(EASY) Poppy Seed Chicken is a classic recipe from the 1960's that can be baked in the oven or slow-cooked in a crockpot. Just a few ingredients.
1. Rotisserie Chicken
All rotisserie chickens are not the same. Stick with the basic flavor of "Traditional." There is only one store near me that sells a good rotisserie chicken and that is Sam's Club. Some rotisserie chickens are over-seasoned or over-salted and it will ruin a recipe.
2. Sour Cream
The small container of sour cream. It's just ONE cup.
3. Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
Mmmmm, mmmm. Good. Specifically, the use of Campbell's Cream Of Chicken soup tells us the recipe origin probably goes back to the early 1930s-40s.
4. Half & Half
I add milk or ½ & ½ for more creaminess to the sauce.
5. UNSALTED Butter
Using salted or margarine is going to make the cracker topping too salty. Use Unsalted butter in this recipe unless you happen to have unsalted Ritz crackers. 🙂
6. Ritz Crackers
25 crackers. Exactly. Ritz Crackers were created in the 1930s and these crackers are really what gives this dish its all-time favorite classic signature taste.
7. Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds have been used in cooking for centuries and can be traced back to ancient civilizations.
With my Crockpot method, The Butter, Ritz, and half of the poppy seeds are browned on a skillet and sprinkled over the top right when serving so that the topping stays crispy. In the baked version of the recipe, the topping goes on before you put it in the oven. Watch the quick video tutorial below in the recipe card to see how easy it is.
Then & Now
I've made Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole many times over the years. Sometimes I pretend to be fancy and put it all in the crock-pot. The recipe is very popular in the south. It is usually baked in the oven, however, I like to just throw it all in the slow cooker and let it rest on the counter to stay warm awhile. That's when Ward walks in the door and says, "Oh Honey, dinner smells fantastic. You must've been working in the kitchen all day!"
By comparison, using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken over raw chicken breasts gives tender shreds of meat right from the start and you don't have to wait for the chicken to tenderize. The truth is, you could follow this recipe exactly except put it in the microwave for 5 minutes and the result would be almost the same. You could even do it in a skillet on the stove. Shusssh. It's our little secret, my friend.
What side dish goes with Crockpot Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole?
We serve this recipe over white steamed rice with a side of salad or fruit. I like the popular spinach salad made with Poppy Seed dressing. We already have poppy seeds in the chicken, I like to make a similar salad of (fresh baby spinach, sliced strawberries, finely sliced red onion, the juice of one orange, and pepper, that's it!) The combination just seems to go together!
Watch the Video below to see how easy Poppy Seed Rotisserie Chicken is to make in the Crock-pot.
Crockpot Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
- 1 10.5 oz. can Cream of Chicken Soup
- 8 oz. sour cream (1 cup)
- ½ cup Half & Half or whole milk
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds divided
- 3 lb. rotisserie chicken traditional flavor skin removed, pulled from bones
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 25 Ritz Crackers crushed
- In a medium bowl, whisk together soup, sour cream, and half & half. Stir in only 1 teaspoon of the poppy seeds. Set aside.
- Remove skin from chicken and discard. Pull meat from bones. Chop into big chunks. Place in bottom of crockpot.
- Pour soup mixture over chicken and stir.
- Cook on high heat for 1.5 hours or until mixture is hot throughout and bubbly on the edges.
- In a non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in crushed Ritz crackers and remaining 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds. Sauté until crackers start to brown. Remove from heat and sprinkle over casserole before serving.