Poppy Seed Chicken is a creamy chicken casserole that’s topped with the best buttery cornflake and cracker topping! Shredded chicken is mixed with rich ingredients like cream cheese, sour cream and the perfect amount of crunchy poppy seeds.

A serving spoon is placed in a poppy seed chicken casserole dish.

Poppy Seed Chicken

This might just be my new favorite chicken casserole. It checks all the right boxes! It’s hearty, creamy, flavorful, and topped with the best buttery cornflake and cracker topping. I’ve brought this poppy seed chicken dish to a few potlucks and parties and it disappears so quickly every single time. It’s also a pretty wonderful weeknight dinner for the family!

Poppy seeds might not be a hugely impactful ingredient when it comes to flavor, but the texture they provide is pretty satisfying. They compliment the smooth and creamy sauce with a subtle crunch in each bite. As far as flavor goes, there are some great add-ins like garlic, parmesan and lemon juice and zest to make this chicken casserole recipe anything but bland.

The very best part (other than how tasty this casserole is)? It’s SO easy to make! You take use pre-cooked shredded chicken, mix it with the other ingredients, and bake it until warm beneath a layer of crunchy, buttery crackers and cornflakes. It’s pretty fail-proof. If you’re just starting to learn how to cook or need a quick and easy recipe you can trust, you’ve come to the perfect place!

Chicken is being mixed with a creamy sauce in a skillet.

How to Make Poppy Seed Chicken

Take a quick look at how easy this poppy seed chicken recipe is! For more information on the step by step process, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  1. Sauté the onions and garlic. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for just 1 more minute.
  2. Thicken it. Add butter and let it cook until melted. Once melted, stir in the flour and cook until it turns a deep golden brown color.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients. Whisk in the chicken stock until thickened. Then, whisk in the half and half, cream cheese, lemon zest and juice. Stir in the salt, pepper, parmesan and sour cream. It should be totally smooth. Fold in the chicken and poppy seeds.
  4. Make the topping. Combine your melted butter with the crushed cornflakes and crackers.
  5. Assemble the casserole. Spread the chicken filling into an even layer in a 13×9 baking dish. Top with the cornflake cracker topping.
  6. Bake. Bake the casserole uncovered at 350°F for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

PRO TIP: Use Instant Pot shredded chicken for the best results!

A plate topped with salad and poppy seed chicken is presented with a fork.

Storing and Reheating

Let the poppy seed chicken casserole fully cool to room temperature prior to storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it’ll stay fresh for about 3-4 days.

To reheat, I recommend using your oven or air fryer if you want the topping to still be crunchy! Be careful not to reheat it for too long as you don’t want to scald the creamy sauce. If you need to use the microwave for the sake of time, reheat individual portions for just 30 seconds at a time to warm all the way through.


Just like with refrigerating, it’s very important to always let your food cool to room temperature prior to freezing. Once it’s fully cooled, you can fit your casserole dish with a fitted lid or other freezer-safe airtight container. Label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it defrost in the fridge prior to reheating in the oven.

A fork is presented on a plate with a serving of poppy seed casserole.

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A serving spoon is placed in a poppy seed chicken casserole dish.

Get the Recipe: Poppy Seed Chicken Recipe

This poppy seed chicken casserole features tender chicken, a creamy sauce, and a crunchy Ritz cracker topping with a hint of poppy seed flavor.
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the Topping

  • 1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
  • 1/4 cup crushed ritz crackers
  • 1/4 cup melted butter


  • 1 baking dish


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and add the onion. Cook over medium heat until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the butter and cook until melted. Stir in the flour. Cook the flour mixture until it becomes a deep golden brown.
  • Slowly whisk in the chicken stock cooking until the mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in the half and half, cream cheese, lemon zest and juice. Stir in the salt, pepper, parmesan and sour cream until smooth.
  • Add the chicken and poppy seeds to the cream sauce then transfer to a 13 x 9 baking dish.
  • Combine the melted butter with the cornflakes and crackers. Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
  • Serve immediately.
Calories: 443kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 103mg, Sodium: 577mg, Potassium: 315mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1017IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 196mg, Iron: 6mg