Comforting Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole

Comforting Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole

When it comes to hearty, comforting meals that evoke a sense of home, the Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole stands out as a cherished dish. Passed down from an Italian grandmother, this recipe combines the richness of traditional Italian flavors with the convenience of a one-pan meal. With tender meat, aromatic spices, and fluffy rice, each bite is a reminder of warmth and family. This casserole is the perfect solution for those seeking a simple, satisfying meal that requires minimal cleanup while delivering the wholesome goodness your loved ones crave.

Comforting Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole

Servings: 6 to 8


  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 to 8 bone-in, skinless chicken legs
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. Preparation:
    • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Sauté Aromatics:
    • In a pan over medium-low heat, warm olive oil.
    • Sauté garlic, onion, and red bell pepper until softened and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
  3. Rice and Broth:
    • Add rice to the pan and toast for 2 minutes.
    • Pour in chicken broth and let it simmer.
  4. Season Chicken:
    • Season chicken thighs with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
    • Place the seasoned chicken on top of the rice in the pan.
  5. Tomatoes:
    • Add diced tomatoes on top without draining, letting their juices enhance the dish.
  6. Bake:
    • Cover the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the rice is tender, and the chicken is fully cooked.
  7. Cheese Topping:
    • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the dish.
    • Bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
  8. Rest and Garnish:
    • Allow the casserole to rest for 5 minutes.
    • Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on top before serving.

Changes and Tips:

  • For a kid-friendly version, omit peppers and tomatoes, focusing on the classic combination of broth, rice, chicken, and cheese.
  • Enhance the Italian flavor by combining mozzarella with parmesan or asiago cheese.
  • Boost the dish's nutritional content by adding vegetables like spinach or diced zucchini along with the tomatoes.
  • Enjoy leftovers as the casserole reheats well, making it a convenient option for lunch or dinner the next day.

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