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This chicken broccoli rice casserole is loaded with sharp cheddar cheese and topped with buttery Ritz crackers. It comes together in no time and is the perfect busy weeknight meal.

Chicken broccoli rice casserole served in bowls with spoons.
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I love a good casserole. They are so quick and easy to throw together and are perfect for a crowd. This chicken broccoli rice casserole really hits the spot. It’s a well-rounded meal that you can whip up in just one hour and while doing so only dirty 2 dishes. It doesn’t get much better than that.

A rich, cheesy sauce pulls together succulent pieces of chicken, tender broccoli florets, and perfectly cooked rice to create a gloriously tasty, hearty, all-in-one meal. Top it off with buttery Ritz crackers and you’ve got yourself a casserole the whole family will enjoy.

Chicken broccoli rice casserole in a casserole dish with a serving spoon.

Why You’ll Love This Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

This simple, delicious casserole is pretty unbeatable if you are in the market for a no-brainer weeknight meal. Here are some of my favorite things about it.

  • Quick and easy. Only 10 minutes of hands-on time and you’re 50 minutes away from a delicious, hearty meal. Feel free to go about your life while the casserole bubbles in the oven.
  • No mess. All you need is one bowl and one casserole dish to make this delicious entree. So you barely have to worry about clean up.
  • Great to make ahead. Busy life? I get it! Throw this casserole together (just leave off the ritz crackers), cover it tightly with saran wrap, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before popping it in the oven to cook. Note that it is best to allow the casserole to come to room temperature before baking if you decide to make it ahead.
Ingredients for chicken broccoli rice casserole.

What You’ll Need

This is a simple recipe requiring simple ingredients. My favorite kind. Here’s what you will need to make chicken broccoli rice casserole. Scroll to the recipe card below for measurements.

  • Chicken tenderloins – The chicken does not need to be cooked first. They will cook with the rest of the casserole. If you have leftover rotisserie chicken, you can cube or shred it and use that instead.
  • White rice – I highly recommend using instant rice to avoid crunchy rice at the end. Otherwise, select rice that cooks in 20 minutes or less. I used sushi rice but the choice is yours. Brown rice and wild rice will both take too long to cook so steer clear.
  • Whole milk – 2% will work here as well. The casserole will just be slightly less rich.
  • Cream of chicken – Not a fan of the canned stuff? Try making your own!
  • Frozen broccoli florets – Thaw at room temperature and pat dry before using.
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese – You can play with other kinds of cheese if you’d like. Pepper jack might be fun if you want to spice things up.
  • Ritz crackers

How to Make Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

In just 5 simple steps you will have a glorious, cheesy chicken broccoli rice casserole. Here’s how to make it. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 375 °F and grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
  • Mix together all the ingredients except the Ritz crackers.
Chicken broccoli rice casserole before adding the Ritz crackers.
  • Pour the ingredients into the casserole dish and sprinkle Ritz crackers.
  • Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes.
  • Broil for 3-5 minutes (optional).

Tips for Success

Ready to make the best chicken and rice casserole you’ve ever had? Follow these simple tips and tricks and you’ll be on your way.

  • Use instant rice. While you can use any product that cooks in under 20 minutes, I highly suggest using instant rice. It is the safest bet if you want to avoid crunchy rice in your finished casserole.
  • Don’t broil for too long. The first time I made this casserole, I left it under the broiler for too long at the end and absolutely charred the ritz cracker topping. So keep an eye out if you decide to broil it at the end.
  • Pat your broccoli dry. After thawing the broccoli, it is important to pat it dry so that it does not impart unnecessary moisture to the casserole.
Chicken broccoli rice casserole in a casserole dish.

FAQs

This is a relatively simple recipe but there are a few common questions that I am frequently asked by those I have shared it with. Here they come.

Do I Cook The Chicken Before Putting It In The Casserole?

No. This is not necessary. The chicken will cook with the rest of the ingredients.

Can I Use Rotisserie Chicken In This Casserole?

You can! Just shred or chop the chicken and mix it in with the rest of the filling before baking.

Do I Have To Use Cream of Chicken? I Don’t Like That Stuff.

The cream of chicken in this recipe does add a lovely, creamy texture to the dish. If you aren’t a cream of chicken fan, there are a few ways to substitute. You can make your own if you are trying to avoid the canned stuff. Alternatively, you can easily use cream of mushroom, cream of celery, cream of asparagus, or cream of potato soup instead. You can also use sour cream or plain greek yogurt. Just prepare yourself for a tangier casserole.

What to Serve With Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

This casserole delivers a hearty punch of veggies, carbs, proteins, and fats. It can easily be a meal in and of itself. That being said, I love dolling it up with a side dish or two. Here are some of my favorites.

Chicken broccoli rice casserole in a casserole dish with a pice taken out of it.

How to Store Leftovers

Allow the casserole to cool completely before wrapping the baking pan tightly in saran wrap. and storing it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When you are ready to reheat, remove the saran wrap, cover the casserole with aluminum foil, and pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Can I Freeze This Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole?

You can! It actually freezes quite nicely. Prepare the recipe from start to finish (just leave off the Ritz crackers), wrap the baking dish tightly in saran wrap, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to enjoy, unwrap the baking pan, sprinkle the casserole with Ritz crackers, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

More Easy Casserole Recipes

I love a quick and easy casserole. It’s a great way to serve a crowd. This cheesy chicken broccoli rice casserole is to die for but here are some of my other favorites for you to try.

4.26 from 75 votes

Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole

This chicken broccoli rice casserole is loaded with sharp cheddar cheese and topped with buttery Ritz crackers. It comes together in no time and is the perfect busy weeknight meal.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 people

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 5 chicken tenderloins, cut into 1-inch cubes, uncooked
  • 1 cup (185 g) 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 ¼ cup (532 ⅓ ml) whole milk
  • 10.75 ounce (333 g) can of cream of chicken
  • 1 ½ cup (136 ½ g) frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 1 ¾ cup (197 ¾ g) extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
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Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375 °F (191 °C) and lightly grease a 9×13 inch oven safe 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

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 304kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 502mg, Potassium: 337mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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416 Comments

  1. Your recipe sounds great! I have to shop 15 dats at a time. May I use thawed out broccoli cauliflower and carrots? There are 3 of us that will be esting and I love leftovers. Also I jabe a large casserole dish. Thanks so much for your time.

  2. Haven’t tried this version yet. However, my husband LOVED my version when I was cooking for him; I always used leftover white rice (often from our favorite Chinese restaurant, because we seldom finished it all.) However, I often made a huge pot of white rice, and then we had plenty for the coming week – and we ate it in casseroles, or with butter & soy sauce, or butter & S & P, or put yet other leftovers on it – it worked great! Neither of us were keen on brown rice, no matter how we tried it, I’m sorry to say; we always found it bland & tasteless.

  3. This is the first time I ever made a casserole and I wasn’t disappointed. I used all measurements just as the recipe mentioned with the minute white rice and consistency and texture was delicious. It had to stay in the oven a little longer because the chicken was still raw, but other than that it was quick easy and delicious!

  4. This is a make again recipe. It was quick and easy. I followed directions with exception of adding more broccoli than called for and because of that I also used an extra can of cream of chicken soup. All of my family enjoyed it and said I should make again. Going forward I will cover while cooking (because the topping of Ritz crackers began to burn within minutes of being in the oven at 375) and remove cover the last few minutes to brown the top. Not sure if anyone else had this experience?

  5. I thought this was very good. I used Arborio rice as it was what I had on hand. It took 50 minutes to get to al dente, the way we like it. I also used cream of mushroom soup rather than cream of chicken. I had some roasted mushrooms left over from last night’s sheet pan dinner, so tossed them in as well, with the fresh broccoli. I cut the recipe in half and baked it in a 9 X 9 square pan. (I did use a full can of condensed soup but cut the rice, milk, chicken, and cheese in half. It turned out very well.

  6. I used this recipe as a starting point for dinner last night. I used 4 chicken breast, cooked brown basmati, added onion, celery, fennel seed, oregano, basil, cumin and sage, made my own gluten free cheese sauce and crackers made with cauliflower flour. It was quite wonderful. I would do it again. Thanks

  7. I had to bake this for about 2 hours for the rice to be cooked through- however it absorbed all of the liquid and ended up being drier than any other casseroles I made unfortunately.

    1. @Emily, I had the same issue! And the rice was still not all cooked. 😣
      It’s 8pm and my family is not having chicken fingers and fries for dinner because this did not work out for us.