My chicken and rice casserole is a scrumptious dish to dig into when simple comfort food is what you crave. Diced rotisserie chicken, rice and colorful veggies are combined with a creamy, homemade parmesan sauce, creating layers of savory flavor in this cozy and warming casserole that's a breeze to whip up!
Chicken and Rice Casserole Deliciously Semi-Homemade
Creating a warming and cozy dinner using a few staple ingredients is a favorite way to go when you're craving some comfort.
My creamy chicken and rice casserole is a scrumptious little recipe to prepare when I've got some juicy rotisserie chicken on hand. All I have to do is cook up some rice, add some colorful veggies into the mix, and when I simmer up a quick, homemade parmesan cheese sauce to fold in for added cheesy flavor and richness, the result is sheer coziness and belly-warming bliss.
This chicken and rice casserole recipe is the perfect semi-homemade recipe to spoon up on a cool evening, brimming with layers of cheesy flavor and healthy add-ins!
My Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe, Nice 'n' Easy!
The wonderful thing about most cozy casseroles is that they're a breeze to put together and bake up, especially when you turn to good quality, store-bought ingredients to help shorten your prep time.
I love to have rotisserie chicken on hand to add to recipes just like this chicken and rice casserole, because I can simply cube it up and not have to spend the time roasting the chicken myself.
If I already have some cooked rice on hand, then that's a bonus; but if not, I simply simmer up a small batch to add into the casserole in around 20 minutes, during which time I prep my easy parmesan sauce as well.
All that's left is to then fold these ingredients together with some asparagus, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, spoon the mixture into a casserole dish, top with some buttery breadcrumbs, and then bake!
Here's a sneak peek at my chicken and rice casserole recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- I begin by preparing some fresh rice, unless I already have some on hand. But to do so, I cook a small batch (about ¾ cup raw rice) to yield the amount needed for the recipe.
- The creamy parmesan sauce is prepared next, and kept warm.
- For my crispy topping, I mix together some panko breadcrumbs with some melted butter, and set that aside.
- To assemble the chicken and rice casserole, I add the cooked and cubed chicken, the rice, the veggies and the parmesan sauce to a large bowl and combine everything until well mixed.
- Next, I spoon the mixture into a casserole dish, top with the breadcrumb mixture, and bake for about 20 minutes or until the topping is golden-brown.
Chicken and Rice Casserole
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 612 calories per serving
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 4 cups cooked and cubed chicken (rotisserie is perfect)
- 1 cup finely chopped super-thin asparagus
- 1 cup roughly chopped baby spinach leaves
- ½ cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil, or if so, well-dried)
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
Parmesan Sauce Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 ounce all-purpose flour (or 3 ½ tablespoons)
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 1 teaspoon chicken base (I use “Better Than Bouillon” organic chicken base)
- ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Black pepper
- If you need to prepare some rice for the recipe, cook ¾ cup of raw rice as directed by package instructions, which will yield about 2 ¼ cups cooked rice (you will only need 2 cups cooked for the recipe). Allow the rice to cool slightly before using.
- Prepare the parmesan sauce: place a medium-size pot over medium heat, and add in the butter; once melted, add in the garlic and stir, and once that becomes aromatic, sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine, cooking for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Next, slowly pour the milk into the roux mixture, whisking all the while to prevent lumps, and allow the sauce to gently simmer for a couple of minutes until it thickens up.
- Off the heat, add in the chicken base and the parmesan cheese, and whisk to incorporate; add a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, according to your taste. Allow to slightly cool.
- To prep your breadcrumb topping, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the melted butter in a small bowl, mix with a fork to combine, then set aside.
- To prepare/assemble the chicken and rice casserole: preheat the oven to 350°, and lightly mist a medium size baking/casserole dish with cooking spray.
- To a large bowl, add the cubed chicken, the rice, asparagus, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes, and toss to combine. Pour in the parmesan sauce, plus the shredded parmesan cheese and the parsley, and mix to combine very well. Add a pinch or two of salt and pepper, if needed.
- Pour/spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the breadcrumb topping over the casserole.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden-brown (you can even use the broiler for a minute or two to finish). Serve hot.
Tips & Tidbits for my Chicken and Rice Casserole:
- Good quality, rotisserie chicken: This chicken and rice casserole is an ideal recipe to use rotisserie chicken in, saving you some time and effort. Simply discard the skin and cube the meat (you'll need about 4 cups). If you happen to already have some pre-cooked chicken on hand, feel free to use that. Or, roast up a couple of split chicken breasts if you prefer to cook the chicken yourself, which should yield the amount needed for the casserole.
- Extra-thin asparagus, no extra cooking needed: If you can find the ultra-thin asparagus stalks, then simply cut those and add them in raw. Because they are so thin, they'll soften in the casserole as it bakes in the oven. You can use frozen and thawed asparagus as well, or if you're using thicker stalks, then blanch them for 30 seconds in salted, boiling water and drain.
- Make the parmesan sauce ahead: If you'd like to do some prep ahead of time, so that all you'll have to do is assemble the casserole before serving, then you can prepare the parmesan sauce a day or two beforehand, allow it to cool, and keep it in the fridge in a covered container until ready to use. Then, gently warm it up and proceed with the recipe.
- Other tasty options for add-ins: I love the asparagus, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes here, but feel free to substitute peas, broccoli, corn, or halved cherry tomatoes in this casserole—any veggie you like!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2016, and has been updated with even more love!