This creamy chicken and rice casserole satisfies the need for comfort food. It’s a delicious casserole that’s easy to make, and it’s ideal for potlucks and buffets.
I’ve updated this post to show more than one way to make a chicken and rice casserole. You’ll also see some sides to serve with a chicken casserole farther down in this post
Comfort Food for the Family Dinner
Basically, it’s warm, tasty, and tamps down the hunger without making you feel stuffed. Add a side salad, and you have a complete meal.
And if you use chicken thighs or drumsticks, you can have a family dinner under $10, even with a vegetable on the side.
Or if you use part of a rotisserie chicken, it might be even less expensive. After all, you can typically get more than one meal from one chicken.
Anyone who lives in the South has probably had this delicious southern food. To my surprise, I’ve learned that my non-southern friends also want to claim it as theirs.
And that’s okay. After all, with food this tasty, it’s nice to share.
It doesn’t matter where this dish comes from since it is so good. It has found its way on our dinner rotation because it is quick, easy, and delicious.
I love the fact that you can use leftover rotisserie chicken or even canned chicken. Since there are only two of us, we often have extra chicken from the night before.
If you like casseroles, you’ll also enjoy the cheesy zucchini ham bake. Both of these dishes are perfect for serving at a buffet table or bringing to potlucks.
Another delicious one-pot meal is this Crock Pot ranch chicken dinner. It’s easy to make and warms you from the inside out.
Weeknight Chicken and Rice Casserole
One of the things I love about this dish is that it can be assembled ahead of time. You can either put everything in the casserole dish the night before or the next morning.
I’ve even cooked it in the slow cooker. But I have to admit that the rice comes out a little mushy when it’s cooked all day.
However, when your family is starving after a long day at work and school, that doesn’t matter. Other easy weeknight dinners we enjoy are this delicious chicken pot pie and this yummy ground beef stroganoff.
Easy Weekend Dinner
Sometimes I enjoy taking the weekend off from cooking. However I don’t always want to go out because I don’t feel like getting dressed up.
After all, when I’ve been lounging around in yoga pants and a sweatshirt all day (don’t judge), the thought of having to deal with a button and zipper is unappealing.
And dress shoes? No thanks!
This is a dinner I can put together whenever I feel like it without experiencing any pressure.
In spite of how quick and easy it is to assemble, it always comes out great. It is unquestionably a meal anyone can make.
Leftover Chicken and Rice Casserole
The first thing to consider when you’re putting together the ingredients is to make sure you have enough for leftovers. Otherwise, you’ll be left drooling and dreaming of this delicious creamy casserole that you can’t get enough of.
I love having some leftover chicken and rice casserole the next day for lunch. Coupled with a side salad, you have a nutritious meal without much effort.
Assembling the Chicken and Rice Casserole
You’ll need a casserole dish to put everything into as well as some cooking spray to make cleanup easy.
If you don’t have a casserole dish, you may also use a deep metal pan.
Next comes the rice.
Pour the rice into the bottom of the sprayed pan.
I usually jiggle the pan from side to side to make sure the rice is evenly distributed.
Remember that when the rice absorbs the liquid, it will swell to several times the size.
Next, pour the chicken broth into it.
You can use any kind of chicken broth or bouillon dissolved in water. I prefer bone broth because it’s so high in nutritional value.
Swirl it a little to even out the rice again.
This keeps the rice nice and moist.
Place the chicken on top of the rice.
You can use chicken pieces if you have them.
Pepper the chicken.
Since the chicken broth and soup have sodium, I don’t add salt.
Mix your favorite cream soup (I like cream of mushroom) with the water and pour over the chicken.
Try to coat the chicken as evenly as possible.
Then you add the mushrooms. I generally use canned mushrooms, but you can use fresh ones that you’ve sliced.
Or if your family doesn’t care for mushrooms, you can leave them off and use cream of chicken or cream of celery soup.
You can sprinkle breadcrumbs over the chicken, soup, and mushrooms, or you can leave it as-is.
I use a gluten-free variety of breadcrumbs, but I have to admit that the regular ones are much better.
However, you don’t have to add breadcrumbs.
Although I like them, I often leave them off. It’s really good either way but not as crunchy without them.
Cover the pan with foil and bake.
The foil helps to steam the rice.
Finally, remove the foil and put it back in the oven to brown the top of the casserole.
This adds to the crunch.
If you choose to leave off the breadcrumbs, it will look completely different.
But that’s okay because it’s still delicious!
When I updated this post, I used pieces of rotisserie chicken, which is just as good.
What to Serve with Chicken Casserole
You can serve any vegetable or salad with this casserole. I like to add a green vegetable because it adds color to the plate … and it’s good for you.
I typically serve a salad, like this tomato cucumber corn salad. However, as you can see in the image below, steamed broccoli is another favorite.
You can also add bread or rolls. We like this delicious southern-style cornbread.
Or if you enjoy a little more spice, you’ll love these heat-packed jalapeno corn muffins.
Most regular cream soups have traces of wheat, and I have a gluten sensitivity.
However, you can find wheat-free soups in some grocery stores. Walmart’s Great Value brand of gluten-free cream of mushroom soup is very good.
Add-Ons for Chicken Rice Casserole
If you ever feel like adding something extra to your chicken and rice casserole, try sprinkling some colorful veggies around the top. Or if you prefer, you can mix them in with the rice.
I like to put broccoli or green beans on top and then cut up some red and yellow bell peppers for even more color. When you add more color, you’re also increasing the nutritional value.
This is a great dish to bring to a family after a baby is born or if something isn’t feeling well enough to cook. The one pictured above is what I brought to my daughter’s house after she gave birth to our grandson.
More add-on options:
- Whole cherry tomatoes
- Chopped tomatoes
- Green beans
- Green peas
- Sliced carrots
You can probably think of more ideas. If something sounds good to you, go ahead and try it. One of the best things about cooking at home is “accidentally” discovering new recipes.
If you baked this chicken casserole, you might want to add a side salad. One that we really enjoy is this delicious Greek olive and feta salad.
- 4 large chicken thighs
- 1 can cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup
- 3/4 cup of uncooked rice
- 3/4 cup of chicken bone broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 small can of sliced mushrooms or 3/4 cup of fresh sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (regular or gluten-free)
- Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Spray a medium size casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Pour rice into the casserole dish and spread evenly over the bottom.
- Pour the chicken broth over the rice.
- Place the chicken thighs on the rice. Sprinkle as much pepper as you like over the chicken.
- Mix the water with the soup and pour over the chicken.
- Add the mushrooms evenly over the chicken.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.
- Cover with foil and bake for approximately 50 minutes.
- Uncover and place the casserole back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and serve with your favorite side.
My oven cooks hot. If your breadcrumbs aren't golden brown, you may use your broiler for a couple of minutes. Make sure you keep a close eye on it so the top of your casserole doesn't burn.
If you use precooked chicken, cut the cooking time to 30 minutes.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1/4 of the casserole
Amount Per Serving Calories 594Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 173mgSodium 926mgCarbohydrates 51gFiber 3gSugar 4gProtein 42g
The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.