This Chicken and Rice Casserole is one of our ALL TIME FAVORITE family recipes! It is ultra-creamy and packed with tender rice, delicious chicken, and topped with buttery ritz crackers.
Chicken Rice Casserole – The EASY Way!
If you want a one dish casserole that is easy to make, but doesn’t lack in flavor… THIS. IS. IT!
I was given this recipe when we first got married and it quickly became my husband’s favorite dinner.
As it turns out, it tends to be a hit with many husband’s out there, because another friend told me that she uses this recipe to butter her husband up any time she wants something, because he loves it so much!
This casserole is perfect comfort food! It is old school chicken rice casserole. You know, made with Campbell’s soup and buttery ritz crackers!
Most importantly it is super simple and comes together with just a few pantry ingredients. Pretty much a perfect family meal!
What to Serve with Creamy Chicken Rice Casserole
Since this dish has classic savory flavors, it will pair well with many of your favorite homestyle side dishes. There are both classic options and some healthy options to keep it light.
Side Dish Ideas
- Southern Squash Casserole
- Garlic Roasted Veggies
- Bacon Broccoli Salad
- Garlic Bread – this recipe is SO GOOD!
Healthy Side Dish Options
- Side Salad with ranch
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe is as simple as promised! Just a few minutes of prep and a family friendly meal will be cooking away.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
- Shredded chicken- You can use any type of precooked, shredded, or cubed chicken. Here are a few options-
- Baked chicken- season a chicken breast with salt and pepper and bake for 20-30 min or until cooked through. Shred or cube.
- Boiled chicken- Boil chicken for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and shred or cube.
- Rotisserie chicken- Pick an original flavor rotisserie chicken. Remove the skin and pull the meat from the bones.
- Leftover- You can use leftover chicken in this casserole as long as it is neutral flavored.
- Canned- I prefer the options above, but in a pinch, canned chicken can work in this casserole too.
- Cream of chicken soup– I generally use the original Campbell’s cream of chicken soup. You can find a homemade version of cream of chicken here if you prefer to make it from scratch. Also note, you can use 1 large can or 2 small cans in this recipe.
- Minute or quick cooking rice– It is very IMPORTANT to use quick cooking rice in this recipe. It is balanced for quick cooking rice and won’t work well with regular rice.
- Chicken broth
- Sour cream
- Ritz crackers
- Use QUICK COOKING RICE – I mentioned it above, but it is worth saying again because I get the question so often. This recipe is made for quick cooking rice. You can use Minute brand, or a store brand, but it needs to be quick cooking. If you want to use another variety of rice, you will likely need to change both the amount of liquid and the cooking time so that you get a good result.
- White OR Brown rice– This chicken and rice recipe will work with any variety of quick cooking rice, so you can use white or brown based on your preference.
- Add the rice uncooked! The rice should be added to the casserole uncooked. It will bake up to tender, fluffy perfection .
- Ritz Cracker topping– This topping is my family’s favorite part of the casserole! It is buttery, crispy, and ridiculously delicious! To make it easy and mess free, I dump the crackers in a zip top bag, then use a rolling pin to crush them into small crumbs and add the butter right in the bag and mix. Then you can just pour them right over the top of the casserole
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Use precooked chicken– This chicken and rice casserole comes together very quickly when you have your meat ready. I really like to use rotisserie chicken, or pre-cooked and cubed chicken breasts.
- Make ahead– If you want to have it ready to pop in the oven as soon as you get home, you can prepare the chicken and rice part of the casserole up to 24 hours in advance and keep it in the fridge. Then just top with the crumb topping before baking.
- Freezer Meal– This chicken and rice casserole can also be prepared as a freezer meal. See the full directions below.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Chicken Rice Broccoli Casserole– Mix 2 cups of small broccoli florets into the rice mixture and continue with recipe as directed. You can use fresh broccoli, or frozen broccoli that has been thawed.
- Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole– Leave off the Ritz cracker topping and instead top the casserole with shredded colby jack cheese. You can also add additional cheese into the rice mixture if you like it extra cheesy!
- Creamy Chicken Mushroom Rice Casserole– Instead of one large can of Campbells cream of chicken, use 1 regular sized can cream of chicken and 1 regular sized can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup. I also like to add about 1 cup of diced fresh mushrooms into the rice mixture as well. Continue and cook the casserole as directed.
Freezer Meal Instructions
This Creamy Chicken Rice Casserole makes a wonderful freezer meal. It can be prepared and frozen for up to 6 months for the best flavor.
- In a large bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, cubed chicken breast, rice, chicken broth and sour cream together until everything is incorporated, then transfer the mixture to a zip top bag to freeze flat, or another freezer friendly container.
- Once ready to make, transfer the casserole mixture from the freezer to the fridge to thaw for 24-48 hours.
- Spread the mixture in a casserole dish and continue with recipe by topping with Ritz cracker topping and baking.
Note- Whole Ritz Crackers or cracker crumbs can be frozen with the meal if desired, but I recommend adding in the butter right before baking.
Chicken Rice Casserole Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to a month
The casserole tastes really delicious reheated, but the cracker topping does not stay crispy. It will combine into the casserole though as it is stirred and retain its delicious flavor.
More Easy Casserole Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my EASY Casserole recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- Chicken Enchilada Casserole – 4 ingredients!!
- Chicken Taco Casserole
- Creamy Beef and Mushroom Casserole
- Pizza Ravioli Lasagna
- Italian Beef and Rice Casserole
- 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or cubed (about 4 cups)
- 2 cans Campbell's cream of chicken soup, (or 1 large can)
- 2 cups Minute, or quick cooking rice (Uncooked)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, cubed chicken breast, (uncooked) rice, chicken broth and sour cream together until everything is incorporated, then spread the mixture into a 9×13 baking dish.
- Pour the Ritz crackers into a zip top bag and roll over them with a rolling pin. Open the bag and pour in butter and then reclose and shake it around until the cracker crumbs are evenly coated in the butter.
- Spread the cracker mixture over the top of the casserole, then place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until the crackers are golden and the rice is tender. Enjoy!
- Vegetables can be added before cooking. Try:
- broccoli florets
- chopped mushrooms
- mixed veggies
- sweet green peas
- Try different toppings for a new taste!
- crushed pretzels
- crushed cheese crackers
- crushed cornflakes
- stuffing mix