Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

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This Instant Pot Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole Recipe is a creamy, cheesy one-pot dish topped with a crispy Ritz Cracker crumb crust you can finish in the oven or with an air fryer lid. 

a side shot of a spoonful of poppyseed chicken casserole made in the Instant Pot served with steamed broccoli

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: This creamy, cheesy casserole has it all: it’s full of flavor from garlic and onion, has tender, juicy pieces of chicken, and you can prepare the white rice at the same time as the chicken. 

We’ve been making one-pot chicken recipes in the pressure cooker for years. And casseroles are always a hit with my family.

This one is inspired by our Instant Pot Creamy Chicken and Broccoli over Rice, but with new flavors. 

This is one of our favorite Instant Pot Chicken Recipes. It’s fast, easy, and requires just one pot, just like our Instant Pot Chicken Enchilada Pasta

a shot of the ingredients needed to make poppy seed casserole in the Instant Pot


Here’s what you need to make creamy poppy seed chicken casserole in an Instant Pot:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: Dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces so they mix easily throughout the casserole. 
  • Garlic and onion: If you don’t want to dice an onion, we used 1/2 cup frozen onion and it worked great.
  • Chicken broth: You can use low-sodium store-bought broth or make your own. 
  • Cornstarch: The key to thickening the sauce.
  • Cream cheese: For best results, use room-temperature cream cheese.
  • Parmesan cheese: You could also use pecorino romano or cheddar.
  • Sour cream: This adds a nice tanginess to the dish. 
  • Poppy seeds: Find these in the spice section of the grocery store. 
  • Dried parsley: You could also use fresh, minced parsley if you like. 
  • Ritz Crackers: Crush these in a zip-top bag or using a food processor for the crumb topping if you like.
an overhead shot of the chicken in the pot, with a trivet ready to lower the rice on

How to Make Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole in an Instant Pot

This easy recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

To start, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper all over. Heat the oil in the pressure cooking pot using the Saute function. When hot, add the onion and cook for a minute, then cook the garlic for 30 seconds. 

Add the butter and chicken and cook for two minutes, then add the broth, salt and pepper.

An overhead shot showing the small cake pan filled with rice and water in place, ready to cook

If you’d like to add rice, combine the rice, water, and salt in a 7-inch round cake pan. Place a trivet in the pot, then lower the cake pan onto the trivet with a sling. 

Pressure cook on high for 4 minutes. Release the pressure for 10 minutes, then finish with a quick pressure release. Remove the lid, then use the sling to remove the pot with the rice. 

An overhead shot of the parsley, cream cheese, and poppy seeds in the creamy chicken sauce

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Select Sauté and add the cornstarch mixture to the pot, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.

Add the cubed cream cheese, a few pieces at a time, stirring until smooth. Add the parmesan cheese until melted. Add the sour cream, poppy seeds and the parsley and stir until smooth. 

An overhead shot looking in the Instant Pot, with everything stirred together

Making a Crumb Topping

If you’d like to add a crispy, crunchy topping to the casserole, make a crumb topping by combing a tablespoon of butter with the crushed Ritz crackers. 

To Finish in the Oven

You can make the crispy topping in a baking dish. To do so, grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and preheat the broiler. Transfer the chicken casserole to the baking dish. Sprinkle the crumbled Ritz crackers topping on top. Place under the broiler until golden and bubbly, keeping a close eye on it. 

To Finish with an Air Fryer Lid

If you have an air fryer lid, you can finish the dish right in the pressure cooker. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the crushed ritz crackers and cheese. Set the temperature to 350°F and bake for 2 to 4 minutes, until browned.

an overhead shot of a white rectangular casserole dish with a wooden spoon scooping out some of the poppy seed chicken casserole


We use the Instant Pot Duo Crisp with an Air Fryer Lid to finish this dish in the Instant Pot. To cook rice, you’ll need a 7-inch round cake pan that fits inside the pressure cooker. We use this one from Fat Daddios. And you can make your own aluminum sling or use a reusable sling, this is the one we use

a 45 degree shot showing a white plate of poppy seed chicken casserole in front of an Instant pot with steamed broccoli in the background

Important Tips for Making Poppy Seed Chicken

  • I found that the dish isn’t nearly as pretty when you finish it with the air fryer lid. That’s what I do when I’m just serving my kids. But for a more refined presentation, I recommend using a baking dish and the broiler.
  • Greasing the baking dish makes clean-up easier!
  • You don’t strictly need the poppy seeds, but they add to the texture and to the visual appearance of the dish. If you’re not a fan, feel free to omit the seeds. 
  • You can skip the rice if you like, but when you cook rice at the same time as the chicken, you have a full meal all from one pot!
a close-up shot of a bite of Instant Pot chicken casserole

Frequently Asked Questions about Poppy Seed Chicken 

Do I have to Make a Crumb Topping?

You can certainly serve this casserole as-is without a crumb topping! We like to add it for crunch. However, when I’m crunched for time, I’ll just pass out the ritz crackers to the family and everyone just eats them together.

How should I store leftovers?

Store fully cooled leftover casserole in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat in the microwave or in the Instant Pot. 

Can I freeze chicken casserole?

Yes, you can freeze fully cooled casserole for up to six months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, then reheat to serve!

What should I serve with chicken casserole?

Serve this creamy, cheesy casserole over white rice. Another grain, or pasta will also work. 

An overhead shot of a white plate filled with poppyseed casserole

MORE Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

Make these other quick and easy Instant Pot Chicken Recipes:

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A close-up of a wooden spoon ready to scoop out a generous helping of chicken poppyseed casserole, made in the Instant Pot

Instant Pot Poppyseed Chicken

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 34 minutes

This Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole has a crispy crumb topping from Ritz Crackers, and a creamy, cheesy center with sour cream, parmesan, and cream cheese.



  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), diced into bite-size pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced (Jenn’s family generally uses ½ onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

Crumb Topping (optional)

  • 1 sleeve (about 30) Ritz Crackers, coarsely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

For the rice (optional)

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt



  1. Salt and pepper the diced chicken to taste.
  2. Select Sauté to preheat the pressure cooking pot. When hot, add the olive oil and onion and sauté for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add 1 tablespoon butter and the diced chicken, and sauté for 2 minutes more. Add the chicken broth, salt, and pepper.
  3. For the rice: In a 7-inch round cake pan, stir together the rice, water, and salt. Place a trivet above the chicken in the pressure cooking pot. Use a sling to carefully lower the cake pan onto the trivet.
  4. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 4 minutes cook time.
    When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
  5. Use the sling to carefully remove the pan of rice from the cooking pot. Cover and set aside. Remove trivet.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water until smooth. Select Sauté and add the slurry to the pot, stirring constantly until the liquid thickens.
  7. Add cubed cream cheese a few blocks at a time and stir until well blended. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Add sour cream, poppy seeds and the dried parsley and stir until well blended
  8. Can serve as-is or finish with a crumb topping.


  • If using, combine with 1 tablespoon butter with the crushed Ritz crackers and set aside.


  • Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish and preheat the broiler. Transfer the chicken casserole to the baking dish and sprinkle with the crumbled ritz crackers. Place under the broiler until golden and bubby, keeping a close eye on it.


  • Sprinkle the top with the crushed ritz crackers and cheese. Set the temperature to 350°F and bake for 2 to 4 minutes, until browned.


  • Serve hot over cooked rice


Note: If you’re not cooking the rice at the same time, you don’t have to wait the full 10 minutes, you can just finish with a quick release.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 285Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 772mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 18g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.


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