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chicken broccoli rice casserole
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4.5 from 2 votes

Chicken broccoli rice casserole (from scratch)

Amazing chicken broccoli rice casserole made simply from scratch. There's juicy and tender chicken, broccoli, rice, flavorful homemade mushroom sauce (quick and easy!), all covered with sharp cheddar cheese and crunchy breadcrumb parmesan topping.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 720kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

Casserole:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium chicken breasts 1 1/2 lbs (675g)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 cups rice 10.5-oz (300g), long grain rice
  • 1 lb (450g) broccoli 1 large broccoli or 2 small
  • 7 oz (200g) sharp cheddar cheese about 2 cups shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mushroom sauce:

  • 1/2 lb (225g) mushrooms I used cremini/baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 120ml
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons butter 45g
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs 55g
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan 45g

Instructions

  • Cook the rice: rinse 1.5 cups of rice under cold water, drain. Add to a medium pot, salt to taste, and add 3 cups of boiling water. Bring the water to the boil then cook over very low heat, covered, for 10 minutes (I would normally cook it for 15 minutes). The rice should be a little bit undercooked. You don't have to drain the rice.
  • Cook the broccoli: cut 1 lb (450g) broccoli into small florets, add to a large pot filled with salted water, cook for about 2-3 minutes, until partially soft and partially crunchy. Drain the broccoli and rinse with cold water.
  • Prepare the chicken: cut 4 medium chicken breasts into 1-inch (2-3 cm) cubes, season with salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, and 1 Tbsp garlic powder. Set aside.
  • Make the mushroom sauce: Cut 1/2 lb (225g) mushrooms into 1/4-inch (5mm) half-slices. Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a big frying pan. Add the mushrooms in an even layer. Cook them over high heat for about 2 minutes, letting the mushrooms brown. Stir the mushrooms, then add all the other ingredients for the sauce (1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup broth, 1 ts lemon juice, 1 ts Dijon mustard, 2 Tbsp flour), bring the sauce to the boil and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Make the breadcrumb topping: Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a small pot, take the pot off the heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs until combined, then 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C / Gas Mark 5 (no fan, if you have a convection oven reduce the temperature by about 20° or follow the manufacturer's instructions).
  • Assemble the casserole: Add the cooked rice, broccoli, uncooked chicken, 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese, and mushroom sauce into a 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) casserole dish and mix together. Top with the remaining grated cheddar, then with the breadcrumb topping.
    The sauce should be hot, straight from the pan, otherwise, it may take longer for the casserole to heat through and you will need to bake it longer.
  • Bake (uncovered) for about 25-30 minutes or until the breadcrumb topping is golden and the chicken is cooked through. Try to not cook it longer to not overcook the chicken. If after this time the topping is not golden yet, you can turn on the fan or move the baking dish under the broiler to quickly brown the topping.
  • Set aside for 5-10 minutes before cutting into servings to allow the casserole to set a little.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Ingredient notes:
    • Chicken – You can also use boneless and skinless chicken thighs and chop them into smaller pieces. Instead of chicken you can use salmon, treat it like chicken and add raw to the casserole. You can also make this vegetarian - omit the chicken and add more veggies instead.
    • Broccoli – instead of broccoli you can use cauliflower, zucchini, or green. You can also use frozen broccoli – you just have to thaw it and drain the excess water. There is no need to cook it.
    • Rice – I used regular long-grain rice. You can also use Jasmin rice, which has a similar cooking time, or brown rice – which you have to cook for a longer period of time. I haven’t tested this recipe with other rice varieties or minute/instant rice.
    • Use can use pasta instead of rice – cook the pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions.
    • Cremini mushroom – you can use button mushrooms instead.
    • Broth – use chicken broth or vegetable broth or water + crushed good-quality broth cubes, if you don’t have any of these ingredients on hand, use milk or just water.
    • Cream – if you want to reduce calories, use milk instead.
    • Milk – you can use cream instead, or just water.
    • Breadcrumbs – you can use regular breadcrumbs or Panko breadcrumbs which are more crunchy.
    • Grated Parmesan cheese – can be omitted if you don’t have it on hand, but use more breadcrumbs instead.
  • Storing and freezing options:
    • How to make ahead: theoretically, you can prepare all the ingredients for the casserole, assemble them and bake it later but I don’t recommend it. Rice absorbs the sauce and it becomes super mushy. The topping will be also less crunchy. Alternatively, you can prepare all the ingredients and store them separately from the sauce and the topping. Then assemble it right before the baking.
    • How to store this casserole: Store baked casserole in the fridge for up to 4 days. Wrap the dish in plastic foil. Reheat whole or just some of the servings. I like to reheat it in the oven. I place the dish in a cold oven and turn it to 375°F/190°C and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the casserole is warm and the topping crunchy (if the topping is rather soggy and not crunchy, you can turn on the fan or move the dish under the broiler).
    • How to freeze it: I like to portion the casserole into servings and freeze it this way rather than whole as it just takes much quicker to thaw it but both are possible. I like to thaw it in the fridge overnight and then just warm up like described above. You can also place it in the oven straight from the freezer and bake at 320°F/160°C (starting with a cold oven) until thawed and warm – this, unfortunately, won’t be quick – you’ll need about an hour (just for 1 serving). If the topping is not crunchy increase the temperature and bake it longer or turn on the fan/move the baking dish under the broiler. The casserole that has been frozen tastes the same as freshly made, the topping can also be very crunchy but the rice is super mushy which can not be avoided.
  • Calories = 1/6 of the recipe = 1 serving. This is only an estimate!

Nutrition

Calories: 720kcal