This butternut squash, chicken, and wild rice casserole is cozy and chock full of veggies and chicken! 

Cold weather means belly-warming hearty casseroles like this one! Tender chicken bits, sweet butternut squash, wild rice, and cranberries are the perfect combination!

top view of cooked Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole in casserole dish

A Cool Weather Favorite

Few things say cool weather like a cozy meal from the oven. This delicious recipe comes from The Well Plated Cookbook written by Erin Clarke (you may already know her amazing recipes from her site Well Plated).

You know I can never pass up a great casserole recipe and this one is definitely great!

A cookbook with a casserole dish next to it

Where do I even begin with how much I love this book! All of the recipes I have made from The Well Plated Cookbook have been perfect (this week’s other fave was coconut banana bread pudding; a MUST try!). Recipes are clear, concise, and easy to follow and best of all, they were all delicious!

This gorgeous book is a welcome addition to any cookbook collection and makes for a beautiful gift idea. You can order a copy of The Well Plated Cookbook here.

I was really excited to share this wild rice casserole recipe with you because I love all of the ingredients. I also loved that this casserole was packed with flavor and didn’t need a heavy sauce or tons of cheese.

It’s a one-dish entrée that has all the food groups in it: protein, starch, veggies—even fruit! And it’s so good the next day!

ingredients to make Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole on a table


RICE For this recipe, we used long grain wild rice blend but even brown rice (or any kind of cooked rice) will do in a pinch.

CHICKEN Chicken thighs are roasted while the rice cooks and stay tender and juicy in this recipe.

FLAVORS Dried cranberries add a sweet tangy flavor while pecans add a nutty richness.

Time Saving Tips

This recipe has a few steps but if you’re short on time, here are a few of our fave time savers:

  • substitute rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken for the chicken thighs
  • use leftover rice or pre-cooked rice
  • butternut squash is often sold cubed (or frozen)
  • purchase nuts that are chopped and cheese that is pre-shredded

ingredients to make Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole in dish before mixing

How to Make Chicken & Rice Casserole

Chicken and wild rice casserole has a few simple steps to tasty casserole perfection! Here’s the basic overview:

  1. Prepare rice (per full recipe below) and set aside.
  2. Bake chicken according to recipe, meanwhile sauté onion and squash.
  3. Cut up chicken and add to pan with squash and all other ingredients.
  4. Transfer everything back to the casserole dish and sprinkle with nuts.
  5. Bake, then add the remaining Parmesan cheese. Continue baking until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

mixing Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole with a wooden spoon


  • Keep this casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
  • Reheat it by popping it in the microwave and adding a bit of hot sauce or extra Parmesan to it!
  • Chicken and wild rice casserole can be frozen for make-ahead meals or batch cooking. Freeze in an airtight container and write the date on the outside.

More Favorite Casseroles

Did you love this Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole? Be sure to leave a comment and a rating below! 

close up of Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole in a white dish
4.98 from 43 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Butternut Squash, Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole is hearty, filling, and oh-so flavorful!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 cup wild and brown rice blend uncooked
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper divided
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into ¼" dice (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped, plus additional for garnish
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese shredded, divided
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts roughly chopped


  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Drain off any excess cooking liquid and set aside (you should have about 3 cooked cups).
  • Lay a large piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange chicken thighs in a single layer on top, tucking the loose side portion of each thigh underneath. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Bake until the chicken thighs reach 165°F, about 20 minutes. Immediately transfer from the dish to a plate and cover. Let rest 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Discard the foil or parchment and keep the pan handy.
  • While the chicken cooks, peel the butternut squash and trim off the top and bottom ends. Cut the neck away from the round base, then stand the base up on its flat end and cut it in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut the squash (both base and neck) into ½" cubes (you should have about 4 cups cubes).
  • In a large, deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add squash, onion, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sauté until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender but still retains some chew, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Once the chicken has rested, cut it into bite-sized pieces. Add it to the pan with the squash, then add thyme, cranberries, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, and rice. Stir to combine.
  • Lightly coat with nonstick spray the same 9×13 dish you used to bake the chicken (no need to wash it in between). With a large spoon, scoop the squash and rice mixture into the dish, spreading it into an even layer.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle nuts and remaining ¼ cup Parmesan on top. Bake 8 to 10 additional minutes, until cheese is melted and nuts are toasted and crisp. Sprinkle with additional chopped fresh thyme and serve warm.


Leftovers can be stored in the casserole dish with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 4 days. 
4.98 from 43 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 514 | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 437mg | Potassium: 913mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 13435IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Casserole, Chicken, Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole in a casserole dish before and after cooking with a title
top view close up of Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole in a casserole dish with a title
close up of Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole in a white casserole dish with a title
Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole in a white casserole dish with a title


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. omg is this ever delicious! to save steps and time i used frozen cubed butternut squash. you could use precooked wild rice too from the store. I also cut the onion down to a half onion. perfectly balanced. I dotted butter on top each serving too. definitely a new fall favorite here!5 stars

  2. This recipe is so easy and so delicious! I had to cut the servings down to 3 because I’m cooking for 2. I used brown rice and rotisserie chicken.
    I love your site!!5 stars

  3. This recipe was great! Healthy and delicious!! I used ground chicken and it worked really well. I made the butternut squash and the rice earlier in the day then made the rest and combined into the casserole dish to bake for dinner later. Definitely a keeper that I will make again for a healthy dinner for my family. Even my 2 year old loved it!5 stars

  4. I’ve only made this once, but it was scrumptious! Each forkful was a delight! As someone else commented, it takes a bit of time to make, but do it! You won’t be sorry!5 stars

  5. This recipe sounds uniquely delicious & I cannot wait to try it. But the recipe calls for dried cranberries but it does not specify the type or brand. Should I use a particular brand for best results? Should the cranberries be sweetened or unsweetened and should they be in fruit juices or oils?

    1. I used dried sweetened cranberries (dried, not in juice or oil). Both sweetened and unsweetened would work. Use whichever you prefer! You can see what they look like in the picture with all of the ingredients. Hope that helps Karen, enjoy!

  6. Took a little while to make, but it was worth the wait! We were amazed at the flavor, I only used the salt and pepper (no thyme) it was so tasty. Will definitely make it again. Thank you.5 stars

  7. Your recipe looks delicious. If I wished to make this in advance and serve a week or two later, would I freeze it before baking it, or should I bake it and then freeze it? If the former, should I let it thaw in fridge before baking, or just bake frozen, and if so, for how long? If the latter, can I put it directly in the over from the freezer. If so, at what temp, and for how long?

    BTW, I make your Chicken and Rice soup at least once a week for my 93-year-old MIL, and she NEVER tires of it. In fact, she ASKS for it. I do puree the chicken via the Cuisinart after the soup has cooked, and then return it to the pot to make it easier for her to swallow. She, herself, was the chef for 35 years in her family-owned restaurant during which time she received numerous write ups and acclaim for her Hot n Sour soup, as well as many other soups. So this is indeed high praise!5 stars

    1. I would bake and freeze in individual portions. Then you can take it out the night before to defrost and pop it in the microwave when you are ready to enjoy it. Or you can reheat in the oven until heated through.

      So glad she loves the chicken and rice soup! We are honored! :)

    2. Your MIL rocks!! Good for her!! Would love it if she shared some of her award winning recipes, especially her Hot and Sour soup!! 5 stars

  8. This was really good. I was afraid it might be a little dry for our taste so prior to backing it i splashed a bit of chicken broth over it.5 stars

  9. Absolutely LOVED this recipe!! It’s the perfect fall dish; the bright flavor of the cranberries, the buttery butternut squash and the deep, round flavor of thyme were so lovely. I didn’t have chicken thighs on hand so I used chicken breast. I made sure to brine them for 15 minutes before baking and with all the moisture from the butternut squash the chicken breast turned out perfect. I am dairy free and used vegan parmesan which was delicious for anyone else who may need to substitute as well. Vegan parm is much less salty than the real stuff so I did have to add more salt to compensate.
    Thanks for the amazing recipe Holly!5 stars

  10. Holly, THANK YOU so so much for sharing this recipe and my cookbook! It means so much to me, and I hope your readers love it too! (Also, sorry I am just now commenting. I don’t know how I didn’t catch this when it first went live!)

      1. I liked that it’s a healthy, all in one dish without heavy sauce and a lot of cheese. Very creative blend of ingredients.The fresh thyme really makes this dish .5 stars