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How to make Poppy Seed Chicken

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Before we met my husband spent a summer volunteering as a performer at a historical site in Nauvoo, Illinois. There—with about 20 other volunteers—he spent his days singing, dancing, and acting. The people in charge of feeding the volunteers needed to find fast and delicious ways to feed a large group of very hungry young people. This Poppy Seed Chicken dish is one of my husband’s favorite recipes that he learned during that summer. And now it is one of my favorites!

I guess you could classify this Poppy Seed Chicken recipe as a casserole, but as a self-proclaimed picky eater I am sworn to reject all casseroles on principle. So, I will continue to ignore the suspicious casserole identifiers of this recipe which are not limited to being baked in a 9×13 pan and the ease of preparation. If you have a casserole recipe you think can change my mind on the subject, let me know!  

I’ve talked before about how much I love Pyrex. It’s one of the few brands that I really trust. I frequently use these glass Pyrex bowls and the best part is they come with lids! So they can go from mixing bowl to tupperware in a second.

If you have a particularly fussy eater in the house, you could leave out the poppy seeds all together. The dish will lose the nutty flavor from the poppy seeds, but it will still be delicious. I have also eaten this dish when the poppy seeds were replaced with chia seeds and that was also delicious!

I like to prep the chicken ahead of time for convenience. I’m pretty busy during the school year and by the time I finish grading assignments and exercising, I don’t have much time to cook dinner. My favorite way to prep chicken is to cook it in the instant pot and then cube or shred it and store it in the freezer until I need it. This works for Mama Martinez’s Tinga recipe too!

If you have pre-cooked chicken, this recipe should take a maximum of 15 minutes to get into the oven. You just dump the chicken, soup, and sour cream in a big bowl and stir it. Then dump the crushed Ritz crackers, melted butter, and poppy seeds in a small bowl and stir it. One way to save time and make cleanup easier is to crush the Ritz crackers while they are still in their sleeves. Mix half of the Ritz cracker mix into the chicken mix and dump the chicken mix into a 9”x13” pan (no need to grease or line the pan unless you want to). Sprinkle the rest of the Ritz cracker mix on top and voila!

Poppy Seed Chicken

This recipe has a creamy sauce, a subtle nutty flavor from the poppy seeds, and a bit of a crunch from the crackers. And the best part is this delicious, easy dish makes enough to feed an army!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12 people
Calories 362 kcal


  • 9"x13" baking dish


  • 4 cups shredded chicken (pre-cooked)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup (10 ½ oz. each)
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 2 sleeves crushed Ritz crackers
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the 4 cups shredded chicken, 2 cans of soup, and 3 cups of sour cream. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the crushed Ritz crackers, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds and the 2 tablespoons melted butter.
  • Add half of the Ritz cracker mixture to the chicken mixture and stir until combined.
  • Spread the chicken mixture into the 9"x13" pan and sprinkle the remaining Ritz cracker mixture on top.
  • Bake at 350° for 30 minute or until warmed through and the topping is golden brown and crispy. Serve plain or over warm rice.


The calories per serving is an estimate for your convenience. 


  1. Roger

    5 stars
    I made this recipe for 5 hungry young adults, and they loved it. It is quick and easy to prepare. If you want to, you can take a little more time and cook your seasoned chicken from scratch. Or use canned. Highly recommend!

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