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Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole | Dinner Meal | Rice Casseroles | Cheesy Chicken MealChicken & rice casserole is one of our family staples, but in my quest to develop a whole binder full of no-cook freezer meals, I decided to take on the challenge of creating a freezer friendly version.  I’ll be honest, it took a lot of trial and error to get it right, but the final version was one both my husband and kids couldn’t get enough of!

Quite frankly there is something just comforting about a hearty one-dish meal coming straight out of the oven after a long day.  Between the frozen broccoli and canned soup, this one feels a little retro, but man is it delicious!  While the recipe calls for using a cooked rotisserie chicken, you could easily substitute leftover Thanksgiving turkey as well!

Here is what you need:

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole | Dinner Meal | Rice Casseroles | Cheesy Chicken Meal

3-4 cups cooked chopped chicken (a deli rotisserie chicken works well)
1 sweet onion
4 cans condensed cream of broccoli soup
2 cups milk
2-1/2 cups water
1 16oz container sour cream
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 10 oz packages yellow rice
1 16oz bag frozen broccoli
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
 

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole | Dinner Meal | Rice Casseroles | Cheesy Chicken Meal

Step 1: Chop onion; set aside.

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole | Dinner Meal | Rice Casseroles | Cheesy Chicken Meal

Step 2: In large bowl whisk together soup, milk, water, sour cream, salt, pepper, chopped onion and garlic powder until well blended.

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole | Dinner Meal | Rice Casseroles | Cheesy Chicken Meal

Step 3: Mix in rice, chicken, broccoli, and cheddar cheese.

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole | Dinner Meal | Rice Casseroles | Cheesy Chicken Meal

Step 4: Divide mixture into 2 gallon size freezer bags (be sure to label bags first); freeze until needed.

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole | Dinner Meal | Rice Casseroles | Cheesy Chicken Meal

Step 5: Thaw; pour mixture into casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir, being sure to scrape any rice that has collected along the sides and mix well. (DON’T SKIP THIS PART!!  If desired, sprinkle with 1/2 cup crushed cracker crumbs and drizzle 2 tablespoons of melted butter over crumb mixture.  Return to oven and bake at 400 degrees for additional 45-50 minutes.

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole | Dinner Meal | Rice Casseroles | Cheesy Chicken Meal

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole | Dinner Meal | Rice Casseroles | Cheesy Chicken Meal

32 Comments

  1. November 26 at 10:09AM

    I absolutely LOVE that this can be frozen until needed and it looks/sounds so yummy. I need more simplicity in my life right now and this is a perfect way to do that. I have been so overwhelmed with everything. Honestly. This might save my sanity. Thank you!

  2. November 26 at 11:15AM

    another one to be bookmarked!! Sounds delish and really makes me wish my husband would eat broccoli

  3. November 26 at 02:14PM

    Chicken and rice is one of my favorite meals. This looks yummy too! Thanks for sharing & Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. wendy fisher
    November 26 at 02:45PM

    This looks great also as a meal to bring to people. Just wanted to check…does the cook time end up being about an hour and 15 minutes (30 + 45)? Thanks!

    • Ruth Soukup
      March 14 at 10:14AM

      Yes–about an hour and 15 minutes! 🙂

  5. Terri
    November 26 at 06:34PM

    Does the rice need to be cooked before adding it in?

    • Anonymous
      November 28 at 02:29PM

      no rice should never be frozen when cooked.

      • Anonymous II
        January 2 at 06:25PM

        Why should cooked rice not be frozen? I always freeze leftover cooked rice to be later added to soup or a casserole or stir fry. I find it very convenient.

  6. November 29 at 01:52PM

    Pinning this one now 🙂 I’m convinced that freezer cooking is something I need to try this next year. I hate the mess of kitchen clean-up so I just know I’d like meal-time much more if I could do it all once each week. Thanks, Ruth!

  7. November 29 at 06:32PM

    Love freezer cooking and this recipe looks like a great use for leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Thanks for sharing!

  8. December 5 at 03:18PM

    Yum, we make ours Dairy and gluten free by subbing in full fat coconut milk for the soup and sour cream. You can add a bullion cube or two to add some flavor (and dairy free cheese, of course).

    It really is good and some great comfort food even when your family can’t have dairy.

  9. Nana
    January 2 at 06:33PM

    PLEASE CLARIFY! The cooking time in the directions total 80 minutes but at the end of the recipe, it says cooking time is 40 minutes. Which is correct?

    • Ruth Soukup
      January 4 at 05:56PM

      The total cooking time is 80 minutes. Step five explains why the extra time is needed. 🙂

  10. Wendi
    January 8 at 12:10AM

    PLEASE clarify Ruth. Does the rice need to be cooked Before freezing?

    Thanks so much

  11. Anonymous
    January 17 at 12:25PM

    Would love to see the nutrition facts for these recipes

  12. Anonymous
    January 19 at 10:08AM

    Could you substitute quinoa for the rice?? Thanks so much?

  13. Anonymous
    January 20 at 11:21PM

    Can it be put in crock pot???? How long would it need to cook??

    • Ruth Soukup
      January 22 at 11:05AM

      I haven’t tried it in the crockpot.

  14. Stephanie
    January 27 at 09:23PM

    What about that mysterious chopped onion from Step 1? I’m assuming it just gets mixed in with the rest, but the directions never mention it again, so I just wanted to be sure. Recipe looks great, can’t wait to try!

    • Ruth Soukup
      January 29 at 01:56PM

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Yes, you would add the chopped onion to step 2. 🙂

  15. Tina
    February 10 at 08:46PM

    Would it still cook as long if it was never frozen? Say if I wanted to just prep it and throw it in the oven, do I still follow the same time? Thank you!

    • Ruth Soukup
      March 14 at 10:13AM

      Since it should be thawed before cooking, the cooking time would remain the same!

  16. Brandi Hector
    April 6 at 11:55PM

    This looks amazing. I wonder if subbing cream of mushroom for cream of broccoli would work? Or a mixture of cream of mushroom & cream of chicken? I keep a stock of those two for my freezer meals.

  17. Anonymous
    June 29 at 07:19PM

    Does the rice need to be cooked?

  18. Jamie
    July 10 at 01:15PM

    I just made this last night (froze one bag and cooked the other right away) and it is SO good! One question/observation: I feel like the yellow rice was a little undercooked, it tastes a little crunchy. Any suggestions on how to soften the rice? Or maybe a substitution? It tastes good but if I was going to feed anyone other than my fiance and I, I would definitely wouldn’t want them to think it was undercooked 😉

    Thanks!

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