Tasty Chicken and Rice Casserole is a gluten-free casserole that’s packed with hearty ingredients like chicken, rice, vegetables, and a flavorful sauce. Then, the entire casserole is finished with a crunchy topping.
It can be hard to make easy (and quick) dinners that are gluten-free or dairy-free on those busy nights when you’re juggling soccer practice and piano lessons and homework and all the things. If you’re trying to make dinner quickly that’s both gluten-free AND dairy-free, you can almost forget about getting it done easily!
This chicken and rice casserole is a great weeknight supper for the family because it’s filling and simple to make. Plus, it’s gluten-free and dairy-free so if your family has food sensitivities, this is the perfect dinner all-around. My favorite part is that it’s a universally-enjoyed dish, so even if you have picky eaters, they will love this dish (music to my ears!).
In short, it satisfies every single checkbox a busy mom could want for a weeknight meal!
Chicken and Rice: a Classic Combination
Chicken and rice is often a staple dinner for many people because it’s filling and easy to make, but the combo can quickly become boring. Often a dish that can be a little bland which is the basis of why people enjoy it, but it’s also the very reason that it can feel worn out over time.
That’s a big reason (only one of many, really) why this Tasty Chicken and Rice Casserole is so good. It’s not your average chicken and rice. The tasty sauce contains mayonnaise – yes, mayonnaise! It’s an ingredient you wouldn’t normally see in a chicken dinner other than a chicken salad, but it works SO well in this case.
Making Chicken and Rice Casserole Interesting
My best friend and I came up with this recipe together when we adapted an old recipe I’ve had in my cookbook binder for a long time. We made it together one night when both of our husbands were working late and we were hanging out together with our kids.
We were both impressed with just how delicious this gluten-free casserole dish turned out to be!
Even our kids enjoy it. Well except her 5-year-old and my 7-year-old and that’s because they are both adamantly against anything with peas. (Once they picked out the peas, they both liked this easy dinner, particularly the “crunchies” on the top.)
A Couple of Twists Make This Casserole Different From the Standard
The “crunchies” or golden, crunchy topping is simply corn flakes and coconut oil. Easy peasy and yes, completely gluten-free!
Pro Tip: Make sure you check the ingredients on the corn flakes. It turns out the generic brand at our local grocery store contained wheat, while the name brand Corn Flakes was gluten-free.
2021 Update: I’ve been informed that Kellogg’s corn flakes are no longer gluten-free. If you or your loved one has Celiac disease, please check carefully to make sure your corn flakes are truly gluten-free.
A reader suggested using Corn Chex because those are gluten-free.
This casserole is also dairy-free because we use coconut oil and almond milk in this recipe. I love my dairy, but I didn’t even notice the difference with these substitutes. You can also use a butter-free alternative instead of the coconut oil.
Tasty Chicken and Rice Casserole Tips
Here are a few tried and true tips to ensure that your family loves this recipe as much as ours did.
Make sure you use regular almond milk, not “vanilla” flavored almond milk, which gives it an odd, almost sweet taste. I’ve found that vanilla almond milk is best used for baking, not cooking. (Think about recipes you’d include vanilla extract in or not.)
Use Leftover Chicken
How many times have I stood in my kitchen wondering what to make with our leftover baked or rotisserie chicken? Oh so many. Not anymore, though!
This tasty chicken and rice casserole is great for using up that leftover chicken. If you’re cooking chicken the night before, cook a little extra and this easy casserole will come together even faster. Or use those leftovers from your rotisserie chicken.
Make Rice Even Faster
Cook your rice in a pressure cooker (Instant Pot) for faster cooking. There are so many incredible things you can make in an Instant Pot, and rice is just one of them! Here are 19 of my favorites!
Measure Your Ingredients
I’ll admit it, I can be a cook that “eyeballs” ingredients (“sure, that looks like 1 teaspoon”). However, this recipe is not the one where you want to do that. Break out those measuring cups and measuring spoons!
Follow the exact measurements for the best results. It’s tempting to want to add extra rice to stretch the casserole further or throw in the extra chicken you have, but if you do, this casserole may turn out too dry. (Trust me: I’ve tried it and it wasn’t pretty.)
Here are a few recommended supplies for making this easy dinner. You probably already have them in your kitchen!
- large saucepan or stockpot
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- 9″x13″x2″ baking dish – I had one similar to this for a long time and loved it, until my kids accidentally broke it.
- instant pot (optional but awesome for cooking rice quickly… and chicken!)
Enjoy This Diary-Free and Gluten-Free Casserole
There you go! I hope you enjoy this tasty chicken and rice casserole as much as we do. Every mom needs a few “ace-in-the-hole” dishes that she can whip up quickly on those busy nights. It’s a real bonus when the entire family likes the meal, and this gluten-free casserole dish fits the bill!
Give it a try and see for yourself. If your family is anything like mine is, I just know you’ll be glad you made it.Print
Tasty Chicken and Rice Casserole
Tasty Chicken and Rice Casserole that’s both gluten-free and dairy-free and tastes so amazing that your entire family will love it.
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1/3 cup onion, diced
- 1/4 cup coconut oil or butter substitute, divided
- 4 minced garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbsp gluten-free flour 1-to-1 mix (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk (regular, not vanilla)
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise (I use this.)
- 4 cups shredded chicken, cooked
- 3 cups cooked rice (I use Jasmine rice.)
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup coarsely crushed cornflakes or corn chex
- If your chicken isn’t already cooked (leftover chicken works great for this recipe), cook it however you prefer. I like to cook 2-3 chicken breasts in water over the stove. I bring a med-large pot of water to a boil with the chicken already in it, then turn down to medium heat and cover while it simmers for 20-30 minutes. Check for doneness and remove when cooked through. Don’t overcook or your chicken will be too tough.
- At the same time, cook your rice according to package directions. (I use jasmine rice and cook it in my instant pot.)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- In a large saucepan, over medium heat, saute the onion and celery in the coconut oil until tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the gluten-free flour and gradually stir in the almond milk. Cook and stir until somewhat thick and bubbling (about 2 minutes).
- Turn off the heat and stir in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken (be sure to measure it), rice, and peas and stir.
- Spoon into a 9x13x2″ baking dish.
- Melt the remaining 1 Tbsp coconut oil and mix together with 3/4 cup coarsely crushed cornflakes. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for about 25-30 minutes or until starting to bubble.
Note: we use Miracle Whip (with olive oil, so there is no high fructose corn syrup) for this recipe. I have not tested this recipe with other mayonnaise brands.
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just pin it below to find the instructions later!
Micah | Home Faith Family says
Yummy! I love how easy this recipe is and I know my kids will also love the crunchy corn flakes on top too. This meal seems to be perfect with a side of veggies or just on its own. Thank you for sharing!
Mollie Dinwiddie says
I made this dish for a gathering of women and one of them can have no gluten, dairy, or soy! I used Corn Chex as some corn flakes are made with soy and I made homemade mayo to ensure no soybean oil. I also used unsweetened coconut milk instead of almond (not intentionally as I was looking at two different recipes and got the coconut for the other one). Otherwise I followed the recipe. I used a bit of olive oil to moisten my Corn Chex crumbs and that worked just fine, too! It was a hit with my gals, especially the one with the food allergies! I will make it again, although I may not avoid the soy products as carefully and use Hellman’s mayo and margarine or butter for the crumb topping. I think the unsweetened coconut milk (used one 13 oz can) actually made the sauce taste extra creamy.
I’m so glad you were able to tweak this and it worked so well for you. Great job!
Kathy Terpstra says
Hello. How well would this freeze after cooking?
Absolutely delicious! I’ve made this twice, and modified it as a tuna noodle casserole too (using GF elbow macaroni). I have to leave out the onions, garlic, and peas because of stomach issues and it’s still mind blowing. I’ve also subbed the lemon juice for apple cider vinegar (because I had it on hand) and it was good. My husband and I agree that it’s better than traditional casseroles loaded with cheese. Thank you so much for creating and posting this. It hits the spot for a comfort food craving without the guilt!
I was wondering about subbing gf rotini for rice. Did you have to do anything different with noodles?
Shannon Opperman says
Kellogg’s actually contains barley malt, so they are not safe for a gluten free diet. I use Nature’s Path corn flakes.
Thanks for the tip, Shannon. I did not know that!
I was going to comment the same thing. I almost had to use my epipen when I was given a recipe with corn flakes in it. Thankfully I took Benadryl and it kicked in fast enough that I didn’t need it but definitely scary for us that are deathly allergic to wheat.
Vanessa Rauguth says
I just tried this recipe and it is absolutely amazing. I followed the recipe exactly and it cam out perfect. I recently switched to a gluten and dairy free diet and this is by far one of the best recipes I have tried thus far. Even my picky boyfriend loved it. This will be a regular recipe from now on. Thank you so much for posting.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for telling me, Vanessa.
Colleen Pearce says
Hi Erika! I was so excited about this recipe and then it didn’t turn out. I think I might have missed something or done something wrong. It tasted too much like almond milk (I got non-vanilla and unsweetened). It was really bland and I was thinking of adding salt, but I’m not sure it would fix it. What is this supposed to taste like and do you have any tips?
Hi Colleen, that’s too bad it didn’t turn out for you. Did you add the pepper as well as the salt? I found this casserole is too bland without pepper myself which is why I recommend 1 whole teaspoon of pepper. With it, it’s delicious! As for the almond milk flavor, do you use almond milk for other things? If you are not used to it, you may notice the almond milk flavor more. You can try using regular milk instead if you prefer. We use almond milk to make it work for my dairy-free kids, but regular milk works too.
Try using oat milk ( it’s really does a much better job at cooking and baking – try an oat milk latte) and instead of miracle whip use vegenaise . I
I have not tried oat milk yet for this or any recipe – thanks for the tip. I’ve tried veganaise and I am not a fan! I grew up with Miracle whip and while it’s not the healthiest option, I’m okay with that. 🙂
I’m doing weight watchers points. Would you be able to provide calorie content for Gluten free , dairy free chicken and rice casserole? I’m looking to track my points. Thank you!
Delicious! I learned to wait and add corn flakes when serving so leftovers don’t have soggy ones left on them.
This was delicious 😋! I removed the peas and substituted the corn flakes for potatoe sticks. So good!
Hi! Thanks for this great recipe! Do you know if I could sub in cashew milk instead of almond milk?
Hi Heidi, I haven’t tried it with cashew and I think the cashew flavor might throw it off, but if you prefer cashew it’s worth a try.
Debbie Brown says
What other dairy free milk can I try? We can’t do dairy or nuts.
Is coconut off limits too? That would my next suggestion. Beyond that, maybe rice milk?
(Keep in mind I have not tried other milks so I can’t guarantee they would work in this recipe, but if you are used to another ‘milk’ like rice or coconut milk, it might be perfect for you.)
Thanks! We can do coconut milk. I’m going to try that. Thanks!
If I wanted to turn this into a teriyaki dish or butter chicken, do you have any suggestions on amounts the spices?
Hi Sam, sorry I don’t as that would be a different recipe. You could certainly google it and see what you come up. Good luck!
I am wanting to try this recipe. It sounds luscious. I have two questions before I start.
Can this be frozen?
What can I use to substitute for the cornflakes?
Hi Diane, I don’t do frozen meals so I can’t say whether it would work well or not. You could try bread crumbs as a substitute. If you’re gluten-free, throw a couple pieces of dried gluten-free bread into your food processor or blender and blend for inexpensive homemade bread crumbs.
This casserole was amazing! I normally don’t try new recipes when feeding a crowd but I’m glad I did this time. It was a hit with both the adults and toddlers. The only modification I made was unflavored/unsweetened coconut milk instead of almond. Thank you for such a great recipe!
Question… Is it 3 cups rice before it’s cooked cooked or 3 cups of rice after it’s been cooked
3 cups cooked rice.
Mary Ann says
Loved this recipe. I will definitely make it again. I only made one change – I added a tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the sauce. Thank you for the awesome recipe.
Glad you enjoyed it, Mary Ann. I may have to try your tip – I love nutritional yeast and use it often but I didn’t think of trying it for this casserole.
KAREN E BECKNER says
Hi, Thank you so much for creating this! I’m eager to try it. I was wondering if I could use a casserole crock pot. I just discovered then and thinking of buying one. If I do, do you think I should put the rice in uncooked? I’ll also probably wait till the end to put the corn flakes on. If I do decide to try it in a Casserole crock.
Miracle whip has dairy in it. I had to switch to real mayonnaise because of it.
Hi, Miracle Whip is dairy-free. I double checked just now to be safe. 🙂 We like the olive oil version. No corn syrup and it tastes great.
With the coconut oil, is it 1/4 cup with 1 tablespoon reserved?
Yes, I’ve updated. Thanks for letting me know!
Can this be made in advance and refrigerated for a day prior to baking?
This is NOT a dairy free recipe. The mayonnaise has egg in it. Terminology matters.
You’re joking, right? Eggs are not dairy. Maybe you’re thinking of vegan, but I never claimed this recipe was vegan. Have a nice day, Julie.
this is funny… eggs are NOT dairy.. 🙂
Could you use almond or oat flour?
I wouldn’t use those, but you could try tapioca flour or even arrowroot.
I used tapioca flour. This is my second time making this recipe it’s so delicious. I used Fritos instead of Corn Flakes, but otherwise… it’s perfect as written! Thank you!!
One of our favorite recipes as my husband and I can’t have dairy or gluten. We make it at least once a week as it’s so simple and the kids love it too. We shred a rotisserie chicken to make it even easier. Sometimes we used canned coconut milk instead of almond milk because we often have it on hand but otherwise cook as directed and it’s just perfect.
I love to hear that, Jill. And great tips too!
It freezes well!
Kellogg’s Cornflakes are not gluten free,, sadly. They, and pretty much all brands of cornflakes, contain malt flavoring. Malt is made from barley, which contains gluten.
However, I bet buttered smashed up gluten free crackers or crushed potato chips will work. A friend made this dish for me and just didn’t put anything on top, it was still great but the rice got a bit crispy so I’m going to try making this but with some crushed chips. I have several casserole dishes with recipes calling for chips on top! Lol delicious.
Thanks for this recipie, I never would have thought to put lemon juice in it. Great recipe!
Thanks, Amy! I didn’t realize that about the malt flavoring, argh! Those sneaky ingredients!
I’m making it tonight with corn Chex! (Which are gluten free)
Made using 2% milk and potato chips on top. Everything the same. 2 thumbs up!
Love the potato chip idea, Becky! Glad you all enjoyed it! 🙂
Do you think this would work with cauliflower rice? Thank you so much!
Yes, cauliflower rice should work. I have not tried it yet, but that’s a great idea.
For using coconut milk as an alternative to almond milk are you referring to canned or cold like you get in the milk section?
The refrigerated kind.
Would you recommend subbing vegan butter for the coconut oil?
Yes you can definitely try that. I have started using vegan butter more often in place of coconut oil or even regular butter and it’s a great substitute. Even more versatile than coconut oil in some cases, particularly with baking!
DEFINITELY. I can’t emphasize how much I regretted using coconut oil in this recipe. Perhaps some coconut oils are less flavorful than mine, but the flavor of Kirkland Organic Virgin Coconut Oil ruined this for us. With all the other options available as butter substitutes, do NOT use coconut oil. I’m sure the recipe is a 5-star without it.
Heather J says
It is so hard to find a recipe that my husband and I can both enjoy (he’s gluten, lactose and pork free). We loved it and ate half the dish in one sitting (woops) – the crunch was a great addition!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! (We tend to pack this dinner away too, 😉 )
Thank you so much for this recipe. I don’t eat dairy and am always craving comfort food and this was it! I added carrots and sautéed al my veggies in olive oil. I used Earth balance vegan, soy free “butter” for the corn flakes. It came out awesome!
Hi Amy, I’m so glad you enjoyed this. I love your tweaks!
Pgh Celiac says
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are no longer gluten free (as of April 2021 – they contain barley malt) so I would recommend revising your recipe notes to warn Celiac cooks. I’m on the hunt for a new store brand that is gluten free!
I found Nature’s Path Organic Corn Flakes! They were at our local Pick n Save and they’re perfect on this!!!
Hi. Just wanted to mention to all who have to avoid gluten/dairy that when ingredients list “ natural flavoring “or “natural ingredients,” they can often contain gluten in them. FDA STILL,… does not have our ingredients listed in complete form on food labels. Small traces can still irritate the gut. There is a list of complete hidden foods that still carry gluten/ dairy. 😊
This is delicious!!! I made it for my family before making it for someone I know who is on a strict diet due to chemotherapy. I used organic Mayo and used 100% organic ingredients. Even found organic & gluten-free corn flakes!!!
It’s perfect for some comfort food and will be perfect for my friend for some comfort food after she has her mastectomy!!!
Thank you so much for sharing!!! Finding dairy-free recipes where you can find all ingredients that are organic can be super hard to find! This is wonderful!!! ❤️❤️❤️
I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Kristina! Thanks for the 5 stars! =)
My 5 year old says it best… “this dinner is BOMB.” Thank you SO MUCH for the winning recipe! My only subs were ghee instead of coconut oil and arrowroot instead of gluten free 1:1 flour. Simply delicious!
Woohoo! I love hearing this, Jenny. Thanks for the wonderful feedback! 🙂
We are new to the GF diet and struggling to find ideas that everyone likes. This, THIS, was so good and all three kids loved it. Thank you for making a recipe that made dinner easy.
The only things we changed were no peas because kids. And I used yellow onion diced along with dehydrated mined onion and dehydrated minced garlic.
Catherine Kayne says
Can this be made ahead before cooking?
Great question – yes it can. I’d recommend putting the topping on just before cooking so it doesn’t get too soggy.
This is so good. I add sweet peas and carrots to it and it makes it a complete meal. I have to cook gluten and dairy free. We had searched for a good casserole recipe and this is a hit. I have made it many times.
Absolutely love this recipe. Made it tonight. How do you recommend to store extras and reheat?
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Jenna!
We just store in a covered container in the fridge and enjoy for leftovers the next night (or two.) We reheat in the microwave.
Thank you for sharing this recipe, and to all who have commented. My girls night has been delayed, so I have to wait another week! I have read all the comments & appreciate them! I wanted to share that Califia Farms OatMilk is certified Gluten Free!