11 Hearty and Delicious Rice Casserole Recipes for a Cheap and Easy Meal

Rice Casserole

Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Rice Casserole
Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Rice, Rice, Baby

There's nothing wrong with a creamy noodle casserole, but there's a special place in our hearts for rice casseroles. Not only is rice an affordable pantry staple, but it's perfect for soaking up a cheesy, decadent sauce. The next time you reach for a bag of rice, consider making one of these easy, wallet-friendly rice casseroles for your friends and family.

Omelet with broccoli and cheddar cheese

1. Broccoli Rice Casserole

If you've been to a potluck recently, you've probably seen this popular dish somewhere on the table. But unlike many broccoli rice casserole recipes, this iteration doesn't use a can of condensed soup, and instead relies on a homemade sauce that results in a thick, creamy consistency. You'll need six cups of fresh broccoli for this one, so stock up at your local grocery store the next time there's a sale.

Recipe: Spend with Pennies

cauliflower kale gratin

2. Creamy Artichoke, Kale, and Rice Gratin

Like artichoke dip? You're gonna love this artichoke, kale, and rice gratin, a vegetarian dish you can prepare and freeze ahead of time. The recipe calls for basmati rice, refrigerated Alfredo sauce, cream cheese, artichoke hearts, and four cups of chopped kale, among other ingredients.

Recipe: Southern Living

Easy bulgur pilaf (pilavi) with tomatoes
Svetlana Monyakova/istockphoto

3. Rice Pilaf with Chorizo Casserole

This Rachael Ray recipe uses both spaghetti and long-grain white rice as a starchy base. Thick slices of Spanish-style chorizo lend a meaty umami flavor, while chopped pimientos ensure a bit of heat. The only tricky issue might be tracking down saffron threads, but we believe in you.

Recipe: Food Network

For more cheap and easy recipes, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Creamy Chicken Ritz Casserole
Turkey casserole with broccoli, rice and crumbled crackers
John Hancock Photography/istockphoto

5. Turkey Vegetable Bake

Whether you're looking for a way to use up leftover turkey or the rotisserie chicken you just bought at Costco, this recipe can accommodate either. The dish also features brown or white rice (opt for brown if you want a healthier meal), mushrooms, peppers, and spinach. It's a great recipe for getting your veggies in while still indulging in a hearty, cheesy casserole.

Recipe: Eating Well

Related: Dump-and-Bake Casseroles You Can Make in Minutes

Taco casserole

6. Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole

Forget taco night and opt for this Mexican beef and rice casserole instead. What's not to love? There's beef, corn, fire-roasted tomatoes, rice, spinach, and plenty of cheese, plus the requisite taco seasoning. Now all you need is a margarita.

Recipe: Jo Cooks

Related: Delicious and Inexpensive Mexican Dishes

Traditional Green Bean Casserole

8. Cajun Shrimp and Rice Casserole

We love a casserole with hot sauce. With shrimp and brown or white rice as the focal point, this recipe kicks things up a notch with fire-roasted tomatoes, hot sauce, and Cajun seasoning. Don't worry: There are a bunch of veggies in here, too.

Recipe: Wonky Wonderful

Vegetable Masala

9. Vegan Chickpea and Rice Casserole

Calling all vegans! Chicken-inspired dishes may rule the roost when it comes to rice casseroles, but this dish proves you don't need poultry. The plant-based recipe is chock-full of good-for-you ingredients like chickpeas and cremini mushrooms. You'll create a sauce of coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and vegan chicken-flavored stock to pour over a medley of veggies before popping that bad boy in the oven. 

Recipe: From My Bowl

Related: Decadent Meatless Casserole Recipes to Try Now

Scalloped Potatoes

10. Hatch Chile Creamy Rice Casserole

Hatch chiles are a Southwest staple, and find a rightful place in this ultra-creamy rice casserole. You'll need six whole hatch chiles to make this dish, along with basmati rice, corn, and a bevy of spices. Oh, and that "creamy" descriptor? That comes from the sour cream, butter, and cheese.

Recipe: Homesick Texan

Macaroni and cheese with turkey meat

11. Cheddar Rice Casserole

Sometimes the best dishes are the simplest ones. Take cheddar rice casserole, made with — you guessed it — cheddar cheese, rice, and a few other pantry staples. There's some Worcestershire sauce in here too, but that's about the only ingredient that's shaking anything up. It's basic and delicious, a winning combo.

Recipe: Taste of Home