Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

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If you're looking for the most comforting and easy dinner - look no further! This Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole is truly perfection! Similar to Cheesy Taco Pasta it is quick and easy to whip up and a recipe the whole family will love.

Chicken Rice and Cheese Casserole is served in a black round metal braiser. The casserole is garnished with lots of cilantro and scallions.


 

Why I Love This Recipe

Back in the old Tucson days, this Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole was a staple at one of my best friends houses. Her mom was an incredible cook and I remember calling every week or so and asking what was on the menu for dinner so I could go join. (side note- this ice box cake was her moms idea too so you understand how genius this woman is!) This Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole made an appearance quite often because it's basically taking leftovers from the night before and transforming them into something special.

Next time you're in a rut for what to make for dinner, go ahead and whip up this Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe and I promise you'll be sold. It'll be the fastest addition to your weekly dinner routines ever!

Ingredients & Substitutions

Mise-en-place of all the ingredients to make cheesy chicken and rise casserole.
  • White Rice
  • Shredded Colby Jack & Mozzarella Cheese - Whenever I need shredded cheese I like to buy it in a block and shred it myself. It's more fresh and melts better in my opinion. I use Colby Jack and mozzarella in this Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe because it melts so beautifully, but Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack would also work wonderfully!
  • Refried Beans
  • Frozen Charred Corn
  • Yellow Onions
  • Chopped Green Chiles
  • Tomatillo Salsa
  • Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro

*For a full list of ingredients and instructions please see recipe card below.

How to Make Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

A large glass mixing bowl of cooked rice.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375° F. Cook the rice according to the package directions. Once cooked, remove from heat and transfer the cooked rice into a large bowl.

A large glass mixing bowl, with cooked rice in the bottom, topped with corn, chopped onions, shredded mozzarella and colby jack cheeses, shredded chicken, green chiles and tomatillo salsa, sprinkled with salt and black pepper.

Step 2: Fold in 1 ½ cups of the shredded colby jack cheese, ½ cup of the shredded mozzarella, corn, onions, chicken, green chiles and salsa. Season the entire mixture with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

A blue dutch oven, the bottom of which is lined with mashed refried beans.

Step 3: Lightly spray a medium sized skillet with non-stick spray, and line the bottom with the refried beans. Transfer the mixture into the skillet.

A blue dutch oven with a chicken and rice casserole assembled, with refried beans in the bottom, topped with the mixture of chicken, rice, veggies and cheese, topped with shredded cheese.

Step 4: Top with the remaining shredded cheeses and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the top layer of cheese is bubbly and melted.

A blue dutch oven with baked cheesy chicken and rice casserole fresh out of the oven garnished with cilantro leaves and chopped scallions.

Step 5: Remove the baking dish from the oven and garnish the Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole with green onions and cilantro and serve.

How to Store Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

You can refrigerate the leftover for 2-3 days in an airtight container. Make sure you warm it through in the oven till it is warmed through, the chicken is at a safe temperature and the cheese bubbly.

How to Freeze Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Sure can! Mix all of the ingredients and assemble the casserole in a dish. Cover with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight and bake at 375º F for 25-30 minutes.

Tips & Tricks

This Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe is a great way to use up leftovers. Have some leftover rice - done. Perhaps you have some rotisserie chicken from the store left in the fridge from a sandwich - game on. Then all you need are a few pantry staples to make this an incredible skillet bake and dinner is on the table in less than 20 minutes. You can also easily prep it ahead of time for busy weeknights when you need to get dinner on the table in a pinch.

FAQs

Do you have to cook rice before putting it in a casserole?

It depends on the recipe. Casserole recipes with uncooked rice call for broth or water for the rice to absorb while baking. Recipes that call for cooked rice don't require a liquid. For this Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe you should use cooked rice.

Can I swap for a different salsa or mix-ins?

Yes! You can use a different salsa, like the arbol salsa. You can also add black beans if that is what you have on hand.

Similar Recipes

If you tried this recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting today!

Chicken Rice and Cheese Casserole with Salsa and Sautéed Onions from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Author: Gaby Dalkin
4.9 from 36 votes
One of my best friends mom used to make this for us as children and OMG I am bringing it back! It's comfort food in a skillet.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course, Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ cups white rice
  • 2 cups shredded Colby jack cheese divided
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1 cup canned refried beans
  • 1 cup frozen charred corn
  • 2 yellow onions diced and sauteed until golden
  • 1 4.5-ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 1 ½ cup tomatillo salsa
  • 1-2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • finely chopped scallions and cilantro to garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  • Cook the rice according to the package directions. Once cooked, remove from heat and transfer the cooked rice into a large bowl.
  • Fold in 1 ½ cups of the shredded colby jack cheese, ½ cup of the shredded mozzarella, corn, onions, chicken, green chiles and salsa. Season the entire mixture with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  • Lightly spray a medium sized skillet with non-stick spray, and line the bottom with the refried beans. Transfer the mixture into the skillet. Top with the remaining shredded cheeses and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the top layer of cheese is bubbly and melted.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and garnish with green onions and cilantro and serve.

Notes

This is perfect for using leftover rice, leftover chicken - whatever you got!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 524kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 1208mg | Potassium: 518mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 942IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 460mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!

57 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this! I made this for my annual Cousins Xmas Party and it was so easy to prep ahead. I used chicken breasts (cooked the day before and shredded). I always use Ina's Lemon Chicken Breasts recipe- the result is tender juicy chicken. A few other minor changes; sautéed the onions with cumin and coriander. Seasoned the rice/chcken mixture with cumin and coriander and a little of Gaby's Dalkin&Co Taco seasoning. Also seasoned the refried beans with Dalkin&Co Taco seasoning. Served with a great salad and some Taquitos .

  2. 5 stars
    SO delicious! Great to meal prep and eat throughout the week. Very easy to put together and pop in the oven. Will be making this again.

  3. 3 stars
    Next time I think I will halve the amount of onions…it is very oniony. Will make again! Easy and fun.

  4. 5 stars
    This is absolutely incredible! The flavors are delicious and love the layer of refried beans at the bottom. I used leftover pulled pork I made the night before and it was so good. Definitely making this again and adding to my meal rotation!

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