Chicken and Rice Casserole is a classic, hearty meal that has been satisfying families for generations. Perfect for busy weeknights or gatherings with family and friends, this flavorful dish combines tender, juicy chicken with deliciously-seasoned rice in a creamy sauce, all baked together to perfection in one dish. It’s a versatile recipe that can be easily customized to suit individual tastes and preferences, with various vegetables and seasonings easily added or substituted.
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (or 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts)
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a large frying pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Brown chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes on each side. Set aside.
- In the same pan, sauté the onions, celery, and carrots for 4-5 minutes or until softened.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, water, and sautéed vegetables. Season with salt, pepper, and any additional spices as desired.
- Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread the rice mixture evenly in the dish and top with the browned chicken pieces, skin-side up. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice has absorbed the liquid.
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes to crisp up the chicken skin. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
As an all-time favorite, Chicken and Rice Casserole has a rich history that dates back to the days of rural American households in the mid-20th century. The dish became especially popular during the 1950s, as mothers sought out easy-to-prepare, satisfying dishes that could feed a large family. The use of canned soups as a convenient way to bring flavor and creaminess to the dish became the focal point of many casseroles, including our beloved chicken and rice casserole.
The versatility of this dish is what made it a staple in households across the United States and even around the world. Depending on the region, different ingredients have been added or substituted to suit local tastes and preferences, like the addition of bell peppers, mushrooms, or even smoked sausage. As a result, countless variations of this classic recipe have emerged, each with a unique flavor profile that reflects the diverse cultural influences within American cuisine.