Chicken on the Ritz Casserole
Fewer than ten simple ingredients come together in a velvety, creamy sauce that elevates this DELICIOUS chicken ritz casserole, spot on for busy nights.
If you have a tender chicken rotisserie on hand, you’re halfway done with this easy recipe! Otherwise, bake 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts or thighs until golden brown, cool completely and shred to about four cups.
For the ultimate creamy chicken casserole recipe the whole family will love, reach for rotisserie chicken, cream cheese, and a sleeve of buttery Ritz crackers.
Fewer than ten simple ingredients come together as if destined for one another in the velvety, creamy sauce that bolsters this hands down DELICIOUS casserole, spot on for busy weeknights.
This easy chicken casserole recipe is certainly customizable if you wanted to be creative and add to it. Broccoli florets or fresh green beans, cooked pasta or egg noodles, or even rice for a Ritz chicken casserole with rice. Really, the possibilities to this becoming a family favorite are limited only by your imagination.
Select a pretty 2 1/2-quart (9 by 9-inch) or 3-quart (12 by 9-inch) casserole dish in which to assemble and bake. Aside from the baking dish, all that is additionally required is the use of your food processor or a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer. Easy cleanup!
Ritz Cracker Chicken Casserole Ingredients
- cooked and shredded chicken, light or dark meat or a mixture of both
- cottage cheese
- cream cheese
- sour cream
- canned cream of chicken soup or canned cream of mushroom soup (may be lower sodium)
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- sweet yellow curry powder
- unsalted butter
- Ritz crackers
- long grain rice
- pasta noodles
- cooked crumbled bacon
- broccoli florets
- diced water chestnuts
- shredded cheddar cheese
- french-fried onions
- chopped green onions
- minced fresh parsley or thyme leaves
How to Make This Easy Chicken Casserole Recipe
Before you get started, preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter or spray lightly with cooking spray the casserole dish you will use. Set aside.
Prepare Some Chicken
Begin by readying the main ingredient, a few cups chicken. This can be leftover chicken from a previous nights meal, drained canned chicken, meat from a large rotisserie chicken, or breasts and thighs you will cook specifically for use in chicken casserole recipes like this one.
You will want the chicken not only shredded, but also in bite-sized pieces. Personally, I like to use a mix of both light and dark meat in this casserole, but feel like you can use either exclusively.
Combine the Supporting Ingredients
In the barrel of a food processor or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, whip the cottage cheese to a smooth consistency, about 1 minute. It’s okay if a few curds remain, but I do this because I find many folks do not enjoy the texture of cottage cheese, hence whipping it.
To the cottage cheese, add in room temperature cream cheese, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, onion and garlic powder, and a scant amount of curry powder. Pulse or beat until well combined, 30 to 45 seconds.
Add the prepared cooked chicken to the soup mixture. If you used a food processor, it may be more helpful to transfer the soup mixture to a large bowl to do this. Stir well to combine everything.
Pro Tip: to incorporate great options such as broccoli florets or green beans (for the picky eater at your dinner table!), pasta, or rice into the chicken mixture, do so by first par-cooking or par-boiling.
- For 1/2-cup broccoli or fresh trimmed green beans, boiling or steaming for 1 to 2 minutes is sufficient.
- In terms of grains of rice (1/2-cup), or tender noodles (1-cup), cook according to package directions but LESS 2 minutes. Added to the mixture and allowed to complete their cooking cycles in the casserole will ensure nothing comes out mushy.
- Drained and diced water chestnuts (a small can) and/or cooked crumbled bacon (3 strips) should be added as they are.
Assemble the Casserole
Melt a good amount of unsalted butter and allow it to cool. I specify unsalted butter because the canned soup, even if using lower sodium, and the crackers will have enough salt to sufficiently flavor the finished dish.
Crush a full sleeve of Ritz or other buttery crackers with a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet to where you’ve still got some large pieces. Stir the cracker crumbs together with the melted butter to coat.
Scrape the chicken mixture into the prepared casserole dish and scatter the buttery Ritz cracker topping over the top of the chicken. Place into the preheated oven and bake uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden.
Pro Tip: If you plan to add a layer of shredded cheddar cheese, do so before you top with the buttered cracker mixture, about 1/3 to 1/2-cup.
If french-fried onions appeal to you, mix 1/4 to 1/2-cup right into the buttered cracker mixture before topping the casserole.
Modifying the Norm to Make It Not Entirely Average
- Use leftover Thanksgiving or Christmas roasted turkey in place of the chicken as an excellent way of using up those holiday leftovers!
- Add cooked, diced ham and a jar of drained and chopped olives with pimentos to this dish for a whole other flavor level altogether.
- Don’t just melt butter, but brown butter to give the top of the casserole crispy topping a nutty flavor and aroma.
Chicken on the Ritz Casserole
- 2 1/2-quart (9 by 9-inch) or 3-quart (12 by 9-inch) casserole dish
- food processor or mixing bowl
- 4 cups chicken breast meat or thigh meat or both cooked and shredded or chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup cottage cheese whipped; see process notes in recipe card below
- 4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 (10.75 ounce can) condensed cream of chicken soup may use condensed cream of mushroom soup in equal measure
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet yellow curry powder
- optional Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1 sleeve (32 crackers) Ritz crackers half crushed into fine crumbs, half into larger bits and pieces
optional casserole add-ins
- 1/2 cup long grain rice cooked LESS 2 minutes; slightly cooled and fluffed so it does not clump
- 1 cup pasta noodles such as elbows or egg noodles cooked LESS 2 minutes
- 3 strips bacon cooked, crumbled
- 1/2 cup broccoli florets par-boiled or steamed
- 1 small can water chestnuts diced
optional Ritz topping add-ins
- 1/2 to 1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded from a large block
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup french fried onions
optional for garnish
- 2 tablespoons green onions chopped; green and light green parts only
- 2 teaspoons parsley or thyme fresh; minced
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or spray lightly with cooking spray the casserole dish you will use. Set aside. In a bowl, add the crushed Ritz cracker crumbs and melted butter and mix well to coat the crackers. Set aside.
- In the barrel of a food processor or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, whip the cottage cheese to a smooth consistency, about 1 minute. NOTE: It's okay if a few curds remain, OR if you prefer to skip this step altogether; I do this because I find many dislike the texture of cottage cheese, hence whipping it to smooth.
- To the cottage cheese add the cream cheese, sour cream, cream soup, onion and garlic powder, and curry powder. Pulse or beat until well combined, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the prepared cooked chicken to the soup mixture. If you used a food processor, it may be more helpful to transfer the soup mixture to a large bowl to do this. NOTE: If using any casserole add-ins, incorporate them now. Stir well to combine everything.
- Scrape the chicken mixture into the prepared casserole dish and scatter the buttery Ritz cracker topping over the top of the chicken. NOTE: If using any Ritz topping add-ins, incorporate them now. For a layer of shredded cheese, add it to the top of the chicken BEFORE adding the Ritz topping. Place into the preheated oven and bake uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden.
- Allow the casserole to stand 10 minutes before serving as the contents will be VERY HOT. Garnish with minced fresh parsley, thyme leaves, or chopped green onion if desired. Offer parmesan cheese tableside if desired.