When the weather gets cooler, some of us find ourselves craving more comfort foods: Enter a warm, gooey casserole, oozing with melted cheese.
But to make a casserole a complete meal, it needs some protein. Chicken is a great lean option for adding to casseroles: Not only does it have protein, but it also offers B vitamins, vitamin A, and zinc.
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If you're into meal prep or are feeding more than a few mouths at your dinner table, baking up a chicken casserole recipe is the perfect solution.
Casseroles have a reputation for being high in fat and carbs and otherwise lacking in nutrients, but it's totally possible to create one that's both nourishing and satisfying if you use the right ingredients.
"Casseroles are a great way to eat more whole grains like brown rice, quinoa or whole-grain pasta for extra fiber and B vitamins in your diet," says Veronica Rouse, RD, CDE. Plus, any veggies you include will offer more fiber and other nutrients, too.
In homage to one of our favorite comfort foods, we're sharing 15 dietitian-approved chicken casserole recipes bursting with flavor and nutritional value. Check them out below.
1. Chicken Noodle Casserole
• 29 grams of protein
A good chicken noodle casserole is quite the epitome of home-cooked comfort!
This kid-friendly dish is certainly cheesy — it's got a delightful blend of mozzarella, parmesan and creamy cottage cheese — adding protein (and gooey satisfaction) to this dish.
To up the fiber, consider adding some spinach to the mix. And if you are watching your sodium, consider eating half a serving over a colorful medley of steamed veggies.
Get the Chicken Noodle Casserole recipe and nutrition info from Tastes Better From Scratch.
2. Cheddar Bacon Ranch Chicken and Rice Casserole
• 64 grams of protein
This Cheddar Bacon Ranch Chicken and Rice Casserole is a simple and delicious weeknight dinner recipe. "It is an excellent source of protein, but a little on the higher side when it comes to fat and sodium," says Ashley Petrie, RDN, LDN of Everyday Homemade. Not to worry, she's got some tips to lighten it up.
To lower the calories, fat and sodium, Petrie recommends serving a half-portion of this dish over a plate of steamed vegetables. "You could also swap out the white rice for cauliflower rice. Or, consider making your own cheddar cheese soup from scratch with less fat and sodium."
Get the Cheddar Bacon Ranch Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe and nutrition info from The Wholesome Dish.
3. Not Your Mama’s Potato Chip Chicken Casserole
- 29 grams of protein
This potato chip chicken casserole is a wonderful balance of comfort and nutrition. "I love that this recipe uses whole grains, healthy fats from almonds and vegetables," Petrie says. For a healthier alternative, she suggests swapping the potato chips for sweet potato chips, lentil chips or kale chips.
Get the Not Your Mama’s Potato Chip Chicken Casserole recipe from Love and Zest.
4. Confetti Chicken Casserole
• 28 grams of protein
This colorful, veggie-rich chicken casserole;e will stand out in a crowd of festive party dishes. All the veggies give it pops of color (and nutrition) — it's perfect for a cozy family meal.
"To lower the fat, try replacing the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt," Petrie says. She suggests serving this dish with a whole grain such as brown rice, farro, or whole wheat pasta for a complete and balanced meal.
Get the Confetti Chicken Casserole recipe and nutrition info from Eating Bird Food.
5. Creamy Pumpkin Chicken Casserole
Canned pumpkin is perfect for a festive fall comfort dish! And this creamy, dreamy chicken casserole is just as satisfying as it is flavorful.
The creamy sauce has a base of pumpkin, tomato and bell pepper, and it has a warm, sweet--yet-savory appeal. It's got the spiciness of sauteed onions, garlic, and serrano pepper, along with the sweetness of cinnamon, coconut, and a balance of earthy nutmeg.
The sauce coats the chicken and spaghetti squash for a nourishing, savory meal.
Get the Creamy Pumpkin Chicken Casserole recipe from My Heart Beets.
6. Creamy Chicken Lemon Pasta
• 31 grams of protein
This simple lemony casserole combines juicy chicken (thighs), with sauteed zucchini, orzo, kale and a variety of aromatics, herbs and spices. It's a creamy, cheesy, one-pot meal you can make in just 45 minutes! And the beauty of this meal is that it's tasty, veggie-rich and visually appealing.
With an impressive 31 grams of protein per serving, this dish is sure to keep you satisfied until your next meal.
Get the Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta recipe from Nourished by Nic.
7. Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Bake
• 31 grams of protein
This creamy, cheesy bake is a delicious way to pack in the veggies (and get plenty of protein, too)!
"I love that this recipe contains 4 cups of broccoli. Plus, adding a little cheese to casserole dishes like this one is a great way to get even the pickiest of eaters to try new vegetables!" says Nicole Addison, RD, owner of Nourished by Nic.
Get the Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Bake recipe and nutritional info from Dishing Out Health.
8. Chicken and Rice Casserole
• 34 grams of protein
The beauty of this absolutely delicious chicken casserole is that it's all made from scratch with plenty of common pantry essentials.
"I love making easy meals like this Chicken and Rice Casserole to freeze when I know I have a busy week coming up. When you're ready to eat simply grab it out of the freezer, defrost and bake and you're done," Addison says.
To get in some more veggies, Addison suggests serving it alongside some steamed or sauteed broccoli.
Get the Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe and nutrition info from Feel Good Foodie.
9. Cheesy Chicken and Zucchini Casserole
• 36 grams of protein
If you are looking for a well-balanced meal that anyone will enjoy, this chicken casserole has you covered. It's a tasty, protein-rich dish that delivers 5 grams of fiber per cup! "The quinoa in the dish is a great way to get more fiber," Addison says.
Fiber helps keep hunger at bay and blood sugar in check, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Adults should be getting at least 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day.
Get the Cheesy Chicken and Zucchini Casserole recipe and nutritional info from The Recipe Well.
10. Chicken Parm Casserole
- 40 grams of protein
If you have some leftover rotisserie chicken in your fridge, here's one delicious way to repurpose last night's meal. It takes just 25 minutes to bake once you've prepared the pasta.
The penne pasta, rotisserie chicken and tomato sauce come together so nicely in this dish, and the blend of herbs and spices adds to the appeal. But, what makes it especially comforting is the golden, crisp breadcrumb topping and oozy melted cheese.
Just two ounces of Rotisserie chicken gives you nearly 17 grams of protein, according to the USDA. And because pasta and cheese are sources of protein, too, this is one that qualifies as a high-protein dish.
Get the Chicken Parm Casserole recipe from Toby Amidor Nutrition.
11. Classic Chicken Casserole
- 5 grams of protein
It's got chicken, rice and a buttery cornflake topping — this is your classic chicken casserole recipe with a few options for making it more nutritious.
This chicken casserole is quite rich, so sticking to portion sizes (in this case, that's 1/9 of the casserole) will keep it lower in fat and calories.
Because it has 2 cups of diced chicken and 3 hard-boiled eggs, you'll still get some protein from this recipe, but we suggest adding in more chicken or serving it up with a dollop of plain, low-fat Greek yogurt or Labne. You can pair your portion with a side of veggies like broccoli or a salad.
Get the Classic Chicken Casserole recipe and nutrition info from Tastes Better From Scratch.
12. Homemade Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Lasagna
• 30 grams of protein
Chicken and broccoli pair up nicely in this creamy, alfredo-style casserole. You'll prepare a roux, which keeps the sauce thick and velvety without the need for heavy cream.
This recipe is made completely from scratch, including homemade pasta, but you can use whatever pasta you prefer or have in your pantry.
If you're trying to cut back on saturated fat, consider eating half a portion with a side of steamed broccoli or a salad. (Don't worry, you'll still get plenty of protein.)
Get the Homemade Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Lasagna and nutrition info from Everyday Homemade.
13. White Chicken Casserole With Mushrooms and White Wine
• 48 grams of protein
Real cream, crispy bacon, mushrooms and white wine come together to make this super comforting chicken casserole a crowd-pleaser. But because these ingredients add such a richness in flavor, just a little of each goes a long way.
Each serving has just 4 grams of saturated fat, less than 500 milligrams of sodium, and only 2 grams of sugar, which aligns with recommendations from the American Heart Association. And it's super high in protein with 48 grams per serving!
14. Crockpot Tuscan Chicken Casserole
• 33 grams of protein
Slow-cooker meals like this chicken casserole make the perfect comfort food dinner. A delightful mélange of artichoke, tomato, spinach, and garlic complement a tender, juicy chicken in a creamy-rich sauce.
At just under 600 calories per serving, this dish is a winner with 33 grams of satiating protein. But it is high in sodium and fat. To lower the sodium, go for unmarinated, drained, canned artichokes and low-sodium chicken broth. Swap half the heavy cream for low-fat milk for less fat.
Get the Crockpot Tuscan Chicken recipe and nutrition info from The Endless Meal.
15. Crockpot Butter Chicken
• 53 grams of protein
If you love a good curry, this one-pot meal hits all the flavor points. It's got the warmth of garlic, ginger, and cumin infused with the sweetness of graham masala and just a bit of sugar. And plenty of chili powder to give it some real heat.
This chicken casserole gets its creaminess from a small amount of heavy cream (which you can sub for coconut cream if you like) is certainly creamy, and ends up with just 3 grams of saturated fat per serving. As a bonus, you'll also get 53 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
Get the Crockpot Butter Chicken recipe and nutrition info from The Endless Meal.