This basic chicken and rice casserole is a family favorite from Liz. The chicken is layered on the rice mixture and then baked to perfection. Top this chicken casserole with your favorite shredded cheese just before you take it out of the oven.
The casserole is versatile as well. Steamed frozen vegetables may be added to the rice for a complete one-pot meal. See the tips and variations below the recipe for some additional ingredient ideas and suggestions.
Add a tossed salad and biscuits for a satisfying dinner. The recipe is easily doubled for a large family or leftovers.
- 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup (or cream of celery, chicken, etc.)
- 1 cup water (or unsalted chicken stock)
- 3/4 cup long-grain rice
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground), plus more for sprinkling
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves (without skin*)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Optional: 1 cup shredded cheese – cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, or mozzarella
- Heat the oven to 375 F.
- Lightly butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
- In a bowl, combine the condensed soup, water, rice, paprika, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to blend.
- Transfer the rice mixture to the prepared baking dish.
- Place the chicken breast halves on top of rice mixture.
- Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and additional paprika and black pepper.
- Cover the casserole tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked to at least 165 F and the rice is tender.
- If desired, sprinkle with cheese and continue baking just until cheese has melted.
*According to the USDA a serving of chicken is 3 to 4 ounces. Chicken breast halves are usually 5 to 8 ounces and sometimes larger. If the chicken breasts are quite large, you may want to use only 2 chicken breast halves; slice them in half horizontally to form four cutlets.
Tips and Variations
- Buttered Bread Crumb Topping: Toss 1 cup of fine soft bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake the chicken and rice as directed and then sprinkle with the cheese and/or the bread crumbs. Place the casserole under the broiler and broil just until the bread crumbs are browned. Panko crumbs (tossed with the melted butter) may be used for a crispier topping.
- Add 1 cup of steamed peas and carrots or mixed vegetables to the rice mixture.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of lightly steamed broccoli florets to the rice mixture.
- Instead of condensed cream of mushroom soup, use cream of chicken or cream of celery soup. One reader used condensed cheddar cheese soup with excellent results.
- To the rice mixture, add 1/2 cup of chopped onions and 1/4 cup of chopped bell pepper.
- Saute 6 to 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms and add them to the rice.