One Pot Healthy Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole: A creamy, easy dinner your whole family will love and you will love how quickly this Chicken Casserole Recipe comes together without sacrificing quality ingredients.
I will never forget the first time I had Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole. A friend brought this southern meal over after I had my daughter and I had never heard of such a dish in my life.
It was pure comfort food–Shredded chicken enveloped in a creamy sauce that was then topped with buttery Ritz crackers. Served up over fluffy white rice–it was a delicious Chicken Casserole I would never forget.
However, when I asked my dear friend for the recipe, I was a bit taken aback by the ingredients: Cream of Chicken soup, sour cream, TWO sticks of butter and Ritz crackers.
As delicious as this all tasted, I wanted to create a “cleaner” version of Poppy Seed Chicken.
Not only did I succeed in making a healthier version, but I made it in one pot and in 3o m’inutes–see you can have from scratch casseroles just as quick as when you use processed ingredients!
One Pot Chicken Poppyseed Casserole
Since I know you all love my Creamy Cheesy Chicken and Rice–I know you will swoon for this One Pot Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole. And who dosen’t love a one pot meal?!!
It is made healthier than the original Chicken Ritz Cracker Casserole by using less butter, homemade cream of chicken soup, Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, organic butter crackers and a mixture of brown rice and quinoa instead of serving with white rice. And I must say, even my husband who has been known to prefer a casserole made with canned soups preferred this from scratch version more.
You start by making a homemade cream of chicken soup. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED. This is really as easy as melting some butter and stirring in some flour and stock. I added poppy seeds as it is traditional in Chicken Poppy Seed, along with some chia seeds for extra nutrition.
Next I stirred in cooked chicken (from leftover Rotisserie Chicken or Roasted Chicken Breasts), plain Greek yogurt (feel free to use sour cream) and a mixture of cooked brown rice and quinoa and heated through.
Then crush up a few butter crackers, drizzle with a bit of melted butter and broiled until the crackers had browned.
And dinner was done!!!
A Few Notes on Poppyseed Chicken Casserole:
- Use any cooked chicken you have and your favorite chicken stock. I prefer using my homemade chicken stock (that I literally make with things that would normally go in the garbage) and roasted chicken breasts. However using leftover Rotisserie Chicken or My 10 Minute Instant Pot Chicken Breasts work as well.
- I have made this with skim and whole milk but have not tried it yet with dairy free milk. Let me know if you give it a try!
- I used a mixture of chia seeds and poppy seeds, but using all of one is perfectly fine too. I love the added health benefits of chia seeds and the nutty taste of poppyseeds. Look for chia seeds and poppy seeds in your bulk foods department–they are about half the price there!!
- I have used both sour cream and plain Greek yogurt in this recipe and both work with very little taste difference. My family actually preferred the Greek yogurt version.
- Use any butter crackers you like–I prefer ones with no hydrogenated oils or preservatives, so I opt for organic crackers like these (but all my local grocery stores carry their own organic version as well–money saving tip right there!)
- Feel free to use white rice, quick cooking brown rice, quinoa or a mixture of any rice/quinoa blend you like, adjusting the cooking time to reflect the amount of time needed to cook your grain of choice.
- Make Poppyseed Chicken GLUTEN FREE by using 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour Mix and Gluten Free Butter Crackers.
One Pot Healthy Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon tumeric (adds color and nutrition--you can omit)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 cups cooked chicken
- 3 cups cooked rice and or quinoa
- 1/2 cup crushed butter crackers
Over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons flour and whisk in flour and garlic. Cook for 1 minute to get rid of raw flour taste.
Whisk in milk, chicken stock, salt, pepper, onion powder, tumeric if using and chia and poppy seeds. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
Add in cooked chicken and cooked rice and stir to combine and heat through.
Turn broiler on high and melt remaining tablespoon of butter.
Top rice mixture with cracker crumbs and melted butter and broil for 3-5 minutes until cracker crumbs are browned.
Feel free to use all chia seeds or all poppy seeds instead of a combination.
You can also use all quinoa or rice instead of a combination.
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