If you love a good casserole as much as we do, you are going to flip for this one.
We’ve ditched the canned condensed soup and opted for an incredible fontina cheese bechamel sauce layered with rice, broccoli, and shredded roasted chicken. We’ll even show you shortcuts that can make this incredible casserole easy to make for a quick weeknight dinner. Serve with a green leaf salad and cloverleaf rolls for the perfect Sunday dinner!
How To Make Chicken with Rice Casserole with Broccoli and Cheese
This really is the quintessential Sunday night dinner.
It takes some time for all the prep, but it’s so worth the extra effort. However, see below for some shortcuts that will cut the time dramatically, but not the taste.
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The Ingredients You Will Need
We’re going to include shortcuts you can take with the following ingredients to make preparation faster. We love the original version best, but the shortcuts still deliver an amazingly delicious casserole.
Here’s What You’ll Need to Have on Hand
Butter – Unsalted
Onion – Chopped
Garlic – Minced
Flour – All purpose
Chicken broth – Homemade or store-bought
Half and half – Can substitute whole milk or heavy cream
Fontina cheese – Grated, can substitute Gruyere, cheddar, or Colby Jack
Thyme – Dried (1 tsp) or fresh (1 tbsp)
Dijon mustard – Can use stone ground or grain mustard for a more pronounced taste
Salt – Kosher
Pepper – Freshly ground
Lemon juice – Freshly squeezed or bottled is fine
Cooked chicken – From a rotisserie chicken or roasted in your oven (with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper)
Cooked long-grain rice – Can substitute instant (Minute) rice
Broccoli florets – Fresh is best, but can substitute frozen
Bread crumbs – Fresh is our favorite, but you can substitute purchased breadcrumbs, crushed buttery crackers, or crushed cornflakes
EXPERT TIP: Use your favorite melting cheese. Stir it directly into the bechamel sauce and stir until melted. The only melting cheese we wouldn’t recommend is mozzarella.
Tips for Perfect Chicken and Rice Casserole with Broccoli and Cheese
Vary the Components – This casserole is so versatile and it’s great with all types of ingredients. Try any of the following combinations (in place or combined with the chicken, rice, broccoli, and cheese): Sautéd mushrooms, shredded turkey, grilled Kielbasa, cauliflower, cream cheese
Make Ahead – The recipe takes some time to prepare as written. However, it can be completely assembled up to 48 hours in advance (leave the breadcrumbs off until ready to bake). Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. If baking chilled, you may need to increase the cooking time by another 10 to 15 minutes.
Keep an Eye on the Breadcrumbs – Toasted breadcrumbs really put this casserole over the top. They should be nicely browned after 30 to 40 minutes of baking. Turn the casserole around in the oven halfway through. If they didn’t brown enough, you can turn on the broiler on HIGH for a minute or two, but keep an eye on it, it will burn in a matter of seconds!
EXPERT TIP: You’ll want to bake the casserole in a greased 9″x13″ dish. Before baking, the mixture will be thick and not very pourable. Use a large spoon or spatula to transfer from the skillet to the dish. As the casserole bakes, it will become creamy and bubbly.
How To Serve
This casserole is practically a meal in and of itself.
A nice green leaf salad with your favorite salad dressing is the perfect addition. Homemade rolls round out the perfect Sunday dinner or dinner party.
We make this casserole for a Sunday dinner and then enjoy leftovers all week. However, if it’s too much casserole for you, the recipe can easily be cut in half.
Other Casserole Recipes To Try
Everyone loves a good casserole. They are comforting and easily feed a hungry family. Here are some of our favorites that you would likely love, too:
Mexican Lasagna Casserole
Chicken and Sage Casserole
King Ranch Casserole
Chili Cheese Dog Casserole
Best Tuna Casserole
Turkey and Dressing Casserole
Classic Rice, Cheddar, and Broccoli Casserole
Best Yellow Squash Casserole
These are all awesome, but isn’t this one calling your name right now?
There is just so much to love about this chicken and rice casserole. You can take the shortcuts listed above and it’s an easy weeknight meal.
It’s really one of the best Sunday dinners we’ve ever made or eaten. And remember, you can make it in advance, and then just bake it for about 30 to 45 minutes for an amazing meal, whenever you want it!
And it is truly as gorgeous in presentation as it is delicious in taste. We always get rave reviews when we make it for family or friends, and you will, too!
Ready to make a dish that your family will be requesting on a regular basis? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!
Chicken and Rice Casserole with Broccoli and Cheese
- 1 9"x13" baking dish
- 4 cups chicken cooked, shredded from a rotisserie
- 4 cups long-grain rice cooked
- ¾ cup unsalted butter 1½ sticks
- 4 cup broccoli florets from 1 or 2 broccoli heads
- 1½ cup onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ cup chicken broth
- 1½ cup half and half or whole milk or heavy cream
- 8 oz fontina cheese grated
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- cooking spray or softened butter
- 2 cups bread crumbs fresh
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- Shred the chicken from the rotisserie, steam the rice, and blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for 1 minute, and then transfer to an ice bath. Set all of this to the side.4 cups chicken, 4 cups long-grain rice, 4 cup broccoli florets
Make the Casserole
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring often.¾ cup unsalted butter, 1½ cup onion, 3 cloves garlic
- Add the flour and stir constantly with a wooden spatula for about 2 minutes.½ cup all-purpose flour
- Whisk in the broth and half and half, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Use a wooden spatula or spoon to stir until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.1½ cup chicken broth, 1½ cup half and half
- Stir in the cheese and continue stirring until melted.8 oz fontina cheese
- Turn off the heat and stir in the thyme, Dijon, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.1 tsp dried thyme, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 2½ tsp Kosher salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp lemon juice
- Stir in the chicken, rice, and broccoli and continue stirring until fully mixed. Spray your baking dish with cooking spray and then transfer the mixture into the dish (it will be very thick).cooking spray
- In a medium-sized bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the 2 tbsp of melted butter. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the casserole.2 cups bread crumbs, 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Bake the casserole for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly and the breadcrumbs are toasty and lightly browned.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.