Overhead view white baking dish filled with cheesy chicken and rice casserole

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole (Easy & Veggie Loaded)

A classic and comforting casserole gets a health and flavor boost from the addition of veggies and a homemade cheese sauce. A family-friendly casserole that provides well-rounded nutrition, delicious leftovers, and reheats well. 

Prep: 20 minsCook: 1 hour, 10 minsTotal: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings 1x


For the Cheese Sauce:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
  • ⅓ cup flour*
  • 3 cups milk of choice (we used 2%)
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided (2 ½ – ¾ cups)

For the Casserole:

  • 1 ¼ lbs. raw boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (~½ inch)
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati, jasmine, or long-grain white rice (note: we have not tested this recipe with brown rice or any other type of rice then what is listed. We recommend you use basmati, jasmine, or long-grain white rice)
  • ½ medium yellow onion, minced or very finely diced (~ 1 cup)
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen California blend vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉. 
  2. Generously mist or grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or butter; set aside.
  3. Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the butter. When the butter is melted, sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk for 1 minute.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the milk, 1 cup at a time, whisking slowly and continuously after each addition until all of the milk has been added.
  5. Next whisk in the broth. Stir in the garlic powder, salt, mustard, paprika, and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and allow the mixture to come to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
  6. Add 2 cups of the shredded cheese to the sauce; stir until smooth. Pour the cheese sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add the raw chicken pieces, uncooked rice, onion, and frozen vegetables. Stir very well to combine (this is important for all of the rice to cook through). Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and stir the casserole very well. Re-cover with the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. 
  8. Remove from the oven and remove the foil. Stir once more very well, then sprinkle the remaining 1/2-3/4 cup cheese over the top. 
  9. Return the dish to the oven, uncovered, and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven (casserole will be slightly soupy) allow to stand for 20 minutes before serving. This standing time is necessary for the casserole to thicken and cool enough to eating temperature.


*May use unbleached all-purpose flour or a gluten-free flour blend. For gluten-free flour, we recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of the recipe
  • Calories: 402
  • Fat: 18 g
  • (Sat Fat: 11 g)
  • Sodium: 650 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 32 g
  • (Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 7 g)
  • Protein: 28 g
  • Cholesterol: 92. mg


© The Real Food Dietitians