This is not your mama’s casserole! This cheesy chicken and broccoli bake with rice is so creamy, hearty, and cozy, and is seriously one of my all-time favorite meals to make all year round. Plus, it tastes even better the next day – that is, if you have any leftovers!
Why This Recipe Works
Corn flakes – Sounds kind of silly now as I write this, but corn flakes really do make this casserole for me. Nothing beats the crunchy, butteriness of the corn flakes with every bite. It’s the perfect taste and texture you need in a cheesy chicken and rice bake.
All the garlic – Minced garlic and garlic powder? Heck yes! You need it to make the rice garlicky and then you also need the powder to make the cream of chicken soup garlicky. Combine them together and you really get a great tasting casserole.
Makes great leftovers – I mentioned this before, but I really do think that this chicken broccoli rice casserole is even better the next day. I recommend storing it in the pan you baked it in (covered, of course) or carefully adding the casserole to another container trying to keep the buttered corn flakes on top. That way, they won’t get soggy and maintain somewhat of that crispiness you loved the first time around.
So easy – Don’t let the three step “process” scare you off. It really is so simple to make all the little parts of the chicken broccoli rice casserole and then put them all together in just one hour!
Here’s How You Make It
- Long grain and wild rice – I use Zatarain’s brand, but you can use any brand you like.
- Butter – I tend to go the unsalted route and add salt later, but you can use any kind of butter you like.
- Garlic – Mince your own garlic or use the jarred minced garlic, whatever you prefer!
- Yellow onion – You can use a white onion in this too if this is what you have or even shallots, but I would stay away from red onions as their flavor is very strong.
- Water – Tap water is great and works just fine in this chicken broccoli rice casserole.
- Chicken broth – Any kind of chicken broth is okay. I use a name-brand as I think it tastes better. Also feel free to use low sodium if you prefer a less salty casserole or want to salt later to taste.
- Cheddar cheese – Freshly grated cheese melts better than pre-shredded but use whatever is your favorite cheddar cheese brand in this chicken and rice bake.
- Broccoli florets – Fresh or frozen broccoli is good in this recipe, see the tips section for more specifics on how to cook either fresh or frozen broccoli.
- Cooked diced chicken – Cook your own or purchase pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken, all will be great!
- Corn flakes – Any brand corn flakes, or generic are fine here, in my experience a corn flake is a corn flake is a corn flake.
- Flour – All-purpose flour is great in this recipe; you’ll use it to make a roux, which makes the cream of chicken soup thick.
- Salt and pepper – To taste here, any salt or pepper is great.
- Garlic powder – Any name-brand garlic powder works fine in this recipe. You only need a little bit to make a big impact.
- Milk – Use whatever milk you have in the fridge. The milk helps the roux come together when making the cream of chicken soup.
Step By Step Directions
- First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and then lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Next, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then stir in the garlic and onions for about a minute.
- To the butter/garlic/onion mixture, stir in the rice, add 1 cup of chicken broth and the water and bring it all to a boil.
- Turn the burner down to a high simmer, cover the dish, and cook for another 25 minutes or till the rice is fully cooked.
- While the rice is cooking, you can turn your attention to the cream of chicken soup and corn flake topping.
Preparing the Topping
- So easy! Just toss the corn flakes with 2 tablespoons melted butter and set aside.
Preparing the Cream of Chicken Soup (from scratch – it’s so easy!)
- Melt the butter over medium heat in another medium saucepan.
- To the melted butter, stir in the flour and then whisk in the chicken broth and the milk.
- Finally, stir in the salt, pepper, and garlic powder and bring the cream of chicken soup to a boil, stirring till thickened. Remove the sauce from the heat.
Baking the Casserole
- Let’s put it all together by combining the rice mixture, the chicken, cheese, broccoli, and cream of chicken soup and stirring it all together, then spread it all evenly in your prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle the buttered corn flakes evenly over the top of the chicken and broccoli casserole.
- Put it in the oven and allow it to bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes, or until the corn flakes begin to brown.
- Garnish the top of this cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole with chopped parsley and cracked black pepper if desired and serve.
Can I Use Uncooked Rice in a Casserole?
The answer to this question depends. For this recipe, I cook the rice first because the chicken was already cooked.
However, if you are using raw chicken and baking it in the oven, then yes, you can bake both the rice and raw chicken together like I did in this One Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice dish.
Can I Use Raw Chicken in a Casserole?
The answer to this question is similar to the one about putting uncooked rice in a casserole. You can put raw chicken in a casserole if everything needs to bake together (the rice, the other ingredients), but I wouldn’t put raw chicken in a casserole if everything else is also already cooked because the other ingredients (any grains, any veggies) will just dry right up. You also run the risk of undercooking your chicken because everything else will be beyond done much sooner.
Can I Use Instant Rice in Casseroles?
Yes, you can use instant rice in casseroles, though I don’t recommend it. Why? Well, because instant rice cooks much more quickly than regular rice, which means, if you’re using raw chicken, your rice will be done while your chicken could be undercooked. Unless you’re using pre-cooked chicken like I am here, then you want to use instant rice? By all means, but in this case, I’d recommend cooking that instant rice separately before adding it to this casserole along with all the other ingredients, then cooking it to simply meld all the ingredients together.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- The rice I use is Zatarain’s Long Grain and Wild Rice, but you can use whatever long grain and wild rice you like, or just substitute all long grain rice if that’s what you have on hand.
- Not sure if want to use fresh or frozen broccoli? Here’s how to use both kinds: For fresh broccoli, add broccoli florets and 1/2 cup water to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it on high for 5 minutes or until nearly fork-tender. Drain the excess water before adding to the casserole. For frozen broccoli, steam it in the bag in the microwave as directed on the package, then drain the excess water before adding the broccoli to the chicken and broccoli casserole.
- For the chicken, you can use rotisserie chicken, slow cooker or Instant Pot shredded chicken, or diced chicken. I love using Tyson grilled and chopped chicken pieces for chicken and rice bakes like this to reduce prep time.
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Chicken and Broccoli Skillet
- Baked Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
- Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Chicken and Broccoli Coconut Curry
Did you make this recipe? You’re AMAZING! Tag me on social and rate the recipe below!
Easy Chicken Broccoli Cheese Casserole Recipe
- 1 7-ounce box long grain and wild rice - see note
- 4 tablespoons butter - divided
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ½ yellow onion - diced
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 cups broccoli florets - see note
- 4 cups cooked diced chicken - see note
- 2 cups corn flakes
homemade cream of chicken soup
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon salt - or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper - or to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in garlic and onions for one minute.
- Stir in rice, then add 1 cup chicken broth and the water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to high simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes til rice is fully cooked. Meanwhile, prepare the cream of chicken soup and corn flake topping.
Prepare the corn flake topping
- Toss corn flakes with 2 tablespoons melted butter and set aside.
Prepare the cream of chicken soup
- In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Stir in flour, then whisk in chicken broth and milk.
- Stir in salt, pepper, and garlic powder and bring sauce to a boil, stirring til thickened. Remove from heat.
Bake the casserole
- Combine rice mixture, chicken, cheese, broccoli, and cream of chicken soup and stir well. Spread evenly in prepared dish.
- Sprinkle buttered corn flakes evenly over the top.
- Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes until corn flakes begin to brown. Garnish with chopped parsley and cracked black pepper if desired and serve.