This Poppy Seed Chicken Recipe is a classic chicken casserole that’s super easy to make! Filled with creamy chicken and topped with buttery Ritz crackers, it’s the perfect easy weeknight dinner the whole family will love.
What is Poppy Seed Chicken?
Poppy seed chicken is a comforting chicken casserole popular in the South. Super creamy and super easy to make, it’s filled with cooked chicken and a rich sauce, topped with a crunchy layer of buttery Ritz crackers, and sprinkled with poppy seeds. The dish is then baked until bubbly and the topping is crispy golden brown.
A staple at potlucks and family gatherings, it’s the best quick and easy casserole for busy weeknights and hungry families.
- Cream of Chicken Soup: Condensed soup is a thick “soup” that has been reduced to remove its water content. It adds creaminess and flavor and is super convenient. Feel free to make your own homemade cream of chicken soup if preferred, or swap the condensed cream of chicken soup for cream of mushroom soup.
- Sour Cream: Adds a little tanginess to the flavor of the dish. Plain Greek yogurt can be used instead of sour cream. Full-fat sour cream and Greek yogurt is recommended for the best flavor.
- Poppy Seeds: Tiny black seeds that don’t actually change the overall flavor of the dish – they do, however, add a nice visual contrast to the creamy sauce.
- Chicken: I recommend using boneless skinless chicken breasts that have been poached or baked and either shredded or chopped into cubes. Rotisserie chicken is also perfect for last-minute dinners.
- Ritz Crackers (or similar): Creates a crunchy, buttery topping when crushed and mixed with melted butter.
- Butter: Melted butter mixes with crushed Ritz crackers, creating a golden crunchy top when baked.
- Salt and Black Pepper: To taste.
- Veggies: Sauteed onions and mushrooms or frozen (thawed) peas and carrots.
- Cheese: This recipe is phenomenal with a little (or a lot!) cheese. I’m a fan of shredded cheddar cheese, mozzarella, or parmesan.
- Seasonings: You can add a little garlic powder or onion powder – about half a teaspoon of each.
How to Make Poppy Seed Chicken
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine the Chicken Mixture: Mix together the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and poppy seeds in a large bowl. Add the chopped or shredded chicken and mix well until the chicken is covered in the soup mixture.
3. Transfer the Chicken Mixture to the Baking Dish: Transfer the creamy chicken mixture to an 8×11-inch casserole dish.
4. Top with the Ritz Cracker Topping: Crush the crackers until they resemble a coarse crumb. Sprinkle evenly over the chicken, then drizzle the melted butter over the crackers.
5. Bake: Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is golden and crispy.
6. Rest: Remove from the oven and allow the casserole to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
What to Serve with Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
- Rice: Cooked white rice or brown rice is the most common side dish. Rice absorbs the extra creamy sauce and complements the flavors of the dish.
- Noodles: Egg noodles are my favorite, but any type of pasta would work.
- Vegetables: Steamed or roasted vegetables like green beans, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, or asparagus.
- Bread: Crusty bread or buttered dinner rolls are perfect for scooping up the leftover sauce. Yum!
Storage and Reheating
- Storing: Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Reheating: If you are reheating from frozen, it’s best to allow the casserole to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. This ensures even cooking and reduces the overall cooking time. To reheat, you can use the microwave, oven, or stovetop. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees f.
Can You Freeze Poppy Seed Chicken?
Yes. This poppy seed chicken recipe freezes well. For best results, freeze before adding the cracker mixture and before baking.
If you need to freeze after baking, divide the casserole into smaller-portion-sized amounts and place them in freezer-safe containers or freezer-safe bags. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Transfer to the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Casserole Recipes
- Cornbread Casserole
- Hashbrown Casserole
- Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
- Zucchini Casserole
- Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole Recipe
- The Best Tuna Noodle Casserole
If you try making this Poppy Seed Chicken Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
- 2 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup - approximately 2½ cups
- ½ cup sour cream - full-fat, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 4½ cups cooked chicken - shredded or chopped into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup Ritz crackers - crushed
- 2 tablespoon butter - melted
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and poppy seeds to a large mixing bowl. Mix well until smooth and combined. Transfer the chicken to an 8×11-inch casserole dish and pour the cream of chicken soup over the chicken. Stir until all the chicken is covered in the soup mixture.
- Sprinkle the crushed Ritz crackers evenly on top of the chicken, then drizzle the melted butter over the crackers.
- Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the crackers are a toasted golden brown. Allow the casserole to cool slightly before serving.
- Serve over cooked rice or mashed potatoes with a side of roasted veggies, if desired. Enjoy!
- Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Note: This recipe is very saucy – which I love, especially when I serve it with rice. Allowing it to cool off a little (but still keeping it warm) helps it thicken slightly.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)