I’ve got a delicious make-ahead, true comfort food recipe for you today, Easy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole. A Southern favorite, creamy and flavorful, Easy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole is full of tender chicken, cheese, crunchy water chestnuts, and a blend of tasty seasoned white and wild rice.
This favorite family casserole also freezes well, so it’s easy to whip up a batch and freeze a pan or two for later when you are too busy or just don’t feel like cooking. Pair it with a salad and you have a great weeknight meal, and it’s also a really nice make-ahead meal to serve to guests.
This easy casserole was a favorite of my children when they were growing up, and I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve made it over the years. It’s foolproof and if you use a deli-roasted chicken it literally only takes minutes to throw together. I usually buy bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts when they are on sale and roast as many as six at a time. Then I just chop up the cooked chicken and store it in the freezer, so I almost always have cooked chicken ready to go at a moments notice.
You can also save even more time and use a fast-cooking rice blend, but I prefer Uncle Ben’s Original Recipe Long Grain and Wild Rice. It takes about 15 minutes longer to cook, but I think it tastes better and the rice has a better texture.
How to make Easy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
To make this Easy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole, you need a box of long grain and wild rice mix, butter, onions, celery, water chestnuts, cooked chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, milk, kosher salt, ground black pepper and panko breadcrumbs.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare the rice according to the package directions and set aside.
Add 2 Tbsp butter to a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the onions and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and tender. Add the water chestnuts and stir to combine.
Add the rice, chicken, 2-1/2 cups cheese, mushroom soup, sour cream, milk, kosher salt and pepper and mix to combine.
Coat a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and add the chicken and rice mixture.
Melt remaining 1 Tbsp butter and mix with the panko crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the casserole.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are brown and toasty.
Remove from the oven, let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve.