Made-from-scratch creamy, cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole made in ONE POT on the stove!
Tastes like risotto, but much faster to make and completely low maintenance. Loaded with tons of broccoli, this is a terrific quick dinner idea you can get on the table in less than 30 minutes!
Chicken and Rice Casserole originally posted January 2018. Updated for housekeeping matters in January 2019 – no change to recipe, I wouldn’t dare!
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole – a complete meal in one pot!
It never even crossed my mind to make a recipe such as this Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole from anything but scratch. But a quick Google and I was somewhat bemused to find that there are in fact many versions of similar rice casseroles made using canned soup.
I’ve never tried this with canned soup, and I never intend to. Having tried canned soup in various forms in my time, I can say with absolute confidence that homemade from scratch is tastier, it’s better for you and it’s easy!
How to make Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole – from scratch!
- Sauté garlic and onion in butter and/or oil, then mostly cook the chicken – it finishes cooking with the rice;
- Add flour, milk, broth and basic seasonings (salt, pepper, thyme), then add the rice right into the same pot. As the rice cooks, the flour thickens the liquid which makes the sauce beautifully creamy;
- After 12 minutes of simmering, add the broccoli and cook for a further 3 minutes; then
- Stir through cheese, top with more cheese then give it a quick broil/grill just to melt the cheese.
What this Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole tastes like
It tastes like a creamy, cheesy risotto, it truly does. Except it’s made with normal white rice.
And being the rice snob that I am (Asian blood), I promise you that this is as far from gluey rice as you can get. The rice is just cooked to tender al dente and it’s smothered in a creamy sauce (but no cream), as opposed to overcooked super soft rice that is gluggy with thick sauce.
Here’s close up proof – see? If it were overcooked and gluey, the surface of the rice grains would look mushy.
I wasn’t quite sure what to call this recipe. I think of this as a rice bake which is completely illogical because it’s not cooked in the oven at all. Though someone please remind me a few months down the track to share the recipe for this that’s made entirely in the oven!
So in the end, I decided to call it a casserole, guessing that is what normal people would call this. Is that what this is?? I’m not sure. I know I’ll always think of this as a “Rice Bake”! – Nagi x
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Watch how to make it
One Pot Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Casserole
Recipe VIDEO above. Made from scratch, this tastes like a risotto but is so much more straight forward to make! A complete meal in one pot.
- 2 tbsp / 30 g unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion (, finely chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (, minced)
- 500 g/1 lb chicken thigh (, cut into bite size pieces (Note 1))
- 2 ½ tbsp flour ((or 1 ½ tbsp. cornflour / cornstarch))
- 2 cups / 500 ml milk ((any, I use low fat))
- 2 cups / 500 ml chicken broth
- 1 ¼ cups / 225g white rice (, uncooked (Note 2))
- 1 tsp dried thyme (or other herb of choice)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large head of broccoli, broken / cut into small florets (~400 – 500g / 14 oz – 1 lb) ((Note 3))
- 2 cups / 200g shredded mozzarella or cheddar ((or other cheese of choice) (Note 4))
- Finely chopped parsley (, optional garnish)
Melt butter and heat oil in a pot over high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add chicken and cook until it changes from pink to white. (Note 5)
- Turn stove DOWN to medium. Add flour and stir for 1 minute.
- Add half the milk, stirring as you go, and once incorporated into the flour add the rest of the milk and stir.
- Add broth, rice, thyme and a just pinch of salt and pepper.
- Stir, bring to simmer, then cover. Turn down to medium low and cook for 12 minutes.
- Remove lid – there should still be liquid on the surface. Working quickly, add broccoli, push down so it’s partly submerged, cover and cook for a further 3 minutes until broccoli is just cooked.
Preheat grill/broiler. Remove lid and stir through half the cheese – don’t worry if it looks a bit too saucy, excess liquid gets sucked up in minutes (see video). Smooth surface, top with remaining cheese. Grill/broil until melted (or just put lid on and allow to melt with residual heat on turned off stove).
- Serve immediately, garnished with parsley if desired.
1. CHICKEN: Thigh is better than breast because it’s fattier so they don’t dry out. This recipe would also work great with ground meat!
2. RICE: Long grain and medium grain rice are ideal in this because they are less “sticky” than short grain rice so it makes this come out like a creamy risotto. But it will work with short grain rice too. This will also work fine with basmati and jasmine rice, though you will get the added fragrance from these rices. I have not tried this with brown rice but it should work but it will take around 40 minutes to cook on low heat, then add the broccoli right at the end. You may need to top up with a bit of extra water.
Do not use risotto or paella rice – the liquid ratios in this recipe are not suited to these. I also have not tried this with quinoa, cauliflower rice or any non-rice alternatives!
3. Frozen Broccoli is fine to use in this recipe, but thaw first and ensure all excess liquid is drained.
4. Cheese: Any melting cheese is fine for this recipe.
5. Cooking chicken: It’s great if you can get some colour on it but don’t cook it all the way through and don’t let the base of the pot go too brown (discolours the sauce).
6. LEFTOVERS/MAKE AHEAD: This reheats much better than most rice casseroles because it’s nice and saucy, just keep it in the fridge For make ahead, stop at the point after you stir the cheese in, cover and let it cool. Then sprinkle with cheese on top, refrigerate, then microwave to reheat / melt the cheese. I think this is the freshest way to make ahead.
7. Nutrition per serving (about 2 cups), assuming 5 servings and that this is made using low fat milk. CALORIE REDUCTION: Leave out all the cheese, stir through 1/2 cup parmesan instead then top with breadcrumbs, spray with oil. This will reduce the calories by about 100 calories per serving.
Life of Dozer
This is how he leaps into the water – eyes tightly closed and nose up. If he were human, he’d be holding his nose and wearing goggles. For sure.