Broccoli Cheddar Chicken & Rice Casserole

jeffreyw (CC-BY)


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati or jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for topping
  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or canned coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


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  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.

Servings: 6

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