This one pan Chicken Rice Casserole Recipe comes together with just 15 minutes of prep time and then the oven does all the work which 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 Will 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, then - you've seen this pan used in roughly 90% of my recipes!
- There's NO condensed soup in it! 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.
- If you loved this one pot dinner be sure to check out my One Skillet Walking Taco Casserole, One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta, or my Vegetarian Skillet Pot Pie.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Olive Oil — I like extra virgin olive oil for the flavor, but you could also use any other light-tasting oil with a high smoke point, like avocado.
- Chicken Thighs — We want bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe so that we achieve as much savory, delicious chicken flavor as possible. Thighs are perfect for this!
- Dry Seasonings — I like the combination of paprika, garlic powder, dried rosemary, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper for this recipe because it’s reminiscent of chicken noodle soup. But you could use any seasonings you prefer — a seasoned salt or poultry seasoning, or even Italian seasoning.
- Fresh Veggies — This chicken and rice casserole recipe calls for the classic mirepoix veggies — carrots, celery, and onion — as well as garlic. You just can’t go wrong with that combo!
- Fresh Thyme — This is the only fresh herb I used in this recipe because it’s just so dang good fresh, but you can use dried thyme if you’re in a pinch. Tarragon or sage work well, too.
- Rice — I love the texture and flavor of a basmati and wild rice blend for this dish. You get the starchy, fluffy rice from the basmati and a level of nuttiness from the wild rice blend. This particular rice blend works best in this recipe.
- Chicken Broth — If you don't have chicken broth on hand, vegetable broth will work in its place.
- Heavy Cream — This is the key to make this casserole perfectly creamy. It is a must and really shouldn't be substituted.
- Parmesan Cheese — This is another important ingredient because it just takes this casserole to the next level with its naturally salty, nutty flavor.
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. Season the other side, flip and cook for a couple more minutes. Remove from pan.
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.
- It's tempting, I know, but please 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.
Nope! You just stir the rice into the soupy broth base and nestle in those browned chicken thighs, then let your oven do all the work! This means less cleanup and no cooking the rice in a separate pan! Ah, the beauty of one pot meals!
In this recipe, giving the chicken a quick sear before adding everything else to the casserole ensures that they will cook through and also gives them a nice dark golden brown crust. Searing the chicken breast is going to add a ton of flavor to this casserole as well.
Yes! Covering the casserole traps the steam and helps the rice cook completely and finish cooking the chicken thighs. You will remove the lid, though, in the last couple minutes and set the oven to broil so that the chicken thighs can get nice and crispy.
More Family Favorites
Easy Chicken Rice Casserole
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!!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stove Top + Oven
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lbs. bone in, skin on chicken thighs
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1.5 cups basmati & wild rice blend (I used Della brand)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 8 oz. heavy cream
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large oven safe saute pan over medium high heat.
- Combine paprika, garlic powder and a large pinch of salt and pepper. 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 sear the other side for about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. At this point the chicken will just be seared on the outside, not cooked through. It will finish cooking with the rice in the oven.
- With heat still at medium high 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. Add garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Then add broth, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese and rice. 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 fresh parsley 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.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 506
- Sugar: 2.8 g
- Sodium: 403.5 mg
- Fat: 33.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 12.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 27.6 g
- Fiber: 2.8 g
- Protein: 24.8 g
- Cholesterol: 131.8 mg
Keywords: chicken and rice casserole from scratch, chicken broccoli rice casserole recipe, chicken and rice casserole without canned soup, chicken rice casserole no soup, chicken casserole without cream soup
I make a lot of casseroles in the cooler months, and I've made chicken + rice a hundred million times. This recipe is spot on!! The only thing I did differently than what is written was I added a sage leaf, and as we make our own stocks, I used that instead of just chicken broth. Thank you for sharing, it was delicious, even my picky eaters, ATE!!! 🙂
Woohoo! A sage leaf would be perfect in this recipe - great idea! Thank you so much for leaving a review, Janna. I really appreciate it 🙂
If I double the recipe how large a casserole dish should I use?
It might be best to use two 9x13 casserole dishes if you're doubling the recipe! Good question!
This dish was very enjoyable! It took a lot longer to cook than I anticipated (over an hour) but it was well worth the wait! The only thing I did to vary the recipe was add mushrooms which I sautéed quickly after browning the chicken, before the other vegetables. I will definitely make it again.
I was very happy to find this recipe!my husband is allergic to all kinds of foods so I can’t use canned soup. I left out the onion(he’s allergic) but added some finely chopped green beans, mushrooms and fresh corn kernels along with the carrots. It was delicious! Thank you so much!
I only had Rice a Roni wild rice with the seasoning packet and used 2 boxes. It had a little over a cup of rice so I reduced the liquids by 1/2 cup each and used the seasoning packets. I seasoned the chicken per the recipe and added the vegetables and a tablespoon of minced garlic. I also reduced the cheese to 1/3 cup. Delicious and so easy with the seasoning packet. I will make again
I am so glad to hear that this worked with Rice a Roni! I never would have thought to try that but I bet the seasoning packets from those added a ton of extra flavor! Thanks for leaving a review, Debbie. I really appreciate it 🙂
This recipe looks so good. The only problem I am having is both my husband and I are lactose intolerant - so the heavy cream is a "no no" for both of us. Can you suggest another substitute for the heavy cream?
Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe with us.
I would give coconut milk a try!! It may seem like an odd substitute but I use coconut milk in a TON of my dairy-free recipes with great results. Grab the full-fat canned coconut milk for the best flavor and texture. You might be surprised to find that you can't taste the coconut flavor at all when it's mixed with the herbs in this recipe. Great question, Sherrie! Hope that helps 🙂
The dish was delicious I used everything the recipe required except I used brown rice it was excellent. Thank you
I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed this chicken and rice, Sarah! Glad it worked with brown rice too - thank you for sharing that 🙂
I did cook the chicken thighs a bit longer than the 3 minutes on each side. I also didn't have fresh herbs so I used dried. I'll be a little more generous with the salt and herbs the next time.. The combination of the cream and veggies will absorb seasonings. More seasoning should yield a more savory dish. I also cooked this dish for an hour instead of 50 minutes. Be sure to use the broiler at the end. The skin was crisp and not wet. I will keep it in the rotation. ?
Love to hear that you enjoyed this dish, Doris! Thanks so much for leaving a review - I really appreciate it 🙂