Published in September, the novel opens with the death of a parish councillor and is based around a local council election.
The best-selling author's first full-length book in five years, it is set in Pagford, a town which appears to be an English idyll but is at war with itself.
Rowling's Harry Potter novels were adapted into blockbuster Hollywood films which launched the careers of Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson as well as attracting the cream of British acting talent.
She said of the new drama: "I'm thrilled that the BBC has commissioned The Casual Vacancy.
"I always felt that, if it were to be adapted, this novel was best suited to television and I think the BBC is the perfect home."
The drama is expected to air in 2014. The number and length of episodes for the drama are still to be decided.
BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said: "It is thrilling to be bringing the work of JK Rowling to BBC1 audiences.
"JK Rowling's story-telling is, of course, peerless in its popularity and I am looking forward to collaborating with her.
"This project highlights the ambition and scale of BBC1 drama, as well as the ability of modern television to attract the world's biggest talent and most exciting creative ideas."
BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson said: "We are thrilled to bring JK Rowling's extraordinary tapestry of modern Britain to the screen.
"It's a book of such richness that through humour, social commentary and above all fantastic characters, says something insightful and entertaining about the country we live in."
The book was published to mixed reviews, with the Daily Mirror describing it as "a complete joy to read" and an "entertaining evocation of British society today", but the Daily Mail's Jan Moir dubbing it a "relentless socialist manifesto masquerading as literature".