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Easy Chicken Casserole Recipe | Quick & Cozy Dinner

This is my go-to recipe for an easy chicken casserole that is perfect for a quick and cozy dinner. This recipe is sure to become a family favorite with its warm, cheesy, and comforting flavors. It’s also simple to prepare, making it a convenient option for busy weeknights.

Overhead shot of a chicken casserole in a white dish.

Why I Love This Easy Chicken Casserole Recipe

Preparing a delicious and satisfying dinner doesn’t have to be time-consuming. This easy chicken casserole comes together quickly, allowing you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your loved ones.

Since we’re utilizing many of our pantry staples, like home-canned chicken, this recipe is even faster. The warm, cheesy goodness of this casserole makes it a comforting option for any night of the week.

One of the great things about this chicken casserole recipe is its versatility. You can easily customize it to suit your family’s taste preferences. Add your favorite vegetables, swap out the type of cheese, or even add some spices to give it an extra kick.

Not only is this dish quick and easy to make, but it’s also perfect for meal prep just like Hearty Pot Roast Cottage Pie Recipe. You can prepare the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate or double or triple the batch to stock up your freezer meals. This way, you’ll have a delicious dinner ready to go whenever you need it.

What Goes Well With Chicken Casserole?

While an easy chicken casserole is a complete meal on its own, you may want to serve it with some additional side dishes to round out the meal. Here are some great options that pair perfectly with chicken casserole:

  • Fresh Green Salad – We grow greens year-round, and a crisp and refreshing salad helps balance the richness of the casserole. Opt for a mix of vibrant greens, such as spinach or romaine, and toss in some colorful veggies like cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and bell peppers. A homemade vinaigrette dressing can tie it all together.
  • Crusty Bread – Nothing beats the combination of warm chicken casserole and a slice of no-knead artisan bread. Choose one of these no-knead bread dough recipes and serve it alongside the casserole for a delightful contrast of textures.
  • Roasted Vegetables – Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and adds a caramelized flavor that complements the savory chicken casserole. Consider roasting a medley of colorful veggies like carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers seasoned with herbs and olive oil.
Up close shot of a chicken casserole in a white dish.

Variations of Easy Chicken Casserole

While this easy chicken casserole recipe is delicious as is, you can also experiment with different variations to cater to your taste preferences. Customizing the flavor of your chicken casserole is a fun way to put your own spin on this classic dish. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Add Mushrooms – If you’re a fan of mushrooms, try adding them to your chicken casserole for an earthy and savory twist. Sauté sliced mushrooms in butter and garlic before adding them to the casserole mixture. The mushrooms will add depth of flavor and a satisfying texture to the dish.
  • Incorporate Bacon – For an indulgent and smoky flavor, consider incorporating home-cured bacon into your chicken casserole. Cook bacon until golden brown and crispy, then crumble it over the casserole before baking. The combination of chicken, cheese, and bacon is a heavenly trio.
  • Try Different Types of Cheese – While the classic chicken casserole typically calls for cheddar cheese, you can experiment with different types of cheese to add a new dimension of flavor. Try using Swiss cheese for a nutty and slightly sweet taste or homemade chevre cheese for a mild and creamy option. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different cheeses to create your own unique flavors.
  • Opt for Whole Grain Pasta – Instead of using traditional noodles, choose whole-grain varieties. Whole grains are higher in fiber and provide more nutrients compared to their refined counterparts. They also have a lower glycemic index, which means they won’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. (Source)
  • Increase the Amount of Vegetables – Boost the nutritional content of your chicken casserole by adding more vegetables. Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and they add flavor and texture to the dish. Consider including colorful veggies like broccoli, zucchini, carrots, or spinach.

Remember, these are just a few ideas to inspire your creativity in the kitchen. Feel free to mix and match ingredients to create a chicken casserole that suits your personal preference. The possibilities for variations are endless!

Magazine cover for In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine. Prep Your Pantry edition.

In the Homestead Kitchen

This recipe was featured in issue No. 19 of In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine. You can subscribe to receive instant access to more easy-to-follow, from-scratch recipes.

As a bonus, you will receive access to our curated library of helpful videos with training, tutorials, how-to’s, DIY instructions, and more to prepare you with the knowledge and confidence you need to master your skills in your own homestead kitchen.

Moreover, we plan on taking this magazine to print in January 2025, so subscribe today to lock in your price!

Chicken casserole ingredients being cooked in a sauté pan.

How to Make Chicken Casserole

Supplies Needed

In addition to the ingredients, you will also need a few supplies to prepare this easy chicken casserole:

  • Baking Dish – You will need a large 9×13 baking dish to accommodate the ingredients in this recipe.
  • Large Skillet Cast iron cookware is my preference.
  • Pot – A saucepot won’t be large enough. Make sure to choose a stock pot or an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.
  • Spatula – Choose a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon to incorporate your ingredients well.
Ingredients to make homemade chicken casserole.

Ingredients Needed

To make this easy chicken casserole, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Dry Short Pasta – Penne, rotini, elbows, or bowties all work well for this recipe.
  • Butter Homemade butter provides the best flavor, but store-bought works too.
  • Freeze-Dried Onion – If you don’t have a home freeze-dryer, that’s OK! Just substitute one finely chopped onion.
  • Freeze-Dried Green Bell Pepper – Again, if you don’t have freeze-dried peppers, one medium green bell pepper stemmed, seeded and finely chopped works, too.
  • Garlic, Minced – You can use freeze-dried garlic if you have a freeze-dryer.
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese – If you don’t have cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, or pepperjack can be used in a pinch.
  • Diced Tomatoes, Undrained – If you are using store-bought tomatoes, use one 28 oz. can.
  • Mild Chopped Green Chiles – If you prefer a spicier kick, you can substitute Habanero, Serrano, or jalapeño peppers. These peppers contain a lot of heat, so use sparingly.
  • Cooked Chicken – I like using one quart of my home-canned chicken, but you can also use approximately three cans of store-bought chicken.
  • Paprika – To taste.
  • Dried Oregano – Learn how easy it is to dry herbs at home here.

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly oil or butter a large casserole dish.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  4. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
  5. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally. If using freeze-dried vegetables, add ¼ cup of water to the pan.
  6. Add garlic, paprika, and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and fragrant.
  7. Stir in diced tomatoes with juice and mild chile peppers until combined.
  8. Add cheese and stir until melted, 5 to 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and combine with cooked pasta and chicken in the prepared baking dish.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes until heated through.
  11. Serve warm.

Whether you’re cooking for your family or hosting a dinner party with friends, this casserole is sure to please everyone’s taste buds. Enjoy the warm and cheesy goodness of this homemade chicken casserole and create lasting memories around the dinner table.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then, snap a photo and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily to show us your easy chicken casserole!

Overhead shot of a chicken casserole in a white dish.

Easy Chicken Casserole

This is my go-to recipe for an easy chicken casserole that is perfect for a quick and cozy dinner. This recipe is sure to become a family favorite with its warm, cheesy, and comforting flavors. It’s also simple to prepare, making it a convenient option for busy weeknights.
4 from 1 vote
Print Pin
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 501kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Baking Dish 9×13
  • Large Skillet
  • Stock Pot
  • spatula

Ingredients

  • 4 cups short pasta penne, rotini, elbows or bowties
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup onion freeze-dried or fresh
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper freeze-dried or fresh
  • 3 cloves garlic minced, freeze-dried or fresh
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 quart diced tomatoes undrained
  • 2 cans mild green chiles
  • 4 cups cooked chicken shredded or diced
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Lightly oil or butter a large casserole dish.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
  • While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally. If using freeze-dried vegetables, add ¼ cup of water to the pan.
  • Add garlic, paprika, and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and fragrant.
  • Stir in diced tomatoes with juice and mild chile peppers until combined.
  • Add cheese and stir until melted, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and combine with cooked pasta and chicken in the prepared baking dish.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes until heated through.
  • Serve warm.

Notes

Variations of Easy Chicken Casserole

While this easy chicken casserole recipe is delicious as is, you can also experiment with different variations to cater to your taste preferences. Customizing the flavor of your chicken casserole is a fun way to put your own spin on this classic dish. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Add Mushrooms – If you’re a fan of mushrooms, try adding them to your chicken casserole for an earthy and savory twist. Sauté sliced mushrooms in butter and garlic before adding them to the casserole mixture. The mushrooms will add depth of flavor and a satisfying texture to the dish.
  • Incorporate Bacon – For an indulgent and smoky flavor, consider incorporating home-cured bacon into your chicken casserole. Cook bacon until golden brown and crispy, then crumble it over the casserole before baking. The combination of chicken, cheese, and bacon is a heavenly trio.
  • Try Different Types of Cheese – While the classic chicken casserole typically calls for cheddar cheese, you can experiment with different types of cheese to add a new dimension of flavor. Try using Swiss cheese for a nutty and slightly sweet taste or homemade chevre cheese for a mild and creamy option. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different cheeses to create your own unique flavors.
  • Opt for Whole Grain Pasta – Instead of using traditional noodles, choose whole-grain varieties. Whole grains are higher in fiber and provide more nutrients compared to their refined counterparts. They also have a lower glycemic index, which means they won’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. (Source)
  • Increase the Amount of Vegetables – Boost the nutritional content of your chicken casserole by adding more vegetables. Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and they add flavor and texture to the dish. Consider including colorful veggies like broccoli, zucchini, carrots, or spinach.

Nutrition

Calories: 501kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 476mg | Potassium: 498mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1121IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 385mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
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