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Chicken and Rice Casserole

Posted by Denise on May 8, 2011

chicken and rice casserole on yellow plate

We love this simple Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe!

Our Chicken and Rice Casserole makes one of our favorite “go to” main dishes. Moist chicken pieces cooked with a lucious rice mixture is a comfort food all year round. No one who has eaten it at our home has been able to eat only one helping. Even if it is a second, small dollop of more rice or snagging another piece of chicken, our guests cannot seem to stop at one helping, but the recipe makes plenty so you won’t run short of food.

Over the years I have tweaked the original recipe that I got from Mom (who got it from  a friend). The original version uses less liquid making a firmer, although still moist and very delicious, rice. In this recipe, we treat the rice almost like a risotto, but you don’t have to watch closely as it bakes in the oven. We add chicken broth periodically as the rice cooks, resulting in a creamy rice with lots of flavor.

We like to use chicken thighs or leg quarters (leg and thigh together) for the casserole because the pieces stay so moist. The original recipe instructions called for the chicken pieces to be cooked on top of the rice. Many times the chicken would sink into the uncooked rice and neither the chicken nor the rice would brown properly. The rice also absorbed too much of the chicken fat and tasted greasy. We did like how the chicken flavored the rice, however. A happy compromise was to trim the fat from 4-6 of the chicken pieces and cook them on top of the rice to flavor it but limit the fat.

Since we always seemed to end up with more rice than chicken, we cook more chicken in a separate pan alongside the casserole. If we have leftover chicken and rice, we debone the chicken and add the meat into the rice. When it is re-heated for another meal, everything stays moist.

I have made this recipe in the oven, on the stove, and in a pressure cooker. It turned out well any way I’ve done it, but the stovetop and the pressure cooker methods both require more monitoring and stirring to keep the rice from forming a crust on the bottom of the pan and burning. It still makes a great meal, but I prefer the more hands-off oven method. If you choose not to add the additional chicken broth during the oven cooking, you will end up with a very tasty and moist meal. We like the rice to be creamy, so I add the broth a couple of times during the cooking process.



Chicken and Rice Casserole

 Makes 6-8 servings




chicken and rice casserole ingredients




5    Tablespoons butter, divided

1          can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1          can condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted

1          can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1          soup can (after contents are used) milk

1 ½      cup uncooked white rice

8-12     chicken thighs, leg quarters, or whole cut up chicken

2-3       cups chicken broth, warmed




1.         Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.         Open soup cans and combine in a large saucepan. Stir in uncooked rice.


soup in pan


3.        Re-use one of the soup cans and fill with milk. Pour into soup/rice mixture in pan.


adding milk to chicken and rice casserole

 chicken and rice casserole soup in pot


4.         Add 3 tablespoons of the butter into the mixture and cook on medium-low heat until butter melts completely, stirring frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.


butter in pan for chicken and rice casserole


5.         Once the butter is melted, turn off heat and pour rice mixture from the pan into a ovenproof casserole or baking dish. Immediately drop remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter into the hot pan to melt it.

6.         Add 4 or so pieces of chicken to the top of the rice. Pour melted butter over top of the chicken pieces of top of the rice.

 chicken and rice in casserole dish


7.         Put rice mixture into oven.

8.         Warm 2-3 cups of chicken broth in pan over low heat or in microwave.

9.         Place remaining chicken in ovenproof baker. Put this into the oven about 30 minutes after the rice mixture was put in.

chicken in baker

10.         Bake for approximately 1-½ hours, adding ½ - ¾ cup of chicken broth to the rice mixture every 20-30 minutes, if desired. The rice is perfectly delicious if you do not add the broth, but adding it makes the rice extra creamy, which we love. Stir it slightly to keep from disturbing the chicken pieces on top of the rice each time you add broth.

11.         When the chicken and top of rice is nicely browned, test the rice. It should be soft but with some texture to it. If it is still slightly crunchy in the center, add a little liquid and cook it some more until it is done.

 chicken and rice casserole out of oven


chicken and rice casserole on blue plate

 chicken and rice casserole on brown plate

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