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This Million Dollar Chicken Casserole recipe is pure comfort food. Turn tender shredded chicken into a creamy, cheesy chicken casserole topped with crushed Ritz crackers.
Why You’ll Love This Million Dollar Chicken Casserole
- Easy. Your instant pot will cook the chicken thighs for you, then all you have to do is mix up the casserole ingredients and pop everything in the oven.
- Flavorful. Every bite of this chicken casserole is rich and creamy thanks to the cream cheese, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup. A handful of seasonings perfectly balance the flavors in every bite.
- Satisfying. Thanks to the tender chicken meat, a variety of cheeses and the crunchy Ritz cracker topping, this simple chicken casserole fills bellies and leaves everyone feeling satisfied.
- Perfect way to use leftover chicken. You can use any kind of cooked chicken. Just shred it up and follow the recipe as directed.
Why Is It Called Million Dollar Chicken?
This chicken casserole is called “million dollar” chicken because it tastes like a million bucks. If you were served this recipe at a fancy restaurant you’d think it was filled with expensive ingredients to achieve that rich and creamy flavor, but nope! All you need is pantry staples and some Ritz crackers to make it.
Here’s a quick overview of key ingredients along with my notes on substitutions etc. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredient list.
- Chicken thighs – Boneless and skinless. You could also use chicken breasts, or even shredded rotisserie chicken.
- Whipped cream cheese – I prefer whipped cream cheese because it blends easily with the other ingredients and you don’t have to wait for it to come to room temperature.
- Sour cream – This adds a subtle tang to the chicken base. You can also use Greek yogurt.
- Condensed cream of chicken soup – You could also use cream of mushroom soup.
- Shredded cheddar cheese – You can also use Sargento’s shredded Mexican cheese blend.
- Ritz crackers – You can also use crushed pretzels or potato chips (especially Ruffles).
- Scallions – Just the greens, for an optional garnish.
- Crispy bacon – Cook up some crispy bacon, let it cool, then chop it up and add it to the chicken base before adding the Ritz cracker topping.
- Rice – You can add up to 1 cup of cooked rice to this recipe to make it even heartier. White rice and brown rice both work.
- Broccoli – Add up to 1 cup of cooked and chopped broccoli.
- Potatoes – You can also add up to 1 cup of cooked and chopped potatoes. I have actually been known to add leftover breakfast potatoes to this dish. Super tasty!
How to Make a Million Dollar Chicken Casserole
Are you ready to make this cozy, creamy chicken casserole recipe? Here’s how to do it:
Make the Shredded Chicken Thighs
- Season the chicken. Add the chicken thighs, sea salt, ground black pepper, and olive oil to the bowl of an Instant Pot. Stir to coat the chicken in the olive oil and seasoning.
- Add remaining ingredients. Add the onion, garlic, and chicken stock and stir to mix.
- Cook. Seal the Instant Pot and set it to cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. When the cook time is up, allow the pressure to naturally release.
- Shred. Shred the chicken with two forks and set it aside.
Assemble the Chicken Casserole and Bake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine creamy ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whipped cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese until well incorporated.
- Add the condensed cream of chicken soup. Mix to combine.
- Add remaining ingredients except the topping. Stir to combine.
- Assemble the casserole. Transfer the cheesy chicken mixture to a 9×9-inch baking pan.
- Make the Ritz cracker topping. Evenly distribute the mixture over the contents of the baking pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Or until the center of your casserole is hot.
- Serve. You can sprinkle chopped scallion greens on top just before serving as an optional garnish.
Tips for Success
- Want to make it ahead? You can prepare this chicken casserole the day before, then cover it with saran wrap and store it in the fridge. The next day pop it in the oven and bake as directed. Add a few minutes to the baking time so that the casserole has time to heat all the way through.
- Don’t have an Instant Pot? You can also roast the chicken in the oven or slow cooker. Check out my post on how to make shredded chicken.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Store in the fridge. Let your casserole cool, then cover the baking dish tightly with saran wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the fridge. You can also scoop the casserole into airtight containers before storing it in the fridge. It will keep for up to 4 days.
- Want to freeze before baking? Once you have assembled the casserole, cover it tightly in a few layers of saran wrap plus a couple of layers of aluminum foil. Then pop it in the freezer. It will keep for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat it, thaw it overnight in the fridge and then bake it as directed. You will need to add some time because the casserole will be so cold.
- Reheating. Scoop your desired amount into a microwave-safe bowl and zap until warmed. Reheat single servings and then stir halfway through to make sure your food heats evenly.
More Casserole Recipes
- John Wayne Casserole
- Dorito Casserole
- Stuffed Pepper Casserole
- Million Dollar Spaghetti
- Cheeseburger Casserole
Million Dollar Chicken Casserole
For the Instant Pot shredded chicken*
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken stock
For the chicken casserole
- 3 ounces whipped cream cheese
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- ¾ cup cottage cheese
- 1 can, 10.5 oz. condensed cream of chicken soup
- ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cups crushed ritz crackers
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Scallions, optional garnish
Make the shredded chicken
- Add the chicken thighs, sea salt, ground black pepper, and olive oil to the bowl of an Instant Pot.
- Stir to coat the chicken in the olive oil and seasoning.
- Add the onion, garlic, and chicken stock and stir to mix.
- Seal the Instant Pot and set it to cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- When the cook time is up, allow the pressure to naturally release.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken from the pressure cooker to a cutting board.
- Shred the chicken with two forks and set it aside. Discard everything else.
To assemble and bake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whipped cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese until well incorporated.
- Add the condensed cream of chicken soup and mix to combine.
- Add the shredded cheddar cheese, the Instant Pot shredded chicken, salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried oregano to the mix. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the cheesy chicken mixture to a 9×9-inch baking pan.
- Combine the crushed Ritz crackers and the unsalted butter in a separate bowl and mix to combine.
- Evenly distribute the Ritz cracker mixture over the contents of the baking pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- If you like, you can finely chop scallion greens and sprinkle them over the top of your casserole for a pop of color.