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Chicken Parmesan Casserole is by far one of the most popular recipes on Thriving Home. It is super easy to make, can easily be turned into a freezer meal, and is very family friendly. This real food, healthy dinner recipe is a staple in our home.
We joke around that this is the recipe got us our first cookbook deal.
Reason is, about 7 years ago, Chicken Parmesan Casserole went viral on Pinterest, brought us lots of new followers who were seeking simple & delicious freezer meals. This increased attention snowballed and helped us catch the attention of publishers.
All thanks to Chicken Parmesan Casserole. Just watch and see how easy this meal is!
Here’s How Easily It Comes Together!
Ingredients in Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Another perk of this recipe is how simple the ingredients are. I bet you have most of these ingredients on hand:
- Cooked Chicken – Use rotisserie chicken as a shortcut.
- Marinara sauce – You can make your own marinara or use store bought. Choose the brand with the most recognizable ingredients.
- Shredded mozzarella – I like to shred my own cheese. Here’s why!
- Panko or whole wheat bread crumbs – Panko breadcrumbs will give it a great texture on top. You can use regular bread crumbs in a pinch though.
- A few fresh herbs – Adds some nice flavor and color.
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A Great Use of Leftover Chicken!
Not only is this recipe simple and delicious but it is very resourceful. What I mean by this is Chicken Parmesan Casserole is a great way to use leftover chicken.
This makes it super easy to put together the casserole on a busy night. Just thaw the chicken and use it in the casserole. Easy peasy way to use up some leftovers in a tasty way.
Make It a Freezer Meal
As with many of our freezer-friendly recipes, this Chicken Parmesan Casserole freezes wonderfully. Simply assemble the casserole (with cooked chicken) and freeze it in an airtight freezer container before baking. When you want to make it, thaw and bake it according to the recipe instructions.
How to Serve Chicken Parmesan Casserole
I almost always serve this casserole over cooked pasta. You could use penne, linguine, or really any type of noodle you have on hand. Chicken Parmesan Casserole can also be served over cooked brown rice. Lastly, it’s delicious if simply served by itself!
Side Dish Ideas
Here are some recipe ideas that would go well with this dish…
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- 4 cups (about 1.5 pounds) fully-cooked chicken, shredded or cubed (see Cooking Notes for how to cook the chicken)
- 1 jar (about 28 ounces) of marinara sauce (or make your own)
- 1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup Panko or whole wheat bread crumbs (Here is how to make your own) (Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond meal instead.)
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2–4 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
- salt and pepper, to taste
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Make It Now:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Layer the fully-cooked chicken in the bottom. Dump in the marinara sauce and mix with the chicken. Next, top with both cheeses until all the chicken is covered.
- In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, olive oil, fresh herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper together.
- Sprinkle the seasoned breadcrumbs over the top. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden on top and bubbling on the sides.
Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-4. Cover the casserole tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap and/or foil, squeezing out as much air as possible. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
Prepare From Frozen: Thaw in the fridge over night and follow Step 5. Note: If it’s still slightly frozen in the middle, you’ll just have to cook it longer than the recipe calls for or defrost it a bit in the microwave before baking. Cover it with foil if the top gets too brown in the oven.
How to Cook the Chicken: For this recipe you can use rotisserie chicken from the store, which is a great short-cut! Or cook some boneless, skinless chicken breasts using one of these methods until it’s done (165°F internally or no longer pink inside):
- Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.
- Slow Cooker: Place chicken in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
- Instant Pot: Place chicken and 1 cup chicken broth in a 6 quart Instant Pot. (Note: If using an 8 quart, add an additional 1/2 cup of broth.) Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
- Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness.
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.
Be sure to check out our Top 15+ Chicken Freezer Meals. Every recipe can be made fresh or from frozen.