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Baked Chicken Salad

Baked Chicken Salad - An old family recipe - this casserole is fantastic!  Tender chunks of rotisserie chicken and mushrooms in a creamy, zesty sauce and topped with Ritz crackers.  So good!

My husband Jack wanted to be the one to share the story behind today’s recipe – a delicious Baked Chicken Salad. It’s another treasure from my mother’s old recipe box and we think you’re going to love it as much as we did! Here is Jack in his own words:

I feel honored that I have a window into Martha’s family history by looking through the hundreds of handwritten recipes from her mother and grandmother, and even the recipes that Martha used to collect from many years ago.

Many of the recipes, like this Baked Chicken Salad, have an almost vintage feel to them with methods and language that was common back then but seem a little outdated today.

Baked Chicken Salad - An old family recipe - this casserole is fantastic!  Tender chunks of rotisserie chicken and mushrooms in a creamy, zesty sauce and topped with Ritz crackers.  So good!

But if you look past all that – and just look at how the combination of ingredients come together, there are some really great recipes in Martha’s mother’s old recipe box. I love looking at each recipe with a modern-day eye and try to imagine how that would taste if we tweaked this or that method, or added some new ingredient that wasn’t available back when Helen (Martha’s mother) originally wrote down the recipe.

But sometimes – like in the case of this Baked Chicken Salad – the recipe is better left exactly as was written. With its delicious Ritz cracker crust, chunks of tender chicken and mushrooms, and tangy, creamy sauce – it really does taste like a chicken salad – but in casserole form.

Baked Chicken Salad - An old family recipe - this casserole is fantastic!  Tender chunks of rotisserie chicken and mushrooms in a creamy, zesty sauce and topped with Ritz crackers.  So good!

We made this recipe without making any changes to the original recipe, except where it called for cooked chicken – we simply put a whole supermarket rotisserie chicken in its place. We also updated the language a bit. Typically, we share many of our recipes with my own parents who live nearby – but in this case, we ate the entire casserole ourselves! (Sorry mom and dad…we’ll make this recipe for you another time!)

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Baked Chicken Salad

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup medium diced celery
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • One average-sized rotisserie chicken, picked and roughly chopped (discard skin, bones and scraps)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and add mushrooms. Sauté for two minutes.
  3. Add celery, onions, salt and pepper and sauté just for one more minute. (Celery will still be crunchy)
  4. Lower heat to medium and add flour. Cook for one minute over medium stirring often.
  5. While stirring with a wooden spoon, add cream a little at a time, stirring constantly. Cook for one minute and remove from heat.
  6. In a large bowl, place chicken and mayonnaise and stir. Add in mixture from pan, stir and pour into a two quart casserole dish.
  7. In a small bowl, melt remaining two tablespoons of butter and add crushed Ritz. Sprinkle this over the casserole and bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
  8. Remove and serve immediately.

You may also like:

Copycat Willow Tree Chicken Salad

Willow Tree Chicken Salad copycat

Rotisserie Chicken Skillet

Rotisserie Chicken Skillet - A Family Feast

Israeli Couscous with Chicken and Peas

Israeli Couscous with Chicken and Peas - A Family Feast

Creamy Chicken Queso Dip

Creamy Chicken Queso Dip - A Family Feast

Comments

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  1. Thank you for sharing this. I’m sure it’s tough to share recipes that have been in the family so long. And any recipe that sticks around for this long….it’s gotta be good. And I love the Ritz cracker crust. Just adds the right flavor and texture to the casserole. Ready to cozy up with this delicious meal =)

    • Thanks Laura! I’m actually happy to share the recipes…and I’m sure my mom would be too! And you’re right – that Ritz cracker crust is perfection! 🙂

  2. Not only do people not use the same methods any more, but people don’t write recipes down like they used to! Especially not with blogs and online searches. I love that you have all of these written down somewhere. And I love this! That cracker crust kills me.

    • Thanks Kim! It’s so true – having these recipes in my mother’s handwriting is a treasure. But I suppose our blogs will be the legacy we leave to our own children…just in a different format!

  3. I love that you are still using old family recipes written and passed down. Nice to keep up traditions.

  4. Martha,
    Just curious…what did your mom typically serve with the baked chicken salad? I’m trying it out,sounds delicious!

    • Hi Irma – Most of our family dinners would include a side salad (simple iceberg lettuce with tomatoes and cucumbers) or maybe some vegetables (green beans, peas or carrots). Honestly – nothing fancy! 🙂 I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

  5. I just made something very similar to this. This is the perfect comfort food for winter.

  6. I love love loooove vintage recipes!! What a treasure. The salad, errr casserole ;-), looks fantastic!

  7. This casserole looks so comforting and delicious! I LOVE getting my hands on old family recipe boxes and books. SO entertaining! Old church books from the 50’s and 60’s are the best. Tuna Jello, anyone?

  8. How wonderful to have a stash of handwritten recipes form your mother and grandmother. Truly a treasure! And you husband is right…sometimes the classic are best left as-is.

  9. What a wonderful post. I have my Mom’s old recipe box too. She has been gone almost 36 yrs.
    I will have to admit that I sometimes still cry when I look thru it and see her handwriting and recognize the dishes. In a way it’s a shame that everything is electronic now.

    • Thank you! I miss my mom too Carol (although it’s only been 2 1/2 years for me) – my mom’s handwriting is instantly recognizable to me! 🙂 I agree that something is lost when it’s all electronic…but I also like to think that someday my daughter will look at our blog and read our stories behind the recipes and see our photos…hopefully she will enjoy that as much (but in a different way) as the handwritten recipe cards! Thanks for visiting us today!

  10. I love recipes that use left over cooked chicken!

  11. This is a gem! I never thought to make a baked version! YUM!

  12. I love the cracker crust! You have the best recipes.

  13. I love that your mom wrote her recipes down and you share them! I have to stand next to my mom and attempt to convert her recipes into actual measurements because a good Dominican mom just “eyeballs” it. That Ritz cracker crust is perfection. I can’t blame you and your husband for not sharing!

  14. I have a soft spot for retro recipes, especially those old-fashioned creamy casseroles that were oh-so-popular back in the day. Adding this one to my to-do list… it sounds like it’s the perfect thing to combat this crappy cold winter weather.

  15. I love “retro” dishes like this, so nostalgic! Plus, it sounds absolutely delicious, the perfect way to chase off the chill outside today.

  16. I’ve never seen anything like this before -it looks so comforting!

  17. You just don’t mess with perfection! Especially when it has so many memories attached! This looks wonderful!

  18. I love that you shared this old family recipe. Sometimes it’s nice to just go back to something that you love and are comfortable with and oh that topping, you’d have a hard time pulling me away from it.

  19. I love old recipes! My aunt gave me a really old cookbook and we laughed about all the (not so delicious sounds) recipes. However, this recipe sounds totally hearty and delicious. I bet it was amazing with all those buttery Ritz crackers on top.

  20. This is going to sound so odd but every time I visit your blog it feels like coming home. It has such a welcoming feel to it. Plus the food, omg the food. This dish is fabulous. I could eat a boatload of this one.