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
Save Recipe

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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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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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 made this recipe today and it came out perfect. I followed it to the T except for adding broccoli and some pepper mix and garlic on the uncooked chicken. I cooked half in a square pan and half in a casserole dish. Chicken was super tender.

  2. 4 stars
    It was delicious I did it all from scratch. Only thing I cut my chicken breast in pieces. The amount of time to bake is a lot my chicken came out dry because of it. Other than that delicious. My husband and 1 year old loved it.

  3. 3 stars
    Unfortunately I didn’t read the comments till after putting it in the oven. Cooked it an hour and a half. Took it out and it was soupy on the top. So I poured out the soupy stuff and started stirring the rice up. Then I added a little bit of the soupy stuff back into the rice and stirred it some more till it was a good consistency. Eating it was alright. Chicken was quite chewy and it was definitely a little bland so we just smothered it in salt and pepper. Honestly food is food. It really isn’t that bad as long as you do what you can to make it better. My husband is going back for seconds so don’t lose hope!

  4. 5 stars
    Really confused at the comments and wondering what everyone else did incorrectly. I used 2 cans of cream of mushroom and added fresh thyme. I used chicken tenders rather than breasts. Probably could have just cooked it an hour rather than 90 minutes. Everything cooked well and the flavor was good. Thanks!

    1. If you take a look at the actual post and read you’ll note the link for Lauren’s homemade cream of anything soup which is what we recommend using.

    2. 🙂 There’s nothing wrong with me. Did you miss my links to the homemade version of those? (There’s a link in the post, and in the recipe ingredients–for people who like to make it all from scratch).

      1. That’s telling him! lol! Believe me Mike, use the recipe using the canned soup. It’s alot easier and very tasty!

    3. EW. What a nasty EFFING attitude. If you don’t like the recipe, then LEAVE. Byeeee 👋

    4. I love using onion soup in recipes like this but my grandchildren hate onions especially if they see them. Will the onions disappear when cooking?

      1. The onion isn’t going to be strong but you can also smash up the packet before you add it to crush up the onion pieces!

  5. 2 stars
    Filling, but not very appetizing in the way it looks or in texture. It could just be our oven (no convection), but the rice was burnt towards the edges and goopy in the middle. As it cooled it seemed to congeal. However, the chicken was nice and moist, not dry as usually happens when I make it haha. It was also too salty for us, which may be due to the cans of creamed soup as well as the onion soup mix. I might try this again in the future (using real onion or onion powder), and add some veggies.

  6. 1 star
    This recipe is a disaster! I have a big soupy mess on my hands. 3c of liquid and two cans of condensed soup seemed like a lot of liquid, but I went ahead and followed the recipe, and it was a failure.

  7. 2 stars
    Added more/other seasonings (garlic, onion powder, thyme), I used chicken broth instead of water as well as added broccoli and the rice was delicious. The chicken on the other hand was extremely bland. Tasted like plain chicken with cheese and a faint taste of seasoning… my oldest loves bland food but the rest of us were pretty unimpressed. I will likely make this again with just rice as a side but will do the chicken separately as it was just so plain and not good.

  8. 1 star
    The Instant Pot version of this recipe did NOT work. Kept getting burn notice so I kept adding a bit more liquid. I don’t think you actually tried this, apparently you just made it up off the top of your head. With food prices where they are right now, I seriously don’t appreciate having to throw this out. Not happy with this recipe or you at this point.

    1. 1 star
      I really wish I would have read the reviews. I also did the Instapot version and my chicken is NOT cooked AT ALL!!!!

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