Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 50 mins | Total time: 1 hr | Servings: 6
This casserole is the perfect make-ahead meal. It’s easy to throw together, super filling with an impressive buttery, crunchy Ritz topping! Feel free to use Rotisserie in place of fresh chicken to save more time. A complete meal in on with chicken, rice, and broccoli! Super comforting and for keeps!
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, or 2 c. diced rotisserie chicken
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
10.5 ounces Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 c. fresh broccoli florets, uncooked
1 1/4 c. white long-grain rice, uncooked
½ c. sour cream
½ c. milk
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, separated
Salt/Pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp melted butter
1 c. Ritz crackers, crushed
How to make Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Step 1: Prepare the oven. Preheat it to 350 degrees.
Step 2: Into bite-sized pieces, slice the chicken and season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Step 3: In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the chicken to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes until both sides are golden brown. When done, remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside. If using cooked rotisserie chicken, you can simply skip this step.
Step 4: To the pot, pour in the chicken broth. Add the olive oil next, then the rice. Bring to a boil before decreasing the heat to a simmer. Now, tightly cover the pot and continue to cook for additional 7 minutes.
Step 5: Remove the pot cover after 7 minutes, then add the fresh broccoli. Put the lid back on and cook for another 8 minutes. Make sure to refrain from stirring.
Step 6: Turn the heat off but leave the lid on. Allow the rice to stand for at least 10 minutes, and do not stir. Then, add the cooked chicken, soup, milk, sour cream, optional seasonings, and half of the cheddar cheese.
Step 7: Pour everything into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch casserole dish and top with the rest of the cheese. Tent the casserole, place in the preheated oven, and bake for about 15 minutes.
Step 8: Combine the melted butter and crumbled crackers to make the topping. Sprinkle this over the casserole after the first 15 minutes of baking and resume baking for additional 10 minutes, uncovered.
Step 9: When done, remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
You can use 16 ounces of frozen broccoli/cauliflower in place of fresh broccoli. Make sure to thaw, then pat dry before using.
If using frozen broccoli, there is no need to blanch before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients unless you like very soft broccoli.
I prefer white long grain rice because brown or wild rice varieties take longer to cook and need more liquid.
To cook the rice, just follow the package directions and adjust the amount of chicken broth accordingly. You should have 2 cups of cooked rice to make this recipe.
If desired, cook the rice separately. For added flavour, add a bouillon cube to the water.
For this recipe, I suggest avoiding extra sharp or aged cheeses as they won’t melt as well as Heluva Good Cheddar Cheese (my fave brand – creamy and melts well!).
To have control over the sodium content, I suggest using unsalted butter and low sodium chicken broth.
Feel free to make this casserole 2 days ahead of time before baking. Assemble, then store in the fridge. When ready to bake, sit it out for at least 30 minutes, then bake as directed. Alternately, you can bake this casserole directly from the fridge just add 10 minutes to the baking time. As for the cracker/butter topping, add it at the end of baking.
If planning to freeze there are 2 options:
Option #1: Assemble the casserole but do not bake. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can bake the casserole from a frozen state, just add an hour to the baking time and bake at 350 degrees, covered.
Option #2: Assemble the casserole but do not bake. Thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight before baking. The next day, sit the casserole out for at least 30 minutes, then bake as directed. Or bake after thawing and just add 10 minutes to the baking time.
Add the cracker/butter topping at the end of baking.
Calories: 511kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 1174mg | Potassium: 470mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1068IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 376mg | Iron: 2mg