Healthy Savory Chicken Casserole Recipe (2024)

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This Savory Chicken Casserole Recipe is one of the best guilt-free comfort food recipes we have ever had. You will not believe this is dairy-free, gluten-free, and paleo-approved.

Healthy Savory Chicken Casserole Recipe (1)

Savory Chicken Casserole

Do the words casserole and clean eating REALLY go together? Well, today they do! This is a great feel-good food recipe. It actually tastes cheesy although there is no cheese and NO dairy of any kind!

Even though this is a healthy chicken casserole the whole family will love it. This is a great weeknight meal and it’s perfect for food prep because it tastes great leftover (hot or cold!).

If you want more meal ideas, check out this chicken tortilla casserole for a different flavor profile. You may also enjoy my zucchini noodle lasagna.

Can I Use Different Vegetables?

You sure can! I love green peas in this because it reminds me of a creamy chicken pot pie without the crust. You can add in peas and carrots, broccoli, asparagus, or cauliflower. Use your imagination and use whatever vegetable you prefer or enjoy.

I also like adding in onions or mushrooms for a different richer flavor profile. This is just a guide. You can make this your own by adding in any vegetables you want.

Should I Bake This?

This recipe does not require baking. However, you can pour into a cast-iron skillet or a baking dish and pop into the oven to heat through and add a bit of crisp or color to the top. If you eat cheese, a bit of cheese on top can be another addition that adds flavor. You could even sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top for a bit of crunch.

As it stands, you don’t have to bake the savory casserole, but it adds an extra layer of texture you will probably love. Plus, it gives you a bit more time to throw together a nice side salad to go on the side of your casserole meal.

Can This Savory Chicken Casserole be Frozen?

Yes! I love that this is such a great make-ahead recipe to put into freezer bags or a disposable baking dish and wrap well to freeze. You can thaw and reheat, or add to the oven straight from the freezer to heat through.

Just make sure you label and date the casserole before you freeze. That way you will always know what you have on hand in your freezer.

Tips for Making Savory Chicken Casserole

  • For the shredded chicken you can either boil it (our favorite!), make it in the Instant Pot, or if you are really pressed for time you can use rotisseriechicken.
  • You can either buy the whole butternut squash and peel and cut yourself or let the grocery store do that for you by purchasing the already peeled and cubed butternut squash!
  • Coconut cream is skimmed off the top of coconut milk (save that coconut milk for your next protein shake or smoothie!). Or you can purchase a can of the coconut cream (we’ve seen it at Trader Joes but it looks like it’s available on Amazon here too!)

Healthy Savory Chicken Casserole Recipe (2)

This was originally published on March 11, 2014, and updated April 13, 2020.


Healthy Savory Chicken Casserole Recipe (3)

Savory Chicken Casserole

★★★★★5 from 8 reviews
  • Author: Whitney Carlson
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
Print Recipe


This savory chicken casserole is one of the best guilt-free comfort food recipes we have ever had. You will not believe this is dairy free, gluten-free, and paleo approved.



  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (skimmed off of the top of a can of coconut milk)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/4 cup green peas (if using frozen, thaw prior to adding to recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano


  1. If you have not pre-prepared your chicken, place chicken in an additional pot of boiling water for 8-15 minutes. Remove from heat, strain and shred chicken using forks or a stand mixer. Not sure how to boil chicken? We’ve got you covered! Check outthis post.
  2. Meanwhile, soften cubed and peeled butternut squash in a large pot of boiling water for approximately 40 minutes. Remove butternut squash from pot using a strainer and place in a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash butternut squash to a smooth, but somewhat chunky texture.
  3. Add apple cider vinegar, sea salt, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, thyme and onion powder to the mashed butternut squash and stir to combine.
  4. Mix in the coconut creme and oil, stirring to combine.
  5. Stir in coconut oil, coconut creme, shredded chicken and green peas.
  6. Place mixture in a large skillet and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes on medium heat.


Recipe adapted from Paleo Grubs Stove-tip “Cheesy” Paleo Chicken Casserole

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


Reader Interactions

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  1. Brandi Morrill says

    Mine came out kind of dry. What did I mess up on?????


    • Whitney Carlson says

      Hi Brandi, I am so sorry I am just now seeing your comment. When you left it we were in the process of transferring websites. Although you might not care anymore I wanted to acknowledge your comment! Did you following the recipe exactly or did you make substitutions? One reason I can think of is if you overcooked the chicken (which is easy to do). I hope you gave it another try and that it came out better the second time.


  2. Whitney Carlson says


    Hubby made this tonight for dinner. It smelled so good and turned out just like the picture. My only concern is it tastes so sweet. I am trying to figure out if he used the wrong coconut product. Did anyone else get a really sweet result? Thank you for your help

    I think we found the answer. I pulled the can of coconut cream out of the garbage and read the ingredients. It had added sugar in the ingredients 🙁 We have learned our lesson and will try the recipe again without the sugar bomb.

    So yummy! My 5 and 2 year old and husband really enjoy it!!! It’s our new staple:)

    This was so good, I changed the recipe a little bit by roasting the butternut squash and sautéing some shallots and garlic together then adding everything. I also added a teaspoon of poultry seasoning and toasted that with the garlic and shallots! Awesome recipe 🙂

    I tried this recipe this week and loved it. My butternut squash was almost mushy after 15 minutes of boiling but I probably had small cubes. I used twice the amount that the recipe called for and still had extra squash for later. I cooked two chicken breasts (7oz each) in about 15-20 minutes. So all together this recipe was very quick and easy for me but it did use a lot of pots and pans. I did make one mistake with the coconut though. Instead of the can of coconut milk for the cream, I bought what I thought was organic coconut cream. It turns out I misread the label and it was really creamed coconut. Not the same thing at all but I used it anyway. I’m looking forward to making this again with the correct ingredients.

    This is really good – I’ll definitely make it again.
    I made a half recipe with minor modifications. To help speed the process along, I bought pre-cut butternut squash at Trader Joe’s (12 oz). Put it in a glass bowl with some water in the microwave; it took about 15 minutes in the microwave before it was ready to mash.
    I also had cooked, shredded chicken in the freezer so I pulled that out. Didn’t have garlic powder so I used fresh minced garlic instead.
    Post Thanksgiving, this would be a great way to use up leftover turkey. I’d even make this w/o the meat to serve as a side dish especially if going to a potluck, etc.

    My BF is eyeing my plate from across the room right now…

    This was delicious! Even my 2 year old loved it, thank you!

    I just read other comments, and next time I may try making it with broccoli instead of the peas, but the peas were really good with it!

    I’ve had this pinned forever;) Finally made it tonight using left over rotisserie chicken from Costco. Yum! Thank you for the recipe!

    Made this last night for dinner! So yummy!! Will definitely be making it again 🙂

    I doubled it too and had great results.

    I really like this recipe so much:) I’m lactose intolerant, so the coconut milk is just great for me; Tastes great and doesn’t make me sick!

    I ended up using a whole butternut squash I roasted. There was about 2.5 cups which I thought was a good amount for the amount of spice. Very tasty. Thank you. 👍👍👍

    super easy and delicious!! thanks for this recipe and for your blog- always enjoy your tips! 🙂

    Absolutely love this recipe. Easy to make, had all ingredients, except for the squash, on hand. I shared this recipe several times and even to some to the gym for my gym family to taste, lol.

    This was DELICIOUS!!! I wasn’t sure what to think since I’ve never had Coconut Milk before, but I loved it. I wound up doubling the recipe – my husband LOVED it and we’ve got more for leftovers! 🙂 This will be a staple in our home from now on! Thank you so much!!!!

    Just made this for dinner – oh my gosh – added to my favorites list! So tasty!

    This is delicious !! Thank you


  3. Ashley V Ledford says

    Chicken casserole is one of my favorite meals- all times of the year – and this recipe is a perfect healthy version! I have never added peas before- what a great way to incorporate some veggies! 🙂


    • Whitney Carlson says

      Hi Ashley! I’m so glad you love the recipe. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review and comment. 🙂


  4. Juston McNalley says

    Whaaat?!?! Can’t believe this is so good even without the cheese and creamy soups you typically add to casseroles. Amazing creation!


    • Whitney Carlson says

      Hi Justin! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and review. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe.


  5. Melodi Cadwell says

    Followed recipe exactly! My husband and I are just starting to eat clean. I have to say it has taken me a very long time to get to this point. He is the pickiest eater I have ever met. He loved this dish, insisting on the leftovers for his lunch. He gave this recipe a solid 10 stars. He wanting me to make it a Second time. The second time we made this dish we add sautéed onions and celery!!! We absolutely loved it both ways!!!


    • Whitney Carlson says

      That makes me so happy to hear, Melodi! I’m so glad both of you like the recipe. I hope you enjoy our others as well. 🙂


  6. kkSize says

    I’m looking for new ways to use chicken because it’s such a staple in our house, but there are only a few recipes I circle through, that it gets boring to make again and again. This one is so simple and easy to make and is delicious! It’s helpful to have more healthy recipes added into our rotation.


    • Whitney Carlson says

      I’m so glad you liked the recipe! I agree chicken can get boring so we are always looking for ways to switch it up. Thanks for taking the time to comment and leave a review.


  7. Lynn Charland says

    I made this recipe last night. Even my picky eater didn’t complain. So, to me that is a win. I did double the recipe so I could have leftovers.


    • Whitney Carlson says

      Hi Lynn! I’m so glad that you (and your picky eater!) liked the recipe. It’s still one of our favorites even years later. Thank you for taking the time to comment and leave a review.


  8. Jenny says

    WOW! I love this recipe. I followed it exactly as is and it is one of my new favorites. I would like to try it with broccoli next time but it doesn’t matter what veggie this is truly the best clean eating recipe. Thank you so much for sharing!


  9. Javier Cortes says

    Amazing! Such a delicious recipe.


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Healthy Savory Chicken Casserole Recipe (2024)


How does Jamie Oliver make chicken casserole? ›

Add the chicken, celeriac, parsnips and potatoes to the pan. Stir in the Marmite, add a good grinding of black pepper and stir to coat. Pour in the hot stock, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low. Crumple up and wet a piece of greaseproof paper, then open it out and place on top of the stew.

How do I add Flavour to bland chicken casserole? ›

Add fresh chilli and coriander to a simple casserole to spice it up. Always add hardy, fresh herbs such as bay leaves and rosemary at the beginning of cooking, and throw in lighter herbs, such as parsley and tarragon, at the end so they keep their flavour.

Are casseroles healthy for you? ›

Depending on the ingredients, casseroles can be healthy or not-so-healthy. The not-so-healthy casseroles generally contain a lot of butter, heavy cream, cheese, or fatty meats. Try to look for healthier versions, such as those that contain lean cuts of meat, poultry or fish.

What is the key to making a good casserole? ›

  1. Choose the right baking dish. If you're all about the crunchy topping, use a shallow dish. ...
  2. Undercook your pasta. ...
  3. Drain your meat. ...
  4. Beware of mushy vegetables. ...
  5. Know your cheeses. ...
  6. Master the art of casserole assembly. ...
  7. Don't skip the topping. ...
  8. Make it now, but bake it later.
Nov 1, 2021

What thickens chicken casserole? ›

The three main thickening agents for gravies are flour, cornflour and arrowroot. The first two are normally used in savoury dishes while arrowroot tends to be used in sweet dishes – that said, arrowroot will work in a savoury dish as it has no flavour.

What spices enhance the flavor of chicken? ›

5 best spice and herbs blends for chicken and meat
  • Paprika and garlic powder. Paprika is a great spice that makes any chicken dish stand out, it comes in many forms sweet, hot, regular and smoky. ...
  • Basil and rosemary. ...
  • Ginger and lemongrass. ...
  • Turmeric and chili. ...
  • Coriander and cumin.

How can I improve my casserole flavor? ›

Sweet, salty, spicy, and acidic elements should blend well and complement each other. Add ingredients like caramelized onions, olives, or lemon zest to give your casserole a depth of flavor.

What enhances chicken flavor? ›

Marinating not only adds flavor, but the combination of healthy fat and acid in most recipes also helps tenderize the meat. A good marinade is roughly three parts oil to one part acid, plus salt and other seasonings like spices, crushed garlic, or a little natural sugar.

What can you substitute for rice in a casserole? ›

  1. Quinoa. While it assumes a grain-like taste and texture after cooking, quinoa is a seed. ...
  2. Riced cauliflower. Riced cauliflower is an excellent low-carb and low-calorie alternative to rice. ...
  3. Riced broccoli. ...
  4. Shirataki rice. ...
  5. Barley. ...
  6. Whole-wheat couscous. ...
  7. Chopped cabbage. ...
  8. Whole-wheat orzo.
Sep 12, 2019

What is the healthiest thing to cook? ›

Sarah Brealey presents 25 simple suggestions for healthy meals.
  • Pea and broad bean couscous. ...
  • Beetroot and lentil salad. ...
  • Fast home-made baked beans. ...
  • Porridge. ...
  • Pasta with cherry tomatoes and rocket. ...
  • Home-made hummus. ...
  • Smashed avocado and wilted spinach. ...
  • Cucumber (or potato) raitha.

What are 5 components of a casserole? ›

Let's talk anatomy: A standard dinner casserole usually includes a protein, a starch, a vegetable, a sauce (or other binding ingredient), and cheese. But making a casserole is not an exact science, and you can definitely break away from this formula. Check out some fun side-dish casseroles and desserts below!

Do I bake my casserole covered or uncovered? ›

Uncovering the foods promotes browning and crisping, and reduces the amount of liquid in the finished dish. If a casserole looks soupy when it's ready to bake, bake it uncovered unless the ingredients include pasta or rice, which absorb liquid.

Is it better to cook casserole the day before or? ›

Make-ahead meals (especially baked casseroles) are terrific because you can completely assemble them in advance and bake them just before serving. They're the ultimate comfort food as they come bubbling hot and delicious straight from the oven to the table to the delight of family and friends.

What casserole dishes does Jamie Oliver use? ›

Cast iron cookware has been trusted in kitchens for centuries – and with good reason. For a start, it's guaranteed to last. This makes Jamie Oliver by Tefal Premium Cast Iron pots and pans are robust enough for everyday use.

What make of oven does Jamie Oliver use? ›

Jamie Oliver MBE

Jamie chooses Wolf Dual Fuel ranges as his ovens of choice for his London and Essex homes and also his London studio (demo model pictured below).

What are the 4 parts of a casserole? ›

Not every single casserole has all of them, but as a rule of thumb, here's what to look for: a starch, a binding agent or sauce, and a protein or vegetable. Many casseroles also have both vegetables and proteins, as well as a crunchy element to give some textural contrast, and cheese.

What are the three main parts of a casserole? ›

In the United States, a casserole or hot dish is typically a baked food with three main components: pieces of meat (such as chicken or ground meat) or fish (such as tuna) or other protein (such as beans or tofu), various chopped or canned vegetables (such as green beans or peas), and a starchy binder (such as flour, ...

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