Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole

  • 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!

    Easy Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole with Ritz cracker crust that comes together in 1 casserole dish. Perfect for busy weeknights!

    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.

    Easy Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole with Ritz cracker crust that comes together in 1 casserole dish. Perfect for busy weeknights!

    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.

    Easy Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole with Ritz cracker crust that comes together in 1 casserole dish. Perfect for busy weeknights!

    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

    Pin this image below and save the recipe for later!

    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!

    Easy Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole that comes together in 1 casserole dish. Perfect for busy weeknights! Recipe on tablefortwoblog.com
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    Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole

    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!
    Prep Time: 10 mins
    Cook Time: 50 mins
    Total Time: 1 hr
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 4
    Calories: 559kcal
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    Ingredients

    • 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

    Instructions

    • 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.

    Notes

    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
    Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole
    Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
    Calories 559 Calories from Fat 279
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 31g 48%
    Total Carbohydrates 39g 13%
    Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
    Sugars 9g
    Protein 35g 70%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.
  • 335 Comments
    Julie Wampler of Table for Two
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    Comments

  • Bev @ Bev Cooks says:

    Um, I set off the fire alarm like 3 times a day. Welcome to my life.

    Also, I need 13 helpings of this, please. Via shovel.

  • Kevin @ Closet Cooking says:

    What a nice, quick and easy casserole!

  • Jenny Flake says:

    What a perfect weeknight dinner idea! Love it!

  • Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective says:

    Yum! Great weeknight meal!

  • Erin| The Law Student's Wife says:

    Let’s not even talk about the number of loaves of garlic bread I’ve set fire to beneath our broiler. I’ve been there girl! This casserole still looks totally d-lish. No one would ever guess your secret :)

  • Heather Christo says:

    haha!!! I would never have known- looks good to me!!!

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen says:

    LOL, Julie! You can’t tell! Yep…looks like black pepper. :) This kitchen mishap has happened to me. Just last week I forgot to set the timer while toasting coconut flakes. Thought I’d be in the kitchen the entire time to check. Got side tracked and had extra browned coconut flakes! They tasted fine, but could not be used to shoot a pretty layer cake. Broccoli, chicken and cheese in any casserole is aces in my book. Yours looks delicious! Definitely pinning to make soon!

  • Maria says:

    Great weeknight meal!

  • Theresa A from Tulsa says:

    Looks yummy!!

  • Megan {Country Cleaver} says:

    I’m terrified of using my broiler for that very same reason!! hahaha This looks amazing, and totally crispy crunch – in a good, non-burny way!

  • Norma says:

    A great way to get non-broccoli eaters to eat broccoli.

  • naomi says:

    This is a meal I can get behind, even after a frenzied work day!

  • Melanie says:

    Was the rice cook previously before it was put into the mixture or was it uncooked? Just want to make sure I make this correctly tonight! My tummy is grumbling already!!!

    • Julie says:

      Uncooked rice. Enjoy!

  • Ashley says:

    Silly question- I’m guessing you cook the chicken ahead of time before incorporating it into the casserole, not raw, right?

    • Julie says:

      Hi Ashley! No, it’s raw chicken. You cut it into cubes and toss it together with the mixture and everything cooks together in the oven.

  • Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain says:

    I need more casserole dishes in my life!! This looks delish. And I still can’t believe Paul Walker died. Major craziness.

  • ashley - baker by nature says:

    This is totally my idea of comfort food, Julie! I wish this was dinner tonight!!!

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough says:

    Your salvaging skills are super impressive! It looks like perfection to me. :) And the Ritz cracker topping? YESSS.

  • Leah | So, How's It Taste? says:

    Well hello there kind of comfort food! This looks amazing…black bits and all!

    • Leah | So, How's It Taste? says:

      I meant to say “king” of comfort food, lol.

  • Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    And what’s worse is the smoke alarms these days are SO freaking sensitive. I mean it’s a good thing but not when you’re burning stuff ;) Seriously… I want to dive head first into this dish.

  • Karin @ Heart Love Weddings says:

    Love this combo! I wonder if this would also work well in a slow cooker on low? I think I might try it! :)

    • Julie says:

      I’m not positive how it’d turn out, but give it a shot and let me know what you think! :)

  • Marian (Sweetopia) says:

    Mmm! Perfect busy weeknight dinner!

    • Dt says:

      I made this tonight. Super easy but had absolutely no flavor! Had to add a ton of salt.

      • Julie says:

        Hi Dt, I’m glad you made this tonight! Sorry you thought it had no flavor, but I’m glad you were able to adapt and add salt to it. Everyone has different taste palettes so what tasted fine to my husband and I, might not have tasted fine to you; which is why I always encourage adaptation, and I’m glad you did that to the dish! I will add a note in the recipe about the salt preference. I hope you enjoyed after adding salt! :)

  • Christine says:

    This looks delicious and so easy to make. This might be a make ahead Sunday and bake Monday meal for me.

    • Julie says:

      I hope you enjoy, Christine!

  • Tari says:

    OK, looks GREAT, but I wanted to make it with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Obviously it’s cooked. Would the turkey with cooked instant rice (cooked with leftover turkey broth), FRESH broccoli, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, cheddar cheese and milk work about the same? Of course, crushed crackers on the top.

    • Julie says:

      Hi Tari, yes, it’d work pretty much the same as the chicken version! :) enjoy!

  • Lisa says:

    For some reason, my rice did not cook… crunchy… Any clue what I did wrong?

    • Julie says:

      Hi Lisa, you didn’t do anything wrong, you probably just needed to cook it longer. I mentioned in the recipe that all oven temperatures vary so it could take 30-40 minutes to cook it fully, however, if your rice still isn’t cooked, then you can cover the casserole in foil and let it cook longer (so the top won’t get too brown). What kind of rice did you use?

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) says:

    Such a comforting casserole and I love the ritz topping!

  • DessertForTwo says:

    You’re not really a cook if you don’t set the fire alarm off every now and then! ;)

    This is one of my favorite comfort food dinners! Can’t beat Ritz!

  • Chels R. says:

    Um, I want this! We set the smoke detector off on Thanksgiving, with all 24 people in the house. Yeah, that was…fun!

  • marla says:

    Gotta love a hearty casserole!

  • Meagan @ A Zesty Bite says:

    I am totally a casserole girl and I love this one.

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl says:

    We’re still growing broccoli under the greenhouse this winter so I can’t wait to try this casserole!

  • Tieghan says:

    The broiler is honestly m worst enemy. Every time I use it I burn the heck out of whatever is in there. Last time it was enchiladas and it was bummer!

    LOVE this casserole! Broccoli, rice and chicken are staple foods around here!

  • claire @ the realistic nutritionist says:

    I’d stick my WHOLE FACT into this!!

  • Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health says:

    I am known to set the fire alarm in my area too – it happens. I am glad you were able to use the dish though :) looks delicious, I am inspired to create something similar now.

  • Laurie {Simply Scratch} says:

    Love love love this! Perfect comfort food… all in one pan!

  • Natalie @ Tastes Lovely says:

    Looking at this picture just gave me a total flash back to my childhood when my mom used to make something similar. But the Ritz cracker crust will me this even better than what I grew up on : )

  • Alley @ Alley's Recipe Book says:

    Ha… I never leave the kitchen with the broiler on for this reason! I always stand there peaking in every 30 seconds or so because I don’t want to deal with fire alarms again. :) Made something almost identical with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers last night!

  • Danielle Crook says:

    Does it have to be white rice and does it have to NOT be instant? All I have in my pantry is instant brown rice and I also only have skim milk. Does the milk have to be whole?

    • Julie says:

      It would probably work with instant brown rice. I only say not instant because this cooks for 40 minutes, so your rice may be overcooked and mushy; you could decrease cooking time to 25-30 minutes. You can use whatever milk you have on hand. Enjoy :)

  • Mackenzie {SusieFreakingHomemaker} says:

    Oh yea baby! This looks fantastic. I like any and everything covered in cheese!! :)

  • Abigail says:

    Made it tonight, was a winner! Went ahead & added the extra 1/4 cup of cheese that was in the 2 cup bag of shredded cheddar, and used jasmine rice bc it’s our favorite. A casserole delight :)

    • Julie says:

      I’m SO glad you enjoyed it, Abigail! Extra cheese doesn’t hurt anyone! ;)

  • Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen says:

    Seriously- broilers are from the devil himself. I swear EVERY time I turn on my broiler. Still the casserole looks fab ;)

  • Stephanie says:

    Love that this is a 1 dish meal! And yes, I kept hoping Paul Walker’s death was a hoax. =( One of my favorite car shows is Wheeler Dealers. Also, I prefer British car shows more than the American ones. =)

  • Ada Howe says:

    Julie! I have made a ton of your recipes… love them all! BUT… i made this one the other night… and of all the meals I have made… this is the ONLY time that i can remember that my daughter asked for 3rds!!!!!!! I can’t even begin to tell you how rewarding that felt for me! so THANK YOU for providing such an easy and yummy recipe!

    • Julie says:

      Awesome, Ada!! So glad you enjoyed it. That’s amazing that your daughter asked for thirds!! Yay :)

  • Tenley Alison says:

    This is in the oven right now, cant wait to try it!!! We just had a baby 3 months ago the the less time i need to spend in the kitchen the better!!! I too added the whole 2 cup bag of cheese as well as what was left of the broccoli and added a little extra rice and milk and used my favorite garlic/black pepper/sea salt grinder and threw some in. I am a total garlic freak! Hope it turns out yummy!

    • Julie says:

      Hi Tenley! Congratulations on your new baby! I’m so glad you decided to make this. I’m a total garlic freak too and I’m glad you modified it to your tastes. Hope you enjoyed it!

  • Diane Lebel says:

    have you ever made it with fresh broccoli

    • Julie says:

      Hi Diane, I’ve never made it with fresh broccoli but it’d work the same!

  • April says:

    I just made this and the rice is not cooked through. I hope there is enough liquid left to cook it now that I covered it and put it back in the oven. I am not hopeful though. Otherwise, it tastes good if you like crunchy rice! I wonder if we shouldn’t cook the rice first??

    • Julie says:

      Hi April, sorry that your rice isn’t cooked through. If you prefer, you can cook the rice first but the only reason I don’t specify doing that is because I’ve tested it before and the rice gets way too mushy and soft. It’s like baby food. However, if you feel that cooking the rice beforehand would ensure you to not have crunchy rice, then I would definitely go for it!

  • Jee says:

    Can you use fresh broccoli? I have tons of it on hand right now.

    • Julie says:

      Hi Jee, yes you can.

  • Jee says:

    Just tried this recipe tonight. Easy assembly and items I usually have on hand. The rice was a bit crunchy at 38 minutes but the flavor was quite good.

    Whenever trying a new recipe, I try to follow the directions and then modify it a second time. I would probably soak the rice in boiling water about 10 minutes while assembling everything, add a bit of pepper (agree with your salt note) and maybe a dash of cayenne.

    Thank you for a new recipe and the opportunity to make it my own!

    • Julie says:

      Hi Jee, I’m glad you tried this tonight! Crunchy rice seems to be an issue some people are having (and then some are not having that issue at all, including myself when I developed the recipe). I modified the recipe so that there is more liquid and longer cooking time so I hope that will solve some of the crunchy rice issues. I’m glad that you enjoyed it either way! Hopefully your modifications will suit you when you make it in the future!

  • Amanda Bryan says:

    My rice still didn’t get done and I cooked it 45 mins and then 20 mins with foil… But then that it was good and my broccoli was still a little crunchy some too… Did I do something wrong???

    • Julie says:

      I don’t think you did anything wrong, Amanda. Did you use fresh or frozen broccoli? I think the type of rice you use will yield longer cook times. What type of rice did you use? I updated the recipe to make this note as I used sushi rice and others have used jasmine and didn’t have to cook it as long.

  • Sue - My Cooking Pots says:

    What a great easy meal. Sounds delicious! Looking forward to making this!

    • Julie says:

      Hope you enjoy, Sue!

  • Hatton says:

    Found this on Pinterest, made it for dinner, and LOVED IT!! Thank you :)

    • Julie says:

      So glad you loved this!

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