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Baked Rice and Cheese

You'll love this simple and cheesy rice bake recipe.

Updated December 20, 2018
Cheese
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Editor's Note: If you are looking for an alternative for traditional macaroni and cheese, look no further than this recipe for Baked Rice and Cheese. Familiar ingredients combine in an unexpected way to recreate the comfort food classic, and it's likely that you all of the necessary ingredients already on hand. For more adventurous eaters, this baked rice casserole recipe can be modified in a variety of ways. Be sure to check out the variation below that includes mushrooms and bacon. 

Like macaroni and cheese, but this homey version is made with cooked rice instead of elbow macaroni. Perfect food for cold weather.

Makes6 to 8 servings

Cooking MethodBaking

CostInexpensive

Easy

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe CourseMain Course, Side Dish

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Halal, Kosher, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegetarian

EquipmentBaking/gratin Dish

MealDinner

MoodBlue

Taste and TextureButtery, Cheesy, Chewy, Rich, Savory

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  • 2 cups coarsely shredded Cheddar
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked medium- or long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish, about 8 inches square or 11 × 7 inches.

  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes. Gradually stir in the milk; cook, stirring, until the milk boils and the sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from the heat. Add the salt and Tabasco sauce. Stir in the Cheddar. Taste and add more salt if needed.

  3. Spread the rice in the baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Bake until the top is browned and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Variations

Mushroom-and-Bacon Baked Rice and Cheese

  1. Omit the Tabasco. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add 1 slice bacon, diced, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Add 2 cups sliced cremini or white button mushrooms and ½ cup chopped onion. Cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. To assemble the casserole, spread half of the rice in the baking dish. Spoon the mushroom filling evenly over the top. Add the remaining rice in an even layer. Pour the cheese sauce on top. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake as directed.

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Sorry. I am recovering from eye surgery and sometimes I block out words. I now see the "cooked" notation in the recipe. Thanks!

Is the rice supposed to be raw or cooked? Please specify. Thank you.

This dish sounds like comfort food heaven. I can see making this as a side to almost any meat dish. You can pair it with a hot vegetable or a fresh salad to get in your greens too. I bet my kids will ask me to make this more than once after they try it for the first time.

I think those are all good ideas, SissieSass!

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