Poppy Seed Chicken With Cream Cheese


Poppy Seed Chicken With Cream Cheese is one of my favorite meals from the Polish side of my family. So a few years ago I started sharing it with my family and anyone who was willing to try it!

I am a big fan of Poppy Seed Chicken and my favorite recipe calls for cream cheese. This is not the only recipe I use with this poultry combination but it’s one of my favorites.

Southern Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Southern Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole with it’s buttery Ritz cracker topping is so creamy and delicious, you won’t believe how easily it comes together with just a few kitchen staples! Perfect for busy weeknights, easy to freeze, a classic at potlucks and just the dish to share with a friend in need, this easy chicken dinner is sure to a be regular on your menu!

This simple creamy chicken casserole is the cornerstone of all good church potluck dinners. Chances are if you’ve been to one, you’ve had and already love poppy seed chicken!

A good poppy seed chicken recipe is what Southern hospitality is all about- ridiculously good food that just feels like home without a lot of fuss and is easy to share! With it’s savory chicken, creamy sauce and buttery cracker topping, this is one easy 9×13 recipe whose dish always comes back empty.

Now, don’t scoff at the use cream of something soup in this recipe. You can make your own if you like, but using canned soup is the traditional way to make it, and it’s beyond good. However, this version does amp up the creaminess and flavor of your basic poppy seed chicken by adding cream cheese and a little diced onion. It’s comfort food heaven, you’ll see!

Ingredients For A Creamy Southern Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or rotisserie chicken)
  • medium yellow onion
  • cream of chicken soup
  • sour cream
  • cream cheese
  • poppy seeds
  • salt & pepper
  • butter
  • Ritz crackers (or other buttery cracker)

How To Make The Best Poppy Seed Chicken

Prep. Boil and shred boneless, skinless chicken breasts into large pieces and finely dice 1/2 of a medium onion.

Mix it All Up. In a large mixing bowl, mix together cream of chicken soup, sour cream, softened cream cheese, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Add the shredded chicken and onion. Then give it a good mix again.

Bake. Spoon mixture into bottom of casserole dish. Use a rubber spatula to evenly smooth chicken mixture in the bottom of the dish. Put crackers in a zip top bag & crush with your hands, then top the chicken mixture with them. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle on extra poppy seeds. Bake until bubbly and golden brown!

serve poppy seed chicken casserole over rice with a green salad for an easy weeknight dinner

Add-Ins And Options

Make this an all-in-one meal by adding cooked rice to the bottom of the casserole dish before adding the rest of the ingredients. Or maybe veggies are what you’re looking for? Fold in frozen broccoli florets or peas & carrots that have been thawed to the chicken mixture, then bake!

If I’m going low carb, I substitute the cracker topping for sliced almonds or chopped pecans. Drizzle with butter, and it bakes up so delicious!

Chicken Poppy Seed casserole is a classic 9x13 weeknight dinner or potluck dish.

How To Freeze This Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole Recipe

This chicken casserole is perfect for making a double batch and freezing! Simply prepare the casserole as directed but do NOT add the cracker topping. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, top and bake as directed, adding 10 minutes to the bake time. This casserole can be frozen with the nut topping.

Creamy Poppy Seed Chicken

This creamy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole recipe is going to become a HIT! The classic casserole loaded with shredded cooked chicken in a delicious sauce with poppy seed, topped with crunchy parmesan buttery crackers.


This classic poppy seed chicken casserole recipe is da BOMB and uses ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry. Here’s what you need for poppy seed chicken.

  • CHICKEN- Cooked chicken. You can use leftover chicken, Rotisserie chicken or cook chicken breast yourself (what we’ll do in this recipe).
  • SAUCE- Though you can use store-bought cream of chicken with the recipe, we will make the sauce from scratch and mix in poppy seeds.
  • CRUNCHY TOPPING- To top the chicken off, use a butter parmesan cracker topping. They’ll become crispy as the casserole is baked


This recipe is SOOO easy to make and comes together so quickly. We used an oval dish for this recipe, you can use something similar in size.


  1. COOK CHICKEN- Completely cover 2 chicken breasts with water and lightly season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook 10-12 minutes.
  2. SHRED CHICKEN- Remove the chicken from the water and shred with two forks.


  1. In a saucepan, saute butter with garlic until fragrant, whisk in flour.
  2. Add broth, cream cheese, paprika, cheese, salt, pepper, milk, sour cream, and poppy seed.
  3. Whisk until sauce comes to a light boil. Remove from heat.


  1. Crumble crackers.
  2. Melt butter.


  1. Add the chicken to a casserole dish (we used an oval baking dish).
  2. Pour the poppy seed cream over the chicken. Add the shredded cheese.
  3. Mix everything to combine.
  4. Top casserole with crackers and pour melted butter or crackers.
  5. BAKE and Enjoy!


Poppyseed chicken is most traditionally served with rice. However, you can serve it over mashed potatoes or even pasta.

Serve with an easy side salad and homemade dinner rolls to complete the meal.


  • Prepare chicken casserole per instructions (allow the sauce to cool before adding to chicken and combining with cheese).
  • Cover and freeze in a baking dish for up to 2 months.
  • To REHEAT chicken casserole, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or the morning of and bake per instructions.

NOTE: If this recipe is too large for you, prepare casserole in 2 baking dishes and use once, freeze the other.

I can’t for you to give this chicken casserole a recipe a try. You are going to fall in love with the added poppy seeds in a creamy sauce and crunchy topping.

Creamy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole Recipe

Easy recipe for creamy poppy seed chicken casserole. Cooked shredded chicken in a delicious cheesy sauce with poppy seed and topped with crunchy parmesan buttery crackers.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 6 servings


  • 1 lb chicken breast, skinless & boneless
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, divied
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 5 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, mozzarella or any mixed cheese
  • 1 ½ Tbsp poppy seeds
  • ¼ tsp ground paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 sleeve crackers
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • In a saucepan, add chicken breast and enough water to completely cover the chicken, lightly season with salt. Cook about 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked.
  • Remove chicken from water and shred chicken with two forks.
  • In a saucepan, saute together 4 tbsp butter and garlic, until garlic is fragrant.
  • Quickly whisk in flour.
  • Add in milk, broth, cream cheese, sour cream, cheese, poppy seeds, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Cook on medium heat, until sauce comes to a soft boil, stirring continuously.
  • Spread the shredded cooked chicken on the bottom of a casserole dish.
  • Pour the creamy mixture over the chicken. 
  • Top with parmesan cheese and crushed crackers. Pour 4 Tbsp of melted butter over the crackers.
  • Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes, or until sauce bubbles and the crackers are golden and crispy.
  • Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Calories: 602kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 25gFat: 52gSaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 169mgSodium: 651mgPotassium: 319mgFiber: 0gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1465IUVitamin C: 3.2mgCalcium: 348mgIron: 1.5mg

Can I freeze Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole?

If freezing, freeze the poppy seed chicken casserole before baking. Cover the pan tightly with foil and write down the directions on top of the container. Remove the casserole from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator during the day before baking.

Poppyseed Chicken Casserole in a white platter with a metal spoon.

What to serve with Poppyseed Chicken Casserole

  • Green Beans
  • Side Salad
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Rice

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