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

4.69 from 35 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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264 Comments

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  1. Hi Erin, I’m a big fan of yours and have a question about this recipe in particular. I’d like to make this dish for a large crowd – 18 adults. What size (disposable pan) should I use?

    1. Hi Debbie! It really depends on how much you’re planning to serve with it/how much each person will eat. I’d recommend at least doubling the recipe and baking it in a deep 9×13 baking pan. You could also bake the recipe as directed in an 8×8 pan as well. I haven’t experimented with adjusting this recipe for a crowd this large, so you’ll be experimenting. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  2. This was delicious! Loved that it’s a healthy take on a nice, comforting casserole. The mustard really makes the dish, do not leave it out. Have made many of Erin’s recipes from her blog and book. They have all been outstanding.5 stars

  3. This sounds very good. I have your crock pot shredded chicken cooking now & thought it would be great to use in a casserole to save time (my first time trying it!). I only have quick brown rice, which simmers about 15-20 mins. Should I cook that separately, (it calls for 2 cups of liquid for every cup of rice, also would I use the chicken stock or water?) and re-heat the chicken/broccoli in a pan; make the sauce & then mix everything together and bake? Thank you so much for answering these silly beginner questions!

    1. Hi Suz! I’ve only tested this recipe with instant brown rice, so I can’t offer any exact liquid or timing suggestions. You could try using the rice in the recipe as suggested, but you may need to adjust the amount of broth a bit and let it simmer a couple minutes longer than directed. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  4. This recipe is so delicious 😋 I’m currently prepping dishes to freeze for when my baby arrives 🙂
    Left out a portion to bake/try last night – my hubby & I both LOVED it!
    Easy to make and super tasty. Hoping it freezes well and I think it will!5 stars

  5. Wow I actually came back to double check that I’d made this right because it tasted so off. The Dijon taste is totally overpowering and both my husband and I immediately thought it was pretty bad. Unfortunately would not recommend.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that this dish wasn’t to your tastes, Brandi. I (and many other readers) have really enjoyed it, so I truly wish it would’ve been a hit for you too!

  6. Erin,
    This was great! I’ve been looking for a healthier version that doesn’t use canned soup. This fit the bill. I’m new to your website, but I look forward to trying more recipes.
    Thanks!5 stars

  7. I never review recipes but this one is AMAZING!!! It tastes just like the cheesy broccoli rice my mom makes for holidays only, but with significantly less calories! I was skeptical about the Dijon mustard at first but it truly adds such a wonderful flavor! Added to my favorites!5 stars

    1. Hi Emily! I have only tried baking this in a casserole dish, but another reader has reported success with leaving hers in the original pot. I hope you enjoyed the recipe!

      1. Thank you for the reply. This was delicious! I did add a little bit of extra cheese and some fresh grated parmesan on top. Also used orzo instead of rice since I didn’t have any instant rice. Popped the Dutch oven into the oven and it was perfect! I’ve already sent the recipe to some family members to try!5 stars

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