian seasoning and desired amount of salt and pepper.
- Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat until melted. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Note: This step is not needed if using a cooked rotisserie chicken.
- Add the chicken broth, olive oil, and rice to the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cover tightly and cook for 7 minutes.
- Add the broccoli and replace the cover. Cook for 8 more minutes. Refrain from stirring.
- Turn off the heat and remove the cover. Let the rice stand for 10 minutes, do not stir. Any rice on the bottom of the pot will release.
- Add the cooked chicken, soup, milk, sour cream, optional seasonings, and half of the cheddar cheese.
- Add to a lightly greased 9 x 13 casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.
- Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
Add the Topping:
- Melt the butter and crumble up the crackers. Combine to form the topping for the casserole.
- Top the casserole with the crumbled cracker topping and bake uncovered for 10 additional minutes.
- Let the casserole sit for 5 minutes prior to serving.
Heluva Good Cheddar Cheese is my brand of choice for this recipe, it's creamy and melts really well. Avoid extra sharp or aged cheeses as they won't melt as well.
- This casserole can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 days prior to baking.
- If prepared 2 days in advance, it should be used within 1-2 days.
- The cracker/butter topping should be made when you bake the casserole and not prepared ahead of time.
Be sure to check out my ham and ground beef rice casseroles next!
Skip the can and try this with my Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup!