Cheesy Chicken Casserole

Cheesy Chicken Casserole is an easy one dish dinner recipe that the whole family will love. Pasta, chicken, vegetables and cheese with a just a little crunchy topping from bread crumbs, it is easy to prepare and easy to clean up!

overhead of cheesy chicken casserole with text overlay


My husband makes fun of me because I don’t like to mix my foods. As a child I was scolded for eating one food at a time in its entirety, counterclockwise. I would have been well served to have a sectioned plate with every meal, you know the ones you got in the cafeteria. I was also anti-cafeteria food, by the way.

It is safe to say I am type A and have a “system” that should not be messed with for just about… well everything. So I’m branching out with casseroles and guess what… I kinda like them!

overhead of pasta in a small bowl

Why You’ll Love It

  • While casseroles have me thinking about unidentifiable food or “cream of something” soup, I like to think of my Cheesy Chicken Casserole as macaroni and cheese, elevated.
  • This dish is also meal prep friendly, make ahead friendly and perfect for meal trains and pot lucks.
  • One-dish meal! This dish has veggies, proteins and carbs, so all you need is a side of fruit or maybe a leafy green side salad.
close up of cheesy casserole


A one-dish meal cooked in a casserole dish that you will want over and over again. Listed in the recipe are the vegetables that I use and love, but you can omit or add anything you choose.

  • Cheese– Freshly shredded cheese is the secret to a super creamy and cheesy casserole and that perfect cheese pull when you scoop it out. Pre-shredded cheese is a great way to save time (and feel free to use it!) but it is coated in starch to prevent sticking, this can prohibit it from being super melty. Use any blend you like, but cheddar, white American, low-moisture mozzarella, gouda, Swiss or jarlsberg are my favorites.
  • Heavy Cream– Instead of using a cream-of-something soup, I use heavy cream. All the richness, but not with the sodium and processed nature of canned soup.
  • Sour Cream– Adds creaminess, but isn’t as thick as using cream cheese; the perfect blend.
  • Italian Seasoning– A blend of dried herbs to infuse the whole dish with flavor.
  • Coarse kosher salt- Salt brings out natural flavors in all foods. For a pure, less salty flavor, use coarse kosher salt. If using a fine sea salt, reduce the salt volume by half.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes– These are optional, but my family likes it hot! You can also opt to omit them and just serve on the side so the kiddos are also happy.
  • Ground black pepper- Freshly ground gives the best peppery goodness. Pre-ground lacks flavor.
  • Pasta– We like shells or bowties, something small and bite-sized, but also with plenty of nooks and crannies for the sauce and seasonings to cling.

  • Cooked chicken– This is a great way to use leftover chicken. Make an extra batch the night night before or grab a cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and shredded it. Some folks have also swapped in shredded turkey. I’m sure you can also use ground beef or sliced sausage.
  • Fresh broccoli florets– Do not use frozen! If they are still frozen, they will release water and make your casserole soupy. And if they are frozen, but thawed, they will be a mushy mess by the time it cooks.
  • Fresh mushrooms– Same goes for the mushrooms. They will cook to the perfect toothiness.
  • Cooked bacon– I love chewy bacon bits. Try a smoked variety for even more sophistication.
  • Sun dried tomatoes– A bit of tang from these fun little bits of tomato. I’ve also used roasted tomatoes. Fresh will also leach out too much water, so shy away from those.
  • Italian style bread crumbs For a crunchy topping! Italian just means they are blended with Italian seasoning, use plain or panko too.

Other veggies can be added, but be mindful of the size, cooking times and water content. Bell peppers, onion, garlic and squash are other favorites.

close up of a spoon in cheesy casserole with bowtie pasta

How to Make a Cheesy Chicken Casserole

Making this casserole recipe is easy!

  1. Preheat the oven and spray a large casserole or baking dish with cooking spray. You’ll need a large pan for this one- like a high sided 9×13 or 3 quart casserole dish. It will mound on top, but cook down.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the shredded cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, Italian seasoning, salt, crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper so it is evenly distributed.
  1. Fold in the pasta, chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, bacon and sun dried tomatoes until fully coated. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  1. Top the casserole with bread crumbs. Sometimes I add a bit of parmesan cheese too. unbaked chicken casserole with bread crumb topping
  2. Bake uncovered until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Please mind cooking times and veggies that need to be cooked longer as they won’t get enough time when they are packed in between cheese and pasta. I like to serve mine with a leafy green salad and Garlic Balsamic Dressing.

cheesy chicken casserole recipe on a small white plate

Make Ahead & Storage

Cheesy Chicken Casserole can be made ahead and tastes even better by day #2 in the fridge. I even make a large batch as meal prep and bring it for lunch every day. You can prepare it and cook it or cook it and heat up the leftovers in the oven or microwave.

For meal prep, divide into smaller airtight containers. These can be frozen individually or heated up for a single lunch.

cheesy spoon full of pasta in casserole

You can even freeze the casserole, too. Line the casserole dish with aluminum foil so it has a large hangover, like a sling. Make the casserole and cook it as directed. Allow it to cool fully and then place the whole thing, pan and all, into the freezer. Freeze overnight, or a minimum of 12 hours, then remove and take it out of the pan. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil and then place into a large plastic freezer bag and freeze up to 6 months.

To thaw, place the whole casserole in the same size dish and carefully unwrap the aluminum foil so the top is showing. Place in a 350°F oven for about 45-60 minutes or until it is cooked the whole way through and registrars at 145°F.

collage of cheesy chicken casserole

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close up of cheesy casserole

Cheesy Chicken Casserole Recipe

4.63 from 16 votes
Cheesy Chicken Casserole is an easy casserole recipe perfect for feeding a large family on a budget. Chicken, cheese, pasta and vegetables- delicious!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8




  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray a large casserole or baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the shredded cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, Italian seasoning, salt, crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper.
  • Fold in the pasta, chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, bacon and sun dried tomatoes until fully coated. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  • Top the casserole with bread crumbs.
  • Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown and bubbly. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  • If you've tried this recipe, make sure to come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!  


*Shredded cheese can include any combination of white cheddar, low-moisture mozzarella, asiago, parmesan, yellow cheddar or colby or pepper jack. 
**Cooked chicken can be breasts, thighs or cooked shredded chicken from a store-bought rotisserie chicken. 


Calories: 540 kcal, Carbohydrates: 33 g, Protein: 23 g, Fat: 36 g, Saturated Fat: 18 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0.04 g, Cholesterol: 109 mg, Sodium: 752 mg, Potassium: 577 mg, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 7 g, Vitamin A: 1187 IU, Vitamin C: 19 mg, Calcium: 309 mg, Iron: 2 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 540
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken casserole recipe
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating

Questions and Reviews

  1. 4 stars
    Well- i picked this recipe because it didnt have cream of msg in the ingredients, and it Had some Fun ones like the Sun dried tomoatoes.
    It came out alright, and ill make it again but with a few adjustments-
    Leave out the italiian seasoning. Ugh. Wayyyy too much (and i felt it in my heart as i poured iT in but did it anyway).
    Half the red pepper flakes.
    add more veggies- maybe evEn some peas or spinach, but def more mushrooms.
    Lastly- you gotta toss breadcrumbs in melted butter. Take it from a utAhn (casserOLe central). I knew better than to just throw them on there but i was already beat from all the steps in the recipe.
    And easy clean up is Farrrrrrr from truth. You gotta cook bacon- pan. Cook chiCken- pan. Cook noodles- pan. Chop veggies. Grate cheese. Measure sTuff. Mix a teally gooey concoction- super gross bowl. Just sayin.

    1. Hi there Kb, thank you for taking the time to come back and leave us a message and for all of the suggestions for other readers. I guess since I tend to make a HUGE mess, this was a fairly simple clean up for me. LOL. Glad you will make it again and have a fabulous day!