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A delicious chicken and rice casserole (super easy, and super cheesy) to make for your family. Using pantry staples this is a weeknight winner sure to make everyone want seconds!
Step-by-step photos and instructions are below!
I absolutely love this rice casserole recipe. It is perfect for the family and uses ingredients I typically have in my pantry and fridge.
It also involves bacon, and who doesn’t love that? (Vegetarians need not respond, thanks!)
My family loves this recipe too. When I pull this out of the oven I truly don’t have to fight with my kids to get this in their bellies. They grouse a little about the “green stuff” aka celery, but ultimately, they eat it.
This is a great one to make ahead and assemble. Let it hang out in the refrigerator and bake it when you get home to reheat and to brown the top.
I consider this to be one of the ultimate comfort foods, as it’s very much a stick-to-your-ribs, fill-your-belly, kind of meal. A major bonus is that it can use up leftovers hanging out in your fridge, so it’s budget-friendly as well as delicious!
Anything that cleans out the refrigerator and makes my family run to the table earns its place on the regular dinner rotation.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Super easy to make. No need for a culinary degree! You will need a little prep time to include cooking the chicken and rice – but if you have them leftover from another meal, you can pull this together much more quickly!
- Family-friendly. The whole family enjoys this, and will even eat the leftovers if you are lucky enough to have any.
- This recipe is great for weeknights. Make this in 30 minutes or less!
You will need a 9 x 13 Casserole Dish. You could make this in two dishes if you prefer (or have a smaller family). One for tonight, one for another night this week. Or, of course, you could halve the recipe if that works better for you!
I have included step-by-step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Butter. This means salted butter
- Onion. We need about a cup, which is a medium-sized onion diced up.
- Celery. This is optional (I suppose), but really does add a great flavor to the base of this recipe.
- Garlic. I say throw in as much as you like. Much like vanilla extract, I measure garlic with my heart, not a spoon.
- Flour. This is used to thicken the sauce
- Stock. You could use chicken stock or vegetable stock.
- Milk. Any kind you like. I use 2%
- Cooked rice. Use leftover rice from the chinese takeout you ordered the other day, or cook some fresh.
- Chicken. I use cooked chicken breasts, or pull apart a rotisserie chicken.
- Cheese. Use one you like. Monterey jack is good, but sharp cheddar is my favorite.
- Bacon. You could use store bought bacon crumbles if you wish.
- Scallions. Also known as green onions. While they are there for decoration, I do love the fresh onion-y flavor they bring to the finished dish.
How to make this recipe
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The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onion and celery until softened.
Add the garlic, and cook a further 30 seconds.
Sprinkle flour over the top and mix well.
Whisk in the stock and milk and cook until thickened.
Season to taste with salt/pepper.
Add the rice, chicken, and 1/2 cup cheddar and bacon (keep some for sprinkling) and mix until well combined.
Top with remaining cheddar and bake until the cheese melts and browns (about 15 minutes – depending on your oven temperature, you may need more cook time).
Garnish with scallions and extra bacon.
Kylee’s Notes & FAQs
I use leftover chicken or pull apart a rotisserie chicken and use that. You could poach some chicken breasts to use in your rice mixture. You want to be sure your chicken is cooked, as the time in the oven is basically for top browning, not chicken cooking.
Leftover rice is good in this recipe too, but if you don’t have any – just cook some up and you’ll be good to go. Instant rice is a good option if you need this fast!
What do do with leftovers
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and reheat until piping hot in microwave.
You can use brown rice if you prefer it to white.
You could substitute the butter/flour/chicken broth/milk mixture and use a condensed cream soup like cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken soup)
I use cheddar cheese, sometimes mixed with Monterey Jack. Whatever you happen to have will work!
More delicious comfort food:
- Chicken Divan. It’s broccoli, chicken, cheese and a crunchy topping. You will make this family favorite over and over!
- Tuna Noodle Casserole. This old-time classic tuna casserole will bring you right back to childhood. Budget-friendly and easy to double for a crowd!
- Tater Tot Casserole. Make this one in the crockpot!
- Chicken Noodle Soup. Simple, but full of flavor! Use basic ingredients.
- All Comfort Food
Chicken Rice Casserole
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1 cup onion (diced)
- 1 cup celery (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 Tbs all purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups cooked long grain rice
- 2 cups chicken breast (cooked, shredded or diced)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese (grated, divided)
- 4 slices bacon (cooked, crumbled)
- 2 Tbs scallions (chopped, for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Saute the onion and celery until softened.
- Add the garlic, and cook a further 30 seconds.
- Sprinkle flour over the top and mix well.
- Whisk in the stock and milk and cook until thickened.
- Season to taste with salt/pepper.
- Add the rice, chicken and 1/2 cup cheddar and bacon (keep some for sprinkling) and mix until well combined.
- Top with remaining cheddar and bake until the cheese melts and browns (about 15 minutes)
- Garnish with scallions and extra bacon.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.