Lightened-Up Chicken-Broccoli Casserole


The do-it-all casserole.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
40 mins

Yes, comfort food can still taste fresh. The proof is in this one-pan wonder that can be customized in creative ways. Our Test Kitchen sought to develop a healthier spin on a Southern-favorite family dinner: Casserole. The result is this Lightened-Up Chicken-Broccoli Casserole, which our Test Kitchen has dubbed "the do-it-all casserole."

You'll love how easy this dish is to pull together: Thanks to a few shortcuts, it's on the table in just 40 minutes. Microwavable brown rice forms the starchy base of this casserole; rotisserie chicken brings the protein in an oh-so-convenient package. You get your vegetables in with tender broccoli florets, and a creamy, cheesy sauce ties it all together. The crispy breadcrumb topping is the perfect finish to this delightful casserole.

Lightened-Up Chicken-Broccoli Casserole

Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

In addition to this core recipe, we have four additional variations that you can mix and match with as much as you like. Try our Crispy Onion-Parmesan, Mushroom-Thyme, Pimiento Cheese, and Buffalo Ranch versions. Or take the topping from one, the cheese from another, the grain from another and completely customize the casserole to your tastes.


  • cup all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided

  • 2 (8.8-oz.) pkg. precooked microwavable brown rice

  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets 

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (from 1 large rotisserie chicken)

  • 6 ounces reduced-fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups)

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil 


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack 6 inches from heat source. Whisk together flour and 1 cup of the milk in a small bowl until smooth. Bring remaining 3 cups milk to a boil in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium-high, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium, and gradually whisk in flour mixture until smooth. Return to a boil over medium-high. Boil, stirring constantly, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Stir rice and broccoli into milk mixture until combined. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is bright green, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add chicken, Cheddar, salt, and pepper to rice mixture; stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Stir together panko and oil in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly over chicken mixture.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until casserole is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil (do not remove skillet from oven). Broil until top is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Related Articles