Poppy Seed Chicken is a classic casserole recipe that has creamy chicken, a buttery Ritz Cracker topping and it’s so easy to make. It’s the perfect hearty dinner recipe that will have you reaching for more.
One-dish Poppy Seed Chicken is an easy comfort food classic for busy families. It’s so delicious that even the pickiest eaters love it. Creamy filling with tender chicken chunks is an excellent protein source. And the complimentary crunch of a buttery cracker topping makes it a real crowd pleaser. Clean-up is super easy.
I’m always looking for quick, easy, and tasty dishes. This one can be made ahead and travels so well that I’ve taken it to many family events and neighborhood dinners.
Why You’ll Love Poppy Seed Chicken
- Got a crazy week ahead? Poppy Seed Chicken is one of the best make-ahead recipes I’ve found. I usually assemble it a day early and pop it in the fridge until heating time.
- This dish is made with easy-to-find ingredients that come together quickly for a hearty family meal with little clean-up.
- Reheating is a snap. Place it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 F. Don’t forget to cover with foil to keep moisture in. For single servings, try the microwave. Reheat for a minute, stir, and then heat in 30-second increments until you reach an adequate serving temperature.
Ingredients for Poppy Seed Chicken
- Chicken breasts
- Sour cream
- cream of chicken soup
- Ritz crackers
- poppy seeds
- Worcestershire sauce
- Celery salt
- Lemon juice
How To Make Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
Prepare Chicken – Place 4 boneless breasts, or chicken of your choice, in boiling water for 20 minutes. Or bake for 20 minutes on a sheet pan at 400 F or until juices run clear.
Combine Filling – In a mixing bowl, combine soup, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, minced garlic, lemon juice, and pepper. Stir ingredients together.
Assemble Casserole – Spread chicken in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Place sauce over chicken and spread to cover.
Make Buttery Cracker Topping – Melt butter in a medium pan on the stovetop or in a microwaveable bowl. Add crushed crackers and poppy seeds. Mix together and spread over chicken and sauce.
Bake – Place the casserole dish in the oven at 350 F. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole!
- No time to cook chicken? Make life easier by using cooked rotisserie chicken from your local market. Simply throw away the skin, pull the chicken from the bone, and chop.
- Try cutting the chicken into smaller-than-usual bites before placing it in the casserole. The “Littles” at your table will thank you, and this helps the flavors blend together evenly.
- Kids love to crush crackers. To avoid spills from split cracker paper tubes, place the tube in a sturdy zip-lock bag before crushing it. I use a rolling pin, but the smooth side of a meat mallet or garlic press works fine.
- Feel free to add the poppy seeds on top instead of mixing them into crackers for a more decorative look
Poppy Seed Chicken FAQs
I like to use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken, but if you don’t have that I simply place 4 boneless chicken breasts in boiling water and let it boil 20 minutes and then cube. You can also bake at 20 minutes on a sheet pan at 400 degrees F or until the juices run clear.
Yes, you can! Simply cover tightly with foil and place in the freezer for up to three months. When you are ready to use it, remove from freezer and place in fridge to thaw the day before using. Bake according to directions. It may take 10-15 minutes extra time because it is starting from cold.
Yes, you can prep it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator covered. When ready to bake remove it from the oven while the oven preheats. Then bake as directed in instructions. It make take a few minutes longer because it is cold when you put it in the oven.
I usually keep it for 3-4 days, whether I’m saving an entire casserole I’ve made ahead of time or keeping leftovers in airtight plastic containers.
You bet. Everything can be easily halved for just two people, but why not make the whole recipe, divide it into two dishes, and freeze one for later? This dish is so easy that I often make two large casseroles at a time – one for dinner and one to freeze for later. I’m always relieved when I remember, during a crazy on-the-run week, that I have a Poppy Seed Chicken in the freezer.
Yes, but be sure to add the topping halfway through the baking process, so your cheese doesn’t burn. You can also mix 1 cup grated cheddar cheese or ½ cup parmesan into the casserole if you like.
Absolutely. Some people like the variation in taste, and it helps use ingredients you already have in your pantry. I’d recommend keeping at least one cream of chicken and subbing only one can to keep the chicken flavor front and center.
My Poppy Seed Chicken is a great stand-alone dish, but peas or broccoli make great pairings.
Offer the veggies as a side when serving, or mix them into the casserole before baking. (Again, add a little extra sour cream if adding other ingredients to your casserole.)
If you’re in a rush, a quick bagged salad from the grocery store works, too.
And don’t forget the bread. Dinner rolls, whether packaged or frozen, work well with this dish.
How To Reheat!
The easiest way to reheat a smaller portion is to put it on a microwave safe plate and reheat it in the microwave. We recommend starting with one minute and stirring after that. If it’s not heated through microwave in 30 second increments until heated through.
If you have a large amount to reheat preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the leftovers in an oven safe pan and warm in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until heated through. We recommend covering it with foil when you reheat it in the oven to keep the moisture in.
More great casserole recipes to enjoy!
- A classic with the addition of Alfredo sauce make this Baked Spaghetti Casserole a hit every time!
- A creamy mixture of pasta, sauce, chicken and cheese make this Mexican Chicken Casserole so delicious!
- With only 10 minutes of prep time Chicken Wild Rice Casserole is the winner on busy weeknights!!
- A favorite comfort food! Easy Chicken Pot Pie Casserole starts with a creamy vegetable mixture that’s topped with Crescent Rolls!
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- 5 c. chicken breasts cooked and cubed
- 1 c. sour cream
- 2 10.5 oz cans condensed cream of chicken soup
- 2 cups crushed Ritz crackers about 1 1/2 rolls of crackers
- 1/2 c. melted butter
- 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil raw chicken breasts for 20 minutes. Let chicken cool slightly and cut into one inch cubes. You can also use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken. Place cubed chicken in a greased 9×13 casserole dish.
- In a bowl stir together the condensed soup and sour cream. Add the Worcestershire, celery salt, garlic, lemon juice, and pepper to the soup and sour cream mixture. Pour over the chicken.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the crushed crackers, poppy seeds and melted butter. Sprinkle over the chicken and sauce.
- Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top of the casserole is browned and the sauce is bubbly. Serve plain or over rice.