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Grandma’s Chicken Casserole Recipe

Lately my grandma has been spending a lot of time watching cooking channels and jotting down recipes on index cards. She’s even started a Pinterest board where she pins her favorites. It used to be cute, but now it’s gotten to the point where if I come home from college for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I have at least three new meals planned out before leaving again. It’s become so overbearing that last year when she called me up all excited because she had just seen this “amazing” chicken casserole recipe online and wanted me to try it over break, I lied and said we had already planned on ordering in pizza.

Good gracious, I haven’t seen my grandma so mad since my cousin Sarah dyed her hair blue. She told me she didn’t bring me up to be this way, and that family traditions are important, even if they aren’t always convenient. I’m not sure what the deal was with the non-stop phone calls for two weeks after that night.

Grandma’s chicken casserole recipe is a sore subject in our house now, but every year around this time I make a point of going to visit her and see her grandkids before going back to school. It isn’t worth it to fight about something as silly as dinner plans when there are more important things like spending time together and learning about our traditions.

But enough about the one time I almost ruined Thanksgiving, let’s talk about this casserole.

My grandma’s chicken casserole recipe has been a favorite in our family for over 70 years now. She always said it was a little bit of this and a little bit of that, so no two batches ever taste quite the same. It is made with ingredients most people have around their house: butter, white rice, cream of chicken soup, Velveeta cheese, cornflake crumbs… You can even add in your own extras or substitutes to make it your own.

Grandma would tell me that when she first started cooking it back in the 1940s, my great-grandparents used to eat it without anything on top. In the 60s, she served it with a side of French’s fried onions and in the 70s it became a popular casserole for potlucks with co-workers. Nowadays I’m a big fan of adding a bit of sour cream to the mix before popping it in the oven.

I hope one day when my kids are grown they find this recipe in my belongings and make some good memories from it. And maybe they’ll tell their kids about how special our family traditions are or why it’s important that we take time out once in awhile to be together as a group and share our stories

Grandma’s chicken casserole recipe is known as being a classic comfort dish made with basic ingredients that are most likely already in your house.

It can be made with ingredients like butter, white rice, cream of chicken soup, Velveeta cheese, cornflake crumbs… You can even add in your own extras or substitutes to make it your own.

This dish is also known for being a very adaptable one with different tastes depending on who makes it today. If you have picky eaters they might prefer to not have the crust but rather just enjoy the casserole itself. Some prefer to have extra toppings on their casserole such as sour cream or French’s fried onions. This dish has evolved over time and morphed into what my grandma made today but every generation before her had tweaked it in their own way.

When this dish is served, it’s always accompanied by family memories and stories of how grandmother got the recipe or why she made it for dessert or when it became a casserole instead of fried chicken. Our family traditions are important because they remind us not only about where we came from but also makes us remember who we are today. These traditions may seem like something minor but when you look closer you realize that they really do help to shape our lives into what they’ve become today just like my grandma’s chicken casserole recipe did for her X

Grandma’s Chicken Casserole

Total Time: 1 hour

Servings: 6-8


6-8 chicken pieces (cubed)

1 small onion chopped

2 cups white rice

Salt and pepper to taste

Soup mixture: 3 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup butter, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 4 scallions or chives, 2 cups water

Topping: 1 sleeve cornflakes crushed, melted butter combined with paprika and garlic powder mix. Optional sour cream added before baking. Can also brush the top with an egg wash before adding the topping for browner crust. Rice can be cooked in advance so it is ready to be added with the topping as well.(optional)


-Put water into a pot until it just covers the chicken.

-Add salt and half chopped onion

-Cook for about 20 minutes making sure not to fully boil the water to keep the flavor in. Remove from heat when done cooking. Let cool before mixing with other ingredients.

Once you are ready finish assembling the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees Celsius.

-Cut up cooled chicken in small bite sized pieces ensuring that none of the bones remain in tact.

-Combine cooked onion, soup mixture, rice, garlic powder, salt and pepper into large mixing bowl.

-Use oil to grease up your casserole dish. Place chicken pieces on the bottom then cover with rice mixture, then top with optional sour cream or French’s fried onions if desired. Bake for about 15 minutes or until done.

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