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Easy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

5 from 1 vote

My Easy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole is pure comfort food. It takes about 15 minutes to mix it up, and then it’s ready to pop in the oven. This hot, fast, creamy, comforting casserole will be a new family favorite!

There’s something incredibly satisfying about this combination of tender chicken, creamy sauce, and crispy topping. To borrow a phrase from Robert Palmer, it’s “Simply Irresistible.”

A serving of casserole on a white dish.

Easy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole is a long-time favorite of ours. It’s one of those 1960s retro recipes that has never lost its popularity because it’s just so darned good! It has been a weeknight dinner standard in Southern households for decades.

<You’ve got that song stuck in your head now, don’t you? 😊 >

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for poppy seed chicken casserole.

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  • Shredded Chicken – You’ll need cooked, shredded chicken. This is a perfect recipe for using up leftover chicken! Or take a shortcut and use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. An alternative that requires more time but works very well is to poach two boneless skinless chicken breasts and then shred them to use in the casserole.
  • Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup – Now, I have no problem whatever using canned condensed soup. It was raised on it and it’s a prominent ingredient in many of the recipes I grew up learning how to cook. There are hundreds of homemade options available on the internet so do feel free to choose one of those if you like.
  • Crackers – For the crunchy, buttery cracker topping. They should be a neutral or savory cracker. Ritz crackers are probably the most commonly used, but Townhouse crackers and Club crackers are also good. Even ordinary saltine crackers will work. When crushing the crackers, use a light hand. They should be broken into pieces and large crumbs, but not to a fine powder.
  • Sour Cream – The sour cream and chicken soup combine here to make a luscious, creamy chicken casserole.
  • Cheddar Cheese – My preference is almost always for sharp or even extra sharp cheddar cheese. That punch of flavor is always welcome!
  • Butter – I always choose salted butter, but use your own judgment. If you choose crackers with salted tops, you may find that unsalted butter is a better choice. 
  • Poppy Seeds – The featured ingredient in this recipe, poppy seeds add their own signature nutty flavor and crunch. 

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

Finished casserole in a square baking dish.

🔀 Recipe Variations

  • Try using half cheddar and half parmesan cheese. 
  • Add diced, cooked vegetables such as green peas or broccoli.
  • Change up the topping. Try crushed potato chips — delicious!

🍽️ How I Serve Poppy Seed Chicken

Because this is a fantastic one-dish dinner, it really doesn’t require much in the way of side dishes. I sometimes serve the casserole itself spooned over steamed white rice or egg noodles accompanied by steamed broccoli or green beans on the side. Another option is to offer a simple salad, maybe some rolls, and always sweet tea

A little fresh parsley sprinkled over the finished casserole gives it a bit of color.

Finished casserole in a square baking dish.

🍚 How I Store the Leftovers

  • Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat individual portions in the microwave or oven until warmed through, adding a splash of chicken broth or water if needed.

❓ Questions About Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Can I just use raw chicken cut in pieces in this recipe?

Sorry, but raw chicken won’t work for this. You need pre-cooked, shredded chicken to work within the cooking time.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

To make this poppy seed chicken recipe gluten-free, choose a brand of crackers that does not contain gluten. Also, be sure to check the sour cream. Sour cream itself is naturally gluten-free, but some brands have additives that may not be appropriate for your diet.

Can I freeze this casserole?

Absolutely! You can freeze the assembled casserole before baking. Just cover it tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking as usual.

Can I omit the poppy seeds?

While poppy seeds add their unique flavor and texture, you can certainly omit them if you like. The casserole will still be delicious without them.

A serving of casserole on a white dish.
Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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A serving of casserole on a white dish.

Easy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

My Easy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole is pure comfort food. It takes just 15 minutes to mix and 30 minutes to bake. This is your new family favorite!
5 from 1 vote
Print It Rate It
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 435kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cooked and shredded chicken about 2-3 cups
  • 6 ounces ondensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup Cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces) shredded
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup crushed crackers (such as Ritz or Townhouse)
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick) melted

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×9 square baking pan or casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the shredded chicken, condensed cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, grated cheese, and poppy seeds until all ingredients are well combined.
  • Spread the chicken-soup-sour cream mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  • In a separate small bowl, mix the crushed cracker crumbs with melted butter until they are well coated. Spread evenly over the chicken mixture.
  • Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. The top should be golden brown and the casserole bubbly. The casserole should have an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F.
  • Let cool for a few minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with a very light sprinkle of extra poppy seeds and parsley.

Notes

  • Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat individual portions in the microwave or oven until warmed through, adding a splash of chicken broth or water if needed.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 435kcal | Carbohydrates 8g | Protein 24g | Fat 34g | Saturated Fat 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat 3g | Monounsaturated Fat 9g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 132mg | Sodium 690mg | Potassium 270mg | Fiber 0.4g | Sugar 2g | Vitamin A 889IU | Vitamin C 0.5mg | Calcium 147mg | Iron 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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Step-by-Step Photo and Directions to Make Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare a 9×9 square pan with cooking spray.
  2. Thoroughly mix the shredded chicken, condensed cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, grated cheese, and poppy seeds.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly on the bottom of the dish.
  1. Mix the crushed crackers with melted butter. Spread evenly over the chicken mixture.
  2. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brown and an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  3. Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with poppy seeds and parsley if desired.

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