If you’re looking for an easy dinner, you will love this poppy seed chicken casserole. This dish is incredibly creamy, with a satisfying crunch from the buttery crackers. This casserole is similar to our creamy chicken casserole but with the special addition of poppy seeds.
You might be more familiar with poppy seeds featured in a sweet dish, like our poppy seed roll, but fear not! Poppy seeds are incredibly versatile and work great in savory dishes as well! The poppy seed sauce adds a great texture and flavor to the chicken and is what makes this incredibly simple dish so decadent.
This poppy seed chicken recipe uses just a few simple ingredients and turns them into a full meal that will easily feed a crowd and quickly become one of your favorite comfort foods.
Inspired by Pioneer women, this recipe has been passed down for decades, and you will surely taste the history of this comforting dish with our twist on the dish. Much like our cordon bleu casserole, the chicken is doused in a thick, creamy sauce and baked to a beautiful, golden perfection.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Affordable. The ingredients for this recipe are inexpensive and most of them you may already have at home.
- Simple. This dinner will come together in less than an hour, and most of the work is done by the oven.
- Make ahead. Casserole is a great dish to make ahead for meal prep or an easy freezer meal!
Ingredients for Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
All the ingredients you will need to make this delicious and easy dinner.
- Chicken breast- we use shredded boneless skinless chicken breast for this recipe. You can also use leftover chicken or rotisserie for a quicker process.
- Roux – garlic, butter, and flour are cooked together to create the base for our sauce.
- Milk & chicken broth – the liquids we use for the sauce. Both add flavor and depth.
- Cream Cheese and sour cream – add an irresistible creaminess to the sauce.
- Cheese – we recommend using shredded mozzarella. It melts beautifully and has a rich flavor.
- Poppy seeds – these add that remarkable texture and light flavor.
- Seasoning – paprika, salt, and pepper, enhance the flavors of this dish.
- Topping – use your favorite crackers mixed with parmesan cheese to crunch this casserole.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, see the recipe card below.
Substitutions and Variations
Make this recipe your own by substituting things to your personal preference!
- Protein: Substitute the chicken for shredded pork or shredded beef.
- Sauce: For an easy shortcut, substitute the sauce for a can of cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, or even cream of celery. Just add chicken broth to dilute it, and poppy seeds! Plain Greek yogurt could be used in place of sour cream.
- Cheese: You can use any cheese you’d like, such as mild cheddar cheese or Monterey jack.
- Topping: Instead of using buttery Ritz cracker crumbs, you can use bread crumbs you make yourself or panko crumbs.
How to Make Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole Recipe
Step 1 – Cook the chicken: Boil the chicken in lightly salted water. Once cooked, shred the chicken and set aside.
Step 2 – Make sauce: In a saucepan, whisk butter, garlic, and flour. Add milk, broth, cream cheese, sour cream, cheese, paprika, poppy seed, salt, and pepper. Allow it to come to a soft boil, stir occasionally.
Step 3 – Assemble: Spread shredded chicken over a 9”x13” baking dish and cover with sauce
Step 4 – Combine: Add sauce to the casserole dish. Sprinkle crushed crackers, parmesan cheese, and melted butter on top. Bake until golden brown.
- Appetizers: Serve some homemade breadsticks before the casserole as a tasty appetizer. The creamy sauce in the casserole makes for an excellent dip for the breadsticks!
- Salad: Serve this casserole with a refreshing salad that will beautifully balance the rich main course, like a chopped salad or a kale salad.
- Rice: Traditionally, this casserole is served with the sauce over classic white rice or creamy mashed potatoes.
- Pasta: Boil your favorite noodles and top with a spoonful of the casserole for a creamy pasta dish!
- Vegetables: Serve this casserole with your favorite green vegetables; broccoli, green beans, and peas are some ideas!
Although the chicken broth adds a depth of flavor, you can leave it out and just use water and add more seasoning to compensate for the loss of flavor.
Although the melted cheese adds great flavor and a creamy texture, you can leave it out if you want a dish that’s a little lighter.
If the top of your casserole isn’t browning, but the sauce is boiling, your oven may not be hot enough. Try broiling for a minute to allow the top to toast.
Yes, shred leftover rotisserie or leftover chicken and continue with the recipe.
Store & Reheat
- Storage. Seal the cooled casserole in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Reheat. Warm the casserole in the oven at a low temperature or in a skillet over low heat until warm.
- Freeze. To freeze the casserole, prepare it up until the baking step. Allow for it to cool completely. Cover and freeze in a freezer-safe baking dish for up to 2 months. Reheat: Thaw casserole in the fridge overnight. Bake in the oven as per instructions.
More Casserole Recipes
If you tried this Casserole with Poppy Seed Chicken or any other recipe on my website, please leave a star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below!
Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole Recipe
- 1 lb chicken breast, skinless & boneless
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, divied
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 5 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheese, mozzarella or any mixed cheese
- 1 ½ Tbsp poppy seeds
- ¼ tsp ground paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 sleeve crackers
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- In a saucepan, submerge the chicken in water and lightly season with salt. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked.
- Remove chicken from water and shred with two forks or a hand mixer.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, sauté 4 Tbsp butter and garlic. Allow for the garlic to get fragrant, quickly whisk in flour.
- Add in the milk, chicken broth, cream cheese, sour cream, cheese, paprika, poppy seed, salt, and pepper.
- Allow the sauce to thicken by cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- In a 9” x 13” casserole dish, spread the shredded chicken and pour creamy sauce over it.
- Top with crushed crackers, and parmesan cheese. Finish off with 4 Tbsp of melted butter.
- Bake at 350°F for a total of 20-30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.
- Serve, and enjoy friends!
- Refrigerate for 3 days in an airtight container.
- Reheat the casserole over low heat in the oven or on the skillet.
- Pro tip: use rotisserie chicken for some easy shredded chicken.