Give this Cheesy Chicken and Rice a try for comfort food that the whole family will ask for again and again. It is cheesy, creamy, and so delicious. Plus, this kid-friendly dinner is easy to make. Give it a try, and it will surely become a regular in your dinnertime rotation.
This chicken cheese and rice recipe is for you if you love casseroles!
It is the perfect balance of carbs and protein for a complete and filling meal. Plus, it is made with simple real food ingredients - no cream of chicken soup here!
Just add a veggie side, and dinner is solved! (Or add vegetables to the dish for a super easy meal!)
Give this recipe a try, and let me know how it goes.
Ingredients for Making Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breast, but chicken thighs would work too. If you're short on time, you can also use rotisserie chicken.
- Salt, garlic powder, and black pepper: These seasonings are my favorites, but feel free to use whatever seasonings you like to make this chicken and cheesy rice your own.
- Avocado oil: You could also use olive oil or another cooking oil.
- Butter: I used unsalted butter, but feel free to use salted butter if that's what you have on hand.
- All-purpose flour: This will help to thicken the cheese sauce.
- Milk: I used whole milk, but you could also use 2% or even skim milk. The higher the fat content, the richer and creamier the sauce.
- Shredded cheddar cheese: You could also use other types of cheese, such as Monterey Jack, Colby, or even Swiss.
- Dried mustard: This gives the sauce a nice tangy flavor. If you don't have any on hand, you could also use 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
- Cooked rice: I used white rice, but you could also use brown rice or another type of grain.
- Sour cream: This adds a lovely richness to the casserole. You could also use plain yogurt if you prefer.
Tips & Tricks
- Cook the rice ahead of time. This will help to save time when you're assembling the baked chicken and rice casserole.
- Use rotisserie chicken to save time. Simply shred the chicken and add it to the casserole.
- Use any type of cheese that you like. I prefer cheddar cheese, but feel free to use whatever kind of cheese you have on hand.
- Add a can of drained and rinsed black beans to the casserole for an extra protein boost.
- For a more moist casserole, add ½ cup of chicken broth to the cheese sauce.
All it takes is a simple green salad to complement this creamy chicken and rice and make it a meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
I used boneless skinless chicken breast, but chicken thighs would work too. If you're short on time, you can also use rotisserie chicken.
I like broccoli florets, but you could also add carrots, peas, or even corn. Sauteed onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and celery added to the rice mixture are also great additions.
Get creative and add whatever fresh veggies that you have on hand.
Tools Needed to Make Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake
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- Casserole Dish
Store leftover chicken and rice in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through.
You can also cover with foil and bake in a room temperature dish for about 20 minutes to reheat this easy chicken and rice recipe.
Leftover chicken and rice can also be frozen for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
How to Make Cheesy Chicken and Rice
First, start by cooking the rice.
I like to use long-grain white rice, but you could also use brown rice or another type of grain. Cook the rice according to the package instructions. (If you are using Jasmine rice, check out this recipe for Instant Pot Jasmine Rice.)
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
Next, season the chicken with salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until it is browned.
Transfer the browned chicken to a large bowl and add the cooked rice.
To make the sauce, place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and cook until the butter melts. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook for 3 minutes, whisking often.
Add the milk and cook until the mixture thickens about 8 more minutes.
Add 8 ounces of the cheese, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the dried mustard.
Pour the sauce over the chicken, rice, and sour cream. Stir until everything is evenly mixed.
Spread the mixture into a baking dish, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbly.
Garnish with fresh herbs if desired - parsley or thyme are great options.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Cheesy Chicken and Rice
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 6 cups cooked rice
- ½ cup sour cream
- Pat the chicken breast dry. Cut it into cubes and place in a bowl. Toss with the salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until it is browned.
- Transfer the browned chicken to a large bowl.
- Place a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the butter and cook until the butter melts. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook for 3 minutes, whisking often.
- Add the milk and cook until the mixture thickens about 8 more minutes.
- Add 8 ounces of the cheese, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the cheese melts.
- Stir in the dried mustard, garlic powder, and black pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Add the rice to the bowl with the chicken.
- Stir in the cheese sauce and sour cream.
- Transfer to a casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese.
- Cook for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted.