Scrumptious Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole brings caramelized onions, sweet garlic, and sautéed chicken together with long grain rice and steamed broccoli in a creamy cheese sauce all topped with a buttery cracker topping. This no canned soup recipe requires a little more effort but with some helpful tips even the novice cook can handle it. My family just loves this recipe and it is always a welcome dish even with my picky son.
I am not a huge fan of cream of anything soup. I never have been. To me they just taste so bland so I like to make my sauces from scratch. King Ranch Chicken, Salisbury Steak, and Chicken a la King are just a few of our favorite recipes made without canned soup.
How to make Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Start by melting a little butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Then add the onions and cook for a few minutes. Next add the chicken and cook until browned flipping halfway through to brown both sides. Work in batches with the chicken cooking it on one side and the onions on the other side. Plate the cooked chicken as you go. Then add the garlic cooking for 1 minute while stirring constantly. Plate the chicken, onions and garlic.
Meanwhile add the water, butter, salt, and long grain rice to a saucepan. Heat until boiling and and then cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Then steam the broccoli on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Now melt the butter in the same skillet over medium low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk continuously while cooking for 2-3 minutes. Then add the crushed red pepper, onion powder, dried marjoram, and dried thyme. Next slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk alternating between the two. Continue whisking and cooking until smooth and slightly thickened. Then turn the heat to low and whisk in 1 1/4 cups cheddar. Now add the cooked chicken, rice and broccoli and stir to coat.
Spoon 1/2 the chicken mixture into a casserole dish and top with 1/2 cup cheddar. Then spoon the rest of the chicken mixture in and top with remaining cheese. Combine the crackers and melted butter. Now sprinkle it over the casserole and bake.
Recipe notes and helpful tips
- Cut the chicken in thin bite size pieces so it cooks through evenly and quickly.
- The onions and chicken can cooked at the same time by pushing the onions off to one side of the pan and working in batches with the chicken. If needed add a little butter or oil to keep the chicken from sticking.
- Cook the rice and broccoli at the same time right in a steamer over the rice pot. It only take about 5 minutes so just add the steamer basket full of broccoli to the pot as soon as you turn it to simmer. Cover and steam until tender. Then remove from the rice pot and cover the rice pot with the lid. Work quickly so as not to interrupt the rice cooking.
- Use a good quality cheddar and grate it fresh. The expense and effort are well worth the added flavor.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freeze in a heavy duty container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.
- Reheat leftovers in the microwave at a reduced power level.
Can I use frozen broccoli?
Yes you can but be sure to thaw it and remove any excess moisture. Frozen broccoli is already blanched so there is really no reason to steam it.
Can I use already cooked rotisserie chicken?
This is a great time saver and these delicious rotisserie chicken are available almost everywhere. Simply remove the skin and cut about 2 cups chicken off the bone into bite size pieces. Then stir it into the cheese sauce with the onions, garlic, broccoli, and rice.
Can this casserole be prepped in advance?
This dish can be prepped up to 24 hours in advance however hold off the mixing of the crackers and butter until right before baking. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator 30 -40 minutes prior to baking to bring to room temperature. Then add the buttery cracker topping and bake.
More chicken recipes you will love!
- Balsamic Chicken
- Smothered Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Breasts
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken
- Chicken Chop Suey
- Chicken Yakisoba
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
A scrumptious cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole made from scratch without canned creamed soup and topped with a buttery cracker topping.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: main meal chicken
- Method: stovetop/bake
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut in bite sizes pieces
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
- 4 cups broccoli florets cut in bite size pieces
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 ¼ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers crushed (32 crackers)
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Move the onions to one side of the skillet. Add the chicken and cook until browned flipping halfway through to brown both sides. Work in batches with the chicken removing the cooked pieces to a plate and stirring the onions on the other side of the skillet. Once all the chicken has been cooked add the garlic; cooking for 1 minute while stirring constantly. Plate the onions and garlic.
- Meanwhile add the water, butter, salt, and long grain rice to a saucepan. Heat until boiling and then cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Steam the broccoli on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9×13 inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk continuously while cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper, onion powder, dried marjoram, and dried thyme. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk alternating between the two. Continue whisking and cooking until smooth and slightly thickened. Turn the heat to low and whisk in 1 1/4 cups cheddar. Add the cooked chicken, rice and broccoli and stir to coat.
- Spoon 1/2 the chicken mixture into the prepared casserole dish and top with 1/2 cup cheddar. Spoon the rest of the chicken mixture in and top with remaining cheese. Combine the crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle it over the casserole and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is browned and the cheese is melted.
Keywords: chicken broccoli cheese rice casserole, chicken and broccoli casserole, chicken and broccoli, chicken rice casserole