Did your grandma make you Chicken and Rice Casserole? It was my Grandma Georgia’s signature dish, pure comfort food. She called it “Chicken Continental.” She used Minute Rice and canned soup. I’ve updated the recipe to be completely from scratch, with a homemade sauce and white rice (which is more nutritious.) It’s still really easy, and a great old-fashioned recipe for when you feel like you need a warm hug from your dinner!

sliced chicken thigh in a bed of rice with broccoli in a wooden bowl.
Table of Contents
  1. Old-fashioned chicken and rice casserole
  2. Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™
  3. Chicken and rice casserole recipe ingredients
  4. How to make chicken and rice casserole
  5. Do you cook rice before putting it in a casserole?
  6. What to serve with chicken rice casserole
  7. How to store easy chicken and rice casserole
  8. Can you freeze chicken and rice casserole?
  9. Rice and chicken casserole frequently asked questions
  10. More comfort food meals you’ll love
  11. Grandma Georgia’s Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

This post is sponsored by Zoup! Good, Really Good®, but all opinions are my own of course! Thanks for supporting the amazing brands that keep The Food Charlatan chugging along.

My Grandma Georgia was an amazing lady who grew up poor, helping her family on their farm from a young age. She remembers hearing the wind whistle between the wooden slats of their house growing up in the 1920s. Once when I was like 13, she saw me wearing overalls and she gave me a funny look. “Why are you wearing those? When I was a girl, that’s what I wore when I went outside to WORK.” My 2001 fashion statement was strange to her. (To be fair, if you saw pictures of me when I was 13, you would think I looked strange no matter what I wore. Puberty hit me HARD, y’all 😂)

Grandma would bring us roses cut from her garden every time she visited in the spring. She had porcelain figurines (dogs, cats, dancing ladies) all over her house that I adored. She made me a homemade dress every Christmas, and quilts too. She grew her own grapes and blackberries in the backyard and made the most amazing juice and pies.  

One time when I was very young, grandma had to cancel dinner plans because she got a stomach bug. We decided to make her get well cards. I drew an extremely detailed picture of her bathroom, down to the bath toys she had for us, and the potpourri on the back of the toilet. I was very proud of my picture, and devastated when my sister told me we probably shouldn’t give it to her…because it also showed grandma on her knees violently throwing up in the toilet. (Still wish someone had saved that picture, ha!)

Want to save this recipe?
Just drop your email here and I’ll send it right away! Plus you’ll get new recipes from me every week. Yes please!
wooden spoon scooping up a cooked chicken thigh from the rice in a casserole dish.

My grandma passed away when I was 20 years old, about a month after my wedding. We had just spent time together, and Eric and I were poor. (Not overalls-poor, not wind-in-the-slats-poor…but just starting out, and we felt poor). I lived out of state and decided not to attend the funeral, since I had been able to say my goodbyes at the wedding. I don’t have a lot of intense regrets in my life, but this is one of them. Funerals are much more about closure for the living, something I didn’t realize at the time.

I’ve come to terms with it, but there is still a hint of yearning, a little bittersweetness, whenever I think deeply about her, that I don’t think I will ever lose.

When I make her recipes, I feel a little connection to my past, a connection to HER, that I treasure so much. She was the most quintessential of grandmothers so of COURSE she was a phenomenal cook. My siblings and I often reminisce about the good ol days when she would serve up Chicken and Dumplings with a glass of fresh grape juice and Blackberry Torte for dessert (recipe coming this summer!)

Her signature dish was this “Chicken Continental,” or chicken and rice casserole. I can’t even describe the dreamy look in my dad’s eye when he talks about his mom making this dish. There is something about food from your childhood, right? His and mine both. It’s like a hug from your dinner…the next best thing to an actual hug from your Grandma.

seared chicken pieces in a casserole dish surrounded by creamy cooked rice.

Old-fashioned chicken and rice casserole

The recipe sounds so basic. Chicken and rice, what’s the big deal? Sounds kinda dry right. But I’m telling you, get ready for some MAGIC. When I finally nailed the recipe, I sent it to my best friend Sarah and she made it for her family. She texted me:

text message saying how good a recipe was.

The depth of flavor is legit. The chicken gets cooked alongside the rice, and absorbs all the amazing flavor. We are using skin-on, bone-in chicken, and that’s not an apology. I told you, this recipe is old school. After breading and browning it, the skin magically stays super crispy throughout the bake, even with the moisture of the rice.

Using bone-in dark meat, like drumsticks and thighs, ensures that the chicken doesn’t get dry, even with the long bake time. Grandma Georgia’s original recipe calls for searing a whole fryer chicken, but I’m not mature enough for that. 😂 Using bone-in dark meat gives you the same result.

After searing the chicken, Grandma mixed together a couple cans of cream of mushroom soup with some Minute rice and tossed it all in the oven. Today we are making our own sauce instead of canned soup. I promise it’s not hard, and the flavor is so good.

We are also using regular white rice. Minute Rice is basically half cooked white rice, and it turns out pretty gummy. It also doesn’t have a lot of nutrients (we need that fiber!), and it’s not an ingredient I usually have in my pantry (but I always have rice). The total time for baking ends up being longer using white rice, but I think it’s worth it.

bowl filled with chicken and rice casserole and broccoli on the side.

This recipe is NOT the same as a Chicken Broccoli Casserole. That recipe starts out similar, with some cream of chicken soup and chicken, but ends with a panko topping and lots of gooey cheddar cheese. Cheese is always a good idea right?

No no no. I LOVE me some cheese my friends, but it has no place in this dish. Cheese would overpower the deep chicken flavor we are going for in this recipe.

My absolute favorite part of this dish is the crispy bits of rice on the edges and bottom of the pan that Sarah mentioned. Almost every culture that uses rice as the staff of its diet has a name for the crispy, golden rice. Persians call it Tahdig. In the Dominican Republic they call it “concon.” In Indonesia it’s called “intip.”

creamy rice, cooked chicken drumstick, and broccoli in a ceramic bowl.

You can see it in the photo above, the golden crisp rice on the top and left side that still has the shape of the pan it was scraped from. It’s SO good.

Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™

Today’s post is brought to you by Grandma Georgia, of course, but also by Zoup! Good, Really Good®. I’ve worked with Zoup! in the past using their chicken broth (Creamy Turkey Rice Soup) and beef broth (Beef Bourguignon). Let me tell you, this company knows what’s up when it comes to flavorful broths! That’s actually how they got started, they were the team behind an actual soup restaurant (Zoup! Eatery) before they started expanding into products. So they really know how to bring in that flavor!

This time they asked me to try out their new product, Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™. I was SO excited. I’ll tell you a secret, I almost never have regular broth on hand in my kitchen. I rely on broth bases that are concentrated, so that I can just add water to them to make broth when I need it. It’s not only my favorite way to have instant shelf-stable broth on hand at all times, but it’s also my secret ingredient in SO many recipes, even those that don’t call for broth. A spoonful-here or a stir-in there takes your ho-hum soup or stir fry up about 10 notches in 10 seconds.

a spoon dipping into a jar of chicken broth base on a table.

There are not a lot of brands that offer this product and I’m SO glad that Zoup! has branched into this market! Just look at the gorgeous color of this base. You will not believe how amazing it smells. It’s so good, and you can even turn it into a sipping broth. It’s good enough to drink, just mix with hot water. There are no artificial flavors, no preservatives, no inexpensive fillers, and no added sugars.

3 cans of broth base concentrate on a tabletop.

I love Zoup! because they make their products in small batches, meaning the nuances of the recipe don’t get lost. So far, they are offering beef, chicken, and vegan broth bases. The depth from this concentrate seeps into the rice in today’s casserole and makes every single bite so, so flavorful. They are not cutting corners and it shows!

I found Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™ at my local grocery store, but you can also get it at Zoupbroth.com or on Amazon. In addition to these broth bases, Zoup! also offers traditional broths and bone broths, including chicken, beef, and veggie, plus super-premium, shelf-stable soups available in nine, flavor-forward recipes, like Chicken Potpie and Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Sage.

If you buy these products on Amazon, I have a code for 20% off your first order! It’s 20Charlatan. The code is valid until April 12, 2024. Follow ZoupGoodReallyGoodBroth on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and Pinterest!

Chicken and rice casserole recipe ingredients

Back to the recipe! Here’s everything you need to make Grandma Georgia’s rice and chicken casserole! You probably already have a lot of these spices in your cupboard. Take a look, and be sure to check out the recipe card for exact amounts and instructions.

Ingredients to make chicken and rice casserole - chicken, rice, and ingredients for white sauce.
  • bone in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • chicken drumsticks
  • kosher salt
  • flour
  • seasoning salt
  • poultry seasoning
  • black pepper
  • cayenne
  • butter
  • oil

How to make chicken and rice casserole

This recipe is so easy! My grandma used an entire fryer chicken to make this recipe, that she would break down herself, but umm…I’m not grown up enough for that 😂 So instead we are cheating by using some thighs and drumsticks.

top raw bone in chicken, bottom same chicken pieces dredged in flour mixture.

Dark meat all the way! (You could certainly make this with chicken breasts, but your chicken might get a little dry in the oven since it has to cook so long.) Coat your chicken in the flour mixture, and DON’T throw away the leftover flour!

a large skillet with 3 chicken thighs and three drumsticks, all seared on the top.

Now it’s time to sear the heck out of your breaded chicken! Crank up the heat and brown the chicken in some oil. My grandma did this in butter (that’s what the recipe says!), but I have no idea how she didn’t burn the butter in the process. Vegetable oil has a higher smoke point, so it can handle a hot sear without smoking or scorching. To add in the flavor of the butter though, we are flipping the chicken and adding it to the pan for the sear on the second side. It does the job great! Gimme all that buttery flavor.

Now if you haven’t already, take a minute to chop up your veggies: onions, celery and garlic. I used fresh garlic this time, but I often cheat and just use the jarred stuff.

chopped onion, celery, and garlic on a cutting board with a chef's knife in the background.

You want to chop your veggies on the small side. We are looking for flavor, but the onion and celery should kind of melt into the sauce and rice. My grandma actually grated her onion, and didn’t use a ton, just a few tablespoons. I wanted bigger onion flavor (and I’m way too lazy to grate…are you noticing a theme here?? 😂) It’s workin for me guys!

Okay now we are going to turn this into a white sauce. Mine is usually not white at all, because I tend to be an onion browner, not to mention a chicken-searer-gone-rogue. I love blackened edges too much, okay??

top flour added to sautéed onions and celery in skillet, bottom flour all mixed in and coating the veggies.

Your onions will start to stick together like this once you add the flour to the mixture.

adding zoup chicken base with bone broth into the skillet with the flour coated vegetables.

Now it’s time to add in our Zoup Culinary Concentrate™! This stuff is liquid GOLD you guys. Give it a sniff, it will knock you out, it smells so good. Stir it into your onions and let the aroma transport you to your childhood.

wooden spoon stirring flour and zoup bone broth base covered veggies in metal pan.

Next we’re going to add in some milk and water to turn it into a creamy sauce. You have to stir constantly as you add the liquid, so the sauce doesn’t get clumpy.

Do you cook rice before putting it in a casserole?

We are not cooking the rice before it goes in the oven! Add the remaining water and rinsed rice straight to the casserole dish.

Add the white sauce to the casserole dish with the rice and water, then top with the seared chicken. Doesn’t it look so good already??

seared chicken pieces nestled into a rice and white sauce/water mix in a casserole dish.

Don’t forget to tightly cover the dish with aluminum foil before putting it in the oven. This is really important! You must cover a pot of rice when you cook it on the stove, to lock in the steam, and the same thing applies here.

Then, cook in the oven for a good long while. Usually we wouldn’t bake chicken this long, but this is a special case. With all the moisture and steam, plus using only dark meat, the chicken comes out tender and flavorful, not dry at all.

The casserole does take a while to bake, so plan ahead. But from this point on you can just sit back and relax, the work is done!

Make some broccoli as a side dish, sprinkle on some parsley garnish, and bon appetit! I wish you could see my dad’s face when I make this for him. Grandma Georgia was his mom. There is NOTHING that brings you back like the smells and tastes of your mama’s kitchen!

looking down on a chicken and rice casserole filled 9x13 ceramic dish.

What to serve with chicken rice casserole

There is usually a lot going on in a casserole, so I tend to prefer simpler sides. My favorite sides are usually some kind of salad or a cooked vegetable I know my kids will eat. Here are some great options!

rice, broccoli, and chicken drumstick with bite taken out of it a wooden bowl.

How to store easy chicken and rice casserole

This is a really easy meal to store. Spoon the casserole into an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. Easy peasy! It’ll last in the fridge for 4-5 days. If you wanted, you could use individual meal prep containers and add a portion of rice and a piece of chicken to each to make easy lunches throughout the week. To reheat, warm it covered in the microwave at 50% heat for 2-3 minutes until hot.

Can you freeze chicken and rice casserole?

Freezing leftover casserole is a great idea when you have a lot leftover or want to store individual portions for another time. It works great! Wait for the chicken and rice to cool, then add to freezer ziplock bags or freezer safe containers with airtight lids.

If you really want to get ahead in life, you can prepare this meal in disposable foil casserole trays and freeze directly in the tray after cooking. Put the cooled pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes to flash freeze. Take out, wrap well in plastic wrap, then wrap in aluminum foil. Label the top in sharpie so you don’t forget what it is! It will last in the freezer for 3-4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and place individual portions in the microwave, cover, and heat at 50% power for 2-3 minutes.

To reheat an entire frozen pan, first be sure to remove the plastic wrap. Put the foil back on and put the pan into a cold oven. Set the temperature to 350 degrees. The casserole should be ready in about 2 hours. You can remove the foil the last 10-15 minutes if you’d like to get it browned. You can also thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

well seared chicken thigh on a bed of creamy rice with broccoli in a bowl.

Rice and chicken casserole frequently asked questions

what are the four components to a casserole?

There are obviously huge variations among casseroles, and some may not have every single component. But generally, what you’ll find in casseroles are a starch, a protein, a vegetable, and a binding agent or sauce. For this chicken and rice casserole, we’re doing three of the four
, leaving veggies out to ride solo on the plate next to the casserole.

how do you make chicken and rice casserole?

It’s a pretty simple concept! We’re going to lightly bread and sear some chicken pieces, then make a delicious white sauce to douse the chicken and rice in a casserole dish. For a step-by-step guide, you can look through the “How to” section above or check out the recipe card below!

Can you reheat chicken and rice casserole?

Absolutely! It can be warmed up in the microwave or in the oven. Over cooked chicken tends to get dried out, so if you use the microwave use 50% power and be sure to keep a cover over the food to keep moisture in and block splatter.

To reheat the entire casserole dish in the oven, add a couple tablespoons water to the bottom of the pan, if there are some servings missing. This will help keep it from scorching. Learned that trick from my mother-in-law! Then make sure it’s covered tightly in foil to keep moisture in, and put the dish into a cold oven. This is mostly to prevent a cold glass dish from breaking by going into a hot oven, so you can preheat if you’re not using glass. Then set a timer for 45 minutes. Check after the timer goes off, it may need another 15-30 minutes to get hot depending on your baking dish, and how much is in it. Because it makes so much, you can even split into two pans and bake that way. This works great for busy weeknights!

cooked chicken pieces and creamy cooked rice in a casserole dish.

More comfort food meals you’ll love

I don’t know about you, but anything my Grandma made growing up counts as comfort food, so this casserole is on my list for sure! Check out these other recipes I love to make when I need a big hug from my dinner.

browned chicken drumstick with rice from the casserole and broccoli in a ceramic bowl.
logo

Grandma Georgia’s Chicken and Rice Casserole

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Did your grandma make you Chicken and Rice Casserole? It was one of my Grandma Georgia's signature dishes. She called it "Chicken Continental." It called for Minute Rice and canned soup. I've updated the recipe to be completely from scratch, with a homemade sauce and regular white rice (which is more nutritious.) It's still really easy, and a great old fashioned recipe for when you feel like you need a warm hug from your dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bone in, skin-on chicken thighs, (about 3 thighs)
  • 1 pound chicken drumsticks, (about 3 drumsticks)

Flour mixture to go on chicken. Save the remainder!

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley, or use 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Fry the chicken

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter

For the white sauce

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 3/4 cup celery , finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, smashed and minced (about 4-5 cloves, or from a jar)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™ Chicken Bone Broth
  • 1/2 cup of the remaining seasoned flour mixture
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water, to add to onions
  • 1 and 3/4 cup water, to add to rice in casserole dish
  • 1 and 3/4 cup white long grain rice, rinsed until the water runs clear
  • parsley, chopped, to garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the edges of a large 9×13 inch casserole dish and set aside.
  • Chop the veggies: Finely dice 1 medium onion, in smaller pieces than you normally do. Dice 3/4 cup celery, don't be afraid to chop up some celery leaves too, they have great flavor. (I chop from the end of the full head of celery, I don't bother with individual stalks.) Smash and mince 1 tablespoon garlic (or, use the garlic from a jar if you are feeling lazy). Set aside.
  • Make the flour mixture: In a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon dried parsley, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon seasoning salt, 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Stir together.
  • Trim any excess skin off of the edges of the chicken thighs, if there is a lot hanging off.
    Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, being sure to coat each piece top and bottom and all over. DO NOT discard the remaining seasoned flour!
  • Sear the chicken: Heat a high-sided 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat. Add the chicken in a single layer; do not crowd the pan. Leave 1-2 inches of space in between pieces. Do it in two batches if your pan is small. Let the chicken sear over medium high heat for about 2 minutes, until well-browned. We are not cooking it all the way, just browning the edges.
  • Use tongs to flip each piece of chicken. Once the chicken is flipped, add 2 tablespoon butter and swirl around the edges of the chicken, lowering the heat a little if necessary to avoid burning the butter. After 1-2 minutes of searing the second side, when it is nice and browned, remove the chicken to the same plate from before.
  • Make the white sauce: Leave any drippings in the pan. Lower the heat to medium. Add 6 tablespoons butter. Add the diced onion and celery and saute for about 4 minutes until soft. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and cook for another 1 minute.
  • Measure the remaining seasoned flour mixture (that you have leftover from dredging the chicken). Add more flour as necessary to make sure it comes to about 1/2 cup. Slowly sprinkle the flour over the onions, stirring as you go.
  • Add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™ Chicken Bone Broth to the onions and stir it in.
  • Stirring constantly, gradually add 1 cup milk, whisking constantly to break up the flour. Do not add more liquid until the last bit has been incorporated.
  • Slowly pour 1 cup water into the onions, stirring constantly to make sure it combines with the sauce; you don't want lumps. Once it is incorporated, cook the mixture over medium heat for about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  • Rinse 1 and 3/4 cup white rice in a strainer under running water. Rinse until the water runs clear, at least 30-60 seconds (this makes your rice less gummy.) Add the rice to the greased 9×13 inch casserole dish. Add 1 and 3/4 cup water to the rice in the dish.
  • Add the white sauce mixture to the rice and water in the pan, and stir.
  • Place the chicken on top of the rice mixture. It will sink down a bit, that's okay. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, this is very important! Sometimes I even wrap the foil around the bottom of the dish just to make sure I have a good seal.
  • Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes. At this point, turn the oven up to 400 degrees and bake for another 20-30 minutes.
    When the chicken is nice and brown, and the rice looks bubbly and thick on top, it's done. The edges of the pan should be very brown. The liquid will not look completely absorbed. To be 100% sure the rice is cooked, you can nab a spoonful from the center and taste it to see if it's nice and soft. If not, leave it in another 10 minutes. The chicken should be above 165 degrees. The top of the casserole will still look a little liquidy. The casserole will settle as it rests and continue absorbing some of the sauce, but it is meant to be a little saucy, it won't look as dry as rice you've cooked with water. The rice should be soft and the pan should be jiggly but not sloshy when you shake it.
  • Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes. Serve right away, sprinkled with chopped parsley as a garnish. I love this Easy Roasted Broccoli Recipe as a side dish with this meal!

Nutrition

Calories: 671kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 1523mg | Potassium: 458mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 699IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 671
Keyword: casserole, chicken, rice
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

Categorized as , , , , , , ,

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

You May Also Like...

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! This one is a keeper! Not one thing that I don’t like about the recipe. Perfection, it came out as described.

    1. So glad you loved it Marlena! Thanks so much for taking the time to review and comment. It means so much!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this! And followed the recipe exactly. Delicious oh my goodness!! I placed aluminum foil over the top of the casserole dish then placed the lid on. This recipe is a keeper!! My husband and I both loved it. Thank you ❤️

    1. I’m so so happy you loved this dish Wendy! Grandma would be proud :) Thank you SO much for taking the time to leave a rating and comment! That helps me out so much 💕

  3. 5 stars
    I am going to make this! I do have a question…do I have to use foil or can I use the casserole lid?

    1. Hi Wendy! The casserole lid is totally fine as long as it is mostly airtight, and is oven safe! Enjoy the casserole, I do hope you love it as much as we do :)

      1. Can I just say that I love your family recipes? I know that when I see Grandma Georgia or Aunt Shirley in the title, it will be delicious. This one is a keeper! I made it three weeks ago and my husband has asked me numerous times when I will make it for him again. I’m 25% through an exhausting chemo routine so I’m mostly looking for easy recipes but just had to do this one. All of the flavors worked so well and although my taste buds are on strike (strawberries taste like metal, ice cream is impossible to get down), everything I’ve made from your collection has been wonderful. Thanks so much for writing this up and if you ever write a cookbook, everyone on my Christmas list will get one.

  4. I love how you include the measurements in the Instruction part of the recipe so that I don’t have to scroll up to keep checking the ingredient section. It’s the small things!

    Although I have not made this yet I have made a few others on your site and love your newsletter. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Christene! Thank you so much for taking the time to give me this feedback! Super helpful and kind. I’m happy to hear you are loving all the recipes you’ve tried. And I’m glad you are enjoying the newsletter! Do let me know if you end up trying the casserole. Happy cooking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.