My take on Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole is done all on the stovetop, except for browning under the broiler, but keeps from heating up the house. This is a hearty dinner you can even make in the summer since it doesn't require baking time.
Living in the south I have to make recipes like this because 8-9 months out of the year it is too hot to turn on the oven, except for in a cookie emergency! I do finish it in the broiler to make it crispy, and you can put it in the oven if you wish for the covered time. But I love having this stovetop option!
The broccoli can be fresh or frozen, either works for this recipe. Dicing the chicken and tossing with some salt and pepper is the real key to the success of this recipe. And while you can use pretty much any cheese you prefer, I mean chicken and broccoli are friends with almost all cheeses I am a bit of traditionalist so I went with cheddar and parmesan.
I prefer to only keep basmati rice in my kitchen, and its long grains are perfect for this recipe. The panko brings great crisp to the top of the finished dish. The cream makes the whole dish feel cheesy, and that's always a good thing.
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of the post, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the full recipe card with ingredient measurements and instructions.
Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the onions and garlic in it till they soften. Then add in the chicken and cook just till it begins to brown a little bit.
Then stir in the rice and cream/milk and bring to a simmer. Stir the broccoli in and continue simmering till warmed through.
When the broccoli is warm, stir in all of the cheddar cheese. Do this loosely and leave most of the cheese toward the top of the pan so it doesn't burn on the bottom.
After simmering the rice for a few minutes, top with the seasoned panko and the parmesan cheese. Broil the pan for 3-5 minutes in the love just to melt and brown the cheese and breadcrumbs.
Let the dish rest for 5 minutes to allow the rice to finish cooking and you are ready to enjoy this delicious one-pot casserole. I know this is probably reminiscent of something you ate as a child, but it is such a grate classic, I still love it, even a little elevated like this recipe.
Notes & Tips
I made this an all-stovetop recipe for all of us that live in hot states. You could bake it at 400˚F (uncovered) for the time I say to cover it. Then finish with the broiler just to brown the top.
If your broccoli is really large, even if it is frozen, chop it up a bit. It should be in bite-sized pieces.
When stirring in the broccoli, if using frozen, just warm it in the sauce until it is no longer frozen. The sauce should come back to a boil with it is all the way warm.
I use chicken breast because I prefer it. You could dice up and use any part of the chicken you prefer, just be sure it is skinless and boneless.
Be sure to use gluten-free breadcrumbs if you are gluten-free. The extra crunch is so welcome and you don't want to skip it.
Any color onion can be used for this recipe. Just know that a sweet yellow onion brings the best blend of flavor to this recipe.
I prefer basmati rice because while all rice has some arsenic in it, basmati has the lowest level. That said, you can pretty much swap in just about any rice here.
You can replace the heavy cream and whole milk with half and half if you have it around. I don't usually keep it in my fridge, but I usually have some cream and milk.
The broccoli can be fresh or frozen for this recipe. It really doesn't matter, romanesco and cauliflower can also be used.