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Easy, cozy, comfort food at its finest! This chicken and noodle casserole is creamy, cheesy, and finished with a buttery Ritz cracker topping. Serve the chicken spaghetti with a simple side salad, a skillet of cornbread, a basket of buttermilk biscuits, or a pot of Southern-style green beans for a simple weeknight supper.

Spoon in a dish of chicken spaghetti casserole with a side salad and cornbread

Old Fashioned Chicken and Noodles Casserole

This chicken and noodle casserole is the ultimate in family-friendly dinners! The creamy, cheesy, dish takes advantage of simple ingredients for a flavorful meal that you can assemble in advance. It’s a basic supper that can be tweaked in a variety of ways to suit your family’s taste preferences and schedule. Use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or baked chicken — anything goes. The kids will go crazy for the comforting meal that’s finished with a crunchy Ritz cracker crumb topping!

Square overhead shot of a plate of chicken and spaghetti casserole

Ingredients for Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for an easy chicken and noodle casserole. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Noodles: I use spaghetti in this dish, but you can substitute with 8 ounces of egg noodles, penne, rotini, or other pasta.
  • Chicken: you’ll need cooked, shredded chicken, so pickup a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, or cook your own chicken at home.
  • Condensed cream of chicken soup: substitute with other flavors of condensed soup if you prefer. Good alternatives include cream of celery soup or cream of mushroom soup.
  • Milk: to thin the creamy sauce.
  • Sour cream: thickens the sauce, and adds richness and a slightly tangy flavor.
  • Garlic powder and onion powder: for savory flavor. You can use sauteed onion and fresh garlic cloves if you prefer, but these dried seasonings are a nice shortcut.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Cheese: use grated Colby Jack cheese, or substitute with cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, mozzarella, or another good melting cheese.
  • Frozen peas: these are optional, since I know some folks don’t love peas in their casseroles. You can omit them completely, or substitute with frozen mixed vegetables, corn, a jar of drained diced pimentos, a can of drained diced tomatoes, a can of drained green beans (or frozen green beans), or steamed or parboiled broccoli florets.
  • Ritz crackers and butter: toss the cracker crumbs with the melted butter to form the flavorful, crunchy topping.
Overhead shot of hands serving a chicken and noodle casserole with a vintage spoon

How to Cook Chicken for a Casserole

While it’s possible to cook a casserole with raw chicken, you’ll need cooked chicken for this recipe, and a variety of options will work. Pick the most convenient method for you:

  • Boiled and Pulled Chicken: Boil about 1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken into bite size pieces. You’ll need a total of about 2 cups shredded. I find that 1 lb. of raw chicken breasts yields about 2 cups of pulled chicken, but there’s some flexibility here — it doesn’t need to be exact.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: This is a great shortcut! Purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred the meat, and use in the recipe as instructed. One large rotisserie chicken should yield about 3-4 cups of meat, so you might have some extra to use in a different dish.
  • Leftover Chicken: If you have leftover grilled or baked chicken from a previous meal, put those extras to good use in this casserole.
  • Canned Chicken: Yep, you can even use canned chicken in this casserole.
Stirring chicken filling in a bowl

Do you cook noodles before adding to casserole?

While it’s possible to make a casserole with uncooked pasta, this specific recipe calls for boiling the spaghetti before adding it to the casserole. The baking time in the oven is shorter, since you’re just heating everything through. This also ensures that the pasta is cooked perfectly, and doesn’t get overdone.

Adding Ritz cracker topping to a casserole

How to Make Chicken and Noodle Casserole

This cheesy chicken and noodle casserole comes together quickly and easily. Assemble it in advance for even faster weeknight dinners!

  1. Boil the noodles in a large pot of salted water. Drain.
  2. Stir or whisk together the chicken, soup, milk, sour cream, seasoning, and some of the cheese in a large bowl.
  3. Add the cooked spaghetti and the frozen peas, then stir to combine.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a greased 2-quart baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the casserole.
  6. Combine the cracker crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl. Add the buttered crumbs over the top.
  7. Bake, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly.
Overhead shot of chicken spaghetti casserole on a white table

What’s good with chicken casserole?

Here are a few easy sides to serve with chicken and noodle casserole:

Hands eating chicken noodle casserole from a blue and white plate

Make Ahead

This is the ultimate prep-ahead meal to get dinner on the table quickly and easily — even on busy nights. Assemble the casserole, wrap tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.

Can you freeze chicken and noodle casserole?

Freeze the chicken spaghetti before baking. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, cover with foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, allow the dish to come to room temperature on the counter for 30 minutes, and then bake according to recipe instructions.

To bake from frozen, cover the dish with foil for the first 30 minutes, and then continue baking for about 30-45 more minutes (uncovered), or until heated through.

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat the casserole in a 350°F oven, covered with aluminum foil, just until warmed through (about 20 minutes). You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for about 30 seconds – 1 minute.

Hands holding a dish of chicken noodle casserole with ritz cracker crumbs on top

Chicken Noodle Casserole Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the spaghetti and use a different shape of pasta. Egg noodles are a great option, but shorter shapes like penne, elbows, and rotini will all work, too. Whole wheat spaghetti is a nice way to add some whole grains to the dish.
  • Use different veggies in lieu of the peas (or omit the veggies altogether). Try frozen mixed vegetables, corn, canned or frozen green beans, drained canned diced tomatoes, steamed or parboiled broccoli florets, or drained diced pimentos.
  • Instead of the Ritz cracker crumb topping, try a different crunchy topping — such as buttered Corn Flakes crumbs, buttered panko breadcrumbs, or crushed potato chips.
  • Try different types of cheese instead of the Colby Jack. Other good options include sharp cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby, Mozzarella, or Gruyere.
  • Swap out the cream of chicken soup and use a different flavor of condensed soup, such as cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup.
  • Jazz up the dish and make it spicy by adding a dash of cayenne pepper to the creamy sauce, or garnish individual servings with crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Season the casserole with fresh herbs or dried herbs, such as parsley, thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano, or chives.
Overhead shot of a blue and white plate full of chicken spaghetti on a white table

Tips for the Best Ever Chicken Noodle Casserole

  • Don’t overcook the pasta. Boil the spaghetti just until it’s al dente (or 1 minutes less), so that it still has a firm bite. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven, and you don’t want to end up with mushy spaghetti in your casserole.
  • Use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut. If you prefer to cook your own chicken at home, boil about 1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken and use in the recipe.
  • Bake the casserole just until it’s heated through. All of the ingredients are already cooked, so you just want to warm it in the oven. Don’t bake it for too long or it will dry out and the noodles will get mushy. You know a casserole is done when the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is toasted and golden brown.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired, just before serving.
  • To serve a larger group, double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a deep 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.
Overhead shot of a vintage pan with chicken and noodle casserole

More Chicken and Noodle Casserole Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of a pan of chicken and noodle casserole

Chicken and Noodle Casserole

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 560 kcal
Easy, cozy, comfort food at its finest! This chicken and noodle casserole is creamy, cheesy, and finished with a buttery cracker topping.

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 2 cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups grated Colby Jack cheese, divided
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed Ritz crackers
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter or cooking spray; set aside.
  • Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water for 1 minute less than the package directions for al dente. Drain.
  • In a large bowl, combine chicken, condensed soup, milk, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the cheese. Add the cooked spaghetti and frozen peas to the chicken mixture; stir to combine.
  • Transfer the chicken and noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of grated cheese over top.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs and the melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly.

Notes

  • Don’t overcook the pasta. Boil the spaghetti just until it’s al dente (or 1 minutes less), so that it still has a firm bite. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven, and you don’t want to end up with mushy spaghetti in your casserole.
  • Use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut. If you prefer to cook your own chicken at home, boil about 1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken and use in the recipe.
  • Bake the casserole just until it’s heated through. All of the ingredients are already cooked, so you just want to warm it in the oven until bubbly. Don’t bake it for too long or it will dry out and the noodles will get mushy. You know a casserole is done when the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is toasted and golden brown.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired, just before serving.
  • To serve a larger group, double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a deep 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the casseroleCalories: 560kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 34gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 732mgPotassium: 622mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1009IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 397mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: chicken and noodle casserole, chicken and noodles casserole, Chicken Noodle Casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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