This Chicken and Rice Casserole was one of the first blog posts I put up back in the days where I was essentially trying to create an online cookbook for myself and my family of favorite recipes. I didn’t even have a photo for it back then!
This recipe is an old family favorite. My mom used to make Chicken and Rice Casserole all the time when I was growing up. In fact, often times if I were sick, it’s one of the recipes I’d ask for. It was kind of like chicken soup in casserole form. Now it’s one that my daughter and I like a lot too. It’s quick and easy to prepare, making it ideal for a busy weeknight dinner.
I remember it being one of the first meals I learned to cook as well. The simplicity of it made it perfect for a young child to learn to make. Once you’ve prepared it a few times, you won’t even need the recipe anymore. It only has a few ingredients and it’s so easy to vary it according to your preferences. Or just to switch things up a bit now and then.
This Chicken and Rice Casserole was even a regular part of our meal rotation for our many family camping trips each summer. It’s perfect for a foil packet dinner! Prepare as instructed but instead of putting in a casserole dish, simply make a packet out of doubled thick aluminum foil. Cook it over your campfire or even on the BBQ. I usually add extra liquid to it when cooking it this way as it tends to dry out a little faster.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (this is our personal preference now but growing up Mom would make it with assorted chicken pieces)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (you can use a different cream soup if you’d like but this is the one that produces the taste I like best – cream of celery or cream of mushroom also works well)
- 1 soup can of water or milk
- 2 cups uncooked instant rice (like Minute Rice)
- My mom would often sprinkle some poultry seasoning over this before baking. I prefer something a little more flavorful so I tend to add other herbs and spices. Rosemary, basil, lemon pepper, tarragon, and thyme are all good choices. Recently, I've been loving McCormick's Mojito Lime Seasoning in it.
- Simply stir the rice and soup together – I usually hold back a little bit of the soup to pour over the chicken as well.
- If you find that the soup is a bit on the thick side (different brands have different consistencies), add in some of the water if you’d like but I usually wait and just pour the water (or milk) over the rice mixture once I have put it into a casserole dish.
- You can mix the seasonings into the rice mixture or sprinkle on top of the chicken. Or do a bit of both.
- Put the chicken on top of the rice mixture in the casserole dish and bake this in a 325 degree F oven for about 40-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.
- Your timing will vary a bit based on the thickness of the chicken pieces you are using.
- I like to cover the dish for the first half an hour to form a little steam to help the chicken and rice cook and then uncover it so that the chicken pieces brown up a bit.
- If the rice starts to dry out before the chicken is done, you can always add a little more milk or water to the dish.
- You can substitute a 16 oz. jar of salsa for the soup and use 1 1/2 cups water or milk. Cook as directed but near the end of the cooking time, top the chicken with 1 cup of grated cheese.
- Substitute 2 cups prepared spaghetti sauce for the soup and use 1 cup water or milk. Cook as directed but this time, just before serving, sprinkle the casserole with 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese.
- Use 3/4 cup of a bottled stir-fry sauce (like teriyaki or honey garlic) for the soup along with 1 cup water or milk. Stir in about 3 cups of frozen stir fry vegetables with the rice. Cook as directed.
- You can make the casserole as directed but add some vegetables to the dish – for example, a 10 oz. pkg. of frozen spinach, green beans, or peas, or 2 cups broccoli (fresh or frozen). If using green beans, you might want to top with 1/2 cup of those canned French fried onions just before serving. If using broccoli, you might want to add some cheese to the recipe.
Mom’s Chicken and Rice Casserole is such a classic dish – and for good reason! It’s a simple inexpensive way to put together a complete meal for your family. Best of all, it’s delicious.
Check out some more really easy and really yummy family favorite casseroles here –