cheesy chicken and broccoli bake

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, divided
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped
  • cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup heavy cream or whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Heat in a large oven-safe skillet (at least 12”) over medium-high heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add 1 chopped onion and sauté, cooking until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 clove minced garlic, cook 1 minute more. Stir in 1 lb. cubed chicken  and season with a big pinch salt and pepper. Cook chicken for 2 minutes, just until the outside is seared.  Add 2 tablespoons butter, 1 cup rice, 1 cup orzo, and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley; cook until golden and toasted, about 2 minutes.
  • Add 4 cups broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 3 cups broccoli and another pinch salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to the lowest setting. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes, until the rice and orzo are cooked.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine ⅓ cup breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, a glug of oil, and a pinch salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Once the rice is cooked, stir in ½ cup heavy cream and 1 cup shredded cheddar. (if skillet isn’t oven-safe, transfer to a 9×13” baking dish at this point) Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup shredded cheddar over the top followed by the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and breadcrumbs are just beginning to brown.


  • Serve with a classic green salad to complete this meal.


  • Protein: Swap chicken for Italian sausage or any ground meat.
  • Vegetarian: Swap chicken broth for vegetable broth and remove the chicken and increase the broccoli to 4 cups.
  • Gluten-Free: Omit orzo and double the rice. Use gluten-free breadcrumbs.


  • To Freeze: Prepare the casserole through step 5. Let cool, then cover tightly. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for 2-3 hours. Bake as directed.


Calories: 660kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 451mg | Potassium: 747mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1204IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 344mg | Iron: 2mg