Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, Rice Casserole is a creamy and flavorful recipe that’s incredibly easy to make. With a little prepping ahead, this ‘casserole’ all comes together in just 25 minutes in one skillet.
This Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, Rice Casserole Skillet is a creamy and flavorful recipe. It’s incredibly easy to make as it all comes together in one skillet on the stovetop as opposed to baking it in the oven. The dish has earthy mushrooms, aromatic onions and garlic, fresh and bright zucchini, hearty chicken, and rice. The cream sauce is light and creamy, but there is actually no heavy cream at all; instead almond milk, broth, parmesan, and cornstarch create the perfect amount of creaminess.
This is also practically a one pan meal. I do recommend cooking the rice ahead or just separately and then add it to the pan. And it’s Gluten Free!
Easy Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, Rice Casserole
Zucchini is Good for You and so Versatile!
In 20I9, I received my Certification in Nutrition and Healthy Living. During my studies and since then, I continuously look at food to see how it nourishes us. I feel like Zucchini gets overlooked in the health department, but pay attention, because it is really good for you! Zucchini is low in calories, carbs and sugars, so you see it often in low carb recipes or low calorie recipes. BUT, and here is the part many may not realize, it is high in essential nutrients like potassium, manganese, and antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A. So if you are looking to replace high calorie or carb ingredients in your meals, then say hello to Zucchini!
Zucchini is in season during the summer, but you can find it available year round! Some other great ways to use zucchini are Parmesan Zucchini Chips, or for a cheesy chicken zucchini option, layer it into an Enchilada Casserole. You can also roast it with Red Pepper & Corn and top with an Egg, add it to a Quinoa Crust (or any other) Pizza, make zucchini noodles or just grill it.
If you love the chicken, zucchini, and mushroom combo, check out this recipe for Chicken Wild Rice Casserole with Zucchini and Mushrooms. So many options!
Quick note! This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them. This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :). But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used.
Fridge or Fresh Ingredients
Mushrooms, White button or Cremini
Zucchini, medium or large
Milk, I used Plain Unsweetened Almond, but any milk will work
Parmesan Cheese, grated
Italian Parsley, Chopped
Pantry or Counter Ingredients
Onion, Small (yellow or white)
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
White Long Grain Rice, uncooked
Chicken Broth or stock
Time Saving Prep-Ahead Steps for Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, and Rice
You are busy, so these are the steps you can do a day or two in advance to prepare food ahead! (See the recipe below for more details)
In terms of prepping ahead for this recipe, it’s just really getting the veggies ready…dicing the zucchini, dicing the onion, cleaning and slicing the mushrooms.
For the chicken, you need boneless skinless chicken breast, which you can roast it ahead and then dice. However, it’s even easier to buy precooked from the deli section or rotisserie section…here’s my TIP!
TIP: buy already grilled chicken from the deli counter or a rotisserie chicken for super easy prep. I love to get most of the ingredients for this recipe including the already grilled chicken breasts, from Hungryroot! It’s a subscription box service that sends you prepped fresh and healthy food products every week. The products range from fresh produce to healthy proteins like cooked or raw chicken, organic beef, and meat alternatives, such as Beyond Burger, and other vegetarian and vegan products. For a limited time, Hungryroot is running an amazing promotion! New customers get $50 off their first 2 orders ($25 off each order)! Just click here to check it out!
Cooking Steps for Stovetop Chicken Zucchini Rice Casserole
Cooking this meal is simple because everything goes into ONE skillet in stages.
In the skillet, you will want to start with the mushrooms over high heat.
Once the mushrooms are done, transfer them to a plate and then add the onions and garlic over medium heat. Cook until soft and just lightly browned.
The Zucchini is added as the last veggie and only cooks for a couple minutes before adding the sauce, so that it doesn’t turn to mush.
TIP: When coating the skillet with oil, I love using an Olive Oil Sprayer! You can coating a pan with oil using much less and getting an even distribution without having to brush it around. Store-bough aerosols contain chemicals and toxins, but a fillable sprayer sprays out exactly what you put into it, so you can feel good about what you are putting on your food.
Now comes the sauce, which includes broth, almond milk, and a gluten free thickener. Instead of making a roux with flour, I went the gluten free route here by making a slurry of cornstarch and almond milk. For this recipe, be sure to buy the unsweetened plain/original almond milk as you will not be pleasantly surprised if you get sweet vanilla!
Note, just like any thickener you want to make sure you are stirring as it warms up so that when it starts to thicken it is even and not clumpy. You want to be able to see the pan when you scrape the liquid with a spoon.
After making the sauce, add the diced chicken, the parmesan cheese, the cooked rice, and some of the parsley to taste. Mix to combine.
Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini and Rice Recipe FAQs
Do I have to use Almond Milk?
This Zucchini Chicken recipe uses Almond Milk, but you can use any milk that you prefer, as long as it is unsweetened.
Can I use brown rice instead of white?
Brown rice would also work in this recipe in place of white rice. Since you cook the rice separately in this recipe, just be sure to follow your rice package cooking instructions as brown rice can take a little longer to cook than white rice.
Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts?
Yes, you can use chicken thighs, but I recommend sticking with boneless skinless thighs for easy prep and cooking. Consider the amount of thighs that you will need as well. Generally, I estimate 16 ounces or 1 pound of chicken for 4 servings. That will likely mean 5-6 boneless skinless thighs, depending on their size. The recipe instructions will be the same for thighs as the breasts.
Can I make this in a slow cooker or instant pot?
I have not tested this in either. However, it was developed to be a quick cooking stovetop recipe, so it really is fast! If you are looking for a slow cooker dinner idea, try this Chicken and Mushroom Soup in the Slow Cooker!
Is this recipe Gluten Free?
Yes, this recipe is gluten free if made exactly as indicated in the recipe. However, you should always check the labels of all products that you purchase to confirm there is no gluten.
Is this recipe Low-Carb?
No, this recipe is not intended to be a low carbohydrate recipe. If you eliminate the rice from this, you will significantly lower the carbohydrates, as the rice is where they mostly come from in this recipe.
ENJOY! 😍 Carrie
Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, Rice Casserole
Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, Rice Casserole is a creamy and flavorful recipe filled with earthy mushrooms, aromatic onions, fresh and bright zucchini, hearty chicken, and rice. It's incredibly easy to make as it all comes together in one skillet. The cream sauce is light and creamy, but has no heavy cream at all. This is a summer recipe that's a gluten free, easy recipe, and a one pan meal!
- 8 ounces Cremini Mushrooms, sliced (white button are fine too)
- 1 Zucchini, Medium
- 1 Onion, Small (yellow or white)
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Salt (to be added to taste at various steps)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ground Pepper (to be added to taste at various steps)
- 3 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 cup White Long Grain Rice, uncooked
- 10 ounces Chicken Breast
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 1 cup Plain Unsweetened Almond Milk you can substitute regular milk
- 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 3 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, Chopped
Prep Ahead Steps
Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
Dice the zucchini by cutting it in half lengthwise, then into quarters. Slice into ½ inch sliced triangles.
Dice the onion. Mince the garlic. Rough chop the parsley to get 3 Tbls.
Pre-Cook the Chicken: Put the chicken breast on a baking sheet and rub with a drizzle of Olive Oil and dash of salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees F. When the chicken is done, dice it into bite-size pieces.
Make the rice according to package instructions. NOTE: You could do this step in advance and just reheat at this point.
Preheat a large frying pan on high heat. Add 2 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil to coat the bottom and then add the sliced mushrooms with a dash of salt and pepper. Spread the mushrooms into one layer and cook for 5 minutes to get a brown sear on the bottom. Then stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes until reduced in size by half. Transfer the muschooms to a plate.
Add another teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and add the Onions to cook for 6-8 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent, stirring every few minutes so that the onions don't burn. Then add the Garlic to the onions and cook for another 1 minute.
Turn the heat back up to high heat and add the diced zucchini with a dash of salt and pepper. Cook just until you get a sear (just a few minutes), no further. Then add the mushrooms back to the pan.
Add the cornstarch to 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk and whisk until fully dissolved.
To the veggies in the skillet, add 1 cup of chicken broth. Then add the Milk and Cornstarch mixture and bring to a simmer in the skillet, stirring as it starts to thicken.
Add the diced chicken, the parmesan cheese, and some of the parsley to taste (save some for garnish). Mix to combine. Finally, mix in the warm rice. NOTE: If all of your rice does not fit into the skillet, you can place some of the rice into the servings bowls/plates and pour the Zucchini & Chicken Rice mixture on top.
Serve, garnish with fresh parsley, and ENJOY!
- Do I have to use Almond Milk? This recipe uses Almond Milk, but you can use any milk that you prefer, as long as it is unsweetened.
- Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts? Yes, you can use chicken thighs, but I recommend sticking with boneless skinless thighs for easy prep and cooking. Consider the amount of thighs that you will need as well. Generally, I estimate 16 ounces or 1 pound of chicken for 4 servings. That will likely mean 5-6 boneless skinless thighs, depending on their size. The recipe instructions will be the same for thighs as the breasts.
- This recipe Gluten Free
I have made this several times and it’s delicious. The first time I didn’t have any zucchini but I did have spinach and it turned out so good that I’ve been doing that ever since. Thank you for a great recipe.
Carrie Tyler says
Thank you so much, Sibylle!! I love that you replaced the zucchini with spinach, which is another favorite of mine! Please let me know if you try any other recipes from TalkingMeals.
Stephanie Florian says
This was so good. Doubled the recipe and used whole milk. It is much better than the chicken, rice and mushroom soup oven bake(I will never make that again lol). Thanks for a new family fave!
Carrie Tyler says
Awww, thanks so much, Stephanie!
Chef Mimi says
Great one-pot meal. And I have an over abundance of zucchini now, so this is a perfect plan for dinner.
What a great recipe! I can’t wait to fix it, then I’ll come back and review it 🙂 I just recently discovered your site, and have saved so many recipes…thanks for sharing! I was wondering about the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, I’ve always thought that EVOO shouldn’t be cooked over high heat, so I’m a little confused 🙂 Love your recipes!
Carrie Tyler says
Thanks, Elizabeth! Please let me know how you liked it. For Olive Oil, you are correct that it has a lower smoke point than other oils, so you would not use it for deep frying. However, when using it to quickly to sear or cook in a skillet, it works great as long as it is added right when you are ready to add the other ingredients. If you let it sit alone in the hot pan, it will burn. When added to the pan and then immediately adding other ingredients, as soon as ingredients are added, it lowers the temperature of the pan and you will get the flavor of the olive oil, the benefit of preventing sticking, and the beautiful browned color to food.
Hope that helps!
Cauliflower rice makes it a great low carb meal !!! Yum yum !!!
Carrie Tyler says
Thanks, Karen! Yes, that is a great option!