This chicken bacon potato casserole is made with juicy seasoned chicken, tender bites of potato, and crispy bacon coated in a cheese sauce and topped with even more cheese! Baked until golden brown, bubbly and melty, this casserole dish will become your new favorite!
There is nothing better than a comforting casserole recipe and this chicken potato casserole brings all the coziness to your dinner table. It might remind you a bit of my loaded mashed potato casserole, which is another hit.
It’s a great way to feed a crowd on a budget knowing that no one will leave the table hungry. Cheesy potato casserole is filling, and satisfying and a complete meal all on its own!
This loaded chicken and potato casserole has all the flavors of a loaded baked potato, with juicy tender pieces of chicken which is adds a delicious hearty component.
Whether you’re a meat and potatoes kind of person or simply a lover of all things cheese and bacon, this one is for you! It’s simply made with basic pantry staples, but feel free to customize some of the flavors to your liking. See below for some added inspiration!
Keep this recipe handy because there is always a need for a new casserole recipe, especially for busy weeknights, to get you through the cooler months, or really just to be able to pull dinner out of the freezer in a pinch.
This cheesy chicken and potato casserole is super convenient and portable so it’s great for bringing to potlucks and celebrations of all kinds, and don’t be surprised at how quickly it disappears!
Ingredients Needed to Make Cheesy Potato Casserole
- Butter – Will be used to cook the onions and bacon (can you smell it now?!). Will also need a bit to grease the casserole dish.
- Chicken thighs – Boneless, skinless pieces pounded down to tenderize the meat and get it a bit thinner for an easier bite and faster cook time.
- Sea salt – Needed to salt the water to cook potatoes as well as season the chicken.
- Golden potatoes – Sliced into 1/4” pieces. They will be cooked before being added to the casserole to bake.
Bacon – You’ll need about 6 pieces of bacon, sliced into smaller pieces.
- Medium onion – An aromatic used to provide amazing flavor to the entire dish but when cooked with butter and bacon, that’s where the magic happens.
- Heavy whipping cream – Used as the rich creamy liquid base for the cheese sauce.
- Dry thyme – A lovely herb that will add a ton of flavor to the cheese sauce. Thyme is also great with both chicken and potatoes in general!
- Ground pepper – Additional seasoning for the cheese sauce.
- Sharp cheddar cheese – I highly recommend shredding your own from a block. Pre-shredded from a package doesn’t taste as fresh and because it contains anti-clumping agents, it doesn’t melt as well.
- Optional garnish – Fresh thyme, chives, green onions, or parsley.
How to Prepare Your Chicken Thighs for a Casserole
You want to use skinless, boneless chicken thighs for this recipe. If yours have skin and bones, you’ll want to remove them before getting started. Place one or two pieces at a time, in between two layers of plastic wrap.
Using a meat hammer (or a rolling pin if you don’t have a hammer), carefully pound the chicken down to about a 1/4” thick.
Continue this with the remaining pieces. You want to make sure to keep the chicken similar in size to one another. This will help ensure even cooking. Learning how to tenderize meat this way will come in handy for all kinds of different recipes and for different kinds of meat too!
How to Make Chicken Potato Casserole
This easy casserole comes together with a few simple moving parts, but once it’s assembled in the dish, you’re only 30 minutes from enjoying a wholesome family dinner!
Step 1: Prep the chicken (see above), preheat the oven and grease the baking dish and set it aside.
Step 2: Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling salted water and cook for 5 minutes before draining. Set aside and let them cool down for a bit.
Step 3: Heat a skillet and sauté bacon for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. I cook with bacon grease but if you wish, remove the bacon grease, by blotting with a paper towel, or carefully tilting the pan allowing the grease to drip into a bowl. Keep it for cooking later, it adds great flavor!
Step 4: Add whipping cream, pepper, thyme, and salt into the skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Add half of the cheese and allow it to melt in the sauce while simmering on low heat.
Step 5: Assemble the casserole by layering chicken on the bottom and adding potatoes on top. Pour the cheese sauce over potato and sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded cheese over top.
Step 6: Place casserole dish in the oven and bake until golden and bubbly and the potatoes and chicken are cooked through. This should be about 30 minutes, but keep an eye on it as you know your oven best!
Add any of the above-mentioned optional garnishes for a pop of color and added vibrancy from fresh herbs!
Tips & Variations
- Swap the chicken thighs for chicken breast instead. Chicken thighs are generally a juicier and more flavorful cut of meat, but if you prefer breast, go for it.
- Golden potatoes are versatile and great for many types of dishes. They’re not too starchy, yet not too waxy either. They hold their structure well and come out nice and tender and fluffy. You can also opt to use russets, Yukon Gold, or red potatoes if you happen to have some of those on hand.
- If you find your cheese is browning a little too quickly before your chicken has cooked through, cover it with foil and uncover it again for the last few minutes.
- Sharp cheddar is my favorite way to go for this dish, but you can substitute for a Mexican blend, some Monterrey Jack, or a blend of all three.
- Toss in some added veggies for extra flavor and crunch. Maybe some broccoli florets or corn kernels.
- Like a little heat? Chop up some jalapeno for a kick.
- If you have leftover chicken, feel free to use that instead. You’ll cut the cooking time down a bit, but it’s a great way to use leftovers. Swap for turkey if you have some!
Best Sides for Chicken Potato Casserole
As you can imagine this dish is filling all on its own, however, when serving growing kids or a hungry crowd it’s always a good idea to have some sides available.
- Cooked asparagus – I cook asparagus for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, drain water add butter and salt to taste.
- Salads: A nice light salad to go along with a hearty meal is always a good idea. Some of my favorites are Best Caesar Salad Recipe, Broccoli Cucumber Salad, and Sliced Cucumbers in Apple Cider Vinegar
- Vegetable sides: This Grilled Broccoli with Anchovies, and Asparagus and Bacon Wraps would be a great side option.
- Appetizers: If you’re planning a menu for a gathering, don’t forget to include some complementary appetizers to go along with it. These are great if you’ve got leftover ingredients to use up! Cheddar Jalapeno Poppers, and 5 minute tomato bites are always a hit.
- Condiments: Just for fun, serve with a side of blue cheese or ranch dressing and maybe a bit of Frank’s red hot sauce for guests to drizzle over top.
Can I Make this Ahead of Time?
For sure! It’s an easy dish to make ahead. Prepare and assemble the entire dish ready for baking. Cover and keep stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours ahead and bake when ready to serve.
Can I Freeze It?
Casseroles are one of the best freezer-friendly meals for busy families! You can freeze leftovers, or an entire casserole if you’ve made it for easy access later on. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months and enjoy a quick and easy dinner.
How to Reheat this Chicken Potato Casserole
Take out of the freezer and allow to thaw in the fridge overnight. If you’ve got an entire casserole, reheat it in the oven until warmed all the way through. If you’re reheating smaller portions the microwave is just fine!
Chicken Bacon Potato Casserole
- 2 tablespoons butter plus 1 teaspoon for greasing casserole
- 4 chicken thighs pounded
- 1 teaspoon sea salt plus 1 tablespoon for cooking potatoes
- 1 lb golden potatoes sliced into 1/4 - inches (about 3 1/2 cups)
- 6 strips bacon sliced into pieces
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper or to taste
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- Greens for garnish like fresh thyme, chives or parley finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 8 by 11 inch baking dish with 1 teaspoon of butter and set aside. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of sea salt and sliced potatoes. Bring it to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes drain the water and set aside.
- Next, in the skillet add bacon and saute for 5 minutes, stirring few times (remove bacon grease if you wish, I like to cook with it and leave it in the skillet). After add 2 tablespoon of butter and onion to the bacon and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring few times. Next pour in 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and 3/4 teaspoon of ground pepper, thyme and salt (if needed). Bring it to a gentle boil, add 1/2 cup of cheese and simmer on very low until cheese melts.
- Assemble the casserole by layering chicken on the bottom and adding potatoes on top. Pour the cheese sauce over potato and sprinkle the rest of shredded cheese over the top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden color and potatoes with chicken are cooked thru. Garnish with any greens of your choice. Enjoy!
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