Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole, made from scratch with no cans of soup, has a fabulous buttery Parmesan topping—perfect for an easy dinner or made ahead for later.
Wonderful broccoli casserole has a cheesy sauce, tender chicken, and a great crunchy Parmesan topping.
It uses everyday ingredients and comes together quickly with easy-to-follow step-by-step photo instructions. And no can of soup is needed, and it works great for leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken.
Make ahead for later, and leftovers store well. It is also easy to cut in half for a "for two" friendly meal.
Other casserole casseroles you will love. Start with Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Cheesy American Goulash, and Chicken Pot Pie.
My "inspiration" recipe came from Food.com Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole. It had most of the right stuff—no can of soup, not too many ingredients, but it lacked chicken. It needed some simplification, added details in spots, some chicken, and a great topping.
- Chicken—Skinless boneless chicken breast, rotisserie chicken, leftover turkey
- Rice—long-grain rice
- Chicken broth—low sodium
- Broccoli—fresh or frozen
- Aromatics—onion and garlic
- Pantry ingredients—mayonnaise, salt, pepper, milk
- Cheese—mild cheddar or Monterey Jack
- Topping—Panko bread crumbs, butter, Parmesan cheese
👨🍳How to Make Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Chop broccoli into bite-size florets and cook in chicken broth with the rice.
- Chop the onion and the chicken breasts. Saute the chicken and onion in butter until the chicken is 165°. Near the end of cooking the chicken, add the garlic.
- Combine rice and broccoli with the chicken, add milk, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and shredded cheese—mix well.
- Mix the topping—Panko bread crumbs, melted butter, and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Pour chicken mixture into a 9 X 13 casserole dish and top with shredded cheese, then add the breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
⬇️Making this casserole more "for two" friendly
- For a half recipe, 4 large servings, use a 6 by 9 or an 8-inch square baking dish.
- Use the recipe card and adjust the number of servings to 4.
- Use the amount of ingredients in the ingredient list, not the instructions—those do not adjust.
- Cook for about the same amount of time.
- Consider that leftovers store well, and a half recipe will take about the same work.
📆How to make this casserole ahead for later.
It is a perfect dish to make ahead. Before storing it for later, assemble the casserole and let it cool to room temperature.
To refrigerate, cover airtight with plastic wrap and store for 2-3 days.
To freeze, cover airtight with plastic wrap, then a layer or two of aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To finish baking, if frozen, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then proceed with baking until golden brown and bubbling—it will take a few more minutes since the casserole is cold going into the oven
You can use pre-cooked chicken like rotisserie chicken or turkey leftovers. You will need about 4 cups. More or less should be OK. If you use pre-cooked turkey or chicken, add it when combining the cooked rice with other ingredients.
Yes, measure by volume. A good size head of broccoli will make about 2 cups of fresh broccoli. So use 2 cups of frozen, but more or less is fine; it is a casserole. A standard 12 oz frozen bag will be about 3 cups but varies. So the whole package would generally be fine.
Cooked leftovers are easy to store. In the refrigerator, cover well for 3-4 days. Or frozen for 3-4 months.
Reheat after thawing overnight in the refrigerator if frozen, covered in a 350° oven. A microwave can be used but may affect the texture.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat oven to 375°.
Chop one head of broccoli into bite-size pieces or use 2-3 cups of frozen broccoli.
Bring 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth to a boil. Add 1 ½ cups of long-grain rice and broccoli. Cover and lower heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes until fluid is absorbed.
While rice is cooking, chop one small onion and cube two skinless boneless chicken breasts into ½ inch pieces.
Over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet, then add the chicken and onions. Cook until onion is translucent and chicken is 165° internally. About 1 minute before the endpoint, add 3-4 cloves crushed garlic—about 9-10 minutes total.
Remove the chicken from the heat and combine the rice with the chicken. Then add ½ cup milk, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 1 ½ cups of mild shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese—mix well.
Mix the topping of 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons melted butter, and ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Spray a 9 X 13 casserole dish with PAM and add the mixture. Top with ½ cup of mild shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese. Then add the breadcrumb topping.
Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving to absorb fluid. Do not skip this step.
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- 1 ½ cups long-grain rice
- 3 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 1 head broccoli-fresh or frozen - about 2-3 cups chopped into bite size pieces
- 1-1 ½ pound skinless boneless chicken breast - trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 onion - small diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic - crushed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cups milk
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons butter - melted
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Chop one head of broccoli into bite-size pieces or use 2-3 cups of frozen broccoli.
- Bring 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth to a boil. Add 1 ½ cups of long-grain rice and broccoli. Cover and lower heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes until fluid is absorbed.
- While rice is cooking, chop one small onion and cube two skinless boneless chicken breasts into ½ inch pieces.
- Over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet, then add the chicken and onions. Cook until onion is translucent and chicken is 165° internally. About 1 minute before the endpoint, add 3-4 cloves crushed garlic—about 9-10 minutes total.
- Remove the chicken from the heat and combine the rice with the chicken. Then add ½ cup milk, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 1 ½ cups of mild shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese—mix well.
- Mix the topping of 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons melted butter, and ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.
- Spray a 9 X 13 casserole dish with PAM and add the mixture. Top with ½ cup of mild shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese. Then add the breadcrumb topping.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving to absorb fluid. Do not skip this step.
Your Own Private Notes
- This is an easy recipe to cut in half. Use a 6 by 9 or 8-inch square dish.
- The endpoint for cooking is the color since things are already cooked.
- You can use rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey—about 4 cups. Add it with the shredded cheese.
- Frozen broccoli is fine. Use about 2-3 cups.
- This is a casserole, the amount of chicken and broccoli can vary some to account for what you have on hand.
- I like the Monterey Jack cheese, but most will use mild cheddar cheese.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and should freeze for 3-4 months.
- This casserole is a great make-ahead recipe—details are discussed in the post.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published October 23, 2016. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.
Mayo is something we don't use, don't have in house, would Greek yogurt be an acceptable substitute ?
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
The yogurt should be fine or just skip the mayo. It is a casserole and will be fine.
Can brown rice be used instead of long grain rice? If yes, how does the recipe change?
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
We are not brown rice people so I can not give specific directions. I would say you probably can cook your brown rice in chicken broth separately. And the broccoli separately, I hesitate to do the broccoli with the brown rice since it generally will take longer and the broccoli would be overcooked.
That is just a guess. You can decide.
Can this be frozen? I'm trying to make some freezer meals for when the baby comes! Thank u! Your website is wonderful and I've learned so much from it!
Yes and not so much. It would definitely freeze and come out well but I'm not the biggest fan of rice that has been frozen. I think it effect the texture some. Having said that, it will freeze just as good as any other rice dish and many are sold frozen.
Dr. u r my hero 4 this recipe. I'm 10 weeks pregnant and everything makes me sick but carbs. Unfortunately, just rice or spaghetti and tomato sauce doesn't have the vitamins or protein I need. This casserole is my answer! I loved it and it didn't make me sick! With the exception of 3 small pieces for my husband and daughter I ate the whole thing! Lol. 5 stars. Really wonderful! Thank u! Also used bag of frozen broccoli and it was perfect.
Can this be frozen and baked later?
Yes and no. Like most casseroles, it can freeze but it is my opinion that casseroles with rice just don't do very well. I think the freezing breaks down the rice some changing the texture. So I just wouldn't do it.
I think you need to change the “servers 4” to “serves1”.
I’ve never cooked with mayonnaise before but this was great!!!
I had a bag of “steam-fresh broccoli in my freezer (random!) and everything else in my larder so I thought ‘why not?’ It was delicious!
And, no, I did not finish it in one seating!
HEY! DOCTOR DAN!
Can you do a recipe for salmon cakes using canned salmon? I’m not big on the tuna/mercury thing. I would appreciate it!
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog. Glad you enjoyed this recipe.
But, the salmon cakes will not be happening. My wife grew up on them and has a great hatrid of them. I'm lucky to get away with a fresh salmon recipe occasionally.
Thanks for the note and rating.
So, an update. We really liked this. Easy to assemble and very tasty. I''d give it 4.5 stars but don't know how to mark the stars. Can't give it 5 because H said he couldn't live on this alone, lol. It looks a bit drab n the plate so I sautéed some cherry toms with garlic as a side for colour, nice complement. Cheddar cheese livens up the colour too. Thanks for the recipe.
The rating works by clicking on the stars in the recipe card area.
I think 4.5 is correct. Exactly what my wife wanted to give but I wouldn't let her have a decimal point.
I'm glad you're back, I enjoy your recipes. I'm going to try this tomorrow and then I'll rate it. I cook mostly with fresh unprocessed ingredients (retired also) but I have no problem with the occasional can of mushroom soup. It sometimes just fits the bill and a pkg of Stuffing for the crumbs. Keep cooking.