A Chicken and broccoli bake made in one pot with rice, vegetables, and tender chicken. All baked under a blanket of cheddar cheese topping. This easy chicken broccoli casserole is made with fresh ingredients only, skipping the tins of creamy soup!
Chicken and broccoli is one of the most comforting food combinations going. Especially when paired with thyme, earthy mushrooms, and hearty carrots and then baked with cheese. This chicken and broccoli bake is a cozy dinner that even your pickiest eaters will love.
Economical and easy one-pot dinners are very close to my heart. And my readers (you guys!) absolutely love them. Some similar easy dinner one-pot casseroles are this sausage and bean casserole, this broccoli gnocchi bake, and this spinach and tomato baked gnocchi.
⭐️ Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It uses only fresh ingredients. Not a can of cream soup in sight!
- Everything gets made in one pot.
- Uses rice instead of pasta to make a nice change.
- All the ingredients are budget-friendly- this recipe stretches 2 chicken breasts into 6 meals.
- This is a great way to get more vegetables into meal time.
🧾 Ingredients for chicken and broccoli bake
Most of these ingredients will be very familiar to everyone. I've listed below any notes about the ingredients you may find helpful.
- chicken- I've used boneless skinless chicken breast, but I appreciate that may be on the pricey side for some. Chicken thighs also work here too.
- rice- Basmati rice is such a great choice here because of it's toasty almost nutty flavour. If you would like to use brown rice then that's a great choice too. Just avoid quick cooking rice because it will cook too fast and you'll end up with undercooked broccoli.
- broccoli- Cut the broccoli into florets. You can also use frozen broccoli here too. No need to defrost it first.
- onion- Yellow onion is best here. A red onion would end up colouring the rice.
- mushrooms- Chestnut mushrooms add a lot of full flavour to this baked chicken casserole. White mushrooms work too. For my non-mushroom lovers you can skip them!
- cheese- I absolutely love double Gloucester in this recipe, but a simple cheddar is great. You can use mature, or whatever strength you prefer.
See recipe card for quantities.
📖 Substitutions & Variations
If you know how to make the recipe fit a certain diet, let the reader know here. Don't fake it - only provide guidance on topics you have actual experience with.
- Rice - instead of basmati rice, use white or brown rice. If using brown rice add an extra 25ml of stock to cook the rice through. You could also use quinoa here too, but would need to adjust the amount of liquid according to the package instructions.
- Chicken - chicken thighs work in this recipe too. Just be sure that everything is boneless and skinless. Leftover roast chicken or rotisserie chicken also works great in this recipe and is a time saver!
- Vegetables - you can really help to stretch this recipe by adding in some extra vegetables like cauliflower and courgette. Stirring through some spinach would also be a great idea. Add it in the last 5 minutes of simmering on the stove top so it has time to wilt in the steam.
- Dairy - For anyone with a dairy allergy you could substitute oat milk or soy milk in the recipe and use a non-dairy melting cheese for the topping.
Most casserole-style recipes like this chicken, broccoli, and rice bake contain a tin of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup. Instead, we're going to be using milk. It helps to keep this chicken bake recipe lighter and healthier. And milk is probably an ingredient you already have, so it's one less thing on your shopping list.
👩🏻🍳 Step By Step
1 & 2
- Start by cutting all your veggies. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and chop the carrots and onion. Add in some fresh thyme leaves.
- Once the onion (and the rest of the veggies) are soft, tender and fragrant, add in the diced chicken and the rice. Stir it all to get it coated in the butter and oil. Leave it on the heat for a few minutes to slightly toast the rice.
3 & 4
- Once the rice is slightly toasted, pour in the chicken stock and add in the broccoli. Bring the stock to a simmer, turn the heat down, and continue to cook with the lid on until the rice is cooked and the broccoli is tender about 20 minutes.
- Pour in the milk and stir well. The milk keeps everything creamy while it bakes. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the casserole and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Hint: Cut the broccoli into smaller florets so that they cook evenly and quickly.
This broccoli bake keeps really well in the fridge for 3 days, so it's great for making ahead, or for using up as leftovers. Chicken and broccoli bake casserole also keeps really well in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Defrost in the fridge and reheat in the microwave, or use the defrost setting on your microwave to thaw the casserole straight from the freezer.
💡 Top tip
Use a block of cheddar that you shred yourself or use a bag of pre-shredded cheese to keep this recipe as quick as possible.
Absolutely! Because this broccoli bake skips the tins of cream soup, its really easy to adjust for being dairy free. Just swap out the butter for a nondairy spread or just use some extra olive oil. And use oat or soy milk and non-dairy melting cheese.
Personally, it would be my choice. I don't love the flavour of coconut milk in recipes that don't have spice to balance out the flavor. But if you really love coconut milk then go ahead. But for anyone who isn't sure, I'd skip coconut and go with a neutral-flavored option like oat or soy. *Be sure that whatever you choose, it's unsweetened.
Great question! There are a couple of options you can substitute here, without having to adapt the recipe at all. Use some lean pork tenderloin cut into cubes or you can use lean turkey steaks here too. Both will keep the nutrition info fairly close to what's listed in the recipe card.
THE BEST Easy One-Pot Chicken And Broccoli Bake
- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) olive oil
- 1 (1) medium onion
- 300 g (2 ⅕ cups) carrots, peeled and chopped
- 250 g (2 ½ cups) mushrooms, chopped
- 300 g (¾ pounds) chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) butter
- 300 g (1 ½ cups) basmati rice *see notes
- 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) thyme *see notes
- 1 (1) chicken stock cube, dissolved in 800ml boiling water (3 ½ cups)
- 1 (1) head broccoli (about 250g) , cut into florets (2 cups)
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 120 ml (4 floz) whole milk
- 200 g (1 ⅔ cups) cheddar cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 180ºc or 170ºc fan (350ºf)
- In a medium pan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until soft and translucent. Add in the mushrooms carrots and chicken. Continue to cook until the chicken is golden.
- Add in the butter, rice and thyme leaves. Cook and stir until the rice is coated in the butter and slightly toasted. Pour the stock into the pan, add the broccoli and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 30 minutes until the rice is mostly cooked and the broccoli is tender.
- Once the rice is cooked stir through the lemon zest, milk and ¼ of the cheese. Place in an oven-safe casserole dish if needed. Scatter the remaining cheese over top and bake for about 15-20 minutes.
- You can use brown rice or regular long-grain white rice instead of basmati.
- Instead of thyme, you can try using fresh rosemary or dried oregano.