Cream Of Chicken With Rice Casserole

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This Cream of Chicken With Rice Casserole is pretty much the easiest thing you can make that looks incredibly impressive. And it tastes like a dream! Made with simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, this casserole is ready in less than an hour. Plus, I’ve made this dish for company and everyone raved! If you’re looking for easy homemade recipes for dinner – this easy chicken + rice casserole will not disappoint.

How To Make Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole

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Some days supper is ripe for experimentation (trying a new recipe, technique, or ingredient), while others you just want an easy, no-fail classic. On these days, I look to casseroles — tuna noodle, chili mac, or, my personal favorite, cheesy chicken and rice.

Here, I’m sharing the best version I know, which involves a few small upgrades for maximum flavor. You’ll whisk together your own creamy sauce to cook the tender white rice and bite-sized veggies, and you’ll also swap chicken breasts for savory, juicy thighs.

Get ready to grab your largest serving spoon to scoop up generous portions of seasoned chicken and creamy rice and vegetables. There’s no need for fussy garnishes or other fanfare, although I like it best with a few dashes of hot sauce. Here’s how to make it.

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What Is Chicken and Rice Casserole?

Campbell’s Soup Company introduced this homestyle casserole as a way to use their condensed cream of chicken soup. In the decades since, there’s no doubt that the cheesy chicken and rice casserole served at potlucks and delivered to friends in need all relied on that can of soup.

Since we’re all home now, looking for more cooking projects, there’s never been a better time to make your own condensed soup from scratch (no shame to the canned stuff!) The homemade version is made with just a few pantry staples — flour, broth, and a splash of milk — and I promise you will not miss out on any of the classic creamy chicken flavor.

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Why Frozen Vegetables — Not Fresh — Are Best

Frozen mixed vegetables require none of the peeling, chopping, and blanching that fresh vegetables do — they’re like a time machine in a bag! The bite-sized bits are quick to thaw and just the right size for mixing into casseroles.

If you forgot to pick up a bag of chopped mixed vegetables, check your fridge and freezer to see what produce you have on hand. Small florets of broccoli, a few baby carrots, or the lingering limp stalk of celery can be cut into bite-sized cubes and added to this casserole instead. Whatever you do, don’t skimp: Every forkful should be full of veggies.

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3 Tips for the Best Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole

  1. Use chicken thighs, not breasts. Chicken thighs are higher in fat than breasts, so they remain tender, juicy, and more flavorful after baking. They’re also less expensive. That said, we’ve included instructions for both thighs and breasts.
  2. Cover the baking dish with foil. The rice needs to absorb the liquid from the sauce and any juices that the chicken gives off, so don’t let it evaporate during baking. Wrapping the baking dish in foil also protects the boneless, skinless thighs or breasts from the intense, direct heat of the oven — resulting in tender, juicy chicken.
  3. Turn off the oven to melt the cheese. The final step is sprinkling with shredded cheddar cheese. Turn off the oven, and return the dish to the still-warm oven just until the cheese melts. The cheese slowly and gently melts so that when you spoon into the casserole, the gooey cheese lingers, unable to decide whether to stay in the dish or travel to your plate.
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How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole

Get ready to grab your largest serving spoon to scoop up generous portions of seasoned chicken and creamy rice and vegetables.

YIELDServes 4 to 6Show Nutrition

INGREDIENTS

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (from 1 medium onion)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, such as carrots, corn, peas, and green beans
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  • Hot sauce, for serving

EQUIPMENT

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large skillet
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Whisk
  • 11×7-inch or 1 1/2-quart baking dish
  • Tongs
  • Aluminum foil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the oven and prepare the baking dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Coat an 11×7-inch or 1 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Sauté the onion in butter. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup diced yellow onion and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and sauté until onion is soft but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the flour. Sprinkle in 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to coat the flour in the butter and to cook off the raw flour flavor.
  4. Add the chicken broth and milk and cook until thickened. Pour in 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth and whisk to incorporate, breaking up any lumps of flour and onion and scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour in 1/2 cup whole or 2% milk and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper and whisk to completely incorporate. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add sauce to rice and vegetables in baking dish. Place 3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice and 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables in the prepared baking dish. Pour in the sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Season the chicken and lay on the rice mixture. Season 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs all over with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Nestle the chicken on top of the rice mixture. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake for 1 hour. Bake until the rice is tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 160°F, about 1 hour.
  8. Top with shredded cheese. Turn the oven off. Uncover and sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Return to the still-warm oven uncovered and let sit until the cheese melts, 2 to 4 minutes.

RECIPE NOTES

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Chicken breast swap: To use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you’ll need 3 (6 to 8-ounce) breasts. The bake time remains the same.

Ultra Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole

This Chicken and Rice Casserole is one of our ALL TIME FAVORITE family recipes! It is ultra-creamy and packed with tender rice, delicious chicken, and topped with buttery ritz crackers.

Chicken Rice Casserole – The EASY Way!

If you want a one dish casserole that is easy to make, but doesn’t lack in flavor… THIS. IS. IT!

I was given this recipe when we first got married and it quickly became my husband’s favorite dinner.

As it turns out, it tends to be a hit with many husband’s out there, because another friend told me that she uses this recipe to butter her husband up any time she wants something, because he loves it so much!

This casserole is perfect comfort food! It is old school chicken rice casserole. You know, made with Campbell’s soup and buttery ritz crackers!

Most importantly it is super simple and comes together with just a few pantry ingredients. Pretty much a perfect family meal!

What to Serve with Creamy Chicken Rice Casserole

Since this dish has classic savory flavors, it will pair well with many of your favorite homestyle side dishes. There are both classic options and some healthy options to keep it light.

SIDE DISH IDEAS

  • Southern Squash Casserole
  • Garlic Roasted Veggies
  • Bacon Broccoli Salad
  • Garlic Bread – this recipe is SO GOOD!

HEALTHY SIDE DISH OPTIONS

  • Side Salad with ranch
  • Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
  • Cucumber Tomato Salad

You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner. 

Recipe Notes

This Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe is as simple as promised! Just a few minutes of prep and a family friendly meal will be cooking away.

In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.

Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.

INGREDIENTS

  • Shredded chicken- You can use any type of precooked, shredded, or cubed chicken. Here are a few options-
    • Baked chicken- season a chicken breast with salt and pepper and bake for 20-30 min or until cooked through. Shred or cube.
    • Boiled chicken- Boil chicken for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and shred or cube.
    • Rotisserie chicken- Pick an original flavor rotisserie chicken. Remove the skin and pull the meat from the bones.
    • Leftover- You can use leftover chicken in this casserole as long as it is neutral flavored.
    • Canned- I prefer the options above, but in a pinch, canned chicken can work in this casserole too.
  • Cream of chicken soup– I generally use the original Campbell’s cream of chicken soup. You can find a homemade version of cream of chicken here if you prefer to make it from scratch. Also note, you can use 1 large can or 2 small cans in this recipe.
  • Minute or quick cooking rice– It is very IMPORTANT to use quick cooking rice in this recipe. It is balanced for quick cooking rice and won’t work well with regular rice.
  • Chicken broth
  • Sour cream
  • Ritz crackers
  • Butter

RECIPE TIPS

  1. Use QUICK COOKING RICE – I mentioned it above, but it is worth saying again because I get the question so often. This recipe is made for quick cooking rice. You can use Minute brand, or a store brand, but it needs to be quick cooking. If you want to use another variety of rice, you will likely need to change both the amount of liquid and the cooking time so that you get a good result.
  2. White OR Brown rice– This chicken and rice recipe will work with any variety of quick cooking rice, so you can use white or brown based on your preference.
  3. Add the rice uncooked! The rice should be added to the casserole uncooked. It will bake up to tender, fluffy perfection .
  4. Ritz Cracker topping– This topping is my family’s favorite part of the casserole! It is buttery, crispy, and ridiculously delicious! To make it easy and mess free, I dump the crackers in a zip top bag, then use a rolling pin to crush them into small crumbs and add the butter right in the bag and mix. Then you can just pour them right over the top of the casserole

Recipe Short Cuts

If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!

  • Use precooked chicken– This chicken and rice casserole comes together very quickly when you have your meat ready. I really like to use rotisserie chicken, or pre-cooked and cubed chicken breasts.
  • Make ahead– If you want to have it ready to pop in the oven as soon as you get home, you can prepare the chicken and rice part of the casserole up to 24 hours in advance and keep it in the fridge. Then just top with the crumb topping before baking.
  • Freezer Meal– This chicken and rice casserole can also be prepared as a freezer meal. See the full directions below.

Recipe Variations

If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!

  • Chicken Rice Broccoli Casserole– Mix 2 cups of small broccoli florets into the rice mixture and continue with recipe as directed. You can use fresh broccoli, or frozen broccoli that has been thawed.
  • Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole– Leave off the Ritz cracker topping and instead top the casserole with shredded colby jack cheese. You can also add additional cheese into the rice mixture if you like it extra cheesy!
  • Creamy Chicken Mushroom Rice Casserole– Instead of one large can of Campbells cream of chicken, use 1 regular sized can cream of chicken and 1 regular sized can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup. I also like to add about 1 cup of diced fresh mushrooms into the rice mixture as well. Continue and cook the casserole as directed.

Freezer Meal Instructions

This Creamy Chicken Rice Casserole makes a wonderful freezer meal. It can be prepared and frozen for up to 6 months for the best flavor.

  1. In a large bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, cubed chicken breast, rice, chicken broth and sour cream together until everything is incorporated, then transfer the mixture to a zip top bag to freeze flat, or another freezer friendly container.
  2. Once ready to make, transfer the casserole mixture from the freezer to the fridge to thaw for 24-48 hours.
  3. Spread the mixture in a casserole dish and continue with recipe by topping with Ritz cracker topping and baking.

Note- Whole Ritz Crackers or cracker crumbs can be frozen with the meal if desired, but I recommend adding in the butter right before baking.

Chicken Rice Casserole Leftovers

If you have leftovers after making Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.

To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:

  • in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
  • in the freezer up to a month

The casserole tastes really delicious reheated, but the cracker topping does not stay crispy. It will combine into the casserole though as it is stirred and retain its delicious flavor.

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

Chicken and Rice Casserole makes a classic comforting dish. Made of chicken and rice cooked in a creamy, flavorful casserole, this is a family favorite!

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe - Chicken and Rice Casserole makes a classic comforting dish. Made of chicken and rice cooked in a creamy, flavorful casserole, this is a family favorite! // addapinch.com

Growing up, there were certain dishes that we could depend on having in the way of comfort food: chicken and dumplings when it was cold or rainy, chicken soup when we didn’t feel well, and chicken and rice casserole to carry to friends and neighbors when they needed a meal to celebrate the birth of a child or mourn the loss of a loved one and everything in between, it seems.

It is a comfort food classic in my family, and most likely in many others as well.

There are so many variations of this casserole dish, probably every family has their own version and then changes within the family as well. For my family, this flavorful version always hit the spot! 

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

For my chicken and rice casserole, I like to use tender chicken that I’ve cooked low and slow either in the slow cooker or on the stove. You could easily use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or a roasted chicken that you’ve made yourself. Either would work just fine. I also use my homemade cream of chicken soup, but again, for convenience, you could certainly use canned soup, if you like.

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe from addapinch.com

Make-Ahead Instructions

This recipe makes a wonderful freezer or make-ahead meal.

You can simply combine everything, cover it tightly, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days in advance of baking or for longer in the freezer. I recommend allowing it to come to room temperature before baking or adjusting the length of baking time.

Here’s my Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family always does!

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

CASSEROLES — 40 MINS

PREP TIME10 MINS

COOK TIME30 MINS

SERVINGS8

COURSEMAIN COURSE

CUISINEAMERICAN

AuthorRobyn Stone | Add a Pinch

Chicken and Rice Casserole makes a classic comforting dish. Made of chicken and rice cooked in a creamy, flavorful casserole, this is a family favorite!

Ingredients  1x2x3x

  • ▢2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • ▢2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
  • ▢2 cups homemade cream of chicken soup (optional) or 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup and 1 can condensed cream of celery soup
  • ▢1/2 cup diced onions
  • ▢1/2 cup diced celery
  • ▢1 cup mayonnaise or 1 cup greek yogurt
  • ▢1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ▢1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425º F. Spray 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until casserole is lightly browned.

Notes

Due to requests for the original recipe:
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
½ medium onion, diced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 recipe homemade cream of chicken soup
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground white or black pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425º F. Spray 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add onion, celery, and garlic and saute until onion is tender, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to chicken, cream of chicken soup, chicken stock, rice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and over with foil.
Bake covered for 30-35 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 616mg | Potassium: 133mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 155IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg

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