Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole


Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole is total comfort food but made without canned cream of chicken soup and butter!


Poor IBE has not been feeling so hot the past couple of days (his annual cold has arrived with a vengeance – dislike!) and coupled with the fact that he’s been a very good sport about crazy dinners lately (see here, here and here,) I decided to make a warm, comforting, man-meal for dinner to make him feel alllll better.


A comfy-cozy, feeds-a-crowd-and-then-some, Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole!


Without a can of gloopy “cream of XYZ” OR butter, to boot! You didn’t think it could be done, did you?

It can, and I’ll show you how. First cook fluffy brown rice in savory chicken broth then, when the rice has ~7 minutes left to cook, add fresh broccoli and green onions on top to steam.

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Next door, sauté chicken breast seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder then, after a quick wipe with a paper towel, use the same skillet to make your own creamy, cheesy casserole sauce!


It’s a cinch to make – I promise. All you do is cook flour and a bit of skim milk in a skillet, then gradually whisk in more milk until the sauce is thick and bubbly.

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Stir in cheddar cheese, sour cream and seasonings,


then combine all the goodies together and pour into a casserole dish.

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Top with some more cheese (this thing had to cure the common cold, remember) then pop under the broiler until golden brown.




Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole

Serves 6-8


Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole is total comfort food but made without canned cream of chicken soup and butter!


  • 2 cups (uncooked) medium grain brown rice (could use white rice)
  • Chicken broth
  • 3 cups broccoli
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks & seasoned with salt, pepper & garlic powder
  • Non-stick spray
  • 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 12oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Cook rice according to package directions, substituting water for chicken broth. When rice has 5-7 minutes left until fully cooked, add broccoli and green onions into the pot to steam.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet sprayed with non-stick spray over medium-high heat and cook seasoned chicken until done. Remove to a plate and carefully wipe out the inside of the skillet with a paper towel.
  3. Turn heat down to medium then whisk together flour and 1/2 cup milk in the skillet. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 cups milk while whisking constantly, until mixture is boiling. Turn off heat and add 8oz shredded cheese and sour cream. Stir until smooth. Season sauce with garlic powder, salt and pepper then mix.
  4. Combine cooked rice/broccoli/green onion mixture, chicken and cheese sauce, then stir to combine. Pour mixture into a non-stick sprayed 9x13 casserole dish and top with remaining 4oz of cheese. Broil until cheese is golden brown. Let casserole cool for 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


I’ll admit – I made a little mouse hole in the casserole dish while waiting for the corn I served with it to heat up in the microwave. It was so good!


Thick and hearty, but somehow light too. Remember, I used brown rice and there’s no extra fat in the sauce besides the cheese. Zip, zilch, nada, people! Somehow that mouse hole turned into a mouse pit as Ben and I found ourselves nose-to-nose, hunched over the casserole dish after dinner. We couldn’t keep our forks out of there!


I feel like Ben’s feeling a lot better now, and I bet it’s because of warm cheese and rice. Yeah, I’m sure of it. Long live the casserole!

(And breaking my bad dinner streak!)

Have a great night!


Did you rock any questionable clothing/hair trends in your younger years?

I TOTALLY rocked permed hair and ultra-curly bangs with the stretchy-pant/puff-paint sweatshirt nightmare that was my closet in the mid-90s. I can’t believe I’m about to show you this but – NERD ALERT – here’s IGE circa fifth grade. AHHH – the horror!

krissi at invention convention

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  1. April 01.28.2011

    Hahahaha, I had the same bangs!!! Thank goodness those are long gone lol. Your casserole looks delish!! Thanks for the save by the bell flashbacks, ahhh the good old days

  2. elise 01.29.2011

    bahahaa….LOVE it. i had some pretty horrible younger years too. questionable clothing was the tip of the iceberg.

  3. Chili Dude 01.29.2011

    How brave of you!!
    Love the recipe!!
    Will cook it this weekend for inlaws.

  4. erin 01.31.2011

    omg I made this yesterday – cut the recipe in half though, and my half just had broccoli. it was sooooo good! and felt relatively guilt free!

  5. lauren 01.31.2011

    I love this, will have to try it out for my hubby very soon. As a side note I am new to visiting your website and i absolutely adore it! I will be checking as many previous recipes, workouts and travels as I can and daily reading the new ones. Keep up the awesome posts :) and thanks for the entertainment!

  6. Laura 01.31.2011

    What does IBE/IGE mean? I am very curious, but can’t figure it out! Sorry if you have already explained this!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.02.2011

      Hehe no worries! IGE=Iowa Girl Eats. IBE= Iowa Boy Eats (aka, my husband!) :)

  7. Sarah J. 02.03.2011

    I was at a cooking class for engaged ladies the other night and we made a casserole similar to this, but it had creamy chicken soup as a main ingredient. It was soooo good, but I wished I had a recipie with not as much fat… And lo and behold, here it is! You rock, Kristin! :)

  8. Sharline 02.11.2011

    Hey! I have been following your blog for a few months now. I found it through my google reader recommended blog-posts. I absolutely love your blog! Anyway, I saved this post the day you posted it because I really wanted to make it. We’re having it for dinner tonight! I have been afraid to use brown rice, because I made it once a few years ago and it was a disaster. But, I have had brown rice in my pantry waiting for the right time to try it again. I made it this morning (Ive been prepping here and there all day) and it was fantastic! Later in the early afternoon I made the chicken and then when it was done I sauteed some frozen broccoli (thats what I had) and the green onions. A couple of hours after that I made the sauce and then mixed it all together. Took a bite and I was in heaven. So good! And good for you, pretty much, right? I added a little more cheese and sour cream than the recipe calls for, because I wanted to use up what I had. In a little bit I’m going to put it in the casserole dish and stick it in the oven for a little bit (since Ive been preparing it all day and its not warm) and then I’ll broil it with the cheese on top. Its already amazing; its going to be fantastic once the cheese is all melty on top! MMM!
    Anyway, just wanted to tell you all about it! You’re fabulous! Thanks for sahring such great stuff on your blog! xoxo

  9. […] Iowa Girl Eats: Chicken, Broccoli, & Rice Casserole […]

  10. […] really need to stop showing you embarrassing old photos of […]

  11. […] maybe not the manly meal you’d think he’d want – but it was sort of a take on the Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole he loves so much, so I took a […]

  12. Beth 07.17.2011

    I’m not sure what possessed me to make this casserole on one of the hottest days we’ve had so far this summer, but I’m so glad I did! It was so yummy and definitely worth all the sweat! I’m going to LOOOOVE eating the leftovers this week! :)

  13. Beth 09.27.2011

    I just made this broccoli/rice/chicken casserole and it is awesome! Why did I look at this? Because I’m from Iowa too! Go girl!

  14. […] Cheesy broccoli chicken & rice casserole […]

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  19. Jamie 01.09.2012

    Oh My Goodness, I LOVE You!!!!!! I’ve wanted to make this without can o whateva soup and THIS is IT :D I’m making this tonight for sure.

  20. Judy 01.26.2012

    Thanks for this recipe! I found it on Pinterest a while ago and meant to try it out, finally did tonight and it did not disappoint! It was a hit, in fact! I love that it didn’t have any of those canned cream-of-what-not and it’s still creamy! And we all really enjoyed the brown rice, which made it hearty at the same time but not heavy.

  21. Jamika 02.10.2012

    Hi, this looks yummy and I wanted to try it out next week. It would be a change up from cream of mushroom soup but I like that! Question though, is there a reason you used skim milk instead of whole? I usually drink skim milk but cook with whole milk (especially for mac and cheese!) Do you think it may be to rich with whole milk and the sour cream? Let me know what you think!! Thanks!

  22. Jenn 04.13.2012

    Curious if you have ever tried to freeze this meal? I’m trying to pull together some recipes for a freezer meal swap and this looks so good.

  23. […] Cheesy chicken rice and broccoli casserole, using Alton Brown’s brown rice recipe (Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats) This is a three part recipe, but none actually take much time. […]

  24. Susan 08.06.2012

    This recipe is SO GOOD!!! AMAZING—thank you!

  25. Madison 08.29.2012

    Tried this last night and it was a HIT – even with my picky 11-year-old sister. I think next time I’ll add bread crumbs or crumbled crackers on top just for a crispy crust. Perfect, otherwise!

  26. Heather 09.16.2012

    I made this tonight and hubby and I LOVED it! I used whole milk instead of skim milk simply because I didn’t have any skim. My husband only likes whole milk and I use almond milk – but I thought that might mess with the flavor. It was delicious and it got my husband to eat broccoli! :) Success!!!

  27. Kelly 11.03.2012

    Ahh, awesome! I was looking for a non-condensed-soup-using recipe for this! Thank you!

    Oh and I TOTALLY remember that episode of SBtB :).

  28. Rachelle 11.30.2012

    Long, mentally challenging run tomorrow morning. I need to eat something hearty/comfort-foodish tonight but am feeling quite lazy (read: not going to the store for a big menu-plan haul) and wanted to use what I had in my fridge/cupboard and needed to be eaten: Chicken, broccoli. I don’t eat white rice so was glad to see your recipe uses brown instead, and LOVE the fact that there’s no cream of gack soup. (I am a former Iowa girl myself, after all.) I think my kids might actually eat this! Thanks for sharing!

  29. This recipe looks amazeballs! I’m making this tonight and I can’t wait. I absolutely love your blog design – truly gorgeous! The mention of SBTB really made my day! The thong leotards were super excellent, as was the name of their group, “Hot Sundae”! OMG! I’m following you on bloglovin now so I won’t miss any future posts about delicious food and/or Jesse Spano references! Have a great week!

  30. Madison 05.20.2013

    I made a half-size batch of this over the weekend for just myself, and I have to say – this isn’t the first time I’ve made this. It’s, like, the 5th. I’m currently eating some of the leftovers now and spazzing out because EVERY TIME I eat this, it’s still so good!

  31. Erica Julson 08.23.2013

    Just made this for my boyfriend last night and he loved it! No joke, he literally ate half the casserole dish. I guess crispy broiled cheese is his weakness… Thanks for the great recipe! Love that it doesn’t use any canned ingredients :)

  32. Aurelys 08.27.2013

    Made this a couple times now and this second batch was amazing! Cut the rice down and added a yellow squash and zucchini i sauteed right after the chicken. Did half mozzarella and half cheddar for the sauce (it’s what i had on hand) and topped it with the rest of the cheddar. AHMAZING! Keeping this in the regular rotation :)

  33. Laura 11.15.2013

    Iowa Girl!
    I love your recipe, but where’s your “Print” button? I print out the recipe while I’m cooking it. I don’t want to take my laptop into the kitchen,

  34. […] first made this dish for the blog nearly three years ago to help Ben fight a nasty cold. Sauteed chicken, steamed broccoli, and fluffy brown rice are mixed […]

  35. Kelly 12.29.2013

    Hi – Just made this tonight, and it was REALLY good! A big hit with the family. I’ve made other recipes for chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole, and this is the favorite so far. It was easy to put together without any unnatural and yuck ingredients. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes!

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