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Nothing is better (or easier) than this Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole. Kind of like broccoli cheddar soup meets cozy weeknight casserole. It’s healthy…ish, so darn easy, and so darn delicious. The best part…it’s made entirely in one pot and in under an hour. Grab some chicken, rice, orzo pasta, plenty of herbs, and all the broccoli you can snag. Cook everything together on the stove, add sharp cheddar cheese, and finish off in the oven to melt the cheese. Simple, but SO GOOD. The perfect weeknight casserole!

overhead photo of Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole with serving spoon in casserole dish and portion of the rice removed from dish

It’s not even September yet and I am already throwing the casseroles at you guys. Yes, it’s true. I’m ready to switch things up. I’m ready for a bit of cozy, and well, I really just hope you all are ready too.

In all seriousness, this really is a perfect recipe for this time of year. The kids are all heading back to school, everyone is slowly coming back from summer vacations, and life is getting busy. Sure, it’s still hot out, but I’m feeling the autumn shift slowly creeping its way in. And with that comes dinner inspiration from my childhood. End of summer and back to school signals the part of my brain that has me thinking easy family dinners, midwest style.

I’m talking casseroles, tacos, slow cooker dinner, and soon enough, soups. Anyone else feel the same or what? It can’t just be me…

side angled photo of chicken and rice in skillet on the stove before adding liquid

Growing up, broccoli cheddar anything was my favorite, but especially the broccoli cheddar soup from Panera bread. My other favorite? My dad’s rice bakes, which he’d make simple with so much broccoli and so much cheddar cheese. They were simple and delicious and I was so into them.

I got to thinking about combining the two together, and just like that, this recipe was formed. It’s not anything crazy creative, but I can assure you, it’s crazy delicious.

Like I said above, kind of like broccoli cheddar soup meets cozy rice casserole. And it’s is GOOD. Not nearly as soupy as soup, but not as heavy as a casserole. It’s got the perfect balance.

overhead photo of Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole

It all starts and ends in ONE pot. Or two if you’re like me and decide you want to bake this in a real casserole dish for the “real deal” midwest style casserole situation. I really love setting the mood.

Anyway, start with the basics. Cook your onion, add the chicken, give the chicken some time sear. Then add a touch of butter, some rice, orzo, and fresh thyme. Cook until you’ve got a nice toasty smell going, now add the broth, broccoli, and a few more seasonings. Cover and cook just like you would a normal pot of rice. Once this is finished cooking, stir in just a touch of milk for creaminess (swap in non-dairy milk, if needed), and lemon zest for a pop of freshness.

Top with cheddar cheese and bake until the cheese is melty and the broccoli on top has a little char. Finish with fresh thyme and basil from the garden and dinner is served. Easy, right?

overhead photo of Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole with spoon in casserole dish

But yet so very good. The rice underneath stays soft and creamy while the cheese on top browns. The corners of the dish will form an insanely delicious, cheesy crust. Every bite is flavor and roll your eyes back good.

If you prefer to go the vegetarian route, simply omit the chicken from the dish. It’s truly just as delicious without or without, so do what works best for you and your family.

overhead close up photo of Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole with serving spoon in casserole dish

This dish brings back all the best memories from when I was a kid, huddled around the kitchen counter, eating chicken noodle casserole with my brothers. Of course, this is a much healthier dinner option, with so much more color than mom’s (super old school) chicken noodle casserole. But all the nostalgia is still there.

And no offense to my mom or dad, but personally I love my vegetable-filled casserole a bit more than their old school version. Sometimes you have to upgrade the classics a bit, you know?

Make this one for family and friends, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love it.

overhead photo of Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole in single serving dish with fork in dish

If you make this broccoli cheddar chicken and rice casserole, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch The How To Video:

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 744 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrot and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is seared, 2-3 minutes. Add the butter, rice, orzo, and thyme, and cook until golden and toasted, 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli, bay leaves, garlic powder, cayenne, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered for 20-25 minutes, until the rice is mostly cooked.
    3. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the lemon zest, milk, and 1/2 cup of cheese. If needed, transfer the rice to an oven-safe casserole dish. Scatter the remaining cheese over top the casserole. 
    4. Transfer to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and just beginning to brown. Serve warm with additional thyme and fresh basil. 


To Make Ahead: Prepare the casserole through step 3. Let cool, then cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. To bake, remove from the fridge and let sit at room temp while the oven preheats. Bake as directed. 
To Freeze: Prepare the casserole through step 3. Let cool, then cover tightly. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for 2-3 hours. Bake as directed. 
Gluten Free Orzo: I love DeLallo brand gluten free orzo
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overhead horizontal photo of Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole with spoon in casserole dish

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  1. 5 stars
    I blanched the broccoli separately and stirred it into the pot before baking in casserole. Turned out great, not mushy.

    1. Hey Margaret,
      Happy Sunday! I’m so glad to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks for trying it out! Thanks for sharing what worked well for you! xT

  2. 5 stars
    OMG sooo easy, soooo dang good! I can see using different vegetables, changing it up with beef,,,endless opportunities with this recipe! It’s 5 stars, 2 thumbs up from the hubby, so he’s happy too! Thanks Teighan for sharing another GREAT recipe. I’ve been cooking more years than I care to admit and sometimes I get in a rut and need to freshen up my cooking with something fresh, something new so I ordered all 3 of your cookbooks! Each one is as wonderful as the next, and I must not forget to compliment you on just how beautiful your food looks, not just delicious, it’s visually stunning!! You want to eat it, you want to cook it, like now! Thank you for sharing another wonderful recipes, you are a culinary rock star! ⭐️

    1. Hey Kath,
      Thank you so much for your kind message:) I love that you and your husband enjoyed this dish, thanks a lot for giving it a try! xT

  3. 5 stars
    This is a family favourite for us! The kids love it and we love it too. And it’s soooo comforting and cozy in the winter!

    1. Hey Amelia,
      Happy Friday! Thanks a lot for trying this recipe and your comment, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! xT

  4. 5 stars
    This was delicious! It was not soggy and very flavorful. My husband who is a hard critic liked it. I did freeze half for my future postpartum needs. Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    I followed the directions to a T and it turned out PERFECT literally so delicious. I didn’t have fresh thyme- but the dried thyme worked awesome.

  6. 2 stars
    We have tried many recipes from the Half Baked Harvest, in which all were 5 stars. This recipe needs to be revisited. It lacked flavor unfortunately

    1. Hi Lindsey,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so very sorry to hear it was not enjoyed! xT

  7. 5 stars
    In my book, this was a recipe win! I chose this recipe to make for Meal Train and as I took note of comments left by others I decided to take a leap of faith and go for it. With the incorporation of fresh ingredients and a cleaned up version of casserole I just couldn’t pass it up. I made a test batch to try for my household and then another the next day for meal train, both of which turned out great! Mostly followed the recipe verbatim with the exception of increasing heat when it called for searing the chicken and toasting the rice/orzo. I would say for anyone who has experience cooking rice in a pot, you will have zero issues with this dish turning out the way it’s intended. For those who don’t *here’s a note: once the broccoli rice/orzo mixture is brought to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cover and cook (set & forget, no touchy, no mixing, no matter how tempting) as directed*. Then resume following remainder of recipe. Good luck!

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks a lot for trying this recipe and your comment, so glad to hear it turned out well! Thanks for sharing your notes:) Happy Saturday! Xx

  8. 2 stars
    Followed the directions explicitly and ended up with soggy, disintegrated broccoli mush. If I made this again, I would just cook the rice and orzo separately and mix everything together then bake it. No need to put it in one pot, takes even longer and overcooks everything else. Was making this for a meal train and almost embarrassed to serve it.

    1. Hi Shayna,
      Thanks for trying this recipe and sharing your feedback, so very sorry to hear it did not turn out for you. Please let me know how I can help! xT

  9. 4 stars
    Bake time too long if you’re going from the stove to the oven. I checked on it just under 15 minutes, and the cheese was burned made a hard crust, and it dried out the casserole a bit. Next time I will cook shorter, add more cheese into the mix, and add more whole milk to make it less dry and a bit creamier. As it was, it was tasty when I mixed in fresh cheese that could melt and distribute in the rice right in my bowl.

    1. Hi Audrey,
      Thanks so much for trying this recipe and sharing your review. Sorry to hear the bake time was too long for your oven! Let me know if you give it another try! xx

  10. Hello! I’m planning to make this for the first time tomorrow. Can you use all rice instead of the orzo? If so, how much more rice would you recommend to add? Thank you!

  11. 5 stars
    A few years later and this is still in our regular recipe rotation! We only use basmati rice and follow the liquid recommendations on the rice bag. It always turns out delicious. Perfect for leftover lunches!

    1. Hey Stephanie,
      I appreciate you making this recipe and your feedback! So glad it was enjoyed:) Have a great week! xT