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With just 4 ingredients, you can use up leftover cooked chicken in this cheesy, comforting Chicken and Stuffing Casserole. Be sure to prep two and freeze one for later using our freezing instructions.
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Hy-Vee (Columbia).
My Brief History with Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
A version of this casserole, which we called “Cheesy Chicken Casserole back in the day (note: you know you’re old when you say “back in the day”), was one of the first recipes I learned to make in college.
I invited my new boyfriend over for dinner and frantically called Jamie, a mentor/friend who is a great cook. “What am I supposed to make for him? I only know how to whip up Tuna Helper.” Without skipping a beat, she rattled off the ingredients for this casserole!
Well, I think it’s safe to say Jamie’s advice helped win over my boyfriend’s heart. We got married a year later and are celebrating 22 years of marriage next month…all because of this casserole.
I kid. I joke. But, Nathan did love this cheesy Chicken and Stuffing Casserole then and still does today!
5 Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe
- Only 4 main ingredients! (Although we give the option to make the stuffing & gravy or cream soup from scratch, if you want.)
- Comforting, cheesy, and satisfying recipe.
- Kids and adults enjoy it.
- Great way to use up leftover chicken, stuffing, and gravy.
- Easy to make ahead and freeze (so be sure to double it!).
Ingredients in Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
You’ll only need four basic components for the casserole. Hooray!
My original version of this required several processed food items that I learned later are full of preservatives and additives–junk that I’m not crazy about feeding my family. So, we show you how to make your own stuffing and cream soup/gravy from scratch BUT we also give tips for buying healthier store-bought items, if you want shortcuts.
- Chicken breasts: I look for a brand that has no added antibiotics or preservatives (i.e. Bare Chicken) or organic chicken. Check the package to make sure it’s just “chicken” and there’s no added sodium or other additives.
- Leftover Homemade Gravy or Cream of Chicken Soup: If using a canned soup, I always spend a little extra money to get an organic version, preferably in a box or BPA-free can. You can also certainly make your own, too!
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese: I always use sharp cheddar, but use what you like.
- Prepared Stuffing: Either make your own or prepare store-bought stuffing. The bummer is that the boxed stuff is often filled with processed ingredients, preservatives, and additives. To avoid those, spend a little more and purchase an organic (and preferably whole wheat) stuffing in the health food section. Tip: You can add in a little ground flaxseed or chia seed to up the nutrition of the stuffing.
Where to Get Your Ingredients
We suggest grabbing the casserole ingredients at your local Hy-Vee. If you have this store nearby, you know what a gem you have under your nose–especially if you’re a parent who knows all of these hacks!
Hy-Vee is a “one-stop shop” for anything you might need, from high-quality ingredients to grab-and-go meals to their pharmacy and much more. I especially love their Health Market and super helpful Meat Department.
Tip: Buy Cooked Chicken in Bulk
Did you know you can ask Hy-Vee’s catering department to cook and shred the chicken ahead of time for you in large quantity? We did that recently for a freezer meal party, and it saved us so much time!
How to Make Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
Take a peek at just how easy it is to make this recipe…
You can probably memorize this recipe, to be honest. It only requires three steps.
Prep the Oven & Dish
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8×8 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
Layer the Casserole
Layer 1: Add the chicken.
Layer 3: Sprinkle on the shredded cheddar cheese.
Layer 4: Top with the prepared stuffing.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until heated through and golden brown on top. Serve hot.
Tip: Use Turkey Instead!
This casserole is a great way to use up leftover turkey, gravy, and stuffing from the holidays, too.
How to Freeze Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
One of the perks of this recipe is that it’s super easy to prepare an extra one ahead and freeze it. If you freeze before baking, it will taste like a fresh meal later. Just follow these instructions…
Freeze For Later:
Grease an 8×8 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Follow Step 2 in the recipe, putting the casserole together. Do not bake. Cover tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap or foil (or an air-tight lid) and freeze.
Prepare From Frozen:
Thaw completely. Preheat oven to 350°F. Set the casserole on the counter while the oven preheats. Bake according to Step 3 in the recipe.
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
- 2 – 2 1/2 cups diced, cooked chicken (see Cooking Notes)
- 1 1/4 cups (or one 10.5 ounce can) Cream of Chicken Soup OR Leftover Chicken Gravy
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 – 3 1/2 cups Homemade Stuffing OR 1 (6 ounce) box store-bought stuffing, prepared according to package directions
Tip: Grab all of these ingredients at your local Hy-Vee, including a cleaner version of canned cream soup and boxed stuffing in their HealthMarket.
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Make It Now:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8×8 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Layer the casserole dish evenly with the chicken, cream of chicken soup or gravy, shredded cheese, and prepared stuffing. (Freezing instructions being here.)
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until heated through and golden brown on top. Serve hot.
Freeze For Later:
Follow Steps 1 and 2. Cover tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap or foil (or an air-tight lid) and freeze.
Prepare From Frozen:
Thaw completely. Preheat oven to 350°F. Set the casserole on the counter while the oven preheats. Follow Step 3.
- How to Prep Chicken for This Casserole: You have a few options to prepare cooked chicken for this recipe:
- Shred Rotisserie Chicken – Buy a rotisserie chicken at the store and shred the meat. This should yield about 4 cups or enough to make two casseroles (freeze one for later!).
- Bake: Season 2-3 chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper. Bake on a rimmed sheet pan at 400°F for about 20-30 minutes (until no longer pink inside or register 165°F internally). Let rest on wooden cutting board for 5-10 minutes and then shred or dice the chicken.
- Instant Pot: Add 2-3 well-seasoned chicken breasts and 1 cup chicken broth to the Instant Pot. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes with a quick release. Let rest on wooden cutting board for 5-10 minutes and then shred or dice the chicken.
- Slow Cooker: Season 2-3 chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 2 1/2 – 3 hours (until no longer pink inside or register 165°F internally)–no longer and NOT on high. Let rest on wooden cutting board for 5-10 minutes and then shred or dice the chicken.
- Word of Caution: I do not recommend using canned or store-bought frozen cooked chicken. The taste and texture is much better using the recommendations above!
- Where We Get Our Chicken: We get our meat from ButcherBox. The chicken is organic and curated from small, trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves. Read my full review here.
- Recipe Update: On 11/2/22, we retested, took new photos of, and sized down this recipe to make it faster and more convenient to make. We are now using pre-cooked rather than raw chicken.
- Gluten-Free Version: Use gluten-free stuffing and gluten-free canned cream soup.
- Can I Make a Dairy-Free Version? Because there is dairy in the stuffing, soup/gravy, and the cheese, this will be challenging. However, you’re welcome to omit the cheese and try to find DF versions of stuffing and soup/gravy at the store, though.