This chicken and rice casserole is the ultimate comfort food!This is the best chicken and rice recipe because it’s easy to make with simple ingredients that you can switch up depending on your tastes. It’s a cozy comfort food dinner that is always a hit when I make it.
This chicken rice casserole is one of my family’s favorite dinners. It’s comforting, cozy, and hearty with all of the flavors of a classic chicken and rice casserole. It’s so easy you can make it on a weeknight!
It’s what I consider a “leftover” recipe because I use leftover chicken and rice to make it. I love repurposing our leftovers into brand new dishes so whenever I have left over cooked chicken or a rotisserie chicken from the store, this is the recipe I make. All you have to do is combine the leftovers with a few more ingredients, pop it in a baking dish and bake the casserole until it’s bubbly and hot.
Ingredients for Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Shredded (or cubed) cooked chicken
- Cooked rice
- Cream of chicken soup
- Salt and pepper
- Smoked paprika
- Onion and garlic powder
- Frozen peas
- Shredded cheese
Set aside some of the shredded cheese and then mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Spread the mixture in a 9×13-inch casserole dish and sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top.
Bake the casserole for 20 to 30 minutes at 350°F or until it’s hot.
Doesn’t get any easier than that!
Recipe Variations – Switch it Up!
What I love about this chicken and rice casserole is that you can swap out ingredients based on what you like or what you have on hand.
- I love peas in my chicken casserole, but you can swap them out, use frozen broccoli instead and call it chicken broccoli and rice casserole. It’s so delicious, too.
- You can adjust the flavor and use cream of potato soup or cream of mushroom soup instead of cream of chicken. That’s an easy way to put a new twist on it every time you make it.
- If you don’t have any leftover cooked chicken just pick up a store-bought rotisserie chicken and shred it.
- For the cheese, yellow cheddar is great but you can use white cheddar, too. Or try shredded provolone or Monterey jack cheese – pretty much any cheese that melts well will work.
What qualifies as a casserole?
Do you wonder about these things like I do? So, here’s a fun fact: a casserole is a meal where all of the ingredients are cooked in the oven in the same baking dish. There are usually three main parts of a casserole:
- The main ingredient can be pretty much anything like chicken, beef, pork or other type of meat. Or a vegetable like cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms… the list is endless. It can also be a combination of protein and vegetables.
- There’s usually a starch like rice, potatoes, or pasta.
- Casseroles usually have some kind of binder or creamy component, too, like condensed soup, white sauce or gravy that holds everything together.
Of course, there are a million variations and many casseroles have more components than that, but at a very basic level those are the three main parts. Casseroles usually have some kind of topping, too, like breadcrumbs or cheese.
Do you have to cook rice before adding it to the chicken casserole?
Yes, for my recipe you’ll want to use cooked rice. Since it’s a “leftovers” casserole both the chicken and rice need to be cooked ahead. Then they’re just combined with the other ingredients and baked until hot.
For other recipes, you may not have to cook it first – always read the recipe first to check! Rice that is added to a casserole raw will take 30 to 40 minutes to cook, but that time will vary depending on the other ingredients. For my recipe, there’s not enough liquid for uncooked rice to absorb.
Do you have to cook chicken before putting in a casserole?
It depends on the recipe! For my chicken and rice casserole you will want to use cooked chicken. It’s my favorite way to use up leftover chicken.
This really is the easiest comfort food dinner! It’s great for weeknights or anytime you have a craving for a cheesy chicken casserole.
My other favorite casserole recipes:
- Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
- Pizza Pasta Casserole
- Chili Tater Tot Casserole
- Cheesy Potato Casserole
- Hashbrown Casserole
- All my Dinner Recipes!
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Chicken and Rice Casserole
- 3 cups cooked chicken shredded or cubed
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 21 ounces cream of chicken soup (2 10.5 ounce cans) (may substitute cream of potato or mushroom)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground garlic powder
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Stir together chicken, rice, soup, spices, peas and 1 cup shredded cheese in a large bowl. Spread in a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake until hot all the way through, about 20-30 minutes.
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Easy Chicken and Rice Casserole is an fast comfort food dinner. Use leftover chicken or turkey and rice to make this cheesy chicken casserole recipe!
All text and images © DOROTHY KERN for Crazy for Crust. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate.
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Published on: January 7, 2020