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One pan and just 15 minutes of prep time means you can have this cheesy chicken and rice casserole dinner on the table in less than an hour. And the best part is it's made with REAL ingredients, ie: NO condensed soup necessary!!
You'll Love This
- It's a ONE PAN dinner which happens to utilize my favorite enameled cast iron casserole pan from Amazon Basics. It's legit the best piece of cookware that I own as it is SO versatile and easily goes straight from the stove top to the oven. If you're a regular around here - you've seen this pan used in roughly 90% of my recipes!
- It's a family dinner classic. When I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, 99.9% of the time he says chicken and rice. We both grew up with this chicken and rice casserole as a weeknight staple on our family dinner tables. However, our moms always used to make them with condensed soup and that is one thing this casserole does NOT have.
- There's NO condensed soup in it! As I mentioned above most of us grew up eating chicken and rice casserole made with that sodium laden can of condensed soup. And don't get me wrong, it was delicious. But there are other ways to give your casserole that same creamy texture without the use of condensed soup. The starch from the rice combines with heavy cream and shredded Parmesan in this recipe, giving this casserole just the right amount of rich creaminess without reaching for the Campbell's.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil a large oven safe saute pan over medium high heat.
Combine paprika, garlic powder and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Pat chicken skin dry.
Sprinkle about ⅔ of the seasoning on the skin side of the chicken.
Sear chicken in oil, skin side down, for about 3 minutes or until a dark gold brown crust forms. Add remaining seasoning to the underside of the chicken (which is now facing up).
Flip chicken over and cook other side for about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add onion, carrot, celery and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add chicken broth.
Add heavy cream.
Add Parmesan cheese.
Then add rice and stir to combine.
Next, nestle chicken thighs into rice mixture.
Cover and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the chicken is cooked through. Broil on high for 1-2 minutes to get the chicken skins nice and crispy again.
Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and enjoy!
- For the most flavor, use bone in skin on chicken thighs. However if you only have skinless chicken breast on hand, I recommend following the recipe directions in the same way, but baking the rice mixture (covered) in the oven for about 20 minutes and THEN adding the seared chicken breasts to the rice, covering it again and baking for another 20-30 minutes.
- If you don't have fresh thyme feel free to sub dried! I would recommend about a ½ teaspoon of dried thyme in place of the fresh in this recipe. If you're a big thyme LOVER then go for a full teaspoon of dried. I usually opt for fresh thyme in this dish but dried will work just as well!
- It's tempting, I know, but resist the urge to peek while this casserole is baking. The moisture from the broth and cream is going to cook the chicken through and make your rice nice and delicate in texture. You can safely bake it for at least 40 minutes before giving the rice a quick taste to see if it's done. If it's not quite cooked through then cover it and check it again in 5 minutes or so.
- This recipe was written using this Della brand of basmati and wild rice. There are several similar wild rice blends out there so you should have no problem finding one at your local grocery store!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I add different vegetables in place of the carrots and celery?
- Personally, I LOVE the classic trifecta of onion, carrot and celery in almost all my casseroles and soups. It gives everything the most delicious flavor.
- But you could certainly sub broccoli, sliced mushrooms or your favorite veggies in place of the carrots and celery!
- Can I use another herb instead of thyme?
- Of course! Sage, oregano or even just a bit more rosemary would all be delish in this recipe. I love all herbs equally (actually I kind of have a love affair with sage and if you haven't checked out my Wild Rice Soup, you MUST) but I know some folks have aversions to certain herbs.
- Customize this recipe to fit your tastes - just make sure that IF you are using dried herbs in place of fresh, you use about half the amount or less as the flavor of the dried herbs is much stronger than that of the fresh.
- What if I don't have a pan that can go from the stove top to the oven?
- Well you should get one then! You can check out my favorite pan here.
- OR use a regular pan to sear the chicken thighs and saute the veggies. And then just transfer the veggies to an oven safe pan, add the broth, cream, Parmesan and rice. Then nestle the chicken thighs in and cook, covered, according to the recipe instructions.
Other Family Favorites:
- Easy Chicken Tacos
- No-Boil Pasta Bake
- Vegan Curry Ramen Noodles
- 30 Minute Baked Ravioli
- One-Pot Mac and Cheese
- Easy Garlic Butter Noodles