Love the flavors of chicken cordon bleu but would also love a shortcut to actually making this fancy restaurant-style dish at home? Well, I’ve got you covered with this easy, shortcut Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole with rice recipe.
What’s in this Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole?
This casserole has all of the things you’d expect from the classic Chicken Cordon Bleu dish: chicken, ham, Swiss cheese and a creamy sauce. Top that with bread crumbs and it’s all served over rice. In one pan. Casserole style. Perfect for an easy weeknight dinner!
The shortcuts that make this recipe so easy.
The whole point of a casserole, in my mind, is that’s it makes cooking easy! Everything is in one pan, and prep should be easy. Bonus points if it can be made ahead and its freezer-friendly. This casseroles is all of those things. So what are the secrets to making this delicious dish, super easy yet still delicious?
1. Starting with cooked chicken. Why cook your own chicken when you can get a fresh, hot rotisserie chicken at just about every grocery store for the same price as an uncooked chicken? Cooked grill chicken strips are also available in the meat section for a very reasonable price. This saves so much time not having to cook or worry about extra dishes.
2. Use cooked rice. Cooked rice is affordable and available at almost every store as well. Or if you have leftover white rice from say take-out night the other day, use that! I love to repurpose my Chinese food leftover to make this casserole.
You can use any type of rice you’d like. Plain white rice or chicken flavored rice go great with the classic Chicken Cordon Bleu flavors. But you could get creative and try some mixed flavors like a broccoli cheddar rice blend, chicken with broccoli, creamy chicken rice, or even wild rice. Anything that sounds yummy to you and has a chicken base, will probably taste great!
3. Layer everything in one pan. This recipe uses an 8×8 square baking pan and you simply layer in all the ingredients — cooked rice, then cooked chicken, ham, sauce, cheese and bread crumbs. Everything is cooked so all you need to do is cover and bake until everything is nice and hot and the layers blend together.
4. Use cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup for the sauce. Now, if you’re picky about your sauce, or you’re not into canned cream of sauces, you can certainly make your own by simple making a roux with equal parts butter and flour then add cream or milk and chicken stock to taste. Get my recipe for homemade white sauce.
However, this recipe is designed to be very easy and convenient so you can use canned cream of chicken soup if you don’t have time to make your own sauce.
You can also doctor canned soup a bit to add flavor and still save time. Optional additions I recommend stirring into the sauce are: 1/4 cup white wine and 1/4 tsp ground thyme. These two simple additions can really elevate the sauce without a lot of extra effort. Also using a combination or cream of chicken and cream of mushrooms help adds some depth of flavor. You can substitute with all cream of mushroom or all cream of chicken though if that’s what you have.
What if you don’t like Swiss cheese?
Swiss cheese is one of those cheeses that not everyone likes. It has a bit of a sour taste and waxy texture so it’s not for everyone. It’s the traditional cheese of choice for Chicken Cordon Blue though and that’s probably because Swiss and ham go together pretty well. I’m personally not a huge fan of Swiss cheese but I do enjoy it in this dish.
However, if you’re adamant that you just can’t do it, then there’s a great substitution: Havarti cheese. Havarti is a white cheese with very mild flavor yet is a bit softer and is not as sour as Swiss cheese. It’s a great substitute is you don’t like Swiss cheese.
Add some veggies!
You can serve this Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole with a side salad or a side of roasted veggies. I think this dish pairs really well with Brussels spouts, green beans, asparagus or broccoli.
You could also try layering your veggies right into this dish for a true one-pan meal. Just make sure your veggies are cooked. You can pop them in the microwave with a bit of salt and butter for about 2-3 minutes, covered. Fresh or frozen veggies both work here. Chop them up so they layer nicely and add them after you layer in the chicken.
Don’t have rice?
No worries. You can use egg noodles or pasta in place of the rice. You could also use quinoa for a healthier twist.
Love a good casserole?
I have lots of great casserole dishes you can browse to add some variety to your dinner rotation.