Why you’ll love this recipe:
This chicken poppyseed casserole is rich, creamy, crunchy, and savory. Tender bites of white-meat chicken are smothered in a mayo-based sauce, then topped with crushed buttery crackers and baked. Dump-and-bake casseroles are a godsend for busy families with picky kids (myself included!). Even my kids devour this poppyseed chicken recipe before promptly asking for seconds. Miracles do happen!
- It’s as simple as whisk the dressing, dump it on the chicken, and top with crackers.
- No processed ingredients like canned soup!
- Made with simple ingredients & pantry staples
This easy casserole is perfect for church potlucks, busy weeknights, or game day! I like to double this chicken poppy seed recipe and bring it to friends with new babies.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Chicken – Diced or shredded cooked chicken both work great! If you don’t have leftover chicken, a rotisserie chicken is a quick and simple shortcut. Just remove the chicken from the bones and chop it into chunks.
- Sour cream & mayo – Many recipes call for cream of chicken soup, which is full of preservatives and processed ingredients. I like to use sour cream and mayo with even better results. The sauce is a bit richer and just as easy! You can swap the mayonnaise with cream of chicken soup if you like.
- Dijon mustard – For a slight tang! Dijon adds a depth of flavor to the thick, rich sauce.
- Butter – Melted butter coats the crackers for a crunchy yet buttery topping. It makes the crackers turn a deep golden color in the oven.
- Ritz crackers – Ritz crackers are a classic, but feel free to use any brand of butter crackers. Off-brand crackers taste delicious and cost half as much.
- Poppyseeds – You can find poppy seeds with the spices. They’re tiny black seeds with a nutty flavor.
How to make this recipe:
Before you start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9 by 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
1. Make the sauce:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. This is the creamy sauce that coats the chicken.
2. Make the casserole:
- Add the diced chicken into a large baking dish and cover with the sauce. Use a spatula to spread the sauce around, so it evenly coats all the chicken.
3. Top with crackers & bake:
- In a bowl, combine the ritz crackers and melted butter. Stir until the all the butter is evenly incorporated into the crackers.
- Sprinkle the ritz crackers over the chicken and creamy sauce.
- Sprinkle the poppy seeds over the ritz crackers.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the crackers turn golden brown, and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
- Cook and dice the chicken ahead of time, so all you have to do is dump it into the casserole dish. Sauté or bake a few chicken breasts and dice them up, or cook them in a slow cooker and shred them. I make a big batch at the beginning of the week and use it in soup, enchiladas, and chicken casseroles.
- If you don’t have time to cook the chicken, pick up a rotisserie chicken instead. Both white and dark meat chicken work great. Just remove the meat from the bones and chop it into chunks.
- Roughly one pound of chicken should give you around 2 cups of chicken. Chicken breasts vary in size, but I used five large chicken breasts for this casserole.
- Make the casserole up to 24 hours ahead of time, but leave the buttered cracker crumbs separate until you’re ready to bake it. Store in the refrigerator.
- Store leftover chicken poppy seed casserole in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheat small portions in the microwave until hot throughout, or if you have a large portion left, pop it into the oven instead. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until hot throughout – about 20 minutes.
Poppy seeds grow on the same plant that’s used to create opiate drugs like codeine and morphine. For this reason, many parents wonder if it’s safe for children to ingest poppy seeds. In general, a small amount of poppy seeds is safe for people of all ages, but for young babies, it’s best to ask your pediatrician.
Yes, this recipe is freezer-friendly but it’s best to use cream of chicken soup in place of the mayonnaise. Mayonnaise separates once it’s defrosted and the texture won’t be the same. It’s best not to add the cracker topping until you’re ready to bake it. Wrap the untopped casserole in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then add the ritz topping, and bake as directed.
Chicken casseroles go with nearly anything, but we like to serve it with white rice, blistered green beans, a simple salad, or roasted vegetables! To keep it super simple, serve with a side of steam-in-bag microwaveable white rice and steamed veggies.
Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
- 9×13 baking dish
- mixing bowls
- 5 cups cooked, diced chicken breast Note 1
- 1 ½ cups sour cream
- 1 ½ cups mayonnaise Note 2
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ cup melted butter
- 2 cups crushed Ritz crackers Note 3
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- Preheat your oven to 350℉ and prepare a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic. Set aside.
- Add the diced, cooked chicken to the prepared baking dish and spread the mayonnaise mixture over the top. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the ritz crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle the ritz crackers over the chicken/mayonnaise mixture.
- Sprinkle the poppy seeds over the ritz crackers.
- Bake for 35 minutes until hot and bubbling, enjoy!
– Store leftover chicken poppy seed casserole in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
– Reheat small portions in the microwave until hot throughout, or if you have a large portion left, pop it into the oven instead. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until hot throughout – about 20 minutes.
* Disclaimer: All nutrition information are estimates only. Read full nutrition disclosure.
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