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
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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. This is my 2nd recipe to try. I looked at a lot of the comments and was worried. NOT TO FEAR… This recipe was great. This was so easy. I added onions, a lot of broccoli (my favorite vegetable) extra cheese.
    For 2 people there is enough leftovers to have lunches and dinner tomorrow.
    Really like the recipes and meal plans. Thank you so much.

    Gary

  2. 5 stars
    Wife hates casseroles, I don’t, so decided to try this recipe. Other than cubing the chicken, followed it to a tee ( with a little extra cheese at the end). So good. No need for added spices – borderline salty with the soup. Excellent. Thanks.

  3. I had some leftover rice, and leftover cubed chicken I did not want to go to waste. I added my already cooked garlic rice, cubed cooked chicken, and just altered this recipe to not include water. Popped it in the oven at 350 covered for about 30 minutes (really just to warm up the leftovers) and it’s great! Serving with mixed steamed veggies!

  4. 5 stars
    I decided to tweak the recipe a bit after reading the instructions and comments. I cubed 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then very lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. Set that aside. After pouring the rice mixture in the pan, I just spread the cubed chicken on top and pressed down lightly until it was fully covered. Added a bit of shredded parmesan on top of the cheddar cheese, and baked for 90 minutes covered, then an additional 10 uncovered. I turned the oven off, and let it sit in the oven for another 15 until the cheese got just a little brown and crispy. Came out delicious! No bland chicken here, but I think I will try it again without the extra seasoning and let the sauce do it’s thing. There was sadly no room for veggies in the dish because of the extra chicken breast but I did cook broccoli on the side, and it was yummy mixed in a bowl. I don’t make many casseroles, but this was so easy and delicious!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this recipe as written, omitting the chicken and adding broccoli and mushrooms. I baked it for 1 hour and the result was delicious. I served it with a tossed salad and crab cakes. Dinner was a hit!

  6. 1 star
    The recipe when prepared in the instant pot was a utter fail. I followed the instant pot directions in this recipe but my instant pot kept flashing the “burn notice”. Once it finally completed after 4 attempts, the food was extremely salty. Dinner was a disaster that night.

    1. I agree. Same thing happened here, finally added another 1/2 cups of water so I wouldn’t keep getting the “burned food” warning after restarting the cooking cycle 3 times.

    2. I also got the burn notice. Ruined the food, ended up putting in the oven and by the time we ate it was insanely late.

  7. 5 stars
    I made this tonight for supper and it is delicious. Comfort food for us. I made the homemade onion soup mix unfortunately I did have a oxo cube so i added 2 teaspoons of better than bouillon in with wet ingredients and gave it a whisk. Simply delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. This is prison food. You don’t even season the chicken breast. I added fresh mushrooms and french fried onions and it still tasted like cardboard.

    1. hahah I don’t even know how to respond to this. Did you forget to add all of the seasonings from the onion soup mix? That should add tons of flavor.

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