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 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Total 2 hrs 10 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup (or homemade)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 batch homemade onion soup mix , or one envelope Lipton onion soup mix
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese , divided
  • 3 thick boneless skinless chicken breasts , or thighs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

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. I made this recipe and it was delicious. I went right by the recipe and used one can of cream of chicken, one can of cream of mushroom and the onion soup mix, added some fresh veggies I needed to use about an hour into the cooking (just mixed them in around the chicken breasts). It was perfect, not runny or dry (it was perfectly moist) and the rice fully cooked. My family loved it. Super simple to make. Will put this on the recipe list for something to fix that is simple and tasty.

  2. I made this recipe and followed the recipe exactly but it came out really dry. I used long grain baskets rice but there just wasn’t enough liquid. It tasted good, so next time I will just add more milk or mushrooms soup.

  3. 5 stars
    I’m eating this casserole as I type this review. Delicious!! I added chopped broccoli but otherwise followed as written! Will definitely save the recipe, and make again!

  4. Based on other reviews I increased oven temp to 370 degrees and at 50 minutes the rice wasn’t quite done. Another 10 minutes did the trick. Taste is Fantastic!

  5. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I doubled the recipe and made 2 casseroles so we had it again 2 nights later. Since I doubled it and needed 4 cans of soup I used 2 cream of chicken, one cream of mushroom and one cheddar cheese! Very tasty!

  6. 5 stars
    This was one of the best dishes I have ever made. I used one can of cream of chicken and one can of cream of celery. I also added some garlic. The key for me was letting the chicken marinade overnight before cooking.

  7. I tried to make this in the Instant Pot and it burned. I got a burn warning before it came to pressure and I had to toss it out. I was so disappointed because this recipe looked so good! I’ll probably try it again following the standard recipe, but I’ll have to wait for a weekend because I don’t usually have a ton of time on weeknights after work.

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious. Cheese is a really nice plus that I had not thought of before. Will definitely make this recipe again.

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