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This easy Chicken Casserole with Ritz Crackers is a cozy, family-friendly dinner with just 10 minutes of prep! You’ll love the creamy filling that’s topped with sharp cheddar cheese and buttery, crunchy crackers. Serve the comfort food supper with a side of pasta, rice, broccoli or biscuits for a quick weeknight meal.

Overhead shot of a wooden spoon in a dish of creamy chicken casserole with ritz crackers

Creamy Chicken Casserole

While we love a made-from-scratch chicken casserole, there are many busy nights when we just need quicker, easier solutions. That’s where this dish comes in! Thanks to help from a handful of store-bought shortcuts like condensed cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, and rotisserie chicken, the casserole comes together in about 10 minutes.

The Origin

This creamy chicken casserole comes from the Blue Willow Inn Restaurant, a cozy little establishment in Georgia, voted one of the best small-town restaurants in the South by Southern Living magazine. I originally found the recipe for “Blue Willow Chicken Casserole” in the Inn’s cookbook, and have since adapted it slightly to suit our tastes.

While most chicken casserole recipes include fillers like rice, noodles, or broccoli to bulk up the dish, I was initially intrigued by this slightly different version. The casserole filling is rich and creamy (thanks to sour cream and condensed soups), but only contains chicken — no other vegetables or starches.

I like to think of it as a blank slate, because it gives you a great foundation that’s delicious on its own, but that can also be easily tailored to suit your family’s preferences. Serve the creamy chicken filling over rice, pasta, biscuits, or toast. Add veggies like broccoli, peas or green beans to the pan, or serve them separately on the side. It’s the perfect solution for picky little eaters!

Overhead shot of creamy chicken casserole with ritz crackers on a plate

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need for a cheesy chicken casserole. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Sour cream: helps to create a thick, rich, creamy, and slightly tangy sauce for the casserole filling.
  • Condensed cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups: the flavor base for the casserole filling.
  • Chicken broth: to thin the filling slightly and add a little bit more flavor.
  • Chicken: you’ll need cooked, shredded chicken, so pick up a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, or cook your own chicken at home.
  • Cheddar cheese: a sharp variety that’s grated by hand is our favorite.
  • Ritz crackers and melted butter: for that salty, buttery, crunchy topping that’s a must-have on any Southern casserole.

How to Cook Chicken for Casserole Recipe

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 2 ½ – 3 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken. You’ll need a total of about 5-6 cups shredded. I find that 3 lbs. of chicken breasts yields about 6 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 (or two) from the grocery store, shred the meat, and use in the recipe as instructed. One very large rotisserie chicken should yield about 5 cups of meat. If your store sells smaller chickens, you will likely need two chickens to equal about 5-6 cups shredded.
  • Leftover Chicken: If you have leftover grilled or baked chicken from a previous meal, put those extras to good use in this casserole.
Shredded rotisserie chicken in a glass measuring cup

How to Make Chicken Casserole with Ritz Crackers

Any good Southern casserole needs a buttery, crunchy, Ritz cracker topping, and this recipe certainly delivers! Toss it together at the last minute for a quick weeknight meal, or prep it ahead for your busiest days. This easy, creamy chicken casserole is comfort food at its best!

  1. Whisk together cream sauce.
  2. Add chicken and stir to combine.
  3. Transfer chicken mixture to a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  5. Combine crushed Ritz crackers with melted butter; add to the top of the casserole.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbly, the cheese is melted, and the cracker topping is browned.
  7. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve!
Whisking together sour cream and condensed soups in a metal bowl
Chicken filling for casserole in a metal mixing bowl
Process shot showing how to make chicken casserole
Cheddar on top of creamy chicken casserole
Crushed buttered ritz crackers in a white bowl
Diced chicken casserole with ritz crackers in a white baking dish

What to Serve with Chicken Casserole with Ritz Crackers

This classic, old-fashioned chicken casserole goes well with almost any of your favorite starches and vegetables. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Front shot of cheesy chicken casserole in a white dish with a wooden spoon

Preparation and Storage

  • This is a great make-ahead dinner. You can assemble the casserole up to 24 hours in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes.
  • You can freeze the casserole before baking. Wrapped tightly, the assembled casserole will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • Leftover chicken casserole will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • To reheat the casserole: If reheating an entire casserole, cover the dish loosely with foil and bake in a 350° F oven until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • Use any flavor combination of condensed soups that you prefer: cream of chicken, cream of mushroom or cream of celery are all nice options.
  • For lighter options with less sodium, feel free to substitute with the Healthy Request or 98% fat-free varieties of condensed soups.
  • Try adding other vegetables to the dish. Steamed broccoli, frozen mixed vegetables, canned or frozen corn, frozen peas, or sautéed mushrooms would all be great additions!
  • Replace some of the chicken in the filling with cooked rice or cooked pasta.
  • Swap out the cheddar cheese for a different type of cheese. Any good melting variety will work, such as Monterey Jack, Colby, Pepper Jack, mozzarella or Gruyere.
  • Stir some herbs or other seasonings into the sauce. Try dried or fresh parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, chives or garlic.
  • Don’t have Ritz crackers? Substitute with crushed potato chips, crushed Corn Flakes cereal mixed with melted butter, or other buttery crackers (like Keebler Club crackers).
Overhead shot of a plate of creamy chicken casserole

Tips for the Best Chicken Casserole with Ritz Crackers

  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish. The rest of the cooking instructions remain the same.
  • Alternatively, you can divide the casserole ingredients between two 8-inch square baking dishes. Bake one now, and freeze the other for a later meal.
  • Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken (or two) for an easy, quick-prep solution. The rotisserie chicken also adds a lot of flavor to the dish.
  • Use full-fat sour cream for the best flavor and texture.
  • 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 may dry out or get burned on top.
Overhead shot of a wooden serving spoon in a chicken casserole

More of the Best Chicken Casseroles Ever

Overhead shot of a wooden spoon in a dish of creamy chicken casserole with ritz crackers

Chicken Casserole with Ritz Crackers

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 569 kcal
This easy Chicken Casserole with Ritz Crackers is a cozy, family-friendly dinner with just 10 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, whisk together sour cream, chicken soup, mushroom soup and chicken broth. Add the chicken and stir to combine.
  • Transfer the chicken mixture to a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle cheese over top.
  • In a small bowl, combine the Ritz crackers and the melted butter.
  • Add the buttered cracker crumbs to the top of the casserole.
  • Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbly, the cheese is melted, and the cracker topping is browned.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Notes

  • Use any flavor combination of condensed soups that you prefer: cream of chicken, cream of mushroom or cream of celery are all nice options.
  • For lighter options with less sodium, feel free to substitute with the Healthy Request or 98% fat-free varieties of condensed soups.
  • Try adding other vegetables to the dish. Steamed broccoli, frozen mixed vegetables, canned or frozen corn, frozen peas, or sautéed mushrooms would all be great additions!
  • Replace some of the chicken in the filling with cooked rice or cooked pasta.
  • Swap out the cheddar cheese for a different type of cheese. Any good melting variety will work, such as Monterey Jack, Colby, Pepper Jack, mozzarella or Gruyere.
  • Stir some herbs or other seasonings into the sauce. Try dried or fresh parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, chives or garlic.
  • Don’t have Ritz crackers? Substitute with crushed potato chips, crushed Corn Flakes cereal mixed with melted butter, or other buttery crackers (like Keebler Club crackers).
  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish. The rest of the cooking instructions remain the same.
  • Alternatively, you can divide the casserole ingredients between two 8-inch square baking dishes. Bake one now, and freeze the other for a later meal.
  • Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken (or two) for an easy, quick-prep solution. The rotisserie chicken also adds a lot of flavor to the dish.
  • Use full-fat sour cream for the best flavor and texture.
  • 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 may dry out or get burned on top.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casseroleCalories: 569kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 36gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 153mgSodium: 952mgPotassium: 553mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 994IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 189mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: chicken casserole, chicken casserole with ritz crackers, creamy chicken casserole, easy chicken 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!

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Comments

  1. If making this casserole ahead of time, would I put the cracker topping on when I prep it or would I add that later right before I go to bake it? Just wasn’t sure if the crackers would get soggy or not. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    1. I think it’s fine to add the crackers ahead of time if that’s most convenient. They will “crisp” back up in the oven as it bakes. If you want to be extra sure that they stay crisp and perfect, though, it can’t hurt to just wait and add them at the last minute. I know that’s not necessarily the most helpful, clear answer, but the truth is that I think either way works. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!