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Million Dollar Chicken Casserole is an easy, creamy, cheesy, and budget-friendly dish that comes together in minutes and is ready to serve a crowd on a busy weeknight.
Made with cooked chicken, bacon, cheese, and a delicious creamy sauce, full of flavor, and yummy cracker topping this is the epitome of comfort food!
Step-by-step photos and instructions are below!
I can’t tell you how many times a chicken casserole has saved dinner time during the busy week. It tastes like a million dollars, with very little effort! Whether it’s because it’s been made ahead and all I need to do is warm it up, or if I whip it up on the fly, it’s always a winner.
Or you know, on a lazy weekend and I just don’t feel like making a big to-do about dinner!
This casserole is one of my favorites and a true crowd-pleaser. It’s made with tender cooked chicken breast, crispy bacon, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, and plenty of seasoning. Of course, it’s not complete without the buttery ritz cracker topping!
Dishes like Chicken and Rice Casserole, King Ranch Chicken Casserole, Chicken a la King, and Smothered Chicken Casserole are always on rotation, especially during the cooler months. There’s something so cozy about a creamy cheesy loaded casserole.
All you need is a couple of quick side dishes like bread and a salad and dinner is served!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- This casserole is made with simple ingredients which makes it budget-friendly and yet still tastes like a million bucks.
- It’s a great way to get everyone to gather around the dinner table and have everyone walk away completely satisfied.
- Use leftover rotisserie chicken, and toss in some frozen mixed veggies. There’s plenty of room to make this million dollar chicken casserole recipe your own.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, the chicken will need to be cooked before adding it to the casserole, otherwise, you may risk it not being cooked all the way through.
You sure can. Assemble the casserole up to the point before you add the breadcrumbs. You’ll want to save those separately.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight until you’re ready to bake it.
When you’re ready to bake it, bring it to room temperature, remove the plastic wrap, add the breadcrumb topping then bake as per directions.
You don’t. If you prefer dark meat, go ahead and use chicken thighs instead. You can also use a combination of white and dark meat, or whatever you have left in your fridge from the night before.
Sure! Add some steamed broccoli, frozen green beans or peas.
The Best Side dishes for Million Dollar Chicken Casserole
This can be considered a complete meal all on its own. However, it is lacking in the veggie department so it’s always a good idea to have a light side salad or vegetable side dish.
Apart from that, we do love our dinner rolls and biscuits. I mean, you need something to mop up any remaining sauce!
I have included step-by-step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
What to do with leftovers
Keep any leftover million dollar chicken casserole in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Pop a single serving in the microwave for a quick reheat. If it’s a larger portion, you can reheat the casserole in the oven.
While the ingredients listed are standard, there is always room for swaps.
Add some cooked rice to bulk it out if you like!
Can’t find Ritz crackers? Use cornflakes, Panko breadcrumbs, or crushed chips instead.
Prefer a different cheese? Use cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella.
You can also use Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream.
Before baking: Assemble it as you would if you were preparing it in advance (without the crumb topping). Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. Keep it stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if you thinking ahead! Bring it to room temperature before baking.
After baking: Allow it to cool completely. Any residual heat will cause it to become soggy. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and keep it stored in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. You can reheat straight from frozen as long as it’s completely warmed throughout.
Recipe Ingredients and Possible Substitutes
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Cooked chicken. A rotisserie chicken from the store comes in handy when you want to save time. If starting with raw chicken, you’ll need 2-3 small chicken breasts. See my recipe for Oven Baked Chicken Breasts for instructions (leave off the seasonings, aside from salt and pepper). If using leftover chicken, you’ll need about 4 cups.
- Cooked bacon, crumbled. If starting with fresh bacon, you’ll need around 6 slices. You can use packaged bacon crumbles or bits if you prefer.
- Cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese. The trio of thick, tangy, and creamy ingredients helps to thicken the casserole as well as give it the creaminess everyone loves. Cottage cheese add texture, but ricotta cheese can be used in place of it if you prefer.,
- Condensed cream of chicken soup. If you’d rather stay away from the store-bought soup which can be high in sodium, I have a great recipe for homemade cream of chicken soup you can use. Cream of Celery or Cream of Mushroom soup are both great substitutes!
- Seasoning. Onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper
- For the topping. Grated mozzarella (or shredded cheddar cheese), Ritz crackers, melted butter.
- Optional garnish. Green onions.
- 8×8 casserole dish (a 9-inch square baking dish also works)
How to make Million Dollar Chicken Casserole
Scroll for Recipe
The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
If using fresh chicken, cook the chicken, cut it into cubes, or shred it with 2 forks. Believe it or not, using an electric hand mixer also does a great job of shredding chicken.
Cook and crumble the bacon. Since the oven is on anyway, cook the bacon strips on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bring the cream cheese out to room temperature about 15-30 minutes before starting.
Melt the butter and measure out the seasonings.
Make the cracker topping
Place the crackers in a Ziploc bag. Remove all of the air before sealing, so it doesn’t pop.
Use a rolling pin to crush the crackers until they are small but still chunky. I prefer this method to the food processor because I like that I can control the size of the crumbs a bit better.
Add the crackers and butter to a large bowl and mix together. Make sure all the crumbs are well coated, this is what makes them light, crispy, and extra buttery.
Make the sauce
Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and seasonings in the bowl of a stand mixer.
You can also use a large mixing bowl and hand mixer or whisk.
Mix until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is well incorporated. Cream cheese is thicker so you don’t to leave behind globs of it.
Fold in the cottage cheese, cooked chicken, and crumbled bacon.
Assemble and bake
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make sure there is enough room on the middle rack.
Add the chicken mixture to an 8×8 square baking dish and spread it out evenly.
Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese, and add the cracker topping over the mozzarella.
Bake the casserole for 30-40 minutes until heated through and the sides are bubbling and the top is golden brown.
Let it set, then serve
Remove the dish from the oven and let cool for 5-8 minutes before serving. Allowing it to set helps it to firm up a bit so you’re not serving a runny casserole.
Garnish with sliced green onions, if you’d like, and serve with your favorite easy sides. Enjoy!
More delicious casserole recipes:
- Super easy chicken divan casserole. We love our chicken casseroles around here! This one’s made with broccoli, chicken, cheese, and a crunchy topping.
- Classic tuna casserole. Everyone loves this nostalgic recipe. It’s budget-friendly and easy to double for a larger crowd.
- 4-ingredient meatball casserole. Juicy meatballs, tender pasta, marinara sauce, and plenty of cheese in a baked casserole. An easy pasta bake for the win.
- Hamburger casserole. A beefy, saucy, cheesy pasta dish in the form of a baked casserole.
- Cheesy corn casserole. Cornbread meets creamed corn and parties it up with plenty of cheese! The perfect side dish for any gathering.
Million Dollar Chicken Casserole
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
- 25-30 Ritz crackers (you’ll need most of one standard 126g sleeve)
- 3 Tablespoons butter (melted)
- If using fresh chicken, cook the chicken, cut into cubes or shred. Cook and crumble the bacon.
- Soften the cream cheese (leave out at room temp for 15 minutes). Melt the butter.
- Measure out the seasonings.
Make the cracker topping
- Add the crackers to a zip lock bag, and use a rolling pin to crush the crackers until they are small but still chunky. Add cracker crumbles to small bowl, mix the melted butter in.
Make the sauce
- Add the softened cream cheese, sour cream, cream of chicken soup and seasonings to the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl (and grab your hand mixer).
- Mix until well combined.
- Fold in the cottage cheese, cooked chicken and crumbled bacon.
Assemble and bake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Add the chicken and sauce mixture to a 8×8 casserole dish and spread out evenly.
- Sprinkle the top with the grated mozzarella, add the cracker topping over the mozzarella.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until heated through and the sides are bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-8 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with sliced green onions, if you’d like.
Bacon: If starting with fresh bacon, you’ll need around 6 slices. You can use packaged bacon bits if you prefer.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.