This chicken and cheesy rice casserole recipe is the perfect make-ahead weeknight dinner! Made with simple ingredients and no soup, it comes together in a single dish in under an hour for a nutritious, high-protein meal the whole family will love.
- Chicken and Cheesy Rice Casserole
- Ingredients & Notes
- Can I make Dairy Free Chicken and Rice Casserole?
- How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole Without Soup
- No Soup Chicken Rice Casserole Variations
- Healthy Chicken and Rice Casserole Expert Tips
- Can I make one pot chicken and rice ahead of time?
- Can I Freeze Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole?
- Broccoli Chicken Rice Casserole Storage
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Check out more quick dinner recipes:
- More Popular The Fit Peach Recipes:
Chicken and Cheesy Rice Casserole
I’m a big fan of casserole recipes when I need a dinner option that’s relatively quick, easy, to make, and kid-approved. Luckily, this chicken and rice casserole without soup never disappoints!
A fun recipe, think of it like chicken broccoli & rice meets mac and cheese. It features both chicken breast and chicken thighs so you get lots of protein and a rich flavor without all the fat that would come with using just chicken thighs.
Then, all the ingredients combine in a creamy cheese sauce and cook on the stove until they’re melted and bubbly. It’s quick, easy, and comforting! Honestly, what’s not to love?
Ingredients & Notes
- Oil - I prefer to use olive oil to sauté the onion and garlic, creating a bold flavor base, but avocado oil will also work.
- Aromatics - Onion and garlic are sautéed to create a savory, sweet taste.
- Chicken - Use both chicken breast and chicken thighs. Make sure they’re both boneless and skinless.
- Seasonings - Paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and black pepper combine to create a savory flavor with just a touch of heat.
- Rice - This adds bulk to the chicken and cheesy rice casserole. I use brown rice but white rice would also work.
- Broth - Any broth will work for this recipe. I prefer to use chicken or vegetable broth.
- Broccoli - To keep this one pot chicken and rice budget-friendly, I buy a whole head, and chop it myself. However, to save time, you could use pre-chopped broccoli instead.
- Milk - Any regular or non-dairy milk will work in this recipe.
- Cheese - I use a combination of white cheddar and parmesan cheese for a gooey sauce that is out of this world!
Can I make Dairy Free Chicken and Rice Casserole?
You can easily make this recipe dairy free. Simply swap the white cheddar cheese with ⅔ cup dairy free cheese of choice (this is my go-to) and add 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast to the dish. This will give the rice a cheesy flavor and texture.
How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole Without Soup
All you need for this chicken broccoli & rice is a single, large skillet!
Step 1: Sauté the aromatics. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Then, add the onions, and cook until they’re soft and translucent. Add the garlic, and cook just until soft.
Step 2: Sear the chicken. Add the chicken breast and chicken thigh chunks to the skillet along with the seasonings. Allow the chicken to sear and cook about 70% of the way, stirring frequently.
Step 3: Cook the rice. Add the rice to the skillet along with the broth, and stir to combine and coat the rice. Place a lid on top, and allow the mixture to cook until the rice is soft, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the dish.
Step 4: Add the remaining ingredients. Stir in the broccoli and milk, and allow the ingredients to steam with the lid on. Give the mixture a big stir, add the white cheddar and parmesan cheese, and stir again to combine. Season to taste, and enjoy!
No Soup Chicken Rice Casserole Variations
- Add some spinach to the skillet when stirring in the cheese for some added greens.
- Throw in some chopped carrots in with the broccoli for more color.
- Swap the white cheddar with a spicy pepper jack cheese for a little kick.
Healthy Chicken and Rice Casserole Expert Tips
- Cook the chicken until it’s all white but not cooked entirely. This is because the chicken will have another 45 minutes to cook all the way once the rice and broccoli are added.
- Cut the broccoli into very small pieces. This ensures a little broccoli in every bite and reduces the possibility of your kid eating an entire bite of broccoli (gasp!).
- Stir the rice occasionally as it cooks. Not only does this prevent it from sticking to the bottom, but you will also have the chance to add another splash of broth to the skillet if you find that the rice is absorbing all the liquid but is still a little stiff.
- Use little splashes of broth as the dish is cooking to help loosen it up if needed.
Can I make one pot chicken and rice ahead of time?
Because this chicken and rice casserole cooks in a single skillet, there isn’t much that can be done ahead of time (besides freezing it ahead of time (see below)). If you want to trim down the cooking time, I recommend using cooked rice and simply adding it to the skillet along with the broccoli and milk and continuing the recipe as directed.
Can I Freeze Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole?
This casserole is a great freezer-friendly meal you can prepare and stow away in the back of your freezer when you’re in need of an emergency dinner. Simply prepare the dish according to the directions below. Transfer everything to an airtight freezer-friendly container and store in the fridge for up to 3 months.
When ready to enjoy, let it thaw in the fridge for 1 - 2 days until thoroughly defrosted. Add ¼ cup of broth or water and warm it up in the oven at 300 for 5 - 8 minutes until the rice is soft and cheesy. You can also add a layer of cheese on top for a more cheesy flavor.
Broccoli Chicken Rice Casserole Storage
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. When ready to enjoy, add a splash of warm water to loosen up the rice. Warm up a serving in the microwave in 20-second intervals until warmed through.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this recipe, the rice goes in uncooked and will cook with the broth as the entire casserole comes together.
The broth, milk, and cheese are key components of this chicken rice casserole that will add moisture and creaminess.
Check out more quick dinner recipes:
PS : If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a star review and comment below! Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram and Pinterest to stay up to date on all tasty recipes here at The Fit Peach!
More Popular The Fit Peach Recipes:
- Simple Charcuterie Board
- Dairy free Banana Pudding
- Dipping Sauce for Sweet Potato Fries
- Chocolate Turtle Pie
- Gluten free Dairy free Cookies
- Pasta and Lobster
Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole without Soup
- 1 Large, Deep Skillet
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion - diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves - minced
- ½ pound chicken breast - cut into 1-inch chunks
- ½ pound chicken thigh - cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper - optional (adjust depending on spicy level)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cup brown rice
- 2 cups broth
- 2 cups broccoli
- 1 cup milk of choice
- ¼ cup white cheddar
- ¼ cup parmesan
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until soft.3 tablespoon olive oil, ½ onion, 2 garlic cloves
- Add the chicken breast and chicken thigh chunks to the skillet along with the paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and black pepper. Allow the chicken to sear and cook about 70% of the way in the skillet, stirring frequently to ensure the pieces are cooking evenly. The chicken should be white at this point and not pink.½ pound chicken breast, ½ pound chicken thigh, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Dump the rice into the skillet and stir to combine. Then add the broth and gently stir so the rice is well coated in liquid. Place a lid on top of the skillet and let the rice cook for 30 minutes or until soft. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the dish.1 ½ cup brown rice, 2 cups broth
- Once the rice is cooked, add the broccoli and the milk and allow the mixture to steam with the lid on for another 5 minutes.2 cups broccoli, 1 cup milk of choice
- Remove the lid and give the broccoli and rice a big stir and add the white cheddar and parmesan cheese and stir well to combine.¼ cup white cheddar, ¼ cup parmesan
- Serve while warm, add salt to taste, and enjoy!