This Hot Chicken Salad recipe makes an easy, delicious meal! Chicken, celery, sour cream, and cheese baked with buttery cracker topping. Perfect for serving for a family meal, luncheons, and potlucks! It is always a crowd favorite.

Hot chicken salad baked in a white baking dish.

Chicken salad is always a favorite and this easy hot chicken salad is a family favorite recipe for sure. Creamy chicken with crunchy bits of celery and a delicious buttery cracker topping, it’s hard to believe it’s ready so quickly. But it disappears just about as fast, if not faster!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy recipe. This recipe comes together quickly and bakes in the oven until golden and bubbly.
  • Comforting chicken salad recipe. Chicken salad is always delicious, but this hot chicken salad is warm and comforting. Great anytime!
  • Make ahead and freezer-friendly. Great for meal prep to serve during a busy week or to take friends and family for a meal.

How to Make Hot Chicken Salad Recipe

Ingredients to make hot chicken salad recipe on a white surface.

Ingredients for Hot Chicken Salad Recipe

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

  • Chicken – This recipe uses cooked chicken. I love to use my shredded chicken recipe or even leftover baked chicken. You can also use rotisserie chicken, homemade or store-bought.
  • Celery – Diced celery adds crunch to this hot chicken salad recipe.
  • Salt – I use kosher salt. I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you substitute with Morton’s Kosher salt, fine sea salt, or table salt, you will only need half the amount of the salt called for in the recipe. 
  • Pepper – Black pepper adds flavor to this recipe.
  • Lemon juice – Brightens this chicken salad.
  • Sour cream – Makes the chicken salad creamy and delicious. You can also substitute with partial or all Greek yogurt if you like.
  • Mayonnaise – Like the sour cream, the mayonnaise adds to the creaminess of the hot chicken salad.
  • Cheddar cheese – Shredded cheddar cheese is delicious in this recipe.
  • Ritz crackers – Crushed buttery crackers are added to the top of this hot chicken salad and then baked for a delicious topping!
  • Butter – added to the top of the Ritz cracker topping for baking.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Ingredients for the recipe in a glass mixing bowl on a white counter.

Mix the ingredients. Add all ingredients except the crackers and butter to a large mixing bowl.

Mixture in a baking dish ready for topping to bake.

Pour into baking dish. Spread the mixture into a baking dish.

Salad mixture in baking dish with cracker and butter topping added.

Add topping and butter. Distribute the cracker crumbs and butter on top of the casserole.

Baked salad in a baking dish on a white surface.

Bake. Bake in a 350º F oven until golden brown and heated throughout about 20 minutes.

Hot chicken salad casserole ready to serve.

Serve.

Storage Tips

Make ahead. Cool and wrap tightly. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat and serve.

Freeze. Prepare and spread it into a freezer-safe baking dish. Wrap tightly with freezer-safe wrap and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and add the cracker crumbs and butter before baking.

More Chicken Salad Recipes

Hot chicken salad on a white plate.

What to Serve with Hot Chicken Salad

Serve with fruit like grapes or apple slices or another salad like broccoli salad or fruit salad.

Here’s my Hot Chicken Salad recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do.

Hot Chicken Salad Recipe

5 from 8 votes
This Hot Chicken Salad recipe makes an easy, delicious meal! Chicken, celery, sour cream, and cheese baked with buttery cracker topping.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350º F.
  • Mix together all ingredients except butter crackers and butter. Pour into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Spread evenly.
  • Crush butter crackers and spread over top of chicken salad mixture. Top with pats of butter.
  • Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned and heated throughout.

Notes

To make ahead. Cool and wrap tightly. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat and serve.
To freeze. Prepare hot chicken salad mixture and spread it into a freezer-safe baking dish. Wrap tightly with freezer-safe wrap and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and add the cracker crumbs and butter before baking.

Nutrition

Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 549mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 449IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 178mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

Welcome to Add A Pinch

About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Review




27 Comments

  1. My husband doesn’t eat bread of any kind so I was just wondering if this would taste the same without the cracker topping? It looks very delicious and I’m actually thinking about making it without the cracker topping for my husband but putting it in sandwiches for my daughter and I, what do you think?
    Hopefully you get back to me, sorry if my question sounded dumb but I would hate to make such a big dish and it not turn out and have to waste it.
    Thank you in advance.

    1. You can omit the topping, if you’d like. The actual chicken salad tastes amazing. We like the additional crunch from the topping, but it isn’t absolutely required. Hope you all enjoy it!

    2. We do not eat bread either. I have used pork panko. Or nothing and it’s still wonderful.

  2. Looks good. I am going to try it and I will add a 1/4 c. slivered almonds. I think that will make a good crunch.

  3. I love chicken salad and this is a great recipe. I can’t wait to try! I love that this freezes. Makes for a quick weeknight dinner.

  4. Thank you for creating this warm chicken salad. I prefer warm sandwiches over cold any day and although I love cold chicken salad, any flavor comes through best when warmer.

  5. Hot chicken salad is one of our favorites around here. We make ours just a little different but it’s oh so yummy!

  6. I can probably deal with the sour cream but the mayo is a deal breaker. If we can find a way of subbing that out I’d be very happy. 🙂 Love the added crunch to the top!

    1. I think a great substitute for mayo is yogurt with a bit of mustard for flavor.

  7. Sounds delicious, I’ll try it soon and give the recipe to my daughter. She’s always busy running this way and that with 3 kids, 2 already started school (8/1)!
    I would have entered your contest for the Slow cooker, but, after watching you on You Tube, I hurried back to post my comment and couldn’t find where to post it:(

    Maybe you can help me! Thanks so much.

    Maureen B.