The ultimate comfort dish, this chicken and rice casserole is just like your mom used to make: Tender pieces of chicken mingle with veggies and rice, all tied together with homemade cream of chicken soup and topped with crunchy, crispy cornflakes.
I am going to start a campaign to bring back the casserole. I just don’t see them (or make them) enough! But growing up, I swear we practically lived on casseroles. And, while I might not have appreciated them then, I sure do now! Easy to put together (made even easier if you use pre-cooked and frozen ingredients), quick to cook, and delicious to eat, I am going to be raving all about the casserole this fall.
Especially this one, the OG of casseroles, chicken and rice with veggies, broth, butter, and an easy, homemade cream of chicken soup to tie it all together and of course you can’t skip the corn flakes topping — the best!
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
There are so many reasons why this recipe is perfect, here are just a few!
Corn flakes — Yeah, I put that first! It might sound “corny” but this casserole just wouldn’t be the same without some crunchy corn flakes on top. Take my word for it, you won’t want to skip this step.
Cream of chicken soup — Use a can if you must, but making your own really will make all the difference. If you’ve ever made a roux before, you can make this soup!
Veggies — Chop up some carrots, celery, onions, and toss in a bag of frozen peas, easy, peasy (ha ha see what I did there?) Or use all frozen veggies if you like to save even more time.
Leftovers — Play your cards right and you could have some amazing leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner. Simply reheat in the microwave, and add a few more cornflakes if they’ve lost their crunch in the fridge. Perfecto!
HERE’S HOW YOU MAKE IT
- Turn on your oven and preheat it to 375 and then lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish.
- Take out a large skillet and melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice, then add 1 cup of chicken broth and the water and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn the burner down to a simmer, cover, and cook the rice for 25 minutes, or until it’s fully cooked.
Prepare the veggies
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan.
- Add the celery, carrots, and onions and sauté them for about 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the celery is fork-tender. Take them off the heat.
Make the cream of chicken soup
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Stir in the flour, then whisk in the chicken broth and milk.
- Stir in the salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and bring the soup to a boil, stirring till thickened.
- Take off the heat.
Prepare the corn flake topping
- In another medium-size skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and toss the corn flakes into the melted butter till they’re all coated.
Putting it all together
- Combine the rice, veggies, chicken, peas, and cream of chicken soup and stir it all together till combined. Add it to the prepared baking dish, making sure it’s evenly spread out.
- Sprinkle the buttered corn flakes over the top in an even layer.
- Bake uncovered for 35 minutes or till the corn flakes begin to brown.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and cracked black pepper if you like and serve.
Ideas for Serving This Dish
While this dish is pretty much an all-in-one entrée, there are a few other side dishes I like to serve with it, such as
- An easy green Italian salad
- Roasted carrots
- Roasted broccoli
- Sauteed green beans
- Homemade breadsticks for when you just need all the carbs
- And some Cherry Garcia cookies for dessert of course!
Ideas for Customizing This Dish
The great thing about this chicken and rice casserole is that it’s so easy to customize! Here are some ideas for changing this up a bit:
- If you’d like to make this with beef instead of chicken, change the chicken broth to beef broth and the cooked, diced chicken to leftover diced beef (or pork would work here too), and follow the rest of the directions as-is.
- To make a vegetarian rice casserole, swap chicken broth for veggie broth and leave out the chicken, instead doubling the veggies.
- Ritz crackers or any buttery crackers you have leftover (or even bread crumbs or stuffing) would work as a topping if you don’t have cornflakes.
- Any kind of onion would work in this easy chicken and rice casserole too, don’t sweat it if you don’t have a yellow onion.
Want to make this dish ahead of time? Prepare the dish all the way through “putting it together” except hold off on buttering the corn flakes until right before you’re ready to bake the dish, then add the buttered corn flakes right before baking for best results.
I love to freeze meals ahead of time. It takes the pressure off those nights when you just don’t know what you want to eat or you’re running low on time or you just don’t want to cook.
The directions for freezing this easy chicken and rice casserole are the same as the make-ahead directions. Except, after you make the dish and right before adding the cornflake topping, you’ll let it come to room temperature and cover with a tight-fitting lid, or use plastic wrap and aluminum foil if you don’t have a lid
Thaw in the fridge and then make the corn flake topping from scratch before baking. Because you’ll put this chicken and rice casserole in cold (right from the fridge), you’ll need to add about 10-15 minutes extra of baking time.
- My favorite long grain and wild rice boxed mix is from Zatarain’s, but you can use whatever brand you prefer.
- For the chicken, you can use a shredded rotisserie chicken, or make your own in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Or, you can purchase already cooked, sliced chicken pieces from Tyson or another brand.
- In a super hurry? Use all frozen veggies (yep, you can find frozen, diced onions too) in this dish. Just cook them in the butter until they are just thawed. Be careful not to overcook, frozen veggies can go from frozen to mush quickly if you’re not careful.
- For more ooey, gooey, creamy sauciness in this casserole, add cheese! Stir in 1 cup of shredded cheese like cheddar or Monterey jack to make this a cheesy chicken and rice casserole.
More Easy Dinner Ideas
- BBQ Brisket Tacos
- Instant Pot Pot Roast
- Chicken and Potatoes with Dijon Cream Sauce
- Chicken in Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Sauce
- Pork Fried Rice
Did you make this Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe? AWESOME! Please rate the recipe below!
Chicken and Rice Casserole
- 1 7-ounce box long grain and wild rice - see note
- 4 tablespoons butter - divided
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 stalks celery - chopped
- 2 whole carrots - chopped
- ½ yellow onion - diced
- 4 cups cooked diced chicken - see note
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 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 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in rice, then add 1 cup chicken broth and water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes til rice is fully cooked. Meanwhile, prepare the cream of chicken soup, veggies, and corn flake topping.
Prepare the veggies
- In a medium sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons butter.
- Add celery, carrots, and onions and saute 3-4 minutes til onions are translucent and celery becomes fork-tender. Remove from heat.
Prepare the cream of chicken soup
- In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
- 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. Remover from heat.
Prepare the corn flake topping
- In a medium-size skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter and toss corn flakes in the melted butter to coat.
Bake the casserole
- Combine rice, veggies, chicken, peas, 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.