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Easy chicken and wild rice casserole is a healthier creamy hot dish full of veggies, long grain and wild rice, slivered almonds and is a fabulous way to use up leftover chicken or turkey! Plus simple instructions on how to convert to gluten free and vegetarian.
Looking for an easy, make ahead meal or holiday side? This wild rice supreme is the best, especially since you can assemble this days ahead of time or even freeze making your holidays even simpler.
What is Wild Rice?
It’s actually not a rice, but a grass! Wild rice is the seed of a species of aquatic grass that grows primarily in the Great Lakes region of North America. It was once a dietary staple of the Native Americans living in this region, and these days, most of the wild rice available in the supermarket is specially cultivated in Minnesota and California.
If you haven’t tried wild rice before, it’s time to get on it. A firm, chewy, nutty-tasting, higher in protein grain that is delicious in salads, like this Harvest Wild Rice Salad, or in casseroles like the one I am showing you today.
- Lundberg or Near East or similar Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix (made according to package directions)
- Leftover chicken or turkey | This is optional, leave it out for a delish side dish
- Butter or Oil
- Onion & Celery | Classic in a casserole
- Flour (replace with gluten free purpose flour)
- Chicken broth or stock (replace with vegetable broth if desired)
- Half and half | Or use whole milk, heavy cream or your favorite plant-based milk
- Kosher Salt & Pepper
- Jar diced pimientos
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Slivered almonds, chopped
- Crispy Fried Onions (optional, but yummy!)
Can you Add Uncooked Rice to a Casserole?
The short answer is no, rice needs a lot of liquid and requires the steam from a covered dish, this casserole would take hours to bake if you placed uncooked rice in the dish.
However; if you happen to have some leftover, already cooked Wild Rice, feel free to add up to a cup of the cooked wild rice to the final dish.
How to Make Easy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
- Prepare long grain and wild rice according to the box directions and in the meantime begin prepping your ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 400F degrees and grease or butter a 2 qt casserole, this is my favorite!
- Melt butter in a large saucepan or skillet or medium heat; add chopped onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and cook for one minute.
- Pour in half-and-half and stir,
- And chicken broth, stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add chicken, stirring to coat.
- Toss in chopped almonds, pimientos and fresh parsley.
- Add pre-cooked long grain and wild rice mix, stir to combine.
- Pour into buttered or greased 2 qt casserole dish and smooth.
- If desired, top with crispy fried onions. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes.
This recipe easily doubles, use a 9×13 casserole dish and adjust baking time longer if not bubbly and crisp on top.
Gluten-Free and Vegan options
One of the most frequent questions I receive is “can I make a dish vegetarian, vegan or gluten free.” I am happy to report, that this is an easy one to convert.
- GLUTEN FREE | Easy peasy, simply make sure your rice blend you purchase is a GF product, then simply swap out the all purpose flour for a good 1-to-1 Gluten Free flour <– my favorite brand!
- VEGAN/VEGETARIAN | This is a bit trickier, but still doable!
Remember The Fresh Cooky is all about “Make it yours!” so substitutions are always encouraged!
- Try including chopped carrots with your onion and celery, creating a classic mirepoix.
- No chicken or turkey? Try using cooked breakfast sausage or ground hamburger instead! Ooo wild rice casserole with hamburger! Takes me back to my childhood.
- Pimiento’s not your thing? Dice a red, orange or yellow pepper and saute with onion mixture. Or use roasted red peppers or sun dried tomatoes!
- Fresh out of fresh parsley? Substitute with 3 teaspoons dried.
- Can’t find the brand of long grain and wild rice mixes mentioned? This recipe was originally made using Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice mix, or substitute with your favorite, if it’s within a few ounces of the other one it shouldn’t change a thing.
- Toss in up to 1 cup prepared wild rice in addition to other rice.
- Saute the veggies in olive or avocado oil instead of butter.
- Use milk or heavy cream instead of half and half
- Try chopped walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts or pecans — or omit altogether.
MAKE AHEAD AND FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS
This chicken and wild recipe is the perfect make ahead and freezer friendly meal or side dish. When I am cooking for the holidays I am always looking for ways get things done ahead of a holiday so I can enjoy it more!
MAKE AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS
- Assemble the entire casserole and cover well, lasts up to one week in fridge and up to 6 months frozen.
- Remove from fridge while your oven preheats, uncover and bake as directed.
- If freezing uncooked, cool completely prior to freezing and wrap well with aluminum foil. Thaw in fridge overnight and bake as instructed.
- Freezing cooked Chicken and Wild rice Casserole? Allow to cool completely, wrap in aluminum foil, sealing well. To rewarm preheat oven 300 degree F oven for 30-40 minutes, may be reheated frozen or thawed, check thawed at about 30 minutes. Cover up until last 10 minutes to re-crisp the top.
I am excited to be a part of a fabulous group of bloggers coming together to bring you loads of fabulous holiday sides this week! Below are all the links.
Wednesday Holiday Side Dish Recipes:
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts by Savory Experiments
- Baby Yams with Honey Apple Syrup by Palatable Pastime
- Black Bean and Corn Salad Shrimp Cups by The Freshman Cook
- Candied Butternut Squash by Our Good Life
- Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bake by Sweet Beginnings
- Cranberry Kissed Green Beans by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Easy Corn Pudding by Lemon Blossoms
- Garlic Mushrooms by House of Nash Eats
- Green Bean and Cauliflower Gratin by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Maple Glazed Delicata Squash by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Roasted Carrots with Honey and Thyme by Kate’s Recipe Box
- Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots by Blogghetti
- Sophisticated Green Bean Casserole by An Affair from the Heart
- Spinach Orzo Salad by Shockingly Delicious
- Twice Baked Butternut Squash by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Wild Rice Salad: Make ahead Thanksgiving SIde by West Via Midwest
- Wild Rice Supreme by The Fresh Cooky
I sure hope you enjoyed this delicious, low-carb, chicken and wild rice casserole easy recipe comfort food recipe! It’s not just for the holidays either, it’s delicious using leftovers or for a busy weeknight meal.
More Delicious Casseroles
- Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice Recipe
- Easy Tamale Pie Recipe with Cornmeal Crust
- Best Easy Chile Relleno Casserole (+ Gluten Free Option)
- Cheesy Funeral Potatoes
- Easy Cheesy Broccoli Au Gratin Recipe
- Holiday Praline Yams (Sweet Potatoes)
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About Kathleen Pope
Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer
Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.