This dairy-free casserole is creamy, flavorful, and comforting. It’s sure to satisfy the whole family, and it’s made with wholesome ingredients!

Looking for a dairy-free casserole recipe that’s as delicious as a traditional casserole? This recipe is the answer!

Chicken rice casserole in a dish

When you eat gluten- and dairy-free, classic casserole dishes can be hard to recreate! Most of them rely on cheeses, white sauces, or cream soups for moisture and flavor.

Cashew cream makes for a flavorful sauce and creamy texture. Then, chicken breasts, broccoli florets, and crispy topping add to this delicious dairy free combination!

Fortunately, this dairy-free casserole is full of flavor and gets its creaminess from cashew cream. If you don’t like cashews, don’t worry—it doesn’t taste like them.

A combination of mushrooms, shallots, garlic, chicken stock, and a dash of gluten-free soy sauce make this casserole savory and satisfying.

Even picky eaters like this meal. It’s one of those great options for any day of the week. You might also like this dairy-free potato soup, dairy-free mashed potatoes or this dairy-free lasagna!

You also might like these recipes for gluten-free cream of mushroom soup and gluten-free cream of chicken soup!

Why You’ll Love this Dairy-Free Casserole

  • Creamy without the heavy cream or cheese sauce
  • Dairy-free and gluten-free
  • Comfort food at its finest
  • Flavorful sauce

Dairy-Free Casserole Ingredients

Here are some of the key ingredients that make this dairy-free chicken casserole a crowd favorite!

Ingredients for chicken rice casserole on a table
  • Cashews: Cashews are key to the creamy sauce that binds this chicken, rice, and broccoli casserole together. Once the cashews are soaked and blended, they become a creamy sauce that will make you forget the cheese and heavy cream.
  • Chicken stock: Chicken stock adds lots of flavor to this dairy-free casserole without the need for dairy.
  • Tamari: No casserole is complete without a dash of savory, umami flavor. I use tamari to achieve this!
  • Hot sauce: If you don’t like heat, don’t worry! Just a dash of hot sauce helps add complexity and flavor. But this dairy-free casserole isn’t spicy.

How to Make this Dairy-Free Chicken Casserole

Make the cashew cream

Cashews soaking in a measuring cup, and cashews in a blender
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the cashews and let sit for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Make the dairy-free casserole

shallots and mushrooms in a pot, and shallots and mushrooms with liquid added
  • In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallots, mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 7-9 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • While whisking constantly, slowly pour in 2 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened.
Cashew cream in a bowl, and chicken, broccoli, and rice in a bowl
  • Meanwhile, drain and rinse the cashews. Place them in a high-speed blender with 1 cup of chicken stock. Blend until completely smooth. Add the cashews to the sauce mixture along with the soy sauce and hot sauce. Remove from the heat.
  • Stir the brown rice, chicken, broccoli (and dairy-free cheese if using) into the sauce. Taste and season with additional salt if needed and plenty of black pepper. Add up to 1/2 cup additional chicken stock if the mixture looks too thick. Pour the dairy-free casserole ingredients into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Combine the gluten-free breadcrumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until the dairy-free casserole is bubbly and golden on top. Enjoy!
A portion of chicken rice casserole on a plate

Storage Instructions

Once your dairy-free chicken casserole is cooled, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to three days. You can also refrigerate dairy-free casserole leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.

MAKE-AHEAD: This casserole can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until dinner. Just wait to add the topping until just before baking. It also reheats wonderfully.

Dairy-Free Casserole FAQs

Do you put raw chicken in a casserole?

This dairy-free casserole recipe calls for cooked, shredded chicken. However, you can put raw chicken in a casserole, as long as the chicken will reach 160 degrees before the dish is finished cooking. This will eliminate any harmful bacteria.

What qualifies a dish as a casserole?

A recipe is usually called a casserole if it is placed in a casserole dish—a deep, large ceramic baking dish—and baked in the oven. Some casseroles have layers (like lasagna), while others have a single, mixed layer of protein, grains, vegetables, and cheese.

What holds a casserole together?

Most casseroles are bound together by a creamy sauce. In this dairy-free chicken casserole, the cashew cream sauce and chicken broth acts as a binder.

Chicken rice casserole in a dish with a portion scooped out

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • This dairy-free casserole can also be made a couple days ahead, and reheats wonderfully.
  • For crunch, I sprinkle gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed organic corn chips over top of the dairy-free casserole before baking it!
  • Use rotisserie chicken to make this dairy-free casserole an easy weeknight meal for the entire family!

More Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you try this dairy-free casserole, be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. I’d love to hear from you!

Chicken rice casserole in a dish on the table
5 from 3 votes

Dairy-Free Chicken Rice Casserole {Gluten-Free}

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 8 servings
This dairy-free casserole is creamy, flavorful, and comforting. It's sure to satisfy the whole family, and it's made with wholesome ingredients!
Cashew cream makes for a flavorful sauce and creamy texture. Then, chicken breasts, broccoli florets, and crispy topping add to this delicious dairy free combination!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or dairy-free butter
  • 4 shallots minced
  • 4 oz cremini mushrooms finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock divided
  • 1-2 teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos for soy-free
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon hot sauce depending on how spicy you like it
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice preferably cooked in chicken stock/broth
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken I prefer rotisserie chicken
  • 3 cups broccoli chopped into small florets
  • 1 cup dairy-free cheese (optional) I like violife cheddar shreds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt/pepper

Topping: (optional)

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free bread crumbs (or crushed gluten-free corn chips)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or dairy-free butter

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the cashews and let sit for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallots, mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 7-9 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • While whisking constantly, slowly pour in 2 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened.
  • Meanwhile, drain and rinse the cashews. Place them in a high-speed blender with 1 cup of chicken stock. Blend until completely smooth. Add the cashews to the sauce mixture along with the soy sauce and hot sauce. Remove from the heat.
  • Stir the brown rice, chicken, broccoli (and dairy-free cheese if using) into the sauce. Taste and season with additional salt if needed and plenty of black pepper. Add up to 1/2 cup additional chicken stock if the mixture looks too thick. Pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Combine the bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and golden on top. Enjoy!

Notes

MAKE-AHEAD: This casserole can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until dinner. Just wait to add the topping until just before baking. It also reheats wonderfully.
RECIPE NOTES
  • This dairy-free casserole can also be made a couple days ahead, and reheats wonderfully.
  • For crunch, I sprinkle crushed organic corn chips over top of the dairy-free casserole before baking it!
  • Use rotisserie chicken to make this dairy-free casserole an easy weeknight meal for the entire family!

Nutrition

Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 419mg | Potassium: 623mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 32.3mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 3.1mg

Categories: , , , , , ,

Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. Sooo delicious!!! I used Quorn brand chickenless chicken, veg broth, regular flour, and bread crumbs as I didn’t have corn chips on hand. My picky husband (he is Indian and usually doesn’t do seconds of “American” dishes) and 4 year old gobbled it up!

  2. There is a glitch in your ingredients. It says “A3/4 cashews”. Is that 3/4 or 1 3/4? I did the 1 3/4 and had to play with it a bit, but ended up with 2 casseroles. It is the first time I had tried the cashews as a sauce. It was good.

    1. Sorry for the confusion! That happened to some recipes when I switched my blog design over. It is supposed to be 3/4 cup. I updated the recipe. Glad the sauce still worked for you!

  3. Do you think a commercial cashew butter like Jiffy would work, save time and a blender or would it be to sweet?

    1. Almond milk will have a different flavor and won’t turn out as creamy, but it still might work!

    1. You could use unsweetened almond milk. Just skip the cashews and the broth and use 1/2-3/4 cup almond milk when you blend up the other sauce ingredients. Let me know if you have any more questions!

    1. Hi Linda! I haven’t tried freezing this so I can’t say for sure. I would probably try freezing it in individual portions and reheating it covered in the oven/microwave. I would also leave the topping off. I hope this helps!

  4. Are the cashews supposed to be raw? Or can I use the roasted and salted that I have on hand? This is the first I’ve heard of cashew cream, so this is all new to me! TIA!

  5. How many will this casserole serve? I am preparing for 16 adults (8 men, 8 women. I plan to serve a salad with it.

    1. Hi Mary! I might consider making 2 casseroles for that size of crowd. This recipe serves about 8-10. I hope you like it!

      1. Everyone loved the casserole. I used gluten free mushroom soup rather than the cashew sauce. Everyone wanted the recipe. Thank you.My gluten free friend said he had been ages since she had gone to a party and eaten what everyone else did.

  6. Dang! So good. I have a dairy sensitivity, but I’m from the deep south–which means that I MISS casseroles. I’ve tried a number of recipes for dairy-free chicken broccoli rice casserole, and this one is by far the best (husband confirmed). The soy sauce (we used braggs liquid aminos) really gives it stellar flavor. Cashew cream is already a staple for us, but I didn’t know about the quick boiling water method!! Took a while to pull this all together, but it was a pleasure to cook with all those yummy aromas, and the end result was outstanding. Thanks!

  7. What’s a great recipe.Thanks for sharing these tips.These tips are really amazing. I appreciate it for sharing them.I can’t wait to try out this recipe……Thank you so much

  8. This was my first time using cashew cream, so I was a little skeptical. The casserole was delicious, though! I’m excited to use the same idea with other dishes that traditionally use cream of mushroom. I haven’t been able to eat them in a long time because of the dairy.

    1. My sister-in-law, who didn’t have a milk allergy, wasn’t allowed to have any dairy, and was subjected to a non-dairy diet because her baby had skin problems of eczema due to dairy. She’s not had, nor will, have any milk, as a breastfeeding mother, whose awareness and her baby’s health is more important than her want, has made me conciseness effort, for their needs. I was proud to make a non-dairy meal, so that all would eat and not be burdened by that fact. She is also nut-allergic and I split her portion from a paste, so her and my nephew would be safe. I hope all could make this effort, because, when needed we should all give of ourselves to help those who we love and help one another, no matter the circumstances.

      1. Because, I followed this recipe, I gave my family a chance to see each other, which had been a month in the making. Thank you!

      2. My grandson is also allergic to dairy and all tree nuts among other things. What do you mean by you split her portion from a paste’? I’d really like to try this recipe for him.
        Thanks!

  9. We made this tonight and my husband and I devoured it. It is simply delicious and I am so amazed that a dish like this can be dairy-free.

  10. This sounds fantastic! I love broccoli chicken casseroles, but there really aren’t many that don’t have dairy – as someone who is lactose intolerant, I very much appreciate that your version doesn’t, and can’t wait to give it a try 🙂

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