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Chicken Noodle Casserole Recipe

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This Chicken Noodle Casserole recipe is an updated version of the classic old-fashioned chicken casserole that transforms simple ingredients into a savory dish with a homemade creamy cheese sauce, hearty chicken breasts, and egg noodles. The whole family will love it!

Chicken noodle casserole in a baking dish.

This Chicken Noodle Casserole is perfect for serving to company or for Sunday dinner. It’s topped with a thin layer of crushed buttery Ritz Crackers. There’s nothing like a good cheesy casserole to satisfy your comfort food craving.

Why You Will Like This Casserole

  • It’s made with a homemade cream sauce – no need for cream of chicken soup.
  • If you are pressed for time, you can use leftover chicken from that store-bought rotisserie chicken you got at Costco or Sam’s.
  • It has both fresh and frozen veggies in it, making it a one-dish meal.

Casserole Ingredients

For this ultimate comfort food casserole, you need the following:

  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 1 ½ tsp table salt plus salt for cooking pasta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1 red bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 1 yellow onion chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 4 ounces deli American cheese chopped coarsely
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded (1 cup)
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 25 Ritz Crackers crushed coarse

Equipment

  • 13 by 9-inch baking dish
  • Dutch oven

How To Make Chicken Noodle Casserole

Spritz (spray) a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

To make it, bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a Dutch oven. Add egg noodles and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until just al dente, about 3 minutes.

Drain noodles and rinse with cold water until cool, about 3 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water until cool, about 2 minutes. Drain again and set aside. (Yes, that’s right – you will drain and rinse three times.)

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the now-empty pot over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl set aside.

Now it is time to start working on the creamy sauce. Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter in the same pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in half-and-half and chicken broth scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken breasts and cook the chicken until it is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.

Shredded chicken on a glass plate.

Off heat, transfer the chicken to a plate and let it cool slightly, then shred it with 2 forks into bite-size pieces.

Whisk cheese into the sauce until it’s smooth. Stir in peas, black pepper, salt, and bell peppers into the cheese sauce. Add the noodles. Finally, add the shredded chicken into the noodle mixture.

Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish (or similar-sized casserole dish) and top with crackers.

Baking Time

Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let the casserole cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken noodle casserole in 9x13 pan topped with crushed Ritz crackers.

Substitutions

If you are in a pinch, you can still make this recipe with a few substitutions, if needed.

  • For the frozen peas, you can substitute an equal amount of frozen mixed vegetables.
  • For the chicken, you can use pre-cooked chicken, like the rotisserie chicken mentioned above.

What is the best way to store leftover noodle casserole?

Place any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Chicken Noodle Casserole in 9x13 baking dish.

How To Make The Casserole Ahead

If you want to save time on the day you wish to serve this dish, you can prepare it the day before. What you need to do is to not add peas or top casserole with crushed crackers. The casserole can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. 

To serve, cover the casserole dish tightly with greased aluminum foil and bake in a 400-degree oven until hot throughout. It will take approximately 45 minutes. Uncover, stir in peas, and top with crushed crackers; bake until the topping is crisp and golden, about 10 minutes.

The Chicken Bible

The Chicken Bible cookbook by America's Test Kitchen.

This recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen Book, The Chicken Bible: Say Goodbye To Boring Chicken With 500 Recipes For Easy Dinners, Braises, Wings, Stir-Fries, And So Much More. This is THE book all about chicken from cooking experts that we have come to love and trust.

With over 500 recipes devoted to our favorite foul, the book is a one-stop resource for cooking chicken. Even though the cooking time (including the preparation) for this particular chicken recipe takes about an hour from start to finish, there are 181 recipes that can be made in 45 minutes or less. That’s probably faster than gathering the family and eating at a nice restaurant. Plus, with you cooking at home, you know exactly what is in your food and how it was cooked.

The categories in The Chicken Bible include: Easy Dinners; Salads; Sandwiches; Burgers, Tacos, and More; Soups; Stews, Chilis, and Curries; Classic Braises; Simple Sautes and Stir-Fries; Roasted; Baked and Broiled; Breaded and Fried; Pasta and Noodles; Savory Pies and Casseroles; On the Grill; Instant Pot, Air Fryer, and Sous Vide; Slow Cooker; and Cooking for Two. The book also includes nutrition facts for the recipes and conversions and equivalents.

In the Introduction, they break down the various parts with full-colored pictures with tips on what to look for when purchasing chicken and how to use the different parts of the chicken. The book also explains how to store poultry in the refrigerator and freezer and how to safely handle raw poultry. If you have ever thought about purchasing a whole chicken to save money but didn’t know how to cut it up, this book has detailed instructions and techniques taking the guesswork out of butchering.

Recipes in the book include Pressure-Cooker Chicken Broth, Coq au Vin, Southern-Style Stewed Chicken and Rice, Classic Chicken Stew, Chicken Tikka Masala, Slow-Cooker Barbecue Pulled Chicken, Slow Cooker Southern Smothered Chicken, King Ranch Casserole, Chicken Divan, Chicken Schnitzel, Chicken Tagine with Fennel, Chickpeas, and Apricots, and about 500 more chicken recipes.


If you are looking for something sweet to enjoy after this Chicken Noodle Casserole, check out these dessert recipes at Southern Kissed:


Chicken Noodle Casserole in 9x13 baking dish

Chicken Noodle Casserole

This updated version of the classic dish is by America's Test Kitchen. It has a creamy, savory cheesy base and is topped with a layer of buttery Ritz Crackers.
4.63 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 567kcal

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 1 ½ teaspoon table salt plus salt for cooking pasta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1 red bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 4 ounces deli American cheese chopped coarse
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded (1 cup)
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons pepper
  • 25 Ritz Crackers crushed coarse

Instructions

  • Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add noodles and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until just al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water until cool, about 3 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water until cool, about 2 minutes. Drain again and set aside.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl set aside. Melt remaining 2 Tablespoons butter in again-empty pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in half-and-half and broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Off heat, transfer chicken to plate. Let chicken cool slightly, then shred with 2 forks into bite-size pieces. Whisk cheese into sauce until smooth. Stir peas, pepper, salt, noodles, bell pepper mixture, and shredded chicken into cheese sauce.
  • Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish (or similar size casserole dish) and top with crackers. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let casserole cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

To make ahead Do not add peas or top casserole with crushed crackers.  Casserole can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.  To serve, cover casserole dish tightly with greased aluminum foil and bake in 400-degree oven until hot throughout, 45 minutes.  Uncover, stir in peas and top with crushed crackers; bake until topping is crisp and golden, 10 minutes.
 
 
 
Recipe reprinted with permission from America’s Test Kitchen The Kitchen Bible: Say Goodbye To Boring Chicken With 500 Recipes For Easy Dinners, Braises, Wings, Stir-Fries, And So Much More, copyright 2021.

Nutrition

Calories: 567kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 1221mg | Potassium: 641mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1395IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 381mg | Iron: 2mg
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