Chicken and wild rice casserole is a hearty, delicious meal that families across the country love. The recipe combines wild rice – a nutty, earthy cereal grain – with chicken in a creamy sauce to create an aromatic and flavorful dish. This recipe can easily be made ahead of time and frozen for convenience, making it perfect for busy households.
Serve it with a side of steamed vegetables and enjoy the ultimate comfort food meal! With just a few simple ingredients, you can make this easy chicken and wild rice casserole quickly. If you love wild rice and chicken, this recipe is for you.
Is Wild Rice an Actual Rice?
Wild rice is a species of grass native to North America and is not actually true rice. This wild-growing plant is an aquatic annual that was historically an important food source for indigenous peoples in the United States. Often, wild rice is sold mixed and pre-cooked in packages or boxes. Wild rice mixtures can vary in type, so the cooking time may vary as well.
Wild rice has a nutty flavor and chewy texture that makes it pair well with poultry. Many people compare wild rice to brown rice – but wild rice has more protein and fiber than brown rice. Wild rice also contains many essential vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritional powerhouse for those looking for healthier options in the kitchen.
What is the Best Chicken to Use for a Casserole?
When it comes to chicken casseroles, the best chicken to use is chicken breast. Chicken breasts are a lean protein source that stays tender and juicy when cooked in the oven. Additionally, they are easy to prepare and cut into cubes for cooking in casseroles like this one.
If you’re looking for extra flavor, chicken thighs are another great option for chicken casserole recipes. Chicken thighs are juicier than the breast part, but with a bit more fat content. Both chicken thighs and breasts will yield delicious results when cooked in casseroles like this one.
If you’re short on time, a great shortcut that will yield you good results as well is rotisserie chicken. Most grocery stores will have rotisserie chicken; purchase there and shred the meat according to the recipe. A large one would give you about 3-4 cups of shredded chicken, allowing you to use it in other recipes as well. Of course, if you have leftover chicken in your fridge, you may use it in this recipe too.
To make the most flavorful chicken wild rice casserole possible, you can also consider using chicken stock or chicken broth instead of water. Chicken stock adds an extra depth of flavor to the chicken and wild rice casserole – just be sure to use low-sodium chicken stock for a healthier option!
With chicken breast, wild rice, and chicken stock at your disposal, you can make your own chicken and wild rice casserole any night of the week. This perfect casserole is sure to be a hit with your family – plus, it makes for great leftovers! Enjoy the delicious and simple flavors of chicken and wild rice casserole for dinner tonight.
Chicken Wild Rice Casserole Ingredients
- 2 skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 box wild rice mix
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1/3 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 (4 oz.) jar diced pimientos
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Fresh parsley
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole Recipe Directions
- Prepare the wild rice blend according to the package directions.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a casserole dish or a baking dish. Set aside.
- In a bowl, toss the chicken with salt, pepper, basil, and thyme.
- In a pan, brown the chicken over medium heat. Make sure that all sides of the chicken cubes are almost cooked through.
- In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and celery in the skillet, stirring occasionally for about 5 to 7 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat.
- In a bowl, combine the cooked rice, cooked chicken, onion, celery, chicken soup or chicken broth, sour cream, white wine, and Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
- Transfer the mix to the prepared casserole dish or baking dish.
- Top with diced pimientos and slivered almonds.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 60 minutes.
- Remove the wild rice casserole chicken from the oven.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole Tips
- A casserole dish is highly preferred to use but a baking dish works well too.
- If you are using uncooked rice, cook the wild rice mix first according to the package directions.
- Some wild rice blends include long-grain rice; always read the instructions on the package and use the correct water-to-rice ratio so that the grains cook properly.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces to make it easier to cook and eat.
- If you have leftover cooked chicken, you may use it for this recipe as well.
- Make it ahead of time: baked chicken and wild rice casserole can easily be made in advance and frozen for up to two months. When freezing, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or cover with foil and freeze. Simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight when ready to serve.
- Have leftover wild rice casserole chicken and want to reheat it? Add a little more chicken broth and sprinkle more cooked wild rice before heating over the stove or in the oven.
- Add your own twist: feel free to add frozen veggies such as broccoli and frozen peas into the dish for an extra flavor boost and more nutritional value. Pre-cook them by sauteeing them until they are crisp and tender and then combine them with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.
- If you prefer brown or cremini mushrooms in this recipe, you can also add them in. Sautee them in oil or butter. Add the sautéed mushrooms to the other ingredients to give this recipe a more earthy flavor.
- Use chicken stock: chicken stock is a great way to add extra flavor and richness to chicken and wild rice casserole without adding too much fat or calories. Look for low-sodium chicken broth for a healthy option.
- Want to make this recipe more creamy? Aside from using condensed chicken soup, another option you can use is condensed cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup.
- Aside from a wild rice mixture, this recipe can be used with other types of rice such as long-grain white rice or long-grain brown rice. Just be sure to use the appropriate amount of liquid to rice ratio.
- If you don’t like chopped onion, you may substitute it with onion powder instead.
Chicken and wild rice casserole is the perfect easy weeknight meal for busy families. This chicken and wild rice dish is nutritious and flavorful and can be made in advance for a quick fix on hectic days. With chicken breasts, cooked wild rice, chicken stock, and your favorite vegetables, you can make this chicken wild rice casserole quickly. So get ready to enjoy chicken wild rice casserole tonight! Bon appetit!
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