Cozy up to sweet, savory, tangy flavor with this Cranberry Chicken Casserole. Made with rice, chicken, and an incredible cranberry, orange juice, soy sauce, maple syrup combo, this dish is a winner for any night of the week.
A filling and nutrient rich meal
Chicken casserole recipes are. the. BEST! Who’s in agreement?! There’s something about them that I just love. Coziness is key with fall recipes, and any chicken casserole seems to accomplish the cozy factor so beautifully.
Especially this one.
Today we’re whipping up a delicious cranberry chicken casserole, which gets an A+ for flavor and an A++ for warm, autumn vibes. It’s the perfect dinner to enjoy on a relaxing Sunday evening as you mentally prepare for the work or school week ahead!
Flavored with a citrusy mixture of cranberries and orange juice, this chicken casserole dish is filled with sweet, savory flavor in each bite. If a big bear hug could take the form of a casserole, it would be this dish.
Ingredients included in cranberry chicken casserole
Cran chicken casserole is made using a blend of hearty, flavorful ingredients like cranberries, maple syrup, soy sauce, and sesame oil. These atop a bed of rice, squash, and chicken breasts create a delicious meal that the entire family is sure to devour.
- Uncooked wild rice blend (or brown rice)
- Butternut squash
- Avocado oil
- Chicken breasts
- Orange (for juice and zest)
- Maple syrup
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Sliced almonds
- Dried cranberries
Tools used to make this recipe
This chicken recipe uses only a handful of kitchen tools. You’ll need a dish for baking (I like to use a 9×13, but you can use what you have), a sauce pan, and a few utensils and measuring cups.
- 9×13 casserole dish
- Stirring/mixing utensil
- Sauce pan
For measuring ingredients, you will need the following sizes: 1/4 tsp, 1 tbsp, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, 3/4 cup, and 1 cup.
How to make cranberry chicken casserole with rice
This dish is worth every second of prep time. It’s bursting with so much savory, tangy flavor! Ready in about 80 minutes (including baking time), this is a recipe to save. You may want to double the batch so that you have extra to enjoy for lunch tomorrow!
To begin, cook the rice according to the package and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400F. In a 9×13 casserole dish, add the butternut squash, avocado oil, and salt. Toss until coated.
Bake the squash for 35-40 minutes or until fork tender. Take out of the oven.
Add the cooked rice to the squash and mix. Place the chicken breasts on top of the rice mixture.
Next, make the cranberry sauce by combining the cranberries, orange zest and juice, maple syrup, soy sauce, and sesame oil over medium high heat. Continue to stir occasionally. The cranberries should burst and thicken after about ten minutes.
Once thick, turn the heat off. Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the chicken breasts.
Top with the almonds and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the internal chicken temperature reads 165F.
Answering your cranberry chicken casserole Qs
Wondering if you can mix up the rice or use a lemon in your recipe? Here are the answers you’re looking for!
Can I use any type of rice?
Yes! In the ingredient list I recommended wild or brown rice, but you can use whatever you have handy.
Can I use a different sized casserole dish?
Of course! And sized dish will work. The sauce and squash may cook at different rates in different sized pans, but that’s ok. Just keep an eye as it cooks and make sure your chicken reaches an internal temperate of 165F before removing from the oven.
Can I use a lemon in place of the orange?
I haven’t tried this, but I have a feeling that it would taste yummy! The goal is to achieve that slightly tangy aspect to compliment the cranberries, so feel free to give it a go.
Above, I mentioned that you may want to make an extra dish so that you have chicken casserole to enjoy for tomorrow’s lunch. It’s just that good! When it comes to saving it for later, place it in an airtight container and keep it refrigerated. Eat within 2 days.
More chicken entrees to enjoy
Chicken dinners are where it’s at! They’re filling, tasty, and are a great source of lean protein. Here are some more of my favorites for you to try this week!
- Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup (Dairy-Free)
- Lemon Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Easy Chicken Pad Thai
- Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
- Healthy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- 1.5 cups uncooked wild rice blend (or brown rice)
- 4 cups chopped butternut squash
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 small chicken breasts (about 2 lbs)
- 12 oz cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 large orange, juice + zest
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Cook rice according to package. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400F. In a 9×13 casserole dish, add butternut squash, avocado oil, and salt. Toss until coated.
- Bake squash for 35-40 minutes or until fork tender. Take out of oven.
- Add cooked rice to squash and mix. Place chicken breasts on top of rice mixture.
- Make cranberry sauce by combining cranberries, the zest and juice of 1 large orange, maple syrup, soy sauce, and sesame oil over medium high heat. Continue to stir occasionally, the cranberries will eventually burst and thicken, after about ten minutes. Test your sauce. If it is too tart for your liking, add 1/4 cup more maple syrup.
- Once thick, turn the heat off. Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the chicken breasts.
- Top with almonds and bake for 25-30 minutes or until internal chicken temperature reads 165F.
- Sprinkle with dried cranberries and serve immediately.
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