This Creamy Chicken Casserole is sure to become a family standby. You’ll love the tender chunks of white meat chicken and nutritious, wilted spinach in a creamy cheddar sauce, sprinkled with buttery cracker crumbs!
An Easy Chicken Casserole Recipe
“When in doubt, make a casserole.” That’s my motto. Actually, it’s more like, “make a casserole whenever you want.” Because seriously, when is it not a good time for a creamy, cheesy, baked-to-perfection dinner?
Casseroles are just pure comfort food, and this one is especially perfect in my book. All of the ingredients are super easy to work with, from the chicken breasts to the frozen spinach to the crushed Ritz crackers. It all works together beautifully to make a main course that the whole family will love, guaranteed.
Serve this beauty with your favorite sides, and you’ll see: everyone will visibly relax! That’s the power of a casserole, my friends.
What You’ll Need
Even if you don’t love casseroles like I love casseroles, this one will make your mouth happy! The creamy mixture of cheese, sour cream and mayo creates a thick and hearty texture similar to many popular Amish-style recipes. Comfort food all the way!
- Olive Oil: You’ll need 2 tablespoons of olive oil, for sauteing the chicken and spinach.
- Chicken: For this recipe, I used 5 cups of diced boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Italian Seasoning: To season the chicken, use one teaspoon of Italian Seasoning (or any other dried herbs that you have on hand or want to use).
- Salt & Pepper
- Spinach: You can use fresh spinach, but I find it simplest to use a 10-ounce bag of frozen chopped spinach.
- Sour Cream & Mayonnaise: I use one cup of each.
- Cheddar Cheese: You can shred your own or buy it pre-shredded. In any case, use 1 cup.
- Paprika, Garlic Powder & Onion Powder: You’ll need ¼ teaspoon of each, to season the casserole.
- Ritz Crackers: Crush up one sleeve of Ritz crackers, or any buttery cracker.
- Melted Butter: Drizzling the crackers with melted butter creates a crispy, crunchy topping.
- Chopped Fresh Parsley: For garnish.
How to Make Creamy Chicken Casserole
I love how easy it is to prepare this simple casserole! All you have to do is cook the chicken and spinach lightly in a skillet, and then everything goes into a baking dish for about half an hour. It’s my kind of meal, perfect for a busy weeknight.
- Prep Oven & Baking Dish: To begin, preheat your oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook Chicken & Spinach: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the hot oil. Season and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the frozen spinach and cook for about five minutes more, or until the spinach has thawed completely and the chicken is fully cooked. (Note: If you use fresh spinach, it will cook faster than frozen spinach, so add it about two minutes before the chicken is done.)
- Combine Casserole Ingredients: Transfer the cooked chicken and spinach to your prepared baking dish. Top with sour cream, mayonnaise, and cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir to combine.
- Top with Cracker Topping: Crush your Ritz crackers and place them in a small bowl. Drizzle the melted butter over the crushed crackers and stir well. Smooth the top of the casserole with a spatula or spoon, and sprinkle the buttered cracker crumbs over the top.
- Bake: Bake the casserole, uncovered, for 30-ish minutes, or until it is hot and bubbly at the sides. Remove it from the oven and let it stand for at least 10 minutes before garnishing with parsley and serving.
Tips for Success
To help you make this casserole the tastiest it can be, I’ve gathered a few easy tips. Read on to avoid these common casserole pitfalls!
- Don’t Eyeball It: Oftentimes, people approach casserole and soup in the same way, and it’s usually a bad move: we think that the recipe is super flexible and we can wing it. My advice? Keep those measuring cups and spoons handy, and measure the ingredients. Otherwise, the casserole may come out strangely due to not enough cheese, too much mayo, or the wrong amount of seasoning.
- Don’t Dry Out the Chicken: You want to cook the chicken until it’s just done, but not overcooked. Remember, it has to bake after you cook it in the skillet, so don’t overdo it.
- Substitutions: Out of cheddar? This recipe will work well with colby, colby-jack, longhorn, brick, or Tillamook. You can also substitute boneless, skinless thighs for the chicken breast, if desired.
This casserole is practically a meal in itself, but I like to add a couple of well-loved side dishes to round out the menu. Here are a few favorites!
- Roasted Veggies: I particularly like this recipe for Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables with my cheesy chicken casserole!
- Garlic Bread: My family always gets excited when garlic bread makes it to the table! Want to take up a notch? Make this easy Bruschetta! It’s like the luxury edition of garlic bread!
- Green Beans: Even picky eaters will go for green beans, especially when they’re Sauteed Garlic Butter Green Beans. Mmm!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- To store your leftovers, cover the baking dish well with plastic wrap, or transfer the leftovers to an airtight container. Refrigerate up to 3 days.
- Reheat in a 350˚F oven until hot all the way through.
Can I Freeze my Creamy Chicken Casserole?
- I don’t recommend freezing casseroles that contain mayonnaise and sour cream, because those ingredients can split during the freezing and thawing processes. The result will be a grainy, lumpy texture.
- However, if you do choose to freeze, wrap the leftovers well and use within two months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Creamy Chicken Casserole
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cups boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, or any other dried herbs that you have on hand or want to use
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 10 oz bag frozen cut up spinach
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 sleeve ritz crackers, crushed
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet set over medium high heat.
- Add cut up chicken to the hot oil; season with basil, salt, and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add frozen spinach to the skillet and cook until spinach is thawed and chicken is cooked through; about 5 more minutes. NOTE: IF using thawed/fresh spinach, add it to the skillet only 2 minutes before the chicken is cooked through.
- Transfer chicken and spinach mixture to previously prepared baking dish.
- To the chicken, add sour cream, mayonnaise, and shredded cheddar.
- Season with paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder; mix and stir until thoroughly combined. If it looks dry, add just a bit more sour cream or mayo.
- Smooth out the top. Set aside.
- Crush the ritz crackers and put them in a bowl; drizzle melted butter over the crushed crackers and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle the crackers over the chicken mixture.
- Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until casserole is hot and bubbly on the sides.
- Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley.
More Chicken Dinner Ideas
Easy chicken dinners are the jam, and I have tons more recipes to share! Here are some I know you’ll love: