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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Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

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

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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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  1. 5 stars
    Love this dish. I add broccoli and it reminds me of my mom’s recipe. My mom used cream of mushroom soup and I prefer to use a cream of chicken and cream of celery soup. I cook for the full 2 hours, in Colorado or the rice will be crispy, in a not appetizing way. I make this every other week and it reminds me of my childhood dinner.

  2. 4 stars
    This was okay. I followed the directions to the letter, I fought the urge to stir it halfway through. The rice was sticky but flavorful. I don’t think it’s supposed to be like rice you cook on the stove, I think it’s meant to be a “stick to your ribs” meal. My family likes it and that makes it a win in my book!

  3. 3 stars
    Hi, Lauren. I am JD. I tried this meal last night. I made a mistake in that I had boiled-in-the-bag rice and cooked it. I think you meant for the rice to be raw. So, it turned out as a thick soupy casserole. It was still good, but my Mom was not sold on it. Part of the reason I think was the soupiness, she is not a fan of soups, and the Lipton Onion Soup mix, she is not a fan of onions either. But, Dad liked it, but wished it hadn’t been so soupy. He also said to keep the recipe and we would try it with the raw rice and see how it goes then. For me I think it might have needed some additional seasoning or other ingredients to make it pop. However, I am not sure what those would be yet. Just to let you know, I am learning how to cook, so recipes are almost always a necessity. I like your website from the little I have looked around so far. Good Fortune and Blessed Be.

    1. Hi JD! Thanks for sharing your experience with the Chicken and Rice Casserole. Using raw rice is definitely the way to go for the right texture. I’m glad your dad enjoyed it, and I hope it turns out better next time. For more flavor, you could try adding garlic powder, paprika, or a bit of thyme. Cooking is a learning process, and it’s great that you’re giving it a go. Best of luck, and happy cooking!

    1. Yes, I recommend rinsing the rice first. It helps remove excess starch and ensures the rice cooks up nicely in the casserole!

  4. I froze this and will be baking tonight. It has been in the fridge since yesterday. The instructions for frozen say to bake uncovered (as opposed to covered for fresh). Is that right? Bake uncovered?

  5. The liquid either needs to be decreased at least by half or increase the rice! It has a good flavor but I did add additional seasoning but it was like eating soup!

    1. Did you by chance use a different type of rice than long grain white rice? Jasmine or medium grain rice for example would use less liquid. Otherwise, the ratio of 2:1 water and rice should work!

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you for posting this recipe! It gave me really helpful specifics for a “no-measure” meal from my childhood. This came out amazingly for me in the oven and I will be making this again and again! A few changes I made: I cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces, almond milk instead of regular, a 22oz can of cream of mushroom soup, 1.5 cups broccoli, and for seasonings I just used at least a teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, and black pepper. I made it the night before and refrigerated overnight, then baked for dinner the next day. Baking at 350 for 1.5 hours covered with foil was perfect. Then added the cheese and baked uncovered 15 more min, and let sit for 15 min before serving. delish!

  7. I thought that a recipe on “tastesbetterfromscratch” would not have can of soup as an ingredient. It’s hard to find casserole recipes that don’t use cans of soup!

    1. We completely understand your concern about using canned soup, and that’s why we’ve included a homemade version that aligns with our belief that homemade truly tastes better! You can find the homemade version by clicking on the “HOMEMADE” link in the ingredient list. We hope you give it a try and enjoy the difference in taste!

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