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Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bake

This easy Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake recipe made without canned soup is perfect for busy weeknight dinners to serve on the table in 35 minutes. The combination of tender chicken with creamy melted cheddar cheese and a rice base to soak up all the delicious flavors makes a comforting and satisfying casserole.

If you enjoy this try my chicken cobbler, John Wayne casserole, Mexican chicken & rice casserole, Ritz cracker chicken and my easy cheesy chicken broccoli and rice casserole.


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Chicken and rice casserole

I love making casseroles that help me with meal planning and everyone loves. This cheesy chicken and rice casserole fits the bill as you can use leftover chicken.

This classic simple casserole is a favorite for many and is also a popular dish to bring along to potlucks or family gatherings.

We love it the next day on a wrap for an easy lunch.

Scoop of cheesy chicken and rice casserole scooped up on a spoon.

Serve with my cheese stuffed garlic bread, easy garden salad, honey roasted carrots, creamy coleslaw, Campbells green bean casserole and my easy homemade white bread.

Recipe Snapshot

QUICK & EASY: ready in 30 to 35 minutes
POPULAR: favorite cheesy rice casserole
MAKE AHEAD: bake when convenient the next day

Overhead view of the cheesy chicken and rice casserole.

Ingredients

Labelled ingrdients for cheesy chicken and rice casserole.
  • Chicken – 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces or you can use leftover cooked chicken breasts or thighs
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Onion – medium onion sliced
  • Garlic Cloves – minced
  • Cooked Rice – 3 cups of white rice but you can also use brown rice for more fibre, quinoa for more protein kick or cauliflower rice to cut down the carbs
  • Heavy Cream – if you want to lighten up the recipe but still be creamy you can use half and half cream or whole milk
  • Chicken Broth
  • Garlic Powder
  • Italian Seasonings
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Cheese – 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, use Mozzarella for a milder taste, gouda for a rich smoother melt or refer to my best cheese for melting post for other great ideas
  • Parsley – chopped fresh parsley for the garnish is optional
Chicken and rice casserole on a white plate.

Substitutions and variations: Swap in chicken thighs or turkey breast if want a meat that is a bit juicier. You may have to adjust the cooking time. Add in your vegetables like broccoli florets, peas, diced carrots, chopped mushrooms or zucchini in your cheesy chicken and rice casserole.

Serving of chicken and rice casserole on a white plate.

How to make cheesy chicken and rice bake

First four steps of preparing the recipe.

STEP ONE- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.

STEP TWO – In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper.

STEP THREE – Toss the chicken pieces with half of the seasoning mix. Reserve the remaining half for later use.

STEP FOUR – Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken and cook unIl browned and nearly cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.

Next four steps of the recipe.

STEP FIVE – Add the diced onion and red bell pepper to the skillet; cook unIl the vegetables are just tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook for an addiIonal minute unIl the garlic is fragrant.

STEP SIX – Lower the heat to medium. Add chicken broth and heavy cream to the skillet. SIr in the remaining half of the seasoning blend. Bring to a simmer, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly.

STEP SEVEN – Add the cooked rice and the cooked chicken back into the skillet. SIr to combine well, ensuring the rice is evenly coated with the creamy sauce.

Last four steps of how to make the recipe.

STEP EIGHT – Transfer the rice and chicken mixture to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the top.

STEP NINE- Bake at 375°F for about 15-20 minutes, or unIl the cheese is golden and bubbly.

STEP TEN – Let the casserole stand for about 5 minutes after removing it from the oven.

STEP ELEVEN – Garnish with chopped fresh parsley before serving, if desired.

Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

Yes you can, make the casserole up to the point of baking it and keep it covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Bake the next day when ready but add a few extra minutes of baking time if you are starting from a cold dish from the fridge.

Sandra’s Top Tips

  • To make sure the rice does not become mushy use cooked rice that has been cooled. Hot rice can continue to cook causing it to become mushy
  • Do not over-stir the rice when mixing it into the sauce for the best texture
  • If you are using half and half cream or whole milk to lighten up this chicken rice casserole you can mix them with 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour to help thicken up the sauce without adding too much fat

Storage and reheating instructions

Store any leftover casserole using an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Reheat in the oven at 350°F covered with foil until heated through. Reheat using a microwave-safe dish with 30 second intervals in the microwave until heated through.

You can freeze the dish once it is cooled completely by covering tightly with multiple layers of foil for up to 3 months.

Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in the oven at 375°F covered with foil until heated through.

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Closeup picture of cheesy chicken and rice bake on a white plate.

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bake


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  • Author: Sandra Flegg
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Description

This easy Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake recipe made without canned soup is perfect for busy weeknight dinners to serve on the table in 35 minutes. The combination of tender chicken with creamy melted cheddar cheese and a rice base to soak up all the delicious flavors makes a comforting and satisfying casserole.


Ingredients

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups cooked rice

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Toss the chicken pieces with half of the seasoning mix. Reserve the remaining half for later use.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken and cook until browned and nearly cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. Add the diced onion and red bell pepper to the skillet; cook unIl the vegetables are just tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook for an addiIonal minute unIl the garlic is fragrant.
  6. Lower the heat to medium. Add chicken broth and heavy cream to the skillet. SIr in the remaining half of the seasoning blend. Bring to a simmer, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly.
  7. Add the cooked rice and the cooked chicken back into the skillet. SIr to combine well, ensuring the rice is evenly coated with the creamy sauce.
  8. Transfer the rice and chicken mixture to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the top.
  9. Bake at 375°F for about 15-20 minutes, or unIl the cheese is golden and bubbly.
  10. Let the casserole stand for about 5 minutes after removing it from the oven.
  11. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley before serving, if desired.

Notes

Storage and reheating instructions:

Store any leftover casserole using an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Reheat in the oven at 350°F covered with foil until heated through. Reheat using a microwave-safe dish with 30 second intervals in the microwave until heated through.

You can freeze the dish once it is cooled completely by covering tightly with multiple layers of foil for up to 3 months.

Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in the oven at 375°F covered with foil until heated through.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven Baked
  • Cuisine: American

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