Easy & Delicious Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

This easy, delicious Poppy Seed Chicken is a comfort food classic with tender chunks of chicken in a creamy sauce with a crunchy, buttery Ritz cracker topping! Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole is a family favorite that is always devoured by kids and grown-ups alike!

Overhead shot of chicken casserole and two plates with casserole and broccoli

Hi! It’s Amy from House of Nash Eats and I’m excited to share this poppy seed chicken recipe with you. Talk about winner-winner-chicken-dinner!

This poppy seed chicken casserole is right up there with chicken spaghetti casserole as one of our family’s favorite recipes for easy weeknight comfort food.

If you have never tried poppy seed chicken before, it has a wonderful, savory flavor with fantastic texture contrasts between the creamy sauce loaded with delicious poppy seeds and the crunchy buttery Ritz cracker topping. Everybody will want second helpings!

Why we love this recipe

  • Simple ingredients mean you have everything on hand or can easily find it at your grocery store.
  • It’s fast and easy, taking a total of 35 minutes from start to finish.
  • This is good old fashioned comfort food from the creamy sauce to the crunchy cracker topping!

An image of a hand holding a scoop of poppy seed chicken over a baking dish.

How to Make Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

  1. To make poppy seed chicken, you need about 5 cups of cooked chicken. Rotisserie chicken works great and cuts your prep time significantly. But you can also just boil or bake chicken breasts to have on hand for a recipe like this. Chop the cooked chicken into bite-size pieces then set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce. Even though I don’t use it often, this is one dish where I just think nothing is quite as good as cream of chicken soup. It sure makes it easy to throw this together on busy nights. Mix that up with some sour cream, parmesan cheese, dried parsley, a little garlic powder, pepper, and of course, poppy seeds. Then add the chicken and dump it all into a large 9×13″ baking dish.
  3. While I’m getting the chicken ready, I usually hand one of my kids a rolling pin and a bag of Ritz crackers and ask them to smash the crackers for me. Then I dump the crushed crackers into a bowl with melted butter and stir them together.
  4. Sprinkle the buttery crushed crackers over the chicken filling, then slide the poppy seed chicken casserole into the oven to bake for 35 to 40 minutes until it’s hot and bubbly. The crushed cracker topping will toast slightly and be such a wonderful contrast to the creamy sauce and tender chunks of chicken beneath!

A collage of images showing step-by-step how to make poppy seed chicken.

Can you freeze poppy seed chicken?

Yes! Poppy seed chicken is a great meal to make to have on hand in the freezer or to give to a friend who is going through a hard time or just had a baby.

Just make the poppy seed chicken casserole up through adding the Ritz cracker topping, but don’t bake it. Instead, cover tightly with plastic wrap, then freeze for up to 1 month. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.

How to reheat poppy seed chicken

If I’m reheating a single portion, I will just do it in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes until hot all the way through.

But if I’m reheating larger amounts, I think the best way to reheat poppy seed chicken is to do it in the oven. Just cover it with foil this time to keep moisture in and let the leftover casserole heat in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes until hot.

An image of poppy seed chicken casserole on a plate with broccoli and rice.

How to Cook Chicken Breasts for Casserole

When I’m making weeknight casserole dishes like this poppy seed chicken, I like to cook the chicken in advance so I can easily throw everything together. My two favorite methods are to bake chicken or boil it.

To boil chicken breasts, add however many chicken breasts you want to cook to a large pot, then cover with water and season the water with a handful of salt and a tablespoon of pepper. Bring the water to a gentle boil and cook until the chicken breasts reach 165 degrees F when tested with a digital meat thermometer. The amount of chicken you are cooking this way will alter boiling time, but for 4-5 medium-size chicken breasts it usually takes around 10-15 minutes once the water begins to boil for them to be done.

To bake chicken breasts, just sprinkle chicken breasts with a little salt and pepper, then bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. They are done when they reach 165 degrees F when tested with a digital meat thermometer. I like to do a bunch all at once to have one hand for other recipes throughout the week.

What to serve with poppy seed chicken?

We love to serve poppy seed chicken over rice with a green vegetable like roasted broccoli. But it’s also delicious over pasta or mashed potatoes.

Because it’s such a creamy casserole, I think it goes best with a green salad or green vegetables like asparagus or green beans.

An image of an easy chicken casserole with buttery Ritz cracker topping.

More easy chicken dinners:

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An image of an easy chicken casserole with buttery Ritz cracker topping.

Poppy Seed Chicken

This easy Poppy Seed Chicken is a comfort food classic with tender chicken in a creamy sauce topped with a crunchy, buttery topping of Ritz crackers!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American Classic
Servings 6 people
Calories 728kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 cups cooked chicken, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, poppy seeds, Parmesan cheese, pepper, parsley, and garlic powder. Add the chicken and stir until completely coated in the sauce. Transfer the chicken and sauce mixture to a large 9x13" baking dish.
  • In a medium bowl, pour the melted butter over the crushed Ritz crackers and toss together with a fork to create the buttery cracker topping. Sprinkle over the chicken filling.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes until hot all the way through and bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately.

Notes

Most any cooked chicken will do.  You can boil chicken in water or chicken broth for 15-20 minutes or bake it in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  Or just use a rotisserie chicken from the store.
This casserole can be frozen for up to 1 month.  Just prepare to the point of baking, then cover tightly in plastic wrap before freezing.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking according to the normal instructions the next day.
Adapted from All Recipes.

Nutrition

Calories: 728kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 47gFat: 49gSaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 198mgSodium: 1365mgPotassium: 514mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1261IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 314mgIron: 4mg
Keyword poppy seed chicken

Amy Nash

Amy is a former lawyer, now stay at home mom, who is the creator of House of Nash Eats where she shares modern comfort cooking and family friendly recipes. She and her husband have two daughters and live in the California Bay Area. Amy enjoys hiking, travel, catching up on her favorite t.v. shows, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

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Comments

  1. My family and I liked this. To have one less item to wash and put away, I mixed everything together in the dish I baked the casserole in.

    1. As stated in the post: CAN YOU FREEZE POPPY SEED CHICKEN?
      Yes! Poppy seed chicken is a great meal to make to have on hand in the freezer or to give to a friend who is going through a hard time or just had a baby.

      Just make the poppy seed chicken up through adding the Ritz cracker topping, but don’t bake it. Instead, cover tightly with plastic wrap, then freeze for up to 1 month. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.