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Classic comfort food! This creamy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole with almonds and buttery Ritz crackers is an easy dinner recipe with just 10 minutes of prep. Serve the old-fashioned dish with a side of rice, noodles, biscuits, salad, or broccoli. It’s a weeknight wonder!

Overhead shot of an easy poppy seed chicken casserole with almonds on a wooden table

This recipe comes from my Aunt Barbara, who originally delivered the meal to our family in a covered dish after Casey was born (more than 10 years ago!). Since Barbara’s Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole includes wild rice (which the kids don’t always love), I’ve tweaked it a bit to suit our family’s preferences. By eliminating the rice, you get a versatile dish that pairs well with any of your kids’ favorite sides. From biscuits to cornbread, pasta to rice, the options are endless! Add a salad or other green veggies and your easy weeknight dinner is complete.

Creamy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

This chicken and poppy seed casserole is a simple combination of chicken, sour cream, Campbell’s cream of chicken soup, slivered almonds, and a Ritz cracker crumb topping. It hits all of the texture highlights with creamy, crunchy, and buttery flavors in every bite! Best of all, you can prepare the meal in advance and keep it refrigerated or frozen until ready to enjoy. It’s a great option to deliver to new moms, to sick families in need, or to just stash in your freezer for a hectic day.

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need for the very best poppy seed 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 soup: the flavor base for the casserole filling.
  • Poppy seeds: the casserole’s namesake — stir them right into the filling!
  • 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.
  • Slivered almonds: give the casserole filling a nice crunch and a nutty flavor.
  • Ritz crackers and melted butter: for that salty, buttery, crunchy topping that’s a must-have on any Southern casserole.

How to Cook the Chicken for a 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 cups shredded. I find that 2 ½ lbs. of chicken breasts yields about 5 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.
  • Canned Chicken: Yep, even canned chicken from the pantry will work in this recipe.
Side shot of a dish of poppy seed chicken casserole on a dinner table.

How to Make Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole with Ritz Crackers

It doesn’t get much easier than this quick weeknight casserole. With help from a handful of shortcuts like cream of chicken soup and a store-bought rotisserie chicken, the meal is ready for the oven in just 10 minutes!

  1. Whisk together the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and poppy seeds.
  2. Stir in the chicken and slivered almonds.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  4. Stir together crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter.
  5. Add the buttered Ritz crackers to the top of the casserole.
  6. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbly.
Sour cream and condensed cream of chicken soups in a bowl
Creamy poppy seed chicken casserole filling in a dish
Crushed Ritz crackers in a bowl with melted butter
Process shot of poppy seed chicken casserole with ritz crackers on top

What to Serve with Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

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:

Hands holding a dish of poppy seed chicken casserole recipe

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 chickencream 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 vegetables to the dish. Steamed broccoli, frozen mixed vegetables, canned or frozen corn, frozen peas, or sautéed mushrooms would all be great additions!
  • Add a layer of cooked rice to the bottom of the dish before adding the chicken filling. My aunt always uses wild rice, but brown rice or white rice would work well, too.
  • Add cheese. Stir some grated cheddar cheese into the filling, and sprinkle a layer of grated cheese on top before adding the Ritz crackers.
  • 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).
Side shot of a spoon in a dish of chicken casserole with ritz crackers on top.

Tips for the Best Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole Recipe

  • 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.
  • 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 poppy seed chicken casserole recipe in a blue dish.

More Easy Chicken Casserole Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of an easy poppy seed chicken casserole with almonds on a wooden table

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings 6 – 8 people
Calories 571 kcal
Classic comfort food! This creamy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole with almonds and buttery Ritz crackers is an easy dinner with just 10 minutes of prep.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup, NOT diluted
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 5 cups cooked, shredded chicken (about the amount of meat from 1 large rotisserie chicken or 2 smaller chickens)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 sleeves Ritz crackers, coarsely crushed (about 60 crackers total)
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) butter, melted
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, whisk together sour cream, chicken soup and poppy seeds. Stir in chicken and slivered almonds.
  • Transfer the chicken mixture to a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  • 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.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Notes

  • Use any flavor combination of condensed soups that you prefer: cream of chickencream 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 vegetables to the dish. Steamed broccoli, frozen mixed vegetables, canned or frozen corn, frozen peas, or sautéed mushrooms would all be great additions!
  • Add a layer of cooked rice to the bottom of the dish before adding the chicken filling. My aunt always uses wild rice, but brown rice or white rice would work well, too.
  • Add cheese. Stir some grated cheddar cheese into the filling, and sprinkle a layer of grated cheese on top before adding the Ritz crackers.
  • 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.
  • 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 recipeCalories: 571kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 33gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 959mgPotassium: 386mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 858IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 123mgIron: 3mg
Keyword: poppy seed 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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