Buttery, rich, and incredibly hearty, this baked rice casserole is made with french onion soup, beef broth, butter, onion, ground beef, fresh mushrooms, spices, gooey cheese, and topped with crunchy french fried onions! Perfect for a family dinner, this recipe can also be made partially ahead of time, and frozen!
This is one of my Main Dish recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
If you have kids that you cook for (whether you’re their parent or not), you know the pain and struggle of trying to find a meal that everyone will eat, let alone tolerate.
This is a recipe that came from that struggle. They both absolutely LOVE my stick of butter rice… but it’s a side dish, so I’d still be left trying to plan a main dish.
Some amazing readers had shared that they like to add ground beef to the rice to make it a whole meal in one dish, and it definitely got me thinking!
So I bumped up all the flavors here… really leaned in on the french onion aspect, seasoned up the ground beef, added golden brown mushrooms, extra flavor from more spices and sauces, and finished the dish off with a little cheese and crunchy fried onions.
And oh man… both my teen and younger kiddo absolutely loved this recipe! Even though they’re not mushroom fans, since I left them in whole slices, they were easy to pick out (or you could even omit them entirely).
Plus, this recipe can be prepped, made partially ahead of time, and can even be frozen after baking! Oh, and it lasts a full week in the refrigerator, so it’s great for meal prep too.
How to make beefy french onion baked rice?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Combine soups and broth. This is depicted in several photos, but is really just pouring the cans into a baking dish.
- Add the rice and butter. I like to stir to evenly distribute the rice, then just lay the butter on top.
- Cover and bake.
- Cook onion. No need to caramelize them, just sauté until soft. Transfer to a plate.
- Cook beef. Crumble it as finely or chunkily as you’d like as it browns. Drain.
- Cook mushrooms. You’re looking for a nice golden brown color here.
- Combine. Add the onion and cooked beef to the skillet and stir in the optional sauces.
- Add to the partially cooked rice. Be careful when adding, so the liquid doesn’t splash everywhere.
- Bake uncovered.
- Add toppings and bake again. This doesn’t take long, just enough for the cheese to melt and fried onions to brown.
This is a fairly simple recipe, but it does require a few steps to be made in a specific order. Make sure to read the recipe carefully, otherwise it may not turn out.
Variations of this recipe
- Other protein – in place of the ground beef, feel free to use bite-sized pieces of steak, ground turkey, or even ground sage sausage. Just make sure the protein is cooked first.
- Mushrooms – if you don’t have fresh mushrooms, you can substitute with canned sliced mushrooms. Just make sure to drain them and pat them very dry before cooking.
- Butter amount – this recipe a spin-off of my stick of butter rice, which calls for 1/2 cup of butter to 1 cup of rice. This recipe uses 2 cups of rice, so if you really want more butter flavor, you can increase the butter amount to up to 1 cup in total.
- Cheese – if you’d prefer to use other types of cheese, or use additional cheeses, monterey jack, gruyere, gouda, and Parmesan are all great choices.
- Toppings – we love the crunch of french fried onions, but you swap it out for crushed Ritz crackers tossed with some melted butter, or leave it off entirely.
Unfortunately no, the liquid to rice ratio in this recipe works only with the long grain white rice that’s indicated. Other types of rice would require different amounts of liquids, and different cooking times.
While I’m sure that it could be done, I haven’t tested making this dish in any other manner than what’s described in the written recipe. If you do some experimenting, I’d love to know how it turns out, and will in turn, share your findings (with credit), in the recipe!
Making baked rice casserole ahead of time
While I don’t advise making this casserole completely ahead of time (since it can dry out during the reheating process), you can certainly prep ahead and make parts of the recipe ahead as well!
- To prep – the onion and mushrooms can be sliced, spices can be combined, rice measured out, and butter can be sliced.
- To make ahead – the onion, mushrooms, and ground beef can be cooked, cooled, and kept refrigerated. This way over half of the work is done for you!
The baked rice casserole can be cooled and frozen in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat as desired.
You can also freeze the cooked onion, mushroom, and beef mixture. Thaw in the refrigerator and then stir into the rice at the halfway point of cooking, as directed.
Leftover casserole should be refrigerated in an airtight container and enjoyed within 5 days.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 2 (10 oz each) cans condensed french onion soup we use Campbell's brand
- 1 (10 oz) can condensed beef broth we use Campbell's brand
- 10 oz reduced sodium beef broth fill up the empty condensed beef broth can
- 2 cups long grain white rice this is UNcooked rice
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into slices
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3/4 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms cremini/baby bella or white button mushrooms will work
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce optional but recommended
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce optional but recommended
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 – 3 oz French's fried onions optional but recommended
- Preheat oven to 425°F and lightly grease a 9×13” baking dish.
Start the rice
- In the prepared baking dish, combine French onion soup and condensed beef broth. Take the empty condensed beef broth can and fill it with the reduced sodium beef broth, and pour it into the baking dish. Stir in rice.
- Lay slices of butter on top of the rice/soup mixture.
- Cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Cook onion/beef/mushroom mixture
- While rice is baking, heat a large skillet over MED heat. Once hot, add a drizzle of olive oil, and add the diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes until softened and translucent. Remove to a plate.
- Increase heat to MED HIGH, then add ground beef, garlic powder, and black pepper. Cook, crumbling the beef as it cooks, for 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain, then return skillet to the stovetop.
- Add sliced mushrooms and dried thyme, cooking until mushrooms are golden brown. Add cooked beef and onion back to the skillet combining with the mushrooms, then stir in the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce (if using).
Combine with the partially baked rice
- After the rice has baked for 30 minutes, remove dish from the oven, but leave the oven on. Uncover and stir in the beef and mushroom mixture.
- Return baking dish (uncovered this time) to the oven and bake another 25 minutes.
- Remove dish from oven, but leave the oven on. Top dish with mozzarella cheese and fried onions (if using).
- Return to the oven and bake another 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and fried onions are golden brown.
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- I’ve estimated this recipe will serve approximately 8 people, but please feel free to divide this recipe into as many servings as you’d like.
- Using both condensed beef broth and regular reduced sodium beef broth adds a bold, rich flavor, but cuts down a bit on the sodium. However, if you’d like to use all condensed beef broth, or all reduced sodium beef broth, you can certainly do that.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.