Easy Chicken Rice and Broccoli Casserole is a one pot wonder that’s sure to become a family favorite. With the combination of chicken, rice, broccoli, and of course cheese, you know it’s going to be delicious. It can be made ahead of time and produces awesome leftovers.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Table of Contents
Ingredients for Casserole
You probably already have all of the ingredients needed for this amazing casserole.
- Chicken: I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts. You could also use skinless, boneless chicken thighs so long as you trimmed them of the fat.
- The Sauce: The sauce includes cream of mushroom soup and mayonnaise. You may think that mayonnaise is a weird ingredient to use in a dish like this. However, it works great. If you have an aversion to mayonnaise, you can use sour cream instead. Also you could use cream of chicken soup rather than cream of mushroom soup.
- Rice: The rice in this casserole should be cooked. I like to use long-grain rice, and make sure that it’s rinsed very well before cooking to remove as much excess starch as possible.
- Broccoli Florets: I don’t like over-cooked broccoli at all, so I use frozen broccoli florets, straight from the package, i.e., not thawed or cooked. This way, the broccoli ends up perfect, at least for my taste. I would caution against your using frozen broccoli pieces, however. My experience is that the broccoli pieces are mainly the tough stalks. You could use fresh broccoli that has been blanched in boiling water for about 2 minutes, submerged in ice water and drained well.
- Cheese: I use shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese, but you could use sharp or regular Cheddar cheese if that’s what you prefer.
- The Toppings: In addition to topping this casserole with Cheddar cheese, I also use bread crumbs dotted with butter for the crunch. You could also use crushed Ritz crackers or crushed corn flakes.
Making the Casserole
First, I cooked the chicken in a bit of butter in a skillet over medium heat until it was no longer pink (Photo 1). This took 7 or 8 minutes. While the chicken was cooking, I whisked together the cream of mushroom soup and mayonnaise in a large bowl (Photo 2). That was the extent of the prep!
Next, I added the chicken, rice, broccoli, and part of the cheese to the soup/mayonnaise mixture (Photo 3). Finally, I stirred everything together (Photo 4).
After I folded all of the ingredients together, I transferred the mixture to a casserole dish that I had sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray.
I sprinkled the casserole with shredded cheese and bread crumbs. Then I dotted the casserole some butter.
I popped the casserole into a preheated 350° F oven for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the casserole was bubbly, and the top golden brown.
I served the Easy Chicken Rice and Broccoli Casserole with some crusty french bread and a nice Chardonnay. The casserole was absolutely delicious. It was creamy and cheesy, and a perfect one pot meal. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re using fresh broccoli, plan on about 4 cups of florets. If you plan on using fresh broccoli, you should blanch it for about 2 minutes and then submerge it in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain it well before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.
I like my broccoli crisp tender. Therefore, I don’t thaw or cook the frozen broccoli. Don’t be tempted to use frozen broccoli pieces. My experience is that the pieces are mainly the tough stems.
I used the extra sharp Cheddar cheese because that’s what I had on hand. You could also use sharp or regular Cheddar cheese.
You can definitely use cream of chicken soup instead of the cream of mushroom soup?
If you don’t want to use mayonnaise, you can use sour cream instead.
You can use crushed Ritz crackers, crushed corn flakes or Panko in place of the bread crumbs?
One of the beauties of this dish is that it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. If you do this, add about 5 minutes to the cooking time.
Leftovers, if any, can be reheated for several minutes in the microwave or in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
Instead of making one large casserole, I sometimes divide the mixture between two smaller casserole dishes. I bake one and freeze the other for another time.
Other Amazing One Pot Dishes
If you like the idea of a one pot dish that reheats well, you should check out the following:
- Make Ahead Chicken Divan: Make Ahead Chicken Divan is the perfect dish to serve at a dinner party or anytime for that matter. Tender chicken and fresh broccoli are cooked in a luscious white sauce and topped with Parmesan cheese and paprika. It’s a breeze to put together and is absolutely delicious.
- Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole: This is my ultimate comfort food. It’s full of cheesy goodness, and topped with a crunchy breadcrumb topping.
- Make Ahead Cottage Pie: Cottage Pie is one-dish wonder that is the ultimate in comfort food. This traditional Irish dish can easily be made ahead of time and reheated. In fact, I generally have several Cottage Pies in my freezer for those evenings when I just want something easy and absolutely delicious.
- Eggplant Parmesan: Eggplant Parmesan is the ultimate in Italian comfort foods. It’s layered like lasagna. However, unlike lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan is meatless with crispy breaded eggplant slices taking the place of pasta. Those crispy eggplant slices are smothered in a simple marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
- One Pot Creamy Tuscan Chicken: One Pot Creamy Tuscan Chicken is the ultimate in simplicity and taste. Thinly sliced chicken breasts are pan-fried and finished in a creamy Italian style sauce that’s bursting with goodness and flavor.
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Crêpes: Chicken Cordon Bleu Crêpes are a variation on the traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu with crêpes stuffed with a cheesy mixture of chicken, ham and mushrooms. As a finishing touch, I topped the crêpes with additional creamy sauce and Parmesan cheese.
- Easy Cheesy Mexican Rice with Chicken: Easy Cheesy Mexican Rice with Chicken is just in time for Cinco de Mayo. It’s an amazing one-pot meal with an incredible blend of flavors and textures. It makes a lot, so be prepared for yummy leftovers!
- Cheesy Penne with Roasted Vegetables: Cheesy Penne with Roasted Vegetables is an elegant dish that’s both colorful and flavorful. This one-dish wonder contains garden fresh vegetables roasted to perfection and tossed with penne in a dreamy creamy cheesy tomato sauce. One bite and you’ll be hooked.
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Easy Chicken Rice and Broccoli Casserole
- 1 pound (16 ounces) boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup (See Tip 3)
- ½ cup (4 ounces) mayonnaise (See Tip 4)
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 12 ounce package of frozen broccoli florets (See Tip 1)
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided (See Tip 2)
- ½ cup bread crumbs (See Tip 5)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I usually add around ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper)
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 2 ½ quart or 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with non-sticck vegetable spray. Set aside.
- Cook chicken in 1 Tablespoon melted butter in a skillet over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
- Whisk together cream of mushroom soup and mayonnaise in a large bowl.
- Add chicken, rice, broccoli, and 1 cup of shredded cheese to the soup mixture. Stir well to combine. Taste to see if salt and/or pepper should be added.
- Transfer to a prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese and bread crumbs. Dot with remaining butter. (See Tip 6)
- Bake in preheated 350° F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown.
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings. (See Tip 7)
Chula’s Expert Tips
- You can use 4 cups of fresh broccoli florets in place of the frozen broccoli. Blanch the fresh broccoli for 2 minutes, submerge in ice water and drain well. I like my broccoli crisp tender. Therefore, I don’t thaw or cook the frozen broccoli. Don’t be tempted to use frozen broccoli pieces. My experience is that the pieces are mainly the tough stems.
- I like to use extra sharp Cheddar cheese, but feel free to use sharp Cheddar cheese or regular cheddar cheese.
- You can use cream of chicken soup instead of cream of mushroom soup.
- If you don’t want to use mayonnaise, you can use sour cream instead.
- Rather than bread crumbs, you can use crushed Ritz crackers, crushed corn flakes or Panko bread crumbs..
- Instead of making one large casserole, divide the mixture between two smaller casserole dishes. Bake one and freeze the other for another time.
- Leftovers, if any, can be reheated for several minutes in the microwave or in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.