Chicken: We chose skinless and boneless chicken breast for this recipe. This lean cut of meat is seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, and Cajun seasoning, making it more flavorful.
Broccoli: Broccoli’s natural flavor may not be for everyone due to its slightly bitter taste. Pairing it with cheese is a great way to overshadow its flavor profile and make it tastier.
Rice: We chose long-grain rice for its fluffy texture after cooking. Rice adds some starch to this recipe and helps it become a complete meal.
Sauce: Unsalted chicken broth and heavy cream are the liquids in this casserole. Their main role is cooking the rice but they also bring their light chicken flavor and creamy consistency to the casserole.
Toppings: The three toppings of this casserole are panko breadcrumbs, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese.
We double down on the cheesiness with two types of cheese that are unique in their ways. Mozzarella is delicate and sour, while cheddar is firmer and more pungent.
Lastly, panko breadcrumbs add some crunch to counter the cheesy goodness of the casserole.
Do I Cook the Rice Before Adding It to the Casserole?
No, you do not need to cook the rice beforehand.
The rice is cooked alongside other ingredients in the dish, which includes chicken broth and milk as the liquid components. Cooking rice simultaneously with other ingredients will allow it to absorb the flavors, therefore making it tastier.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
A casserole is a sizable meal, so there are bound to be leftovers. Here’s how to store and reheat them.
This dish should last in the fridge for up to 3 days in airtight containers. If you don’t plan on eating it within 3-4 days, we recommend storing it in the freezer. Cut it into individual portions and transfer them to freezer bags or containers to extend its shelf life to 2-3 months.
Individual portions: Using the microwave is the most ideal method as it is quick and easy. Simply place the portion in a microwave-safe dish or container and cook in 30-second intervals until hot.
The entire dish: In this case, the oven is your best bet. Take the dish out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 350 °F and bake until it’s hot throughout. Cover the dish with a lid to avoid losing moisture.
Can You Make Broccoli Rice Casserole Ahead of Time?
You sure can:
Assemble the casserole but instead of baking it, store the dish in the fridge (for up to 2 days) or in the freezer (for up to 3 months).
When it’s time to cook, take the dish out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. If you store the casserole in the freezer, move it to the fridge and let it thaw for 24 hours before baking.
Other Chicken Casseroles We've Tried and Succeeded
Our chefs toss spaghetti, chicken breast, and mushrooms with aromatics, spices, and a velvety cream sauce. After spending some baking time in the oven, this chicken Tetrazzini attains a crispy outer layer and a warm, luscious interior that will melt away all your stress.
This flavorful chicken divan casserole, filled with breadcrumbs and broccoli, will add another easy dinner to your repertoire. The roux in which our ingredients cook is enriched further with swirls of cream and sprinkles of cheddar, yielding a delicious texture when baked.
14 oz skinless boneless chicken breasts (cut into small chunks)
6 oz broccoli (cut into small chunks)
3/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice
2 oz onion (minced)
2 oz mozzarella cheese (whole milk)
1.5 oz cheddar cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic (minced)
1 cup unsalted chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
Cut the chicken breasts: Place the chicken breasts on your cutting board and cut them into thick slices against the grain. Then, cut the slices crosswise into smaller chunks.
Cut the broccoli: Use a peeler or a knife to peel off the tough outer layer of the lower half of the stalk. Slice off the stalk and turn the broccoli head upside down. Cut through the florets and rotate the head as you go to get bite-sized pieces.
Grate the cheese: Place some mozzarella in a freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up. Place a cheese grater firmly on the cutting board. Press the firm blocks of cheese against the grater and push down. Grate until you get the amount specified above.
Mince the onions: Cut the onions in half and place the cut-side down on the cutting board. Slice vertically but do not cut off the root. Turn the onion half 90 degrees and make a crosshatch pattern with the other cuts. Continue chopping with a rocking motion until minced.
Mince the garlic: Remove the garlic cloves from the bulb and peel off the skin. Give the cloves a rough chop and continue with a rocking motion until minced.
Chop the parsley: Wash parsley under running water. Bunch them together on the cutting board and chop finely.
Caramelize the garlic and onions: Place a pan on medium heat until hot. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp garlic, and 2 oz onions. Stir for 1 minute.
Sauté the chicken: Add 14 oz chicken breasts, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning. Stir for 5 minutes.
Sauté the broccoli: Add 6 oz broccoli and 1 tbsp all-purpose flour. Stir for another 2 minutes.
Bake the casserole: Add the stir-fried mixture, 3/4 cup long-grain rice, 4 tbsp heavy cream, 1 cup unsalted chicken broth, and 1/2 cup milk to a baking dish and mix well. Bake the casserole at 400 °F for 35 minutes.
Bake the toppings: Take the dish out and sprinkle with 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, 2 oz mozzarella cheese, and 1.5 oz cheddar cheese. Resume baking at 400 °F for 5 minutes.
Garnish and serve: Cut out the portions and sprinkle with 2 tbsp parsley. Enjoy.
How to Make Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 478Calories from Fat 177
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 9.1g
Vitamin A 734IU
Vitamin C 42mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
With the combination of chicken, broccoli, cheese and rice it makes for a full and balanced meal. The fact that it can be put together fairly quickly makes it an attractive option for busy weeknights - a definite plus in my book!