Chicken and Rice Casserole

CasseroleComfort FoodGluten-FreeChicken

Chicken and Rice Casserole - chicken pieces browned then baked in casserole with mushrooms, onions, garlic, rice, stock, cream, and sour cream. This chicken and rice bake is flavorful and delicious!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Chicken and Rice Casserole Minus the Soup Can

Have you ever had the classic soup can cream of mushroom chicken and rice casserole? I admit I have not, though the idea of it intrigued me recently. It sort of reminds me of my mother’s arroz con pollo, but with mushrooms and without tomatoes.

With this recipe, I set out to make a scratch cooking version of chicken and rice casserole, sans the cans, with the goal of extracting as much flavor as I could out of the ingredients.

Chicken and Rice Casserole (Chicken and Rice Bake)

How to Get Flavor from the Ingredients

First, you will note that we use chicken thighs, instead of the more popular (and more expensive by the way) breasts for this chicken and rice casserole. The thighs have more flavor, and are a little fattier, meaning they won’t dry out with long cooking for this chicken and rice bake.

The chicken pieces are browned in olive oil, removed, and then the onions are cooked in the same pan with the chicken browned bits. Then the mushrooms are browned, and the whole pan is deglazed with dry sherry.

All goes into a casserole dish with stock, cream, sour cream, herbs, rice, topped with the chicken, and baked in the oven. The rice cooks in the stock, the chicken finishes cooking, and the resulting chicken and rice bake is, as my 10-yr-old nephew says “really good”.

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 6 (with leftovers)

If you are avoiding cooking with alcohol, skip the sherry and deglaze the pan with a 1/4 cup extra of chicken stock.

Depending on how salted your stock is, you may need to more generously salt this dish. You can always salt to taste at the table.

You can make this entire dish on the stovetop instead of the oven if you want. Just use a large sauté pan with a tight cover, cook on low when all is assembled, low enough to keep a simmer, but not so high that you burn the rice.


  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces, patted dry
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine
  • 1 1/3 cups* chicken stock**
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 cup raw, medium or long grain, white rice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon each of Italian seasoning and poultry seasoning (or 2 teaspoons of one of these herb mixes, or 2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and basil)**
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

*This recipe assumes the rice requires approx 1 1/2 cups liquid per cup of rice to cook. Some rice varieties, such as brown rice, require more liquid (and a longer cooking time). Adjust recipe accordingly.

**If you are cooking gluten-free, use homemade stock or gluten-free packaged stock, use gluten-free packaged herbs and spices.


1 Preheat oven to 375°F.

2 Brown the chicken pieces: Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high or high heat (hot enough to brown but not burn). Season the chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper.

Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces on two sides, about 1-2 minutes per batch. Add a little more olive oil if needed with every batch.

Remove chicken pieces and set aside in a bowl. Note that the chicken does not have to be cooked through, only browned.

Browning Chicken Pieces for Cream of Mushroom Chicken and Rice Casserole Browning Onions for Chicken and Rice Casserole

3 Sauté the onions and garlic: In the same sauté pan add 1 Tbsp olive oil, lower the heat to medium, add the onions, and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add the garlic, cook 30 seconds more. Remove onions and garlic to a shallow (9 x 13 x 2) casserole dish.

Sautéing Mushrooms in skillet for Chicken and Rice Casserole Dry Sherry in pan to make Chicken and Rice Casserole

4 Sauté the mushrooms: Raise heat to medium high, add the sliced mushrooms. Dry sauté them (no need to add butter or oil), allowing the mushrooms to brown lightly, and release some of their moisture. Add the mushrooms to the casserole dish.

5 Make the sauce: Add 1/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine to the pan to deglaze the pan, scraping off the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

(At this point, if you are making ahead, reduce the sherry to 1 Tbsp and pour off into the casserole dish. Refrigerate cooked onions, garlic, mushrooms, and browned chicken pieces until you are ready to make the casserole.)

Let the sherry reduce to about 1 Tbsp, then add the chicken stock, and remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, the cream, and the sour cream.

6 Assemble the casserole: Add the raw rice to the casserole dish. Then pour the stock, sherry, cream, sour cream mixture over the rice.

Add the Italian and poultry seasonings (or fresh herbs) and paprika to the dish.

Stir the rice, onion, mushroom, herb mixture so that they are evenly distributed in the casserole dish.

Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice mixture (in a single layer if you can, they will be crowded).

Chicken and Rice Bake (Chicken and Rice Casserole)

7 Bake:  Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil.

If the casserole still has too much liquid, let it cook a few minutes more, uncovered, until the excess liquid has evaporated away.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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150 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Sherrie Senese

    Just made this casserole and it was amazing! I followed the directions and didn’t change anything. The flavors are fantastic! I will make it again for sure!


    Show Replies (1)
  2. Ellie

    This recipe has been my family fav since the 60’s.

    Over the years I have cut down the assembly time and simplified it.

    Dump into a metal 9x 12 pan, 1 C . rice, 2C. BEEF broth, 1 can mushroom soup, 1 pkg. onion soup mix, 1 cup of any older frozen veggies, stir all well, set a large pkg. of chicken WINGS ( the ONLY chicken I buy now) over all, S & p, cover with foil, bake 1 hr at 375, uncover, brown top for 15 mins, ENJOY

  3. Amy

    Thank you for this recipe! I’ve been making it for over 5 years now so thought it was time to express my thanks with a review. This is comfort food for me, my kids love it, and I am always asked for the recipe whenever I make it for guests. I often entertain and have made far more complicated dishes but at the end of the day my guests rave more about this comfort dish and are so excited when they learn that I’ve made extra so that they may take the “leftovers” home to enjoy the next day. This is also my go-to dish whenever I’m tasked with bringing dinner to a friend as it reheats beautifully.

    I have made a few adjustments that make it easier for me. I use 2 cups of chicken stock and no wine because I usually don’t have white wine available. I don’t cut up the chicken thighs because they break down just fine through the cooking process. Because I usually double the recipe, I always buy pre-diced onions and already sliced mushrooms to make the process quicker. For me, I can’t imagine using anything other than heavy cream and full-fat sour cream. I also find that smoked paprika lends a subtle smokiness to the dish that I’ve come to enjoy. I’m often short on time so will brown the thighs and sautee the onions, garlic, and mushrooms a day ahead so that I need only throw in the rice and prepare the liquid which I can do in the time it takes to pre-heat the oven.

    Thank you again for a for a great recipe!


  4. Cary

    I’ve been making this recipe for years now, and thought maybe it was finally time to come back and leave a review! It’s fantastic as is, but I’ve made several adjustments to taste and for convenience over the years…
    I usually make this with what I have on-hand – so I usually use the half-and-half I keep on hand for coffee instead of cream. I also rarely buy sour cream, so I use unsweetened nonfat plain greek yogurt instead. Canned or jarred button mushrooms (drained, with liquid pressed out) work well if you don’t have fresh on-hand….we will kindly ignore that that adds a can to this ‘can-less’ recipe, please-and-thank-you. I also often steam up some broccoli in the microwave, throw it into the pan after the mushrooms to cook off some fluid, and add it to the casserole dish for more veggie goodness.
    Just tonight I decided to up the rice/chicken ratio and go for brown rice: I used 1 1/2 cups brown rice, 4 cups of chicken stock, a splash more “sour cream” (yogurt), and upped the cooking time by 20 minutes uncovered. It came out SO GOOD.
    Thank you so much for this spectacular recipe – I probably make it about once a month, sometimes more. Perfect comfort food!


  5. Hope

    Nice recipe! I cooked it on the stove, and used smoked paprika. Since my Spanish family is not a fan of cream sauces, I added some creme fraiche at the end. I love your recipes because I usually cook in forign countries where I have to go back to basic ingredients, no package mixes (and I think packaged mixes and canned soups contain a lot of unnecessary chemicals!).


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