If you grew up in a “meat and potatoes” kind of house like I did, then you probably ate a lot of casseroles. There were a few staple casseroles my mom would make regularly. This Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe was one of them, and I can’t wait for you to try my gluten and dairy free version of it!
Of course, the version of this casserole that I grew up with was NOT gluten free or dairy free. So, when I kicked gluten and dairy to the curb for good, I knew this was one meal I would miss eating.
It was also one meal I knew I had to develop a gluten and dairy free version of because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life not eating it!
Why are most chicken and rice casserole recipes not gluten free?
It may seem like chicken rice sounds pretty innocent when it comes to gluten. I mean, rice is gluten free and chicken is gluten free, so what’s the big deal?
It’s the flavor additions and, most often, the condensed cream of chicken or mushroom or celery soup that contains gluten.
The gluten in condensed cream of (anything) soups is usually wheat flour. Plus these soups usually contain modified food starch, which could be made from wheat.
My mom’s original chicken and rice casserole uses a packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix and that product also contains gluten.
Why are most chicken and rice recipes not dairy free?
This one is a little more obvious than the gluten, but just so we’re all on the same page, most chicken and rice casseroles contain dairy.
The dairy usually comes from the canned condensed cream of chicken, mushroom, or celery soup, and that’s where the dairy in my mom’s recipe was found.
Other chicken and rice recipes may have added cheese, added sour cream, or added milk or half-and-half, or maybe a packet of ranch dressing mix, which contains dried buttermilk and isn’t dairy free.
How many ingredients are in this Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe?
You’ll need a total of 15 ingredients to make this chicken and rice casserole recipe. While that may seem like a lot of ingredients, many of them are dried herbs and spices that you probably already have in your kitchen.
Here’s what you need:
- Dried parsley
- Coarse salt
- Dried thyme
- Dried minced onion
- Granulated garlic
- Ground black pepper
- Basmati or jasmine rice
- Unsweetened, unflavored coconut milk (in a carton, not canned)
- Olive oil
- Chicken thighs
- Raw, unsalted cashews
- Low-sodium chicken broth
- Poultry seasoning (use purchased or make your own with this recipe)
Some of the ingredients in the list are ingredients you’ll need to make your own Dairy Free Cream of Chicken Soup. I posted that recipe last week and you can read the post here! It’s a versatile, delicious recipe that can be used in so many different ways. It doesn’t take long to make and is essential for this chicken and rice casserole to turn out so well!
Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs?
When I tested this chicken and rice casserole recipe, I always used chicken thighs. I like how they taste, and they work better than chicken breast when the bake time is long like it is for this casserole.
I also tested with both bone-in and boneless chicken thighs. You can use either option, by the way. They turn out so juicy and tender in this casserole!
I didn’t take time to test with chicken breast but will do that next time I want to make this casserole (with testing it 3 times to get this recipe just right, I need to give my family a break of it for a little while!).
Because chicken breast tends to dry out more quickly than chicken thighs, I suspect that chicken breast won’t work quite as well as chicken thighs because of the long bake time. The long bake time for this casserole is needed to allow the rice to cook properly.
Once I try it, I will update the recipe based on my results!
Next time you’re in the mood for a good ole’ comfort food type casserole, keep this Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe handy and give it a try! Or, if you’re more of a comfort food soup kind of person, then I’d suggest making this Dairy Free Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup. It’s delicious too!
Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/3 cups basmati or jasmine rice
- 1 ½ cups Dairy Free Cream of Chicken Soup (see recipe link in the Notes below)
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup unsweetened, unflavored coconut milk (in a carton, not canned)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 chicken thighs, with bone or without, remove skin if present
- Preheat oven to 350°F. For seasoning mix, in a small bowl combine parsley, salt, thyme, minced onion, garlic, and pepper. Set aside.
- In an ungreased 3-quart rectangular baking dish combine rice, cream of chicken soup, water, coconut milk, oil, and 2 ½ teaspoons of the seasoning mix. Stir until well combined. Spread to an even layer in the dish.
- Arrange chicken thighs on top of rice (avoid overlapping chicken). Sprinkle chicken with remaining seasoning mix. Cover dish with foil.
- Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until rice is just tender and chicken registers 175-180°F when tested with an instant-read thermometer*. Cover casserole loosely with foil and let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.