Seafood lovers will find this recipe for seafood casserole absolutely irresistible! Succulent shrimp, scallops and crab meat combined with a savoury and velvety sauce layered on a bed of dill and herb seasoned rice, topped with crispy golden croutons and breadcrumbs.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! ❤️ If you give it a try, please let me know how it turned out for you in the comments section at the bottom of the page or share a pic of your om noms on Instagram and tag @dishesanddustbunnies! ❤️
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What is Seafood Casserole?
Most often, seafood casserole is made up of three layers – rice for the bottom layer, then a creamy and rich seafood layer topped with bread crumbs or croutons to create a crispy top.
One of the best parts of this recipe is how you can add pretty much any seafood you like, and it will always turn out delicious. The most common type of seafood used in the casserole however, is shrimp, scallops and crab meat. 😋
This casserole is super popular as a dish that's often served on Christmas Eve or during the holiday season. Personally, why restrict this yumminess to the holidays, though? lol As quite the seafood lover myself, I'd have no qualms about enjoying this any time of the year! 😊
How to make Seafood Casserole
You'll find more detailed instructions on making seafood casserole in the recipe at the bottom of the page, but I'll give you a quick idea of what to expect when making this recipe.
I start the recipe by preheating the oven to 350°F. I then grease a 13″x9″ glass baking dish with butter and set it aside. To keep things simple for the rice layer, I typically like to use leftover rice I've made the day before, but you can use freshly made rice if you'd like. I highly recommend using long-grain rice such as basmati for the best texture in this recipe.
I cook chopped celery, carrots, and onion in melted butter in a large frying pan or skillet until it is fragrant and yummy. Then I add some fresh garlic, salt and pepper, fresh parsley and dill. Once they cook for a few minutes, I add the basmati rice to the pan and combine. Once well mixed, the rice is poured into the casserole dish.
The next step is to create your delicious seafood layer. Start by cooking your seafood in a small amount of water, straining and setting it aside in a large mixing bowl. Be sure to reserve some of this water.
After cooking the seafood, a cream sauce is created by making a roux (or thickener) from melted butter and flour. Once the roux is ready, the reserved cooking water is added along with some milk, cream cheese, dill, salt, pepper and thyme. This deliciously creamy sauce is then added to the mixing bowl with your cooked seafood. This mixture is then added to the casserole dish over top of the rice layer.
Once the seafood layer is added to the dish, toss the fresh bread crumbs in a little butter and add it to the casserole's top. Bake in the oven uncovered for about an hour.
Once the casserole comes out of the oven, those fresh bread crumbs become irresistible as crunchy golden croutons. The crisp bread crumbs on top of the rich and creamy seafood layer give this dish an incredible contrast in texture. Soft succulent shrimp and seafood in a creamy flavourful sauce over seasoned rice, with crisp, crunchy golden croutons on top… mmmm… perfect! 🥰
Don't forget; you can find all the details on making seafood casserole in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
Can I make Seafood Casserole without Rice?
For this recipe, I find that the best option for the bottom layer is rice, especially long grain rice, such as basmati. If, however you'd like to try something other than rice, I'd suggest the following variations:
- large wide egg noodles
- cooked pasta, such as penne rigate
- cooked crispy potato chunks – if considering potatoes, it's best to use ones that have been roasted or have some crispness to them for the tastiest texture. ex. I've used leftover crispy potato wedges for this, and it's great!
Please be mindful of the texture if you choose a substitute for the rice. Try to avoid anything that may be too soft… there needs to be some body, so it compliments the creamy seafood layer.
What can I use if I don't have a casserole dish?
If you'd like to make this recipe but don't have a 13″x9″ casserole dish like the one you see in this post, all hope isn't lost! You can still make this recipe in any dish that's oven proof and is large enough to hold all the ingredients. Some alternatives to a casserole dish are:
- a large frying pan or skillet
- dutch oven
- large saucepan
- slow cooker (if making this dish in a slow cooker, brown up your bread crumbs separately and add them to the top, just before serving – it's essential to have the right balance of texture for this dish)
How long is Seafood Casserole good for?
If you have any leftovers, I'd recommend eating them within four days of cooking. Make sure to store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
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How to Reheat Seafood Casserole
Before reheating, please ensure that you allow the dish to reach close to room temperature before placing it into the oven. Taking the dish straight from the fridge to the oven can cause the container to break from temperature shock. After removing it from the fridge, give it about 30 minutes to reach room temperature before reheating.
To reheat the casserole, heat the oven to 350°F. To conserve its moisture, cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and reheat for about 30 minutes or until hot throughout. To re-crisp the top, remove the foil cover in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking.
What to Serve with Seafood Casserole
Seafood casserole can be served with just about anything! When choosing sides or dishes to go with your casserole, I'd recommend sticking with recipes that use ingredients that have a crunch or freshness to them, so they balance well with the rich flavours of the seafood casserole.
Here are some other recipes that go well with seafood casserole:
- crisp leafy green salads
- Thai Mango Salad
- Couscous Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Feta
- Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
- Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
- Coleslaw Recipe
Serve along with other party food for special occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter or any time!
Bottom layer of the casserole:
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice, such as basmati
OR 4 cups cooked
- 3 tbsps butter
- 4 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
- 1 medium carrot, chopped into small pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp dill weed
- 1 lb uncooked medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
- 1 lb bay scallops
- 16 oz canned crabmeat – drained, flaked, and cartilage removed
OR fresh crab meat, chopped
OR immitation cran meat, chopped
- 5 tbsps butter
- 5 tbsps all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk (you can use half and half cream to make it richer if you like)
- 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cut into cubes
- 1/2 tsp dill weed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 8 slices of bread, ripped into small pieces (about the size of croutons)
- 4 tbsps butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease with butter, a 13″x9″ glass baking dish and set aside
- Cook rice according to package directions and set aside OR if you're using leftover rice, make sure you have it measured and ready to use for the recipe.
To Make the Bottom Rice Layer:
- In a large frying pan or skillet, on medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add celery, onion and carrot pieces and cook until tender. Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook for about 1-2 minutes longer.
- To the pan, add cooked basmati rice along with parsley and dill. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the rice mixture to the greased 13″x9″ baking dish. Use a large spoon to make sure the rice is evenly distributed on the bottom of the casserole.
To Make the Seafood Layer:
- Fill a large saucepan with water about half way with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- To the saucepan, add shrimp and scallops. Cook until shrimp turn pink and the scallops are firm – about 5 minutes.
- Drain the water from seafood but reserve about 1 cup of liquid and set aside.
- Place shrimp and scallops in a bowl large enough to hold all the yumminess! Then gently add the crab meat. If you're using canned crab meat, combine gently as chunks may break apart easily.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a whisk, stir in flour to make a roux (aka thickener). Once the flour and butter turn slightly golden brown and a little bubbly (about 2-3 min), stir in the milk and the reserved water from cooking your seafood before.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream cheese, dill, salt, pepper and thyme. Stir until combined and smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl with your cooked seafood and combine. Pour this over the rice layer in your casserole dish.
Top Layer and to Finish:
- In a mixing bowl, toss the bread with melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake 60 minutes in the oven or until golden brown.
- Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Category: Main
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American/Canadian
Keywords: seafood casserole, rice casserole, shrimp, scallops, crab meat, Christmas casserole