Protein content (PC) is an important component of rice nutritional quality. In order to better understand the genetic basis of this trait and increase related breeding efficiency, 21 single chromosome segment substitution (SCSS) lines grown in four sites over two growing seasons (regarded as eight environments) were used to associate PC with particular chromosome segments. Segments from 15 chromosomes were found to contain quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for PC in at least one environment. These included segments from chromosome 3 and 8, in which QTLs for PC had not previously been identified. The segment of chromosome 8 in CSSL-48 had the largest positive effect across all environments. The interaction between substitution and environment was highly significant. Some substitutions had large effects in one environment, but no effect in another (i.e. CSSL-08 and CSSL-17), while some substitutions significantly increased PC in one environment but decreased it in another (i.e. CSSL-41 and CSSL-43). By biplot and clustering analysis, the eight environments were grouped into two contrasting environment types, that is, Hainan and Jiangsu. The segment of chromosome 8 in CSSL-48 had PC-enhancing QTLs in both of the environment types. The segments in CSSL-34 had QTLs which increase PC in the Jiangsu environment but have no effect in the Hainan environment. For enhancing PC, CSSL-48 could be explored in breeding for wide adaptation across all environments, while CSSL-12, CSSL-14, CSSL-17, CSSL-41 and CSSL-43, and that in CSSL-34 could be explored in breeding for specific adaptation to the Hainan and Jiangsu environments, respectively. Near isogenic lines are under development to validate the QTLs with large effects in a range of genetic backgrounds relevant to Jiangsu and Hainan breeding programs. Secondary mapping populations are also being developed for further localising the responsible QTLs in CSSL-14, CSSL-34 and CSSL-48.