Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
This Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole is a quick and easy weeknight dinner the family will love. It’s a creamy Southern classic that’s loaded with protein-rich chicken, sprinkled with delightful poppy seeds, and covered in a blanket of crispy, buttery Ritz crackers. Makes a great freezer meal as well!
An Easy, Comforting Chicken Casserole
Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole is a flavorful, hearty dish with a buttery, crispy Ritz cracker topping. It’s a comfort meal that’s hard to resist!
I love a good casserole – or “hotdish”, as we like to say in Minnesota. My tater tot hotdish, with its rich and savory (and easy!) homemade gravy, has been a longtime family and reader favorite.
This latest recipe is an easy chicken casserole that comes together quickly, which makes it perfect for busy weeknights. It’s a creamy Southern classic that’s loaded with protein-rich chicken, sprinkled with delightful poppy seeds, and covered in a blanket of crushed Ritz crackers.
It’s great for freezing and making ahead. If you participate in meal trains or like to gift a meal to a new mom or sick friend, this is an excellent option as all they’d need to do is pop it in the oven.
What You’ll Need
Poppy seed chicken requires just a handful of main ingredients, plus a few seasonings. Scroll down to the recipe box for measurements.
- Chicken breasts – Roast (or bake or grill or boil) ahead of time and then shred into bite-size pieces. This is a great way to use leftover chicken breast.
- Cream of chicken soup – Part of the flavorful, creamy base for this casserole.
- Cream cheese – Thickens the base, plus adds rich flavor and creamy texture.
- Parmesan cheese – Every casserole deserves some cheese! Parmesan offers delicious salty flavor.
- Seasonings – Poppy seeds (obviously), garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper give this chicken casserole lots of flavor.
- Crushed crackers – Ritz is a great option but feel free to use any preferred brand of similar buttery crackers.
- Unsalted butter – Drizzle this over the crackers to create a rich, crunchy topping.
Want to turn this dish into a heartier meal? Or maybe add some veggies? Go for it! Here are a few ways to customize your poppy seed chicken:
- Stir in some veggies. Broccoli and carrots, cut small, are a great addition. So are peas. Or some minced onion and garlic. Mushrooms would also be good.
- Add some rice. For a heartier dish, add a layer of cooked rice before adding the chicken mixture. Or simply serve this over cooked rice.
- Add herbs. I love fresh herbs, for both flavor and fresh green color. For this casserole, I’d suggest chopped parsley, thyme, rosemary, or basil. Use just one or a combination. You could also use dried herbs.
- Make it cheesy. My family will never turn down cheese. We often add 2 cups of shredded medium cheddar…delish!
- Sub the cream cheese. For a bit lighter dish with a little different flavor profile, sub the cream cheese for sour cream.
- Use rotisserie chicken. Don’t have time to cook up the chicken? Just grab a rotisserie chicken instead!
How to Make Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
This easy chicken casserole recipe comes together in just a few steps.
- Combine the ingredients. Shred the chicken, then add all of the ingredients except for the butter and crackers. Transfer mixture to a baking dish.
- Make the topping. Toss the crushed crackers with melted butter, then spread the crackers over the chicken mixture.
- Bake. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges are bubbly and the crackers are golden brown.
I like to serve this poppy seed chicken with some fresh green veggies. Asparagus is a favorite. I also like a brussels sprouts salad or broccoli salad. A simple green side salad is another great option.
For a heartier main course, you could even serve this casserole over rice. Or cauliflower rice, for a lighter option. Pasta would also be good.
How to Store Leftovers
Leftovers should be covered tightly and refrigerated. They’ll keep well for up to 4 days.
If you’re just reheating a single portion, the microwave is perfect. If you’re reheating the whole pan, cover with foil and pop it back in the oven until heated through.
Can I Freeze Poppy Seed Chicken?
Yes, this poppy seed chicken dish makes a great freezer meal! Prepare as directed, but stop before adding the Ritz topping. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and then foil to prevent freezer burn. If I know I’ll be freezing this, I like to prepare it right in those aluminum pans that are easy to freeze and store.
Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then add the cracker topping just before baking.
More Easy Casserole Recipes:
- Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
- Leftover Turkey Casserole
- Sour Cream and Onion Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Cheesy Beef and Sweet Potato Taco Casserole
- Spicy Lasagna Hotdish
- Spaghetti Hotdish
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- 3-4 cooked chicken breasts (roasted or grilled or boiled) and shredded
- 2 cans (10.5 ounces each) cream of chicken soup
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt
- 1 cup crushed buttery crackers, such as Ritz
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a large bowl, shred the chicken breasts.
- Add cream of chicken soup, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt,
pepper, onion, garlic powder, and poppy seeds - then fold together until
- Melt the butter in a small bowl and use a bit of it to lightly grease the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish. Add crushed crackers to the remaining melted butter and toss to coat evenly.
- Transfer chicken mixture to baking dish and spread it into an even layer.
- Sprinkle buttered crackers over the top of the chicken mixture.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until edges are bubbly and crackers are golden brown.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 440Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 978mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 23g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.