Now THIS is comfort food! This Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole is one of our family’s all time favorites. It is packed with hearty chicken, in a creamy sauce with tender rice, and a perfectly crispy cracker crust.
This is a pretty big statement, but I am going to put it out there. This might just be my husband’s favorite dish that I make. I will admit it and tell you I was a skeptic about this recipe at first. I mean it doesn’t have any spices in it. No garlic, no onion, not even any salt and pepper people. I was absolutely certain that this would not be very good.
How wrong I was!
This dinner is the epitome of comfort food and has become one of our go to recipes throughout the years and inspired me to make many more recipes like it! It is simple and easy to make, and I think that is just what makes it so good. The creamy chicken flavor is amazing. It doesn’t need anything to cover up, hide or even enhance it. It shines all on it’s own and I sure am glad I gave it a chance to the first time I made this dish!
I got the recipe from my friend Charlotte back when we lived in South Carolina. She was a wonderful homemaker and I remember her telling me she made a new dinner for her husband every night! I was so impressed. I have always been more of the make one and eat left overs for a few days kinda girl. This was a family recipe they had been making for years and she gave it to me. Now, 9 years later I am still making this for my family with regular requests from my husband and kids.
One of the best parts of this recipe is that it feeds a crowd. I can make it when the kids have friends or I need a dish to bring to a pot luck. I also often bring this when I am making a meal to deliver to a new mom or friend under the weather. It is comforting and familiar and allergy friendly so it is a pretty safe bet. When I took it to my friend who had a new baby last week she said even her 2 year old that doesn’t eat anything loved it! The original recipe calls for white rice and Ritz crackers, but I “health” it up just a bit by using brown rice and whole wheat Ritz crackers. I mean it is still comfort food but that way it is packed with whole grains! You can use either though with great success!
On to the recipe…. you can see how anxious my 2 year old was to dig into this! I had to throw this in because those chubby little hands! I just want to gobble them up.
Creamy Chicken & Rice Casserole – Step by Step
You can read below to hear the recipe with all my thoughts and comments on how I make this dish where I answer frequently asked questions, or skip below to get to the more concise recipe card.
- 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or cubed- I usually bake my chicken breast with a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper, but you could also boil, pressure cook, or use a rotisserie chicken (white & dark meat). Just go with whatever you feel most comfortable with!
- 2 small cans or 1 large can Campbells cream of chicken soup- You can use regular or the 98% fat free kind, both will work. I really think Campbell’s tastes better than other brands I have tried, so I recommend it!
- 2 cups Minute (or quick cooking) rice- You can use white or brown, either will work here. Do not cook the rice! It will cook to perfection in the casserole.
- 2 cups chicken broth- You can use store bought or make your own chicken broth which is pretty much free and packed with flavor.
- 1 cup sour cream- full or low fat
- 2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crunched
- 1/2 cup butter, melted- one stick
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, cubed chicken breast, rice, chicken broth and sour cream together until everything is incorporated, then spread the mixture into a 9×13 baking dish.At first it will look all soupy and kinda gross, but keep stirring because it will eventually all come together … just keep stirring! The end will still be thin-ish, but that is what we want since we need enough liquid in there for the rice to soak it up and get perfectly tender. Also, note that you can use low fat both on the cream of chicken soup and the sour cream if you want. This is comfort food, and not really a “light” recipe, but if you are looking to cut a few calories, you can sub here without losing too much flavor.I usually serve this meal with broccoli as a side. I do at times though mix the broccoli or other veggies right in. If you want to skip the side, and bake it right in, then add the veggies in this step. I have used broccoli, peas, mixed veggies, and mushrooms and all of them turned out delicious. Just make sure they are thawed before adding or it can add quite a bit of time to the amount of cook time.
- In a medium bowl, melt the butter, then pour in the crushed crackers and stir until they are evenly coated in the butter.I put my crackers in a ziplock bag and roll over them with a rolling pin a few times. You can also let the kids stomp on the (make sure the bag is sealed well, and is a Ziploc not a cheap off brand if you do this method- personal experience) or use a meat pounder. I make sure they are broken up pretty well, but they don’t really have to be a fine crumb.
- 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.You should not have to cover this while it bakes. I do not cover mine and it always comes out perfect. With that said, each oven can cook slightly differently and the dish can be a different distance from the heating element, so if you look in and notice the crackers are getting more browned than you would like, then you can pop a piece of foil over it loosely towards the end until it is done.
- Serve hot. Enjoy friends! This is absolutely a creamy, dreamy comfort food and to compliment it serve it with a big side of your favorite veggies. I usually go with broccoli, but really any veggie works well with it. Also, this reheats beautifully! You do lose the crispy delciciousness of the cracker crust, but the casserole iteself just becomes more flavorful as it sits in the fridge waiting to be polished off. Our biggest problem is fighting over who gets the leftovers for lunch!
NOTE: This casserole can be cut in half and make in an 8×8 dish also!
I really hope you love this recipe as much as our family has! A big thanks to Charlotte for sharing this with me so many years ago and letting me share it with you! If you make it, I would love, love, love to hear about it in the comments. It makes my day to know that someone made and enjoyed my recipe! Also, if you post a pic on Instagram, make sure to tag me so I can see @easyfamilyrecipes!
Creamy Chicken & Rice Casserole Recipe
Yield 8 servings
- 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or cubed (about 4 cups)
- 2 small cans or 1 large can cream of chicken soup
- 2 cups Minute (or quick cooking) rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed
- 1/2 cup butter
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, cubed chicken breast, rice, chicken broth and sour cream together until everything is incorporated, then spread the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, melt the butter, then pour in the crushed crackers and stir until they 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.
- Serve hot. Enjoy friends!