Dinner doesn’t get easier or more delicious than this cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole, made in just one pan, with a few simple ingredients.

Chicken and rice casserole with melted cheese on top, in an oval serving dish.

Here’s what a nerd I am when it comes to cooking: for my 14th birthday a friend gave me a cookbook, and it was one of my favorite gifts! It was a compilation of favorite recipes from close friends, and one of the recipes was this cheesy chicken and rice casserole.

What I love about Chicken and Rice Casserole:

  • One pan: throw everything together in a casserole dish and bake.  This makes for low prep and easy clean-up! I love recipes where the oven does all of the work. Check out my other one-pan recipes!
  • Kid friendly: The end result is another kid-friendly recipe that’s delicious and flavorful. The perfect comfort food for a fast weeknight meal or Sunday dinner that requires hardly any prep.
  • Adaptable: Like most casserole dishes, there are plenty of variations you can make to this recipe.  See more ideas below in the post.

How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole:

1. Prep rice mixture: Add rice, cream of soups, milk, water and onion soup seasoning to a bowl and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheddar cheese.

2. Add chicken: nestle chicken breasts into the rice mixture.

Two process photos for preparing chicken and rice casserole.

3. Bake: Cover the dish with aluminum foil (the pan will be very full!) and bake for 1 hour 30 min to 2 hours , or until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through.  (Mine usually bakes in 1.5 hours, but time may vary depending on oven, altitude and other variables).

4. Top with cheese and serve. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before serving. Serve with fresh roasted veggies or a green salad.

A plate with a serving of rice and chicken casserole on it.

Recipe Variations:

Cheese: leave it out, or substitute Colby jack, mozzarella or Swiss.

Rice: Minute rice will not work with this recipe. Brown rice would require additional liquid (at least ½ cup) and longer cooking time, so if using brown rice, I suggest using chicken thighs, instead of breasts, so the chicken doesn’t overcook/dry out.

Herbs: if you’d like to add additional flavor, consider adding fresh thyme, parsley, freshly minced garlic or garnish with fresh basil.

Broccoli Chicken and Rice: add 2 cups chopped broccoli florets to the casserole before baking.

Veggies: Feel free to add chopped mushrooms, onions, green peppers, green beans, broccoli, etc.

Cream of soup:  My homemade version is so easy and delicious but you can use any type of cream of soup for this recipes including chicken, mushroom, or celery.

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice: Reduce water to ½ cup and milk to 1 cup. Only use 1 can of cream of soup. Cook on high pressure/manual setting for 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness of the chicken breasts). Allow to naturally release for 10 minutes.

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: This is a great make-ahead recipe.  Prepare the dish but do not bake.  Cover it well and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before baking.

To freeze: Prepare the dish but do not bake.  Cover it well with plastic wrap and tinfoil and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking, uncovered.

Consider trying these popular one-pan meals:

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Recipe

Chicken and rice casserole with melted cheese on top, in an oval serving dish.
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 2 hours
Total 2 hours 10 minutes
Save Recipe

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13'' pan (or similar size casserole dish) with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Add rice, cream of soups, milk, water and onion soup seasoning to a bowl and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheddar cheese. 
  • Nestle chicken breasts into the rice mixture. Cover the dish with aluminum foil (the pan will be very full!) and bake for 1 hour 30 min to 2 hours , or until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through.  (Mine usually bakes in 1.5 hours, but time may vary depending on oven, altitude and other variables).
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with fresh steamed veggies or a green salad.

Notes

Cheese: leave it out, or substitute Colby jack, mozzarella or Swiss.
Rice: Minute rice will not work with this recipe. Brown rice would require additional liquid (at least ½ cup) and longer cooking time, so if using brown rice, I suggest using chicken thighs, instead of breasts, so the chicken doesn't overcook/dry out.
Herbs: if you'd like to add additional flavor, consider adding fresh thyme, parsley, freshly minced garlic or garnish with fresh basil.
Broccoli Chicken and Rice: add 2 cups chopped broccoli florets to the casserole before baking.
Veggies: Feel free to add chopped mushrooms, onions, green peppers, green beans, broccoli, etc.
Cream of soup:  My homemade version is so easy and delicious but you can use any type of cream of soup for this recipes including chicken, mushroom, or celery.
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice: Reduce water to ½ cup and milk to 1 cup. Only use 1 can of cream of soup. Cook on high pressure/manual setting for 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness of the chicken breasts). Allow to naturally release for 10 minutes.
Make ahead Instructions: Prepare the dish but do not bake.  Cover it well and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before baking.
Freezing Instructions: Prepare the dish but do not bake.  Cover it well with plastic wrap and tinfoil and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking, uncovered.

Nutrition

Calories: 418kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 21gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 763mgPotassium: 368mgSugar: 4gVitamin A: 485IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 265mgIron: 1.5mg

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I originally shared this recipe March 2017. Updated September 2020.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I cut the recipe in half as well as diced the chicken and added 1/8 cup of sour cream for some shizam. The rice came out pretty mushy, but honestly, if you’re not caring about texture, the casserole was really tasty!

  2. I sprinkler 1/2- 1 cup of a mixture of cheese (med cheddar, Colby jack) on top of chicken/rice mixture in dish then, I crush two rolls of Ritz crackers, melt 4 tbs of butter and place both into a ziplock. Mix together then place on top of cheese. 5-minutes prior to being done, I remove the aluminum foil to allow the crackers/butter mixer to brown.

  3. Did not like this recipe at all. After an hour the rice was still hard and soupy. Gave it another 30 minutes and it was still runny. Rice turned out like mushy slop and the chicken had no flavor.

  4. I haven’t made this dish in years. Was a long day and this is what I had in the cupboards and freezer. Minus the onion lipton soup mix, so I added a half a pack of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix and a half a stick of butter. My son never would touch this when he was younger but ate 2 servings tonight.

  5. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit and SO easy! My husband loved it so much, he suggested that I make it once a week!

  6. 5 stars
    Not sure why people are having problems with this. I’ve been making this recipe for about 30 years now after finding it in a church cookbook. Always comes out perfect every time.

  7. 3 stars
    Hey Lauren, love this recipe in the oven! Didn’t have time so tried it in the instapot and can’t even successfully make it. Keep getting add water message… looks like others have had the same problem. Maybe should remove the IP option so people don’t fail before reading the comments! I’m so sad because I love this recipe and just wasted an entire meal 😞 have to get take out instead.

    1. Jessica, I use the instapot to cook skinless, boneless chicken thighs with 1 cup of water and remove after 8-10 mins. I then add the following to the stock in instapot chopped carrots, onions, celery and 2 cups of rice and cook 6 mins. While it is cooking heat oven to 350 degrees, then I chop the thighs and place in large bowl. I then chop broccoli and mushrooms and mix everything together in large bowl including rice, onions, celery. I add one can of cream of chicken and one can of cream of mushroom to the mixture. Mix and place in glass dish. Sprinkler 1/2- 1 cup of a mixture of cheese (med cheddar, Colby jack) on top of chicken/rice mixture in dish then, I crush two rolls of Ritz crackers, melt 4 tbs of butter and place both into a Ziplock. Mix together then place on top of cheese. 5-minutes prior to being done, I remove the aluminum foil to allow the crackers/butter mixer to brown.

  8. 5 stars
    Y’all forget the onion soup package or use the wrong rice? Because this is soooo good! Not fancy, not gourmet and clearly not trying to be so IDK why there are so many food snobs in the comments. A package of onion soup and two cans of Campbell’s cream soup plus (be honest) at least 2 cups of cheese AND added salt in the recipe but some of y’all say it STILL needs more salt? Wow. That’s some tolerance right there. I usually add more salt…I’m known to cook hella salty food…but this recipe didn’t need it. In fact if you’re sensitive or have a healthy diet, sodium-wise, I’d recommend you back off on adding salt plus I would choose low sodium soup. Just my two cents. Thank you for an easy recipe. My family loved it.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this about two weeks ago. I have some very picky grand children and we had nothing left. Cooking today for the second time upon request. Very easy and very good. We are trying it with pepper Jack cheese today.

  10. 5 stars
    We enjoyed this dish! It’s just my husband and I and we had three meals out of this. Tasted better the second day even.

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