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Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole chock full of chicken in a creamy sauce with a crunchy topping of Ritz crackers, poppy seeds, and almonds. Pure comfort food!

A plate of food, with Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Sometimes we all need a hug, a kind word, a prayer, and the reassurance that everything will be all right in the end. Maybe it’s a phone call or text. Maybe it’s a handwritten note or fresh flowers.

Or maybe it’s comfort food like this Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole delivered to your front door that let’s us know someone cares and we’re not so alone in our stressful situation. 

I bet you can think of someone right now who could use a little love and support, and maybe the gift of a simple casserole. That’s what today’s virtual potluck is all about–lifting each other up when things are tough.

This past year, I’ve been fortunate to become a member of a food blogging community that includes some very caring and encouraging ladies. 

Through my new friends, I’ve learned about a fellow blogger, Ashley from Center Cut Cook, who’s been going through a pretty rough time for the last couple of years.

Ashley’s husband, Ryan, was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer at age 29 and their infant son, Miles, needs a kidney and liver transplant due to Primary Hyperoxaluria (type 1).

Today, along with 18 other bloggers, I’m helping to spread the word–along with some delicious comfort food recipes–about a fundraiser in Ashley’s honor. [UPDATE: Sadly, Ryan passed away on January 25, 2018.]

A casserole dish filled with Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

First, after spending a little time over at the Team Ryan Facebook page, you’ll soon realize how lovely and deserving Ashley is by reading updates like this:

You know that saying “Happiness is a Choice?” The last year of our lives has been a crash course in this very saying. I’ve learned that choosing to be happy, even amidst the chaos, impacts nearly every aspect of my well-being.

Being happy when life is going great is easy. But being happy when things are difficult (whatever the case may be for you – cancer, depression, relationship issues, unemployment, an eating disorder, addiction, etc.) takes more effort.

I’ve learned though, that the effort it takes to be happy is W-O-R-T-H it. {Ashley}

A plate of Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole with a fork and knife

Well, I think it’s WORTH IT to help folks out when we can! In honor of Ashley, please try out one of today’s virtual potluck recipes (see the complete list at the bottom of this post) and surprise a friend or neighbor with a little love and encouragement.

A plate of Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

This Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole recipe was given to me by my sweet friend, Betty Jo, who has been in heaven for a few years now. I always think of her whenever I make it…a true life, love, and good food memory. 

I’ve adapted the recipe to replace the cream of chicken soup with this cream soup substitute by Center Cut Cook.

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

a serving spoon resting in a partly eaten chicken poppy casserole.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole – chunks of chicken in a creamy sauce with a crunchy topping of Ritz crackers, poppy seeds, and almonds. Pure comfort food!
4.34 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Chicken
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 305 kcal


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts chopped (or 1/2 cup sliced almonds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in bottom of 2-quart casserole dish; layer cooked chicken pieces on top of butter in casserole dish.
  • In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and stir in 3 tablespoons flour. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and chicken broth and whisk continually until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, sour cream, and water chestnuts. Pour over chicken.
  • In a medium size bowl, combine crushed Ritz crackers with poppy seeds and almonds. Pour 2 tablespoons melted butter into cracker mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle all over top of the casserole.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.


Serving: 1gCalories: 305kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 6gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 468mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3g
Keyword casserole, chicken, poppy seed
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
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  1. SO glad you updated this wonderful recipe! Can’t wait to give it a try. I’m also delighted to join you in helping out the Wagner family.

  2. This casserole is the food equivalent to a hug, Sheila! Delicious comfort food truly is soothing to the soul…especially when it is made with love. 🙂 It is wonderful that you and the other bloggers are bringing Ashley’s story to more readers! I am sure that the extra positive thoughts as well as the donations, will be helpful! We all need a good, sharable casserole like this one in our recipe file!

  3. OMG I haven’t had Poppy Seed Chicken in a REALLY long time! Love it and love that you used a substitute for the soup. Will have to try! Looks delish! Great working on this project with you. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lisa! This is one of my favorites as well…and yes, the cream soup substitute was great in this recipe. Nice collaborating together!

  4. Sheila, it has been such a pleasure to get to ‘know’ you through this wonderful project … and I hope that we’ve made a big difference for Ashley and her family! I love that we can all come together to create a wonderful list of recipes that people can use when they need to send a meal to comfort a friend or loved one.
    Thanks for this fabulous recipe … the ones from sweet friends are always the best! Love that you shared this one! 🙂

    1. Gretchen, the pleasure is all mine! Isn’t it rewarding to see the contributions continue to rise for the Wagner family? I feel blessed to have worked with all of you awesome bloggers on this project.

  5. 5 stars
    What a wonderful recipe for the holidays! I love the fact that you incorporated poppy seeds, they are so healthy and will sure add extra depth to the recipe!

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