Healthy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is one of the oldest, best-loved recipes on my site. As the comments section will attest, this healthy, cheesy, and easy dinner recipe has received rave reviews from picky husbands, fussy toddlers, and new moms in search of freezer meals. The flavors are simple and appealing, the recipe prep is easy, and unlike many other casserole recipes, this chicken broccoli rice casserole contains NO SOUP!

red casserole dish with chicken broccoli rice casserole
Casseroles like Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole were a fixture at our table growing up. My mom was the casserole QUEEN. She wore a crown of Pyrex and carried a scepter of nonstick baking spray.

Those last two things are a fib, but she really did rock the 9×13 pan. Not only could she make a casserole from scratch, but she could transform any (and I mean any) leftover in our home into a creamy, cheesy casserole of sorts. (She’s the inspiration behind this Broccoli Quinoa Casserole.)

My mom’s casseroles never had names. If I asked her what was for dinner, she would respond with a frazzled, “Don’t ask me what it’s called—I made it up.” My childhood brain immediately translated the lack of title to “Yuck.” I assumed (unfairly) that, beneath that tantalizing top layer of melty cheese, my mom was hiding all manner of unsavory ingredients. Anchovies? Lima beans? Chicken livers? Anything was possible.

As an adult, it took me a few years to recover from the word casserole. It still makes me a bit uncomfortable, to the extent that I originally titled this recipe “Chicken Broccoli Rice Bake.” It’s unfair to my mom—she’s a good cook, and it’s also rather illogical. After all, “casserole” is basically an abbreviated way of saying “giant pan of cheesy goodness, baked until hot and bubbly.”

When put this way, the wrongly maligned casserole belongs on all of our lists of favorite foods, starting with today’s easy recipe for Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole.


white dinner plate of Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

No Soup Added Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

I think part of the reason the word casserole can make a girl run and hide her fork is that stereotypical casseroles are used to disguise, rather than celebrate, their ingredients. Tuna Surprise, I am looking at you.

Although casserole condemnations do have some foundation in reality (many of the casserole recipes in the universe are indeed overly heavy, bland, and laden with cream of XYZ soup), when made properly, casseroles can also be an excellent, healthy choices for dinner.

In recent years, I’ve embraced the beauty of the casserole (reference: Sausage and Rice CasseroleCrock Pot Mexican CasseroleSpaghetti Squash Casserole, and SO MANY MORE), and I credit Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole as my gateway. Whether you consider yourself a casserole doubter or casserole devotee, I’m willing to bet this healthy chicken broccoli casserole will convince you too. If not, I know either this Chicken Broccoli Ziti or Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole will!

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole baked into a square red casserole dish

A Well-Rounded Healthy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

A mix of brown rice, quickly sautéed chicken, and fresh broccoli, Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole offers every food group in a single meal. There is no soup to be found (cream of, canned, or otherwise).

Instead, the smooth, bubbly cheese sauce is made with Greek yogurt and cheddar. This casserole recipe is easy to scale up to feed a crowd, make and freeze ahead, and reheat leftover for lunches and dinners throughout the week.

white plate of healthy chicken broccoli rice casserole with a fork on the plate

Could I be dubbed the Queen of Casseroles one day? Aside from the weird premonitions of becoming my mother, I’ll take the casserole-queen title with compliments. Please pass me my Pyrex crown.

Recommended Tools to Make Cheesy Casserole

red casserole dish with cheesy chicken broccoli rice casserole

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole | Easy, Cheesy, and Healthy

4.63 from 29 votes
This cheesy chicken broccoli rice casserole recipe is a healthy version of the classic with NO cream of anything soup. Comfort food you can feel good about!

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 1 hr 5 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups instant brown rice if you use white rice or non-instant rice, the cooking time and amount of liquid needed may differ
  • 1 pound broccoli florets chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk divided (I used skim)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese divided (about 6 ounces)

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a deep 9-inch-square baking dish or a 3-quart casserole dish.
  • Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot, then add the rice. Return to a boil, add the broccoli to the top of the rice (no need to stir it together), then cover, reduce the heat to low, and let cook 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and let sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes. Most of the rice liquid should be absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large deep pot over medium-high. Add the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Sauté until cooked through and no longer pink in the center, about 4 to 6 minutes, then remove to a plate. Being careful not to burn yourself, wipe the pot clean with a paper towel.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup milk. Pour the mixture into the pot, then add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Dijon, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir in the Greek yogurt and 1 cup of the shredded cheese until smooth.
  • Add the rice and broccoli mixture and the reserved chicken to the cheese sauce, stirring gently to coat. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 25 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes, then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 398kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 35gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 743mgFiber: 7gSugar: 8g

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Healthy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole. A lightened up version of the classic casserole recipe, with NO condensed soup.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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244 Comments

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  1. Thanks for sharing your basic “no-soup chicken”, rice, and broccoli casserole!  It worked very well for me and of course my family and I loved it.  I didn’t  change anything and loved the surprising taste of the dijon mustard that comes through.  Though when growing up in the 50’s-’60’s soup was used in recipes I , in the ’70’s-’80’s, discovered my own preferences  through a new generation of vegetarians seeking organic produce and with a ‘back to basics”philosophy that swept the U.S.  This is the perfect simple from-scratch recipe for anyone to try as the alternative to a “traditional broccoli/other things’ casserole that perhaps they were familiar with.  I did have one question about making the roux heating the flour/milk mixture in the pan without having first put any kind of butter or oil in it as that is normally the way other long-standing recipes have been written.  Thanks so much for this!  To save time,  it can be more-simply done by using leftover brown rice and just  steaming the broccoli, leaving all the ingredients in tact,  like I did. 5 stars

  2. Just pulled out this tried and true recipe as we get ready for the first cool day in North Carolina. I also sent it to my parents in Illinois. It’s a great one!5 stars

  3. Hi Erin,

    I really want to try this recipe as a way to stock the freezer for expectant friends. What would the baking/heating instructions be for if I wanted to freeze this? Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Hi Diana! You can bake this recipe as directed and freeze it fully cooked. I recommend letting it thaw overnight in the refrigerator the day before you plan to reheat it. I hope you love the recipe!

  4. Just tried this last week and loved it! My family gobbled it up for dinner, and I had the leftovers for lunch at work. I LOVE that this is made without “cream of” anything. Thank you, Erin!5 stars

  5. Thanks for the recipe! I am wondering if I can replace the rice with cauliflower or do a half brown (non instant) rice and half cauliflower? TIA

    1. Hi Lotu! I actually wouldn’t recommend this. While cauliflower rice is a good swap for recipes like stir-fry or curry when the meal is meant to be served over rice, because the rice bakes in the casserole with the sauce and other ingredients, I’m worried it couldn’t stand up to the cook time and would turn into mush. You could try a different grain like quinoa or farro, but because the rice called for in the recipe is instant and quinoa/farro are not, you’d want to cook them separately, then add them in with the sauce, broccoli, and chicken just before baking. Hope that helps!

  6. Made this , But not as casserole. Did the recipe but steps #1 & #5,.. served it over rice instead of making it a casserole. Excellent. The Dijon mustard and yogurt in the cheese sauce, made it delicious. Yum! Candy5 stars

  7. To make the recipe gluten free, I used a tablespoon to thiken the milk. Other than that, I made the rice in my copper pot, then added the other cooked ingredients and baked it in there. One less dish, and so good.5 stars

  8. This is a tasty, easy casserole that even my picky toddler loves! (Big win there!) But it also tastes good enough that my husband and I love it too. I often toss in some caramelized onions too because who doesn’t love those?!?5 stars

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