The BEST Hot Chicken Salad

The BEST Hot Chicken Salad – seriously delicious chicken casserole!! Baked chicken salad loaded with pimentos, water chestnuts, almonds, cheese, and french fried onions. Great for lunch, brunch, dinner, baby showers, potlucks, and tailgating. Chicken, almonds, water chestnuts, pimentos, celery, lemon juice, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup and french fried onions. Can make in advance and refrigerate or freeze for later. 

baked hot chicken salad on a plate

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The BEST Hot Chicken Salad with French Fried Onions

OMG! This Hot Chicken Salad Casserole is seriously the BEST! It is loaded with chicken, almonds, celery, water chestnuts, pimientos, cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup, and topped with French fried onions. All my favorites in one casserole! I made this for lunch last week and we both could not stop eating it. It is SO good.

Some of you might be wondering what is hot chicken salad? It is basically just chicken salad that has been baked in the oven. It is served hot as a casserole instead of cold on a croissant.

baked chicken salad in casserole dish

How to Make Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

This Hot Chicken Casserole is very easy to make. Just mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl and spread in a 9×13-inch pan. Top the chicken salad mixture with a can of French fried onions and bake. SO easy! I had the casserole ready to bake before my oven had fully preheated. I love quick and easy casserole recipes like this!

To cut down on the prep time, I used a rotisserie chicken. Rotisserie chicken is my secret weapon for meal prep. I always have pulled rotisserie chicken in the freezer for quick casseroles like this one. I take the chicken out of the freezer the night before I make a casserole so it can thaw.

scooping hot chicken salad out of casserole dish

Can Hot Chicken Salad Be Frozen?

Absolutely! You can make this casserole ahead of time and refrigerate or even freeze unbaked for later. You can even split this between two pans and bake one now and freeze one for later.

If baking this casserole after refrigerating, you may need to add a few minutes to the cooking time. If baking this after freezing, thaw the casserole completely and bake as directed below.

baked hot chicken salad on a plate

What to Serve with The BEST Hot Chicken Salad

We LOVE this chicken casserole. It is really the BEST. Quick, easy & delicious. You can’t beat it! We love to have this for lunch or dinner. It is also great for brunch, baby showers, bridal showers, potlucks, and tailgating. It is such a fantastic dish and everyone loves it,

You don’t need a lot of side dishes to go with this hearty chicken casserole. We usually just serve a salad and some bread with this dish. Here are a few recipes from the blog that go great with chicken casserole:

Italian Green Bean Salad

Italian Green Bean Salad – quick and delicious side dish! Green beans, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, prosciutto, and mozzarella tossed…

Quick Potato Rolls

Quick Potato Rolls – ready in 15 minutes!! No rising! Mix, press, cut, and bake. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or…

The BEST Hot Chicken Salad

Yield: 8 people
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
The BEST Hot Chicken Salad – seriously delicious chicken casserole!! Baked chicken salad loaded with pimentos, water chestnuts, almonds, cheese and french fried onions. Great for lunch, brunch, dinner, baby showers, potlucks, and tailgating. Chicken, almonds, water chestnuts, pimentos, celery, lemon juice, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup and french fried onions. Can make in advance and refrigerate or freeze for later. #casserole #chicken #chickencasserole #freezermeal

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9x13x2-inch pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked chicken, almonds, water chestnuts, pimentos, celery, lemon juice, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup, salt, and pepper. Spread into prepared pan.
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Sprinkle French fried onions on top of casserole and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Notes:

  • I suggest using Unsalted Cream of Chicken Soup in this dish to control the sodium.
  • Can make in advance and refrigerate or freeze unbaked for later.
  • If baking after refrigerating, you may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.
  • If baking after freezing, thaw completely and bake as directed.

Steph

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plate of chicken salad casserole
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plate of chicken salad casserole

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Comments

  1. It’s a great recipe! However instead of crispy onions, I use slightly crushed original Lays potato chips ( not ruffles) and Dukes mayo only. It’s a total game changer.

  2. I must’ve done something wrong I don’t know why mine came out really really oily. I don’t know if it was the shredded cheddar are used or the mayonnaise. I followed the I followed the instructions.

    1. It is probably the brand of mayonnaise that you used. I like Hellmann’s. I’ve had other brands like Duke’s break in casseroles and dips and become oily.

    1. Not sure. It would just depend on the size of the dish. I’d check it at 20 minutes – you are just cooking it until it is hot.

  3. I am 75 years old and I remember my mother making this when “the ladies came to lunch”, so this dish has stood the test of time. It was good then and it’s still good today. It’s pretty rich so just a light green salad on the side is really all that’s needed. Easy and delicious.

  4. Could I substitute cream of mushroom for cream of chicken? Just wondering. Tried the cream of chicken already….

  5. I have been making a similar recipe since 1976. It was originally given to me by my hospital cafeteria chef. The original recipe called for toasted slivered almonds, which adds additional crunch. It also has 3 chopped hard boiled eggs mixed in! And called for chow mein noodles as topping with a cup of grated cheddar cheese. I have used crushed butter cracker topping and the onion rings. It is one of my favourite dishes.

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