Satisfying your comfort food cravings is about to get a lot easier! Using this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Casserole recipe, you can make a tasty, home-cooked classic with just a few ingredients and minimal prep. Instead of typical chicken casseroles made with canned soups, a simple combination results in a healthier option that the whole family will love.
What’s To Love About Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole
Sometimes I want a home-cooked meal without all the pots, pans, and hours necessary to make it, and I’m sure most weeknight chefs can relate!
With the slow cooker, you can achieve the same delicious, creamy, and satisfying flavors in a much simpler process. Many pasta and chicken casseroles are known for the convenience and taste of pre-made canned soups (but are also accompanied by extra sodium, gluten, or preservatives). This chicken casserole recipe brings out the same tasty flavor without all the processed additives!
With the slow cooker, it is easier to make a healthy version for your family and still ensure that they will devour every bit on their plates. Additionally, these familiar ingredients provide lots of versatility for you to change up to truly be the most comforting dish on the menu.
This filling casserole with a crunchy topping might bring up some childhood nostalgia or become a new family favorite. Who can resist a plate of creamy, cheesy, chicken pasta?
You don’t need complicated ingredients to get the luxury of comfort food at home. The ingredients for a hearty chicken noodle casserole are simple and easy to customize!
- Chicken – Either boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs will work since the chicken will end up being shredded near the end. Be sure your chicken is NOT frozen as that can impact the cooking time.
- Chicken broth – The broth is essential in bringing flavor to the noodles that will be cooked right in the slow cooker with all the other ingredients.
- Onion – Dice finely to distribute with the noodles and chicken.
- Seasoning – I recommend a regular herb & garlic seasoning which can easily be found at the store. If you’d like a homemade option for a slight variation, try my homemade ranch seasoning or homemade Italian dressing mix.
- Sour cream – Essential for a creamy sauce without the canned soup!
- Spaghetti noodles – Basic dry spaghetti noodles work best for the time and texture of this recipe. However, you could also use thin dried egg noodles as an alternative. You can also use gluten-free spaghetti noodles and reduce the broth to only 2 cups.
- Potato chips – Crushed potato chips make a special crunchy topping for the finished result! Choose a regular variety or put a twist on flavor with a sour cream and onion or even a BBQ-flavored variety.
- Shredded cheese – Sharp cheddar cheese is a great flavor contrast to the creamy mixture.
How To Make Chicken Casserole In The Slow Cooker
Start your comfort food quest here!
Begin by adding chicken, chicken broth, onion, and herb & garlic seasoning to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
Remove the cover and shred the chicken with forks (keeping it in the slow cooker).
Next, stir in the sour cream and add spaghetti noodles. If needed, break the noodles apart to make them fit in the slow cooker. Press noodles into the broth to allow them to cook thoroughly.
Cover and turn to high for 30 minutes or until the noodles are cooked.
Important tip: Briefly stir noodles once or twice during cooking to ensure they cook evenly.
Add cheese to the top of the noodles and then top the casserole off with a generous amount of crushed potato chips.
Cover the slow cooker again for a few more minutes – just long enough to melt the cheese.
- If you need to prepare this casserole in even less time, you could use canned chicken or canned tuna. Just skip the longer cooking time and add everything right in at the beginning! You’ll need to gauge cooking time based on how long it takes for the noodles to be done.
- For some added spice, add some crushed red pepper flakes. Just a pinch goes a long way! Ranch or Italian seasoning can add a new flavor twist to the recipe instead of the traditional herb and garlic flavors.
- Thin dried egg noodles have a similar texture to spaghetti. You can also substitute whole wheat spaghetti for a different taste! If you opt for gluten-free spaghetti, I recommend choosing one made from a corn blend and NOT a brown rice flour blend as it will tend to get mushy faster.
- Add frozen mixed veggies when you add the chicken to the slow cooker as an effortless option for added nutrition!
- Adding different potato chip flavors can really customize the meal! From kettle chips to salt and pepper blends to truffle oil flavors – you can get creative!
What To Serve With Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole
One-pot meals are usually very filling, so it’s nice to offer a freshly cooked vegetable or salad on the side. While your slow cooker is taking care of the main meal, grab a skillet and quickly make Sautéed Carrots with Honey or Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic to add a little extra texture and flavor! Or, serve buttery mixed vegetables next to the pasta on the plate.
A toasty garlic bread or herbed biscuit would be another easy addition for all the carb-loving friends.
Storing and Reheating
Store leftover chicken noodle casserole in the fridge in airtight containers for up to 3 days.
Spaghetti noodles typically freeze well in casseroles and hold their shape! I recommend freezing single-serving portions for easy thawing as premade lunches and dinners. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Thaw (if frozen) and reheat in the microwave or in a skillet until just warmed through.
Chicken Casserole FAQs
- How can I ensure my noodles don’t become mushy? This IS one of the trickier parts of using a slow cooker with noodles. When you cook noodles, plan to remain nearby so that you are able to check and stir about every 10 minutes until the noodles are cooked. After that, serve the casserole right away and turn off the slow cooker so the noodles don’t continue to cook.
- Do I need to brown the chicken before it goes into the slow cooker? There is no need to brown the chicken for this recipe (cheers for saving time and extra steps!). Just place it in the slow cooker and shred it with forks when the chicken is cooked.
- Can I make a vegetarian version of this casserole in the slow cooker? A vegetarian version of this casserole would be the sauce and noodles, so you could also add in some frozen mixed veggies. Reduce your cooking time to just enough time to cook the noodles and remain nearby to stir and check since the cooking time will vary.
Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Casserole
- Slow Cooker
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup onion diced
- 1 tsp herb & garlic seasoning
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 12 oz spaghetti noodles
- 1 cup crushed potato chips
- 4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Add chicken, broth, diced onion, and herb & garlic seasoning to slow cooker
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8
- Remove cover and shred chicken with forks
- Stir in sour cream and then add spaghetti noodles, breaking apart if needed to fit
- Press noodles into broth to allow them to cook, cover, and turn slow cooker to high heat for about 30 minutes or until noodles are done (stir noodles once or twice to ensure they cook evenly)
- Add cheese on top of cooked noodles and top off with crushed chips
- Cover again for just a few more minutes until cheese is melted
- Store leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze single-serving portions in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Thaw in the fridge (if frozen) and reheat in the microwave or in a skillet until just warmed through.
- Be sure to give the noodles a stir once or twice during cooking.
- A casserole or oval slow cooker is the best option for this recipe.