Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!

cheesy chicken and rice casserole being scooped out of casserole dish.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

This cheesy chicken and rice casserole is healthier than most–filled with veggies, brown rice, and chicken–but still creamy, cheesy, and comforting! It’s a fantastic, healthy way to use up some leftover broccoli and chicken.

Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
Prep: 20 minutesCook: 30 minutesTotal: 50 minutes


  • 23 tablespoons avocado or olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 23 celery ribs, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 cups finely chopped broccoli (sub: cauliflower)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream (sub: plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (sub: shredded Asiago cheese)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (finely shredded melts best)
  • 2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken* (great use of leftover Rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (here’s how to make brown rice in the Instant Pot)
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (I prefer whole wheat; or use dry gluten-free breadcrumbs)

Before You Begin! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.


Make It Now:

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 9×13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Saute Veggies: Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmery, sauté the onion, carrots, celery, and broccoli for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic during the last 30-60 seconds. Season with poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning, and lightly with salt and pepper while veggies cook. Remove from the heat.
  3. Make Filling: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sour cream and chicken stock. Then stir in Parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese. Lastly, add the cooked chicken, cooked brown rice, and sautéed veggies and stir to combine. Spoon the rice mixture into the casserole dish and press down to evenly distribute. 
  4. Add Breadcrumbs: In a separate small bowl, combine bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Evenly distribute on top of the casserole. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  5. Bake and Serve: Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until casserole is slightly bubbling around the edges. Broil for 1-2 minutes at the end, if the top isn’t brown enough. Serve warm.

Freeze For Later: Follows Steps 2-4. Do not bake. Tightly wrap the dish in a few layers of plastic wrap or foil, pressing out any air. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw completely (24-48 hours in the fridge is best). Set casserole on the counter and preheat the oven to 375°F. Follow Step 5.


*How to Pre-Cook the Chicken: Season 2-3 chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper. Bake at 400°F for about 20-30 minutes (until no longer pink inside or register 165°F internally). Let rest on wooden cutting board for 5-10 minutes and then shred or dice the chicken.

Gluten-Free Version: Use gluten free bread crumbs, leave off the breadcrumbs, or use almond meal instead.

Can I Make a Dairy-Free Version? I don’t recommend this, as the sour cream and cheese are a vital part of this recipe’s success. However, you can try using a non-dairy cheese like Daiya brand and a non-dairy Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream. I’m just not sure how well this will work, since I haven’t tested it.

Vegetarian Version: Leave out the chicken, use vegetable broth, and double the amount of veggies. You could also replace the chicken with cooked black beans or navy beans for more protein.

Tip: To add in some color, add 2-3 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley to the wet mixture.

Where We Get Our Chicken: We get our meat from ButcherBox. The chicken is organic and curated from small, trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves. 

© Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
Cuisine: American Method: Baking