This ultimate chicken casserole is baked in the oven in a delicious creamy sauce for an easy dinner that will fill up a crowd. Shredded chicken is mixed with pasta noodles, bacon, cheese and corn. Everything is topped with crispy french fried onions for a comforting all-in-one meal.
They don’t call this the ultimate chicken casserole recipe without a reason! It’s piled to the brim will delicious ingredients included shredded chicken, pasta, cheese and bacon. It’s easy to assemble and budget-friendly.
Delicious Casserole Recipe
This recipe requires a bit of prep before assembling it fast. It’s perfect for filling up the family, and you’ll have leftovers that freeze well for future lunches. Just like our tortellini cheese casserole, all ingredients are added to a baking dish and cooked together.
- Cheap – All ingredients are affordably priced at the grocery store. You can use chicken breasts or a store-bought cooked rotisserie chicken to make things easier. This is a great recipe to keep in your back pocket to help cut down on grocery costs.
- Fast prep – Just dump, mix and bake! It could be easier with using chicken, bacon, pasta, cheese, corn, and Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup.
- Family Friendly – This recipe uses simple filling ingredients that many family members enjoy, including kids. If your kids don’t like creamy things try another easy favorite, our sheet pan pancakes (great as breakfast-for-dinner nights).
Pro Tip: We love casserole recipes because they’re so easy to make! Check out our meal plan #3 which includes all recipes baked in a casserole dish! You’ll love how simpole and budget friendly these recipes are.
This casserole requires a little bit of prep but it’s totally worth it. The secret to this delicious-tasting casserole is the shredded chicken and bacon. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
SHREDDED CHICKEN – This recipe works well with shredded chicken breast. You will need 2 cups worth. I like to brine my chicken first, then poach it before shredding it with two forks or an electric mixer. You can also use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, cut it up and then shred it.
PASTA NOODLES – Any kind of cooked pasta noodles will work for this recipe. Choose a spiral or elbow pasta noodle shape. Egg noodles, regular durum wheat pasta, or a gluten-free alternative like rice pasta will all work. I used rice pasta in our recipe.
BACON – 6 strips of bacon need to be cooked and crumbled for the recipe. Store-bought crumbled bacon will also work.
CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP – Two cans of cream of mushroom soup will create the creamy sauce.
CHEDDAR CHEESE – Cheese is mixed straight into the casserole. Feel free to use any grated cheese you’d like, including old cheddar, white cheddar, marble, or mozzarella.
CORN – Frozen corn is easy to add in, but canned corn will work great too.
YELLOW ONION – 1 cup of chopped yellow onion is sauteed before adding to the casserole.
GARLIC – Minced garlic cloves are sauteed with the onion.
FRENCH FRIED ONIONS – For a crunchy texture, french fried onions are sprinkled on top of the casserole before baking.
SALT AND PEPPER – Salt and ground pepper are added to the casserole mixture. Feel free to season to your liking.
Variations and Substitutions
NOODLES: Any type of small-shaped noodle will work for this recipe. I used brown rice spiral noodles. You can use regular elbow pasta noodles, shell, bowtie, or rigatoni noodles. Egg noodles and regular durum wheat pasta noodles both work great for the recipe.
MEAT: Shredded chicken can be swapped out for chopped or cubed chicken. Or swap it with ground beef, ground pork or ground turkey. This casserole can also be made using leftover holiday turkey.
CRUNCHY TOPPING: French fried onions can be replaced with crushed crackers or tortilla chips.
Step One: Cook and Shred The Chicken
Our shredded chicken recipe goes over easy instructions on how to brine and cook chicken breasts that are perfect for shredding.
Our favorite hack for shredding chicken is to add them to a large bowl and use an electric hand mixer to shred this. This method takes a fraction of the time that shredding with two forks will take.
Once you’ve shredded the chicken, you’ll need two cups of it for the recipe.
Step Two: Cook The Pasta Noodles
While the chicken is cooking, the pasta can be added to a large pot with boiling water over medium-high heat. Cook until the pasta is al dente, then drain and give it a light rinse under water.
Step Three: Cook The Bacon
The bacon can be cooked in a frying pan until it’s crispy. Pat it with a paper towel to remove the excess grease, then chop or crumble it. I typically use scissors to cut it into small pieces.
You can also use store-bought crumbled bacon. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups worth.
How To Make Ultimate Chicken Casserole
This recipe is so easy to make! Just mix all the ingredients together and bake. Here’s an overview with full instructions at the bottom of this post:
- PREP – Cook and shred the chicken, fry the bacon and cook the pasta. Shred the cheese, chop the onion and mince the garlic.
- COOK ONION – Saute the onion and garlic in a frying pan for a minute or two, until it turns translucent.
- ASSEMBLE – Mix together the cream of mushroom soup and milk in a large bowl. Add in the cooked pasta, chicken, bacon, corn, onion, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix everything together and pour into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle french fried onions on top.
- BAKE – Bake for 350°F or until the top is golden brown and bubbling. Let cool for 10 minutes then serve.
What To Serve With
This casserole pairs well with vegetable side dishes. It can also be eaten without anything else. Here are a few ideas:
CARROTS – baked buttered carrots
BROCCOLI – air fryer lemon parmesan broccoli
SWEET POTATOES – mashed sweet potatoes
How To Store
This casserole recipe is easy to store and perfect for lunches.
REFRIGERATE – Store the casserole in an airtight container, or tightly wrapped in plastic for 3-4 days.
TO FREEZE – This casserole can be frozen. Some people prefer not to freeze recipes with milk or cream, but I froze this recipe into serving portions for future lunches and had no complaints from the family.
TO REHEAT – If frozen, thaw the casserole recipe overnight in the fridge. This casserole can be reheated in the microwave, or in the oven at 350F until warmed through.
Pro Tip: Add the leftover casserole recipe to greased muffin pan and freeze for 3-4 hours. Then pop the smaller portions into a large freezer bag. These smaller sizes are perfect for quick lunches that can be reheated in the microwave.
Yes, the pasta noodles need to be cooked before assembling the casserole. Consider cooking the pasta the night before assembling to help save time.
Yes. I froze mine without any problems. However, some people prefer not to freeze recipes with milk because the creamy sauce can get a bit grainy. Personally, I felt it was fine but it will depend on preference.
Yes. I used brown rice pasta noodles. Egg white noodles or any other style of noodle will work for this recipe.
Yes. This can be stored in the fridge and reheated just before serving. It can also be frozen, thawed in the fridge and then reheated in the oven.
A comforting casserole dish is the best comfort food. We are sure you’re going to love this ultimate dinner recipe all season long!
More Casserole Recipes
If you love the simplicity and ease of casserole recipes, then you’ll also love these recipes:
- Hamburger Casserole
- Bacon and Cheese Pancake Casserole
- Tortellini Cheese Casserole
- Ham Cheese Pasta Casserole
- Chicken Olive Pasta Bake
- Beef Cabbage Roll Casserole
- Pizza Pasta Casserole
Ultimate Chicken Casserole
- Cook chicken and shred it. You'll need 2 cups worth. (See our shredded chicken recipe here or use a store bought rotisserie chicken)
- Cook 6 strips of bacon in a frying pan until crispy.
- Pat with paper towel to drain excess grease. Chop into small pieces.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in 1 – 1½ cups dried pasta noodles and cook until al dente. Drain the noodles and set aside. You'll need 2 cups of cooked noodles.
- Add chopped onion and minced garlic to a frying pan with a bit of leftover bacon grease over medium-high heat. Cook 1-3 minutes, until onion turns translucent.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking oil.
- Add the cream of mushroom soup and milk to a large bowl. Mix them together.
- Add in 2 cups cooked pasta noodles, 2 cups shredded chicken, cooked bacon, onion and garlic, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix everything together until evenly coated.
- Pour into the casserole dish and smooth out with a spatula. Sprinkle french fried onions on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and edges are golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before adding to plates to serve.
- To refrigerate – Store the casserole in an airtight container, or tightly wrapped in plastic for 3-4 days.
- To Freeze – This casserole can be frozen. Some people prefer not to freeze recipes with milk or cream, but I froze this recipe into serving portions for future lunches and had no complaints from the family.
- Reheating – If frozen, thaw the casserole recipe overnight in the fridge. This casserole can be reheated in the microwave, or in the oven at 350F until warmed through.