30-Minute Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole — This casserole is quick, EASY, and made in one skillet on your stove! No baking required. This recipe is a meal-in-one with protein, veggies, and carbs and is ready in just 30 minutes! It’s perfect for busy weeknights and can be CUSTOMIZED using whatever veggies you have on hand!
Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole Recipe
When it comes to quick and easy weeknight recipes, nothing beats a skillet chicken dinner. I can’t tell you how many dozens of fast chicken dinners I have on Averie Cooks after almost 15 years of blogging — hundreds, that much I know!
From this Parmesan Dijon chicken skillet to this Mexican chicken skillet to this garlic butter chicken skillet (which has more than 1,000 star reviews and counting!) I love cooking chicken in a skillet with a few choice veggies in as little time as possible but with the maximum amount of flavor.
Enter: This easy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole with minimal prep. There are just a few veggies to chop, very little dry ingredients to measure, and it can be customized using whatever vegetables are hanging out in your produce drawer.
Diced chicken cooks in a skillet before making a roux, which is a fancy word meaning combining a little melted butter with milk and flour to act as a thickener.
Why do we do we make a roux? To ensure there are:
- no condensed soups
- no canned soups
- no cream of chicken soup
- no cream of mushroom soup
…in this easy comfort food casserole recipe!
The rice and broccoli cook in the roux mixture with the pan drippings, so that every last bite of this stovetop casserole is infused with flavor.
As a bonus, this easy stovetop casserole recipe is gluten-free if you use gluten-free flour. Of course, make sure you double check labels.
Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole Fans
If you want to make a similar version of this casserole in your Instant Pot, I’ve got you covered!
This Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta with Parmesan cheese is fast, easy, and a family favorite. It uses pasta rather than rice which everyone adores.
Ingredients for Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Quick and easy is the name of the game when it comes to making this cheesy chicken and rice broccoli casserole.
To make this recipe, you’ll need the following:
- Olive oil
- Yellow onion
- Chicken breasts
- Salt, pepper, and onion powder
- Unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour (or a gluten-free flour intended for baking/cooking)
- Whole milk
- Chicken broth
- White rice
- Broccoli florets
- Cheddar cheese
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole with Broccoli
The chicken and rice casserole with broccoli comes together with minimal effort and minimal prep time on your part. Total time is about 30 minutes or less!
Here’s a basic overview of this recipe:
Step 1: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, then add the onion and chicken that’s in bite-sized pieces. Cook for about 4 minutes to brown, then add the garlic. Keep cooking until the chicken is almost cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
Step 2: To the same skillet, you’ll make a roux by melting butter, and then whisk in the flour. Cook for about 30 seconds (this will be the base of your roux). Whisk in the milk, chicken broth, and onion powder. Keep cooking until the mixture resembles a thick paste or sauce, about 1 minute.
Step 3: Return the chicken to the skillet, followed by the dry rice and remaining chicken broth.
Step 4: Cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Step 5: Stir in the broccoli, some of the shredded cheddar cheese, cover the skillet with a lid, and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the broccoli is crisp-tender.
Time Saving Tip
Rather than chopping your own broccoli florets, you can pick up a bag of chopped broccoli florets and use those instead. Make sure it’s 2 cups and that there are no really oversized pieces – there’s usually one or two of those per bag. Take a knife to them and pare them down a bit.
Also, a bag of chopped broccoli + cauliflower florets will also work since they both cook in approximately the same amount of time. Again, make sure there are no big honkers as I like to call them with the cauliflower or broccoli pieces.
Step 6: Top with the remaining cheese and cover once more with the lid to melt the cheddar before serving!
What Kind of Rice Should I Use in the Chicken & Rice Casserole?
All rice cooks at different rates and requires a slightly different volume of liquid to cook properly.
I used white rice, specifically jasmine rice, and that’s how I tested the recipe. Another long-grain white rice such as basmati is also great. This type of white rice fluffs up beautifully without clumping together after being cooked. Plus, this type of white rice cooks in about 15 minutes — a must for quick chicken dinners like this casserole!
If you use other types of rice such as brown rice, long grain rice, wild rice, sushi rice, or whatever kind of rice you can think of, you run the risk of the rice not cooking through properly because it needs more liquid and/or more time. This would be especially notable if you tried to use brown rice (needs 3x the time and 2x the liquid) or wild rice. In this case the rice would be both underdone (hard and crunchy) and dry. You’d have to experiment to see just how much additional liquid + time you need to add.
Also, you want rice that cooks in a “regular” amount of time, in this case 15 minutes or so. Do NOT use ‘minute rice’ or ‘quick cook’ rice. They’ll turn to mush so skip that here and save it for my very popular One Skillet Italian Sausage and Pepper with Rice dish!
Add the rice to the skillet dry and uncooked. I know it feels weird adding uncooked rice plus the roux paste and the cooked chicken and onions all together, but trust me it all works out!
Can I Use Leftover Rice?
I am sure you probably could, but I haven’t tested it this way and can’t guess at the various modifications required.
I know you wouldn’t need to add the broth because the rice is already cooked and won’t need that liquid volume to soften it, and if you added it, you’d end up with chicken and rice soup!
And then there’s the roux, which you likely wouldn’t need to make as much, but again I don’t know.
Bottom line: Make as written for optimal results!
Tips for Making the Best Stovetop Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli Casserole
Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you’re likely fine to use boneless chicken thighs. Just note that the cook time might be longer since thighs generally take a bit longer to cook through. Although being that they’re diced in bite sized pieces, it’ll only be a few minutes longer.
Milk: I recommend using whole milk for best results, but 2% would probably work in a pinch. You just need some of that milkfat to thicken the roux and make the casserole creamy. Please do not use skim milk nor any very thin and watery milk or plant-based milk.
Some plant based milks like cashew milk or oat milk are thicker and will likely work but I haven’t tested so can’t say for sure.
Flour: You MUST cook the flour for 30+ seconds with the butter before adding the milk and broth to the skillet. If you don’t cook off the raw flour taste, your casserole will taste off. And the roux won’t form correctly and your casserole may not thicken properly. Whisk the whole time.
Broccoli: I add the broccoli last because I prefer it crisp-tender. However, you may add the broccoli earlier if you like yours to be softer. I’ve learned over the years via my famous Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat), that people’s preference for broccoli varies widely. What some people think is hard, others think is crisp-tender, and what I think is a mushy mess, others may think is perfect.
Also note to chop the broccoli florets small, but not teeny-tiny.
Fresh or Frozen Broccoli: I use fresh broccoli because I am not a fan of frozen broccoli on account of its naturally more mushy texture, but if that doesn’t bother you, you can thaw, drain, and use frozen broccoli. After you add it, just heat to warm it. It’s already soft so you don’t really need to “cook” it more.
Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Recipe FAQs
No! Do NOT cook the rice before adding it to the skillet. Please read the above section dedicated to rice for more details.
The rice is added dry (i.e. uncooked) and it cooks in the broth and roux mixture for added flavor.
No, do not use brown rice to make this recipe. Again, check the above section.
Brown rice takes two to three times longer to cook than white rice. By the time the rice finishes cooking, the chicken will be overcooked, dry, and rubbery. Plus it needs double the liquid.
Yes you can if you have extra, or any leftover chicken such as my easy poached chicken recipe.
Simply shred the chicken and add it to the skillet along with the broccoli.
Since rotisserie chicken is pre-cooked, you only want to warm it up in the rice casserole, not cook it a second time.
I don’t see why not! Just keep in mind that different vegetables steam at different rates, so you might need to add other veggies at a different stage than the broccoli is added.
Another logical option is cauliflower, which cooks roughly at the same time as broccoli. Chunkier zucchini wedges, yellow squash, or even carrots would all work. Or add some small-diced celery when you’re adding the onions if you’d like.
I’m sure you could, but I haven’t tested the recipe so can’t say for sure what you need to do.
If you have an Instant Pot, this Instant Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta is a similar type of recipe, using pasta instead of rice.
This is really the 64,000 question. I don’t know why your results differed than mine because I wasn’t with you but my hunches are that:
-you used rice that didn’t absorb all of the liquid (broth, milk) that you added
-you undermeasured the rice OR overmeasured the liquid ingredients
-you didn’t make the roux properly which caused your casserole not to thicken properly
-you didn’t simmer it long enough
-your broccoli had extremely high moisture content and shed a lot of moisture into the casserole during the simmering process
To combat excess liquid volume, simmering uncovered at a fairly rapid simmer will allow excess liquid to steam off or evaporate is your best bet. This may not “fix” extremely soupy casseroles but can help.
This is easier to answer because it more than likely comes down to the rice needing more liquid than was available. As a grain, rice will suck liquids into inself, like a sponge, in order to soften while cooking. If they’re not enough liquid, you’ll be left with either dry/hard rice, and/or an overall dry casserole.
To combat this in the future:
– make sure you’re using a basic long-grain white rice such as jasmine rice or basmati rice
-make sure you measured the broth + milk correctly and if you’re sure you did, and you’re sure your rice isn’t the culprit, add 1/4 to 1/3 more broth next time
Yes you can. To do so, toss 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (use them rather than regular breadcrumbs for max crispiness) with 3 tablespoons melted butter, sprinkle over the top after you sprinkle the final bit of cheese on top.
And rather than covering the top with a lid to melt the cheese, pop the skillet into a 400F oven for about 10 minutes to melt the cheese and crisp up the crumbs.
This can also be done under the broiler (keep a very close eye on it, it’ll only take 2-3 minutes!) provided you’re using an oven-safe skillet. Or transfer everything first into an oven-safe casserole dish or baking dish.
This easy chicken broccoli rice casserole is best hot and fresh, but it will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 4 months in the freezer in an airtight container.
I like to store it in individual portioned containers, especially if I freeze it. Then, I can easily reheat individual servings in the microwave for 30-second intervals whenever I need a quick and healthier lunch.
What to Serve with Chicken Broccoli Casserole
I serve this casserole as-is, or just with a basic house salad on the side. But as far as I’m concerned, this casserole is a meal in one between the carbs, protein, and vegetables so a side dish isn’t strictly necessary since this casserole is practically a meal-in-one.
However, you’re welcome to serve it with one or more of the following side dishes:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup yellow or white onion, diced small
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces (boneless skinless thighs may be substituted)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (half of 1 stick)
- ⅓ cup flour
- ⅓ cup all-purpose whole milk
- 2 ⅓ cups reduced sodium chicken broth, divided
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup long grain rice, dry and uncooked (I used jasmine rice, basmati is another good option; do not use brown rice, wild rice, sushi rice, minute rice, etc.)
- 2 cups broccoli florets (fresh strongly recommended, but frozen that have been thawed and drained may be substituted)
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- Fresh parsley, optional for garnishing
- To a large, high-sided skillet (or my favorite stainless steel + lid) add the olive oil, onions, chicken, evenly sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes; stir very frequently and flip the chicken to ensure even cooking.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute; stir constantly.
- Remove the chicken and onions from the skillet and set aside in a bowl or on a plate.
- Roux – Add the butter and heat to melt; stir constantly to encourage the butter to melt and not burn.
- Evenly sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, and cook for 30 seconds; whisk constantly.
- While whisking, slowly add the milk, 1/3 cup broth, and continue to whisk and cook for for 30 more seconds, or until a thick paste has formed. Roux Tips – Do not shortcut the step of making a roux, make sure to cook the flour sufficiently so your final casserole don’t have a raw flour taste, and make sure you end up with a thick paste. Because no canned or condensed soups are used, the roux is essential to help ensure your casserole thickens up properly.
- Add back in the cooked chicken and onion mixture to the roux, dry rice, and slowly add in the remaining 2 cups broth.
- Bring to a boil, and once boiling, reduce the heat so that mixture will simmer, and cover with a lid. Allow the mixture to gently simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Rice Cooking Tips – Rice needs both time + liquid to soften. A. If after 15 minutes or so, the rice is still hard, keep simmering until it’s not. B. If there is no more liquid left but the rice is still hard, add about 1/3 cup additional broth, and simmer covered for about 5 more minutes, or until soft and done. C. If after about 15 minutes of simmering, the mixture is still soupy yet the rice has already cooked through and is soft, uncover the skillet and turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a more rapid simmer with the lid off to allow some of the excess liquid to steam off and evaporate.
- Stir in the broccoli florets (vegetable tip – cauliflower florets or a combo of broccoli + cauliflower will also work), 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and continue to cook over low heat for about 3 minutes, or until broccoli is as tender as desired. Broccoli Tips – If you like your broccoli on the crisp-tender side, 3 minutes will likely be fine. If you like more well done broccoli, you may want to simmer for 5-6 minutes. If you’re using frozen broccoli, it’s likely already very mushy so just add it with the cheese, stir to combine, and immediately move onto step 10, so you’re just warming it and not actually cooking it.
- Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese (or a little more if you’d like) over the top, cover with a lid, and just let it sit for about 1-2 minutes and the cheese will melt from the carryover heat. Want a crispy topping? See Notes.
- Optionally garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately. Leftovers will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat gently in the microwave as desired. I store leftovers in indiviually sized containers for ease of storage and reheating.
Crispy Topping – Toss 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (use panko rather than regular breadcrumbs for max crispiness) with 3 tablespoons melted butter, sprinkle over the top after you sprinkle the final bit of cheese .
And rather than covering the top with a lid to melt the cheese, pop the skillet into a 400F oven for about 5 to 10 minutes to melt the cheese and crisp up the crumbs.
This can also be done under the broiler (keep a very close eye on it, it’ll only take 2-3 minutes!).
Make sure you’re using an oven-safe skillet, or transfer everything first into an oven-safe casserole dish or baking dish before baking or broiling.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 452Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 662mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 35g
More Easy Pasta Casserole Recipes:
Chicken Parmesan Casserole — A hearty comfort food casserole that includes juicy chicken, pasta, marinara, the BEST crispy buttery breadcrumb topping and TWO types of cheese!! A family favorite big-batch recipe that’s also great for meal prepping!
Baked Chicken Alfredo — Hearty Italian-inspired comfort food! Fettuccine noodles are tossed in a homemade alfredo sauce, topped with chicken, baked, and then finished off with crispy crunchy breadcrumbs! A classic yet easy recipe that’ll be a guaranteed family favorite!
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Taco Spaghetti Bake — Tender spaghetti noodles are tossed in a creamy cheese sauce along with seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, green chiles, black beans, and cilantro!