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Poppy Seed Chicken is a classic southern casserole dish made with layers of tender chicken, creamy sauce, buttery crackers and poppy seeds. It’s simple to whip up and a dish the whole family will love!

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Overhead view of a white plate holding poppy seed chicken and steamed peas on a wooden cutting board.

Recently, I met the sweetest couple from Nashville while on a cruise with my hubby. We sat next to them each night at dinner and always had fun conversations about everything from farming, supply chain, kids, and (of course) food! On the last night of the trip, Cindy brought me two handwritten recipes – one of them being this delicious Poppy Seed Chicken recipe. (How sweet is that?!)

As soon as I tried her recipe, I couldn’t wait to share it! Poppy seed chicken is a popular southern comfort food typically served as a main dish alone or over mashed potatoes, noodles or rice.

What I Love about Poppy Seed Chicken

  • First off, it’s easy to make with low prep time, especially if you have leftover chicken to use up. It’s quickly becoming a staple for us on busy weeknights.
  • It’s a recipe that has so many variations and easy substitutes (see ingredient list below).
  • It can be made ahead of time for those busy nights you don’t have much time for the kitchen.
  • This recipe is a great freezer meal (see how in recipe notes below).
Ingredients needed to make poppy seed chicken - saltines (or Ritz crackers), sour cream, butter, cream of chicken soup, chicken and poppy seeds.

Ingredients Needed (Amounts in the recipe card below)

  • Chicken – You can use leftover grilled and diced chicken, shredded chicken, rotisserie chicken or simply bake/broil three large chicken breasts.
  • Cream of Chicken Soup – You can swap this out for cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup, if needed.
  • Sour Cream
  • Saltine Crackers – Buttery Ritz crackers will work, too.
  • Butter – I use salted butter, but you can opt for unsalted butter.
  • Poppy Seeds – Though the poppy seeds make this casserole so distinct and beautiful, they’re not entirely necessary and can be omitted.

How to make Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole

Prepare the Chicken. If you’ve got leftover chicken already cooked and diced or shredded, you’re ready to go! If you’re starting off with raw chicken, here’s what I recommend: Boil the chicken breasts in water for about 20 minutes, let cool for a few minutes, then dice or shred and place into the casserole dish.

Shredded chicken in a large casserole dish.

Make the Creamy Sauce. All you’ve gotta do is stir together the sour cream and cream of chicken soup. Then spread it over the chicken.

Cream of chicken soup and sour cream spread over a chicken casserole.

Make the Topping. Ahhh the buttery crushed crackers are the best part! Place the crackers in a resealable baggie and use a rolling pin to crush them up OR pulverize in a food processor. Add the melted butter and mix until well-combined. Sprinkle the cracker mixture over the casserole.

Crushed crackers in a baggie mixed with melted butter.

Sprinkle with poppy seeds, bake and enjoy!

Buttery ritz cracker topping on a chicken casserole.
What Should I Serve with Poppy Seed Chicken?

I like to serve this creamy chicken casserole with a green salad or a side of vegetables such as carrots or steamed sugar snap peas.

How to Store Leftovers

Let cool then cover with plastic wrap (or store in an airtight container) and refrigerate for up to 5 days. It’s better on the first day or two as the crackers will begin to soak up the moisture and lose their crispiness!

Poppy seed chicken on a white plate with a bowl of sugar snap peas in the background.


  • Make it cheesy! Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese on the casserole before you add the cracker topping.
  • Add veggies! Sprinkle a green vegetable over the chicken, if desired. Frozen peas, green beans or broccoli are all great options.
  • Boost the flavor! To the chicken soup and sour cream mixture, add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • Make it an extra creamy casserole! Use 2 cans of cream of chicken soup instead of just one.
  • Add rice! Make it a full meal-in-one by spreading 2-3 cups of rice on the bottom of the casserole dish. If you do so, I’d recommend doubling the chicken soup and sour cream mixture.
  • Lighten it up a bit! Use light sour cream, low-sodium chicken soup and decrease the topping amounts to 1 sleeve of crackers and 1/2 cup of butter.
A forkful of poppy seed chicken.

Other Delicious Weeknight Casserole Dishes

Skillet Lasagna

Walking Taco Casserole

Chicken Macaroni Casserole

No Peek Chicken & Rice

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Poppy Seed Chicken on a white plate with steamed sugar snap peas on the side.

Poppy Seed Chicken

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
5 servings
Poppy seed chicken is a classic southern casserole dish made with layers of tender chicken, creamy sauce, buttery crackers and poppy seeds. It's simple to whip up and a dish the whole family will love!


  • 4 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • One 8 ounce tub sour cream
  • 1 1/2 sleeves saltine crackers crushed
  • 3/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  • Preheat oven to 350℉ and grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Spread the cooked and shredded chicken in the bottom of the casserole dish.
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together the condensed soup and sour cream. Spread over the chicken.
  • Combine the crushed saltines and the melted butter until well-combined and spread over the soup and sour cream layer.
  • Sprinkle with poppy seeds and bake for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the edges are bubbly.


How to Freeze
If you want to deliver a freezer meal to a friend or have some stored up in your freezer for busy nights, this poppyseed chicken casserole is a great option. Make the recipe in a foil pan and cover tightly with foil (I like to use two layers to give it extra seal!). Freeze for up to 3 months.
When ready to enjoy, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Bake as directed, but adding 10-15 minutes onto the cooking time.


Calories: 724kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 174mg | Sodium: 834mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 2.4g | Vitamin A: 1227IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 3.6mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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