This easy broccoli, rice, and chicken casserole is topped with a buttery Ritz cracker crust. This meal comes together in less than 45 minutes and it takes one bowl and one casserole dish! Put this together ahead of time and pop it in the oven when you get home from work!
Wanna know the truth about the pictures of this casserole?
You probably can’t really tell, but the entire top of this casserole was CARBON BLACK.
That is what happens when you forget to set the timer and stick the casserole under the broiler to just get the crust a “bit more color.”
Ha, I definitely got that color…I also got an entire house’s fire alarm going off.
So, I stuck the casserole under the broiler, for what I intended to be only 3-5 minutes, but I forgot to set the timer so I went into the living room and got on my laptop and started catching up on email.
Your nose knows when you smell that good ‘ole burning scent.
I immediately knew what was up and said, “shit!” and ran into the kitchen. Opened the oven door to see a carbon black casserole and smoke was coming out of the oven.
Great. I went and opened all the windows and doors, and the fire alarm still went off.
I couldn’t get them to turn off, either. I had to get on my laptop to Google how to turn them off, but I still couldn’t get them to turn off!!
They’re all connected to each other so when one goes off, the others go off too. I basically just had to wait until the smoke cleared.
Good thing it was a nice-ish day out so having the windows and doors open weren’t a huge deal.
I ended up picking off all the burnt pieces (with some left behind, as you can see in the photos above, but don’t they just look like ground pepper flakes?) and was able to salvage the casserole!
It was actually fairly easy to pick off the pieces because it was just like an entire sheet of burnt of Ritz crackers so you could pick them off in large pieces.
How to prep this broccoli, rice, and chicken casserole ahead of time
If you’re anything like me, you like to prep meals ahead of time.
Or at least prep the parts of a meal that you can.
With this casserole recipe, you can put it all together ahead of time.
Well, everything but the buttery Ritz topping because otherwise it’ll get soggy.
But everything else, you can mix together right in the casserole dish and put it in the fridge and put in the oven later.
I’d like to advise that putting a cold casserole (or glass) dish straight into a hot oven is probably NOT a good idea.
So my advice on this is, put it in the oven, then preheat it with the casserole dish in there so it warms up slowly with the oven.
However, if you like to be extra careful (because who wants a casserole dish exploding in their oven), I would let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes and then put it in the oven to cook.
My rice doesn’t cook all the way through and it’s crunchy
Okay so there are so many different results with a variety of different rice that it’s hard to even tell you where to being.
I personally used sushi rice. Specifically this brand.
I highly suggest you use instant rice in this recipe because numerous folks who have multiple kinds of rice (jasmine, basmati, regular long-grain white rice) have said that their rice still is crunchy.
Instant rice cooks faster and with 50 minutes of this casserole in the oven, it’ll be sure to cook the rice all the way through.
Do I cook the chicken before putting it in the casserole?
No, the point is that it’s an all-in-one casserole where it all cooks together.
Can I use rotisserie chicken in the casserole?
Yes! You could use shredded rotisserie chicken in this. Would be great!
Do I have to use cream of chicken? I don’t like that stuff.
I highly recommend it for flavor but if you don’t like the canned stuff, you can make your own.
Other casserole recipes that you may love
- Enchilada pasta casserole
- Pumpkin eggplant burrata casserole
- Cheesy hashbrown casserole
- Sweet potato and sage butter casserole
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This easy broccoli, rice, and chicken casserole is topped with a buttery Ritz cracker crust. This meal comes together in less than 45 minutes and it takes one bowl and one casserole dish!
- 5 chicken tenderloins cut into 1-inch cubes, uncooked
- 1 cup white rice, uncooked OR instant rice (different types of rice will yield very different cook times. I used sushi rice. Due to the number of folks who have tried this recipe & still say their rice is crunchy, I highly suggest you use instant rice)
- 2 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1: 10.75 ounce can of cream of chicken
- 1 1/2 cup frozen broccoli florets, thawed
- 1 3/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish (mine was ceramic, but you may use glass).
- In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients except the Ritz crackers, together until well-incorporated.
- Pour the ingredients into the greased casserole dish, spread into an even layer, then sprinkle Ritz crackers on top of the mixture.
- Bake mixture, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes, or whenever rice and chicken are done cooking (mine took about 40 minutes, yours may take longer depending on your oven).
- To get a deeper, golden color, you may put the casserole under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Be careful to watch it carefully!
- Serve immediately.
This may be prepared ahead of time (reserving the Ritz cracker topping until you're ready to bake), kept covered in the refrigerator, and put into the oven, uncovered, when you're ready.
You can substitute fresh broccoli for the frozen broccoli. Fresh broccoli will yield a bit longer cooking time than frozen. Also, the size you cut your broccoli will affect its cooking time as well. If you like your broccoli more on the softer side, cook it longer. If you like your broccoli to have more of a bite, cook it to the time indicated above.
I didn't give a salt/pepper measurement as everyone's taste preference is different. My husband and I honestly thought the salt content from the buttery Ritz crackers were enough for this dish, however, if you don't feel it would be, I encourage you to adapt this recipe to your taste - add salt and pepper, to taste. Start with 1/2 tsp. at a time, taste it, and increase until desired taste.
If after 50 minutes, your rice is still not fully cooked through (rice grains vary, sushi-grade rice, which is what I used, cooks faster than other types of rice), cover the casserole with foil and cook longer.
Cooking time and milk measurement updated January 2014.
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.