broccoli chicken casserole on fork

Broccoli Chicken Casserole Using Frozen Broccoli

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My dad hates casseroles, and I get it. A bad casserole is really, really bad. We’ve all been to that well-meaning relative’s house and had a scary casserole full of indeterminable ingredients that we choked down while we prayed to be spared from food poisoning. In fact, broccoli chicken casserole can be dry, gloopy, and sad.

On the flip side, a good casserole is really, really good. Comforting, warming, and filling, casseroles can be just what you need on a chilly night. The leftovers from a good casserole also rock. I love having leftover broccoli chicken casserole for lunches. Just warm them up in the microwave for instant comforting goodness.

This broccoli chicken casserole with frozen broccoli is awesome, if I do say so myself. Fluffy rice cooked in chicken stock gets covered in chopped rotisserie chicken and thawed frozen broccoli (major time savers that are still fresh and delicious), then the whole thing is enrobed in homemade cheese sauce and a cheesy Panko topping. Bake that baby in the oven and you’ve got a browned, bubbly beauty that everyone will enjoy.

serving broccoli chicken casserole

Why Rotisserie Chicken and Frozen Broccoli?

Rotisserie chicken is a time saver that I use all the time. I can buy a rotisserie chicken from Costco for $5, and it costs me at least double, probably triple that to roast one myself. A Costco chicken usually lasts us for 2 meals, too. You just can’t beat that kind of money and effort saved. Buying a rotisserie chicken frees up my time so I can concentrate on things like homemade cheese sauce. You can also use any leftover chicken you have, or you could roast or poach some chicken. The possibilities are endless! I like the texture of roasted chicken in this broccoli chicken casserole, but use what you’d like!

Frozen vegetables are a great product. They are minimally processed (really just flash steamed and flash frozen), and they speed up cooking time quite a bit. In this case, frozen broccoli is thawed, wrung through a kitchen towel to get the excess moisture out, chopped, and added right to our casserole. If you’d like to blanch your own broccoli, be my guest! That will totally work, it will just take more time

How to Make Broccoli Chicken Casserole


You can use any method you’d like to make the rice, but please cook it in chicken stock instead of water. I actually use about a teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon chicken base mixed with water for my rice cooking liquid. This gives a rich flavor to the rice that can’t be beat.

Lately I’ve been cooking my rice in my small Instant Pot. Take 1 and 1/2 cups of long or medium grain rice, and add it to the metal insert of the Instant Pot. Add 2 and 1/4 cups of chicken stock, or 2 and 1/4 cups of water and just over a teaspoon of chicken Better Than Bouillon. Throw in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter. Close the lid, make sure it is set to “sealing,” and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes, then let it naturally release for 5 or 6 minutes before doing a manual release. Fluff the rice with a fork, and you’re ready to go!

broccoli chicken casserole

Broccoli and Chicken

Chop 2 cups of rotisserie chicken into bite sized pieces. Thaw about 4 generous cups of frozen broccoli florets in the microwave. To do this, put the florets in a large microwave safe bowl, and microwave in 60 second intervals until the broccoli is soft enough to chop, but not overcooked. Chop into bite sized pieces.

Cheese Sauce

I wrote a whole post about how to make homemade cheese sauce! Basically, cook flour and butter together to make a roux, add milk slowly, season and simmer for a few minutes, then add your cheese gradually. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste. The full recipe is located below the Broccoli Chicken Casserole recipe at the bottom of this post, as well as in its own post here.

Cheesy Panko Topping

For the easy panko topping with cheese, place 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter in the bottom of a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Add 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs on top of the butter. Microwave until the butter is melted. Add salt and pepper, and stir until all of the breadcrumbs are covered in butter. Let cool for about 5 minutes or so. Add 1/2 cup of shredded medium cheddar cheese (preferably that you grated yourself) to the breadcrumbs. That’s it!

sprinkling panko topping


In a 9″x13″ baking dish, layer your rice, then the chopped chicken and broccoli, then pour all of your lovely cheese sauce over the top, and sprinkle the breadcrumb and cheese topping all over. Bake for 35 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit until bubbly and gorgeously browned and reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit as read by an instant read thermometer, such as the trusty ThermoPop2.

I hope you love this dish as much as I do. Please comment below when you make it and let me know how it went!

Happy Cooking!


broccoli chicken casserole

Broccoli Chicken Casserole with Homemade Cheese Sauce and Frozen Broccoli

Broccoli Chicken Casserole is cheesy, filling, and comforting. Rotisserie chicken and frozen broccoli offer shortcuts that are big on flavor, while homemade cheese sauce brings this casserole into the major leagues.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12


  • 1 cutting board and knife
  • 1 microwave
  • 1 9"x13" baking dish
  • 1 Medium Saucepot for cheese sauce
  • 1 Whisk for cheese sauce


For the Rice

  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked, long grain white rice
  • 2 and 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheese Sauce

  • 1 recipe homemade cheddar cheese sauce recipe below
  • 4 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken

Panko Topping

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


Cook the Rice

  • Lately, I've been cooking my rice in the Instant-Pot. Feel free to use any method you like (see note). For Instant-Pot rice, add 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice, 2 and 1/4 cups chicken stock, 1 Tablespoon butter, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into the metal pot of the Instant-Pot.
  • Set Instant-Pot to "sealing" and pressure cook on high for 6 minutes. Natural release for 5 minutes, then manual release and fluff the rice with a fork. Set aside.

Make the Cheese Sauce

  • The recipe for the Homemade Cheddar Cheese Sauce is below.

Preheat Oven

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Panko Topping

  • Add 1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs and 2 Tablespoons of butter in a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, or until the butter is melted.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined and all of the breadcrumbs are coated in butter.
  • When the topping has cooled, stir in 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.


  • Spread the cooked rice evenly in the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish.
  • Thaw the broccoli by placing it in a microwave safe bowl and microwaving at 2 minute intervals, stirring in between, until the broccoli is thawed enough to chop. You don't want to overcook the broccoli.
  • Pour the thawed broccoli into a kitchen towel and squeeze any extra water out.
  • Chop 2 cups of rotisserie chicken into small pieces.
  • Chop 4 cups of thawed broccoli into small pieces.
  • Scatter the chopped broccoli and chicken evenly over the rice.
  • Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the broccoli and chicken.
  • Add the Panko topping evenly over the whole casserole.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, or until casserole is browned on top, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let cool slightly and serve!


Other methods for cooking rice:
  1. Place all rice ingredients in a medium-sized pot. Bring rice to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, take the pot off the heat, and let sit for an additional 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
  2. Place all rice ingredients in a rice cooker, and use the white rice setting.
Keyword Broccoli, Casserole, Cheddar, Cheese, homemade, Rotisserie Chicken
homemade cheese sauce

Homemade Cheese Sauce

Learning how to make your own cheese sauce is a pivotal moment in your culinary journey. No longer are you beholden to canned soups for casseroles and dips! Go forth, and enjoy the ease and deliciousness of homemade cheddar cheese sauce!
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 9


  • 1 medium sized pot
  • 1 Whisk


  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk I use 2%, but whole would be awesome.
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper more to taste
  • 3 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese grated from a block is best
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


  • In a medium sized saucepot set over medium heat, melt 6 Tablespoons of butter.
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low and add 6 Tablespoons of flour. Whisk the butter and flour together and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. This forms the roux that will thicken your sauce.
  • Add 3 cups of milk a little bit at a time, whisking thoroughly between each milk addition.
  • Add 3/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper to the sauce.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is bubbling and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Turn off the heat, and gradually add 3 cups of shredded medium cheddar cheese, preferably that you grated off of a block. Whisk between additions until all of the cheese is added.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice. This brightens up the sauce.
  • Whisk, taste for seasoning, and serve!


Pre-shredded cheese has starches added to prevent clumping. While this may look better in the bag, it can cause gumminess in sauces. It is not the end of the world if you use pre-shredded cheese by any means. The texture of your sauce will just be smoother if you shred the cheese yourself.
Keyword Cheddar, Cheese, homemade, Quick & Easy, Sauce

2 thoughts on “Broccoli Chicken Casserole Using Frozen Broccoli”

  1. 5 stars
    Made this last night and loved it! I also appreciate the way you structured the recipe so I knew what order to do things. Otherwise I would have left the topping to the end and had to wait extra while the Panko cooled.

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