See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This comforting Chicken Casserole has potatoes, vegetables and cheese in a creamy sauce. A crispy breadcrumb topping is the perfect finishing touch.
We’ve been on a casserole kick lately, and I have so many delicious casserole recipes to share with you in the coming months! I recently shared this Hamburger Casserole, which became an instant favorite. I’m excited to add this creamy chicken casserole to our collection of comfort food recipes!
This chicken casserole features chicken, vegetables and cheese tossed together in a creamy sauce. I opted to use potatoes instead of noodles or rice in this recipe, because we just love the comforting combination of chicken and potatoes. (See our Crockpot Chicken and Potatoes for another scrumptious example.) Instead of relying on a can of cream soup, this homemade casserole is made completely from scratch. The cream sauce comes together so easily, and tastes so much better since it’s made from scratch.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Comfort Food: Between the chicken, potatoes, cheese and crispy topping, there’s so much to love about this hearty casserole. Since it’s made with wholesome ingredients, it’s a casserole that you can feel good about eating.
- Homemade: This flavorful casserole is made completely from scratch. While this takes a bit more effort, overall the recipe is straightforward and easy.
- Delicious Leftovers: I love casseroles because they can feed a crowd, or leave us with tasty leftovers for lunch or dinner.
Here’s an overview of the ingredients you’ll need, plus substitution options.
- Potatoes: I like to use Yukon gold potatoes because they have a rich, creamy texture and hold their shape well in the casserole. Gold potatoes are also my favorite for Potato Soup. If you only have russets on hand, they’ll work too.
- Butter & Olive Oil: You’ll sauté the vegetables in butter and olive oil, and these fats also provide the base for the creamy sauce. The butter adds richness while the olive oil lightens things up.
- Onion & Carrots: Chop the carrots up small so that they soften quickly. If you’re short on time, you can substitute 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables for the fresh carrots and frozen peas. Add them when the recipe calls for adding the frozen peas.
- Garlic: You can’t beat the flavor of fresh garlic!
- Flour: To thicken the sauce.
- Chicken Broth & Milk: A combination of low sodium chicken broth and whole milk makes a creamy sauce that’s not too rich or heavy.
- Italian Seasoning, Salt & Pepper: These simple seasonings bring lots of flavor.
- Cooked Chicken: You can use chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast or shredded rotisserie chicken. See below for my tips on how to cook the chicken if you’re not using rotisserie.
- Frozen Peas: An easy way to add a green vegetable. No need to thaw them before using.
- Cheddar Cheese: I recommend sharp cheddar cheese for maximum flavor. It’s best to buy a block of cheddar and shred it yourself. Store bought shredded cheese is often coated with an anti-caking agent that keeps it from melting smoothly.
- Breadcrumb Topping: Instead of the crushed Ritz cracker topping found in some chicken casserole recipes, we’re using a simple mixture of Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, paprika and melted butter. Regular breadcrumbs may be substituted for the Panko, although they won’t be quite as crispy.
Want to use other vegetables? Try mushrooms, bell peppers, celery, cauliflower or spinach.
How to Cook Chicken for a Casserole
I like to use a store-bought rotisserie chicken to make preparing this chicken casserole especially easy. Other options for cooking the chicken include:
- Poached Chicken: This is my favorite way to cook chicken breasts for a casserole. It’s easy and the chicken always turns out moist and tender.
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken: A hands-off option.
- Baked Chicken Breast: You can’t go wrong with simple baked chicken, and you’ll love the seasoning rub.
- Crockpot Chicken Breast or Crockpot Shredded Chicken: Two easy methods for those who love their slow cooker.
- Instant Pot Whole Chicken or Crockpot Whole Chicken: Cook a whole chicken for dinner one night and use the leftovers to make chicken casserole the next day!
How to Make Chicken Casserole
There are a few steps to making this casserole, but each of them is easy. You can get a head start on the prep by chopping the onion and carrots and shredding the cheese ahead of time.
- Microwave the potatoes to start softening them up before adding them to the skillet. They won’t soften enough without a little pre-cooking.
- Sauté the onion, carrots and potatoes in a large skillet, until tender.
- Add the garlic and flour and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the chicken broth, milk and seasonings. Stir and cook until the sauce thickens, 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the cooked chicken, frozen peas and shredded cheddar.
- Transfer the contents of the skillet to a greased baking dish.
- Stir together the topping ingredients and sprinkle the topping over the casserole.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350° F for 25 minutes. Then uncover and bake for 10 more minutes, until the casserole is hot and bubbly and the topping is golden brown.
Wondering what to serve with your chicken casserole? Here are a few ideas:
- Salad: Try this Italian Salad or a simple Green Salad.
- Vegetables: Such as Roasted Green Beans or Steamed Broccoli.
- Bread: Slice up a loaf of crusty bread or make a batch of Garlic Knots.
More Chicken Casserole Recipes
- Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
- Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Chicken Tortilla Casserole
- Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Chicken Florentine Pasta Bake
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, about 2 medium, chopped into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 3 medium carrots, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups low sodium chicken broth, one 14.5 ounce can
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish or large casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place chopped potatoes in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 2 minutes, then stir. Microwave 2 more minutes on high power, until the potatoes are just starting to get tender. Use oven mitts to remove the bowl from the microwave, as it will be very hot.
- Heat the 2 tablespoons butter and the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and potatoes to the pan and cook, stirring often, until tender when pierced with a fork, 8-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
- Then stir in the chicken broth and milk, followed by the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
- Stir in the cooked chicken, frozen peas and shredded cheddar cheese.
- Transfer the casserole mixture to the greased baking dish.
- To make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together the Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and paprika. Add the melted butter and stir until well combined. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the casserole in the baking dish.
- Cover casserole with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Then uncover and bake for 10 minutes more, or until casserole is hot and bubbly and topping is golden brown.