This chicken casserole is inspired by a rich and creamy version of chicken noodle soup, filled with juicy chicken, tender noodles, and diced veggies.
Chicken Casserole, an Inspired and Cozy Casserole
One of my favorite things about cooking, and about food in general, is that there are so many ways to become inspired by a recipe and then put a new spin on it, and perhaps even prepare it in a new way.
It’s fun to take a cozy meal like hearty and creamy chicken noodle soup and to think outside the box with it a little bit, and turn it into a chicken casserole, just as I was inspired to do here with this recipe.
My chicken casserole recipe is perfectly rich and creamy, filled with chunks of juicy chicken, tender noodles, and diced veggies—there’s even a saltine cracker crust to emulate the saltine crackers that are so often served alongside the soup!
This casserole is delicious, home-style comfort food filled with lots of flavor, lots of love, and lots of coziness—the perfect meal to prepare when you’re hungry for an all-in-one chicken recipe!
How to Make Chicken Casserole
Because a dry chicken casserole is definitely not good eats, I made sure to give this recipe some extra TLC by way of a simple little sauce component. It’s a bit like a chicken gravy in texture and flavor, and it gets quickly simmered up and combined into the casserole with the other ingredients to ensure everything is extra saucy and creamy. Now that’s good eats! 😉
This recipe is also a great opportunity to use a good quality (preferably organic) rotisserie chicken. I love those, and can’t sing their praises enough for use in recipes such as this. Of course, you could certainly cook up your own chicken—but I personally like to use the rotisserie for this and simply shred or cube it before adding it in.
Finally, a handful of colorful veggies are also added in—some diced carrots, peas, and celery—along with those twisty noodles.
Here’s a quick overview of my chicken casserole recipe:
- To begin, I prep my creamy sauce.
- Next, I quickly prepare my buttery saltine cracker crust, then blanch my diced carrots, and prep the celery and peas.
- I add all of my main casserole ingredients to a large bowl, add in the creamy sauce, combining it all together.
- then, I turn the mixture out into my prepared baking dish, top with the buttery saltine cracker crust, and bake until hot and bubbly!
(The full recipe is below…)
This chicken casserole is a true “down home” and fun kind of meal, sure to make everyone’s belly happily full!
Tips & Tidbits for Chicken Casserole:
- Prep ahead for easy chicken casserole: You can prep the components/ingredients a day or two ahead of when you plan to serve this casserole for added convenience. Have your chicken cubed or shredded, your sauce prepped, your crust mixed, and your veggies diced and on hand, along with your cooked pasta. Then, simply combine everything the day of, and bake as directed.
- An ideal job for rotisserie chicken: If you wanted to cook your own chicken for this recipe, you could quickly sear up about a pound of chicken breast tenderloins. But for ease, you could use a good quality rotisserie chicken and simply shred or cube the meat, reserving any leftovers for another recipe.
- Veg out: Because this chicken casserole is meant to be a fun spin on creamy chicken noodle soup, I use the veggies you’d find in that: finely diced carrots, diced celery, and peas. You could also add corn kernels, or any other finely diced veggie you’d like!
- Non-dairy alternatives: If you’d like to go the non-dairy route, simply sub a nut, soy, or other non-dairy milk (make sure it’s unflavored and unsweetened!), along with a butter substitute such as Earth Balance spread.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 505 calories
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Chicken Casserole Ingredients:
• 1 cup saltine cracker crumbs (about 35 crackers processed in food processor)
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
• 3 carrots, peeled and finely diced
• 1 rib celery, finely diced
• 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
• 12 ounces corkscrew pasta, cooked according to package instructions
• 2 (heaping) cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed (rotisseries is great for this)
• 6 cups chicken stock/broth
• 1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 teaspoon, heaping, Italian seasoning
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 3 ounces unsalted butter (6 tablespoons)
• 3 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
-Preheat the oven to 400°, and lightly mist a medium-large casserole/baking dish.
-Begin by preparing the sauce: add the stock/broth to medium sauce pan or small pot, and to it add the garlic, the Italian seasoning, and the black and white peppers, and whisk to combine; heat the stock until hot.
-While the stock heats, add the butter to another large pot set over medium-low heat, and allow the butter to melt; once melted, sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine to form a paste or “roux”, and allow this roux to cook for about 30-45 seconds, just to cook out the raw taste of the flour.
-Next, pour the hot stock/broth mixture into the butter/flour roux, whisking all the while to avoid lumps, and simmer the sauce gently for about 5-10 minutes until thickened and creamy; stir in the parsley to finish.
-To prepare and assemble the chicken casserole: make the buttery saltine cracker crust by combining the cracker crumbs with the chopped parsley and the melted butter, mixing together with a fork or your fingers until well incorporated; set aside for a moment.
-Next, blanch the diced carrots in salted, boiling water for about 5 minutes, just until they’re crisp-tender; drain, and set aside along with the diced celery and thawed peas.
-To assemble the casserole, add the cooked pasta to a large bowl, along with the cooked chicken and the veggies; then, pour over the warm creamy sauce, and using a large spoon, toss everything together to combine and to coat in the sauce.
-Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole/baking dish, and sprinkle the buttery saltine cracker crust evenly over the top; bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
Cook’s Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!