We all know and love the classic cold chicken salad – it’s a staple at summer barbecues and potlucks everywhere. But have you ever wanted to try putting a new spin on this routine dish? Well, let me tell you about a recipe I came across recently that takes chicken salad to the next level with an unexpected twist.
I was browsing recipes on my favorite food blog, 12 Tomatoes, when I came across their Crispy Hot Chicken Salad Casserole. Now when I first read “casserole” I was a little skeptical, but once I dug into the recipe I was intrigued. Instead of the traditional cold chicken salad in a bowl, this version bakes everything together into a crispy, bubbly dish. All the classic elements are there – chunks of chicken, celery, bacon and a creamy mayonnaise base. But then it throws in a few new ingredients that take this salad to the next level.
First, they mix in shredded cheddar cheese to add richness and extra flavor. Then, here’s where it gets really good – they top the entire casserole with crushed potato chips. Yes, you read that right! The potato chips get sprinkled over the hot chicken mixture right before baking. As the casserole bakes, the chips get all crispy and caramelized on top. It adds such a nice extra crunch and texture.
I decided to give this casserole a try for my family’s weekly dinner one night. Even though it was an unexpected twist on chicken salad, they were willing to keep an open mind since it came highly rated on 12 Tomatoes. I have to say, the reviews did not lie – this dish was a huge hit! The classic chicken salad flavors like bacon and celery really shone through. And that crispy potato chip topping was just the right finishing touch – so tasty and unexpected. We devoured the whole pan and asked for seconds.
Now I find myself craving this casserole all the time. It’s the perfect weeknight meal since everything just bakes together in one dish. I love having the option to switch up our regular chicken salad routine. So if you want to try putting a new spin on that picnic staple, I highly recommend giving this Crispy Hot Chicken Salad Casserole a try. Just be prepared for rave reviews! Let me know if you decide to make it.
Crispy Chicken Salad Casserole
- 3 cups of cooked chicken either shredded or chopped
- 1 cup of finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of lightly crushed potato chips
- 1 1/4 cups of mayonnaise
- 1 cup of finely diced celery
- 1/4 cup of cooked and crumbled bacon
- 1 tablespoon of dry ranch seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preparation: Preheat your oven to 350º F (175º C). Lightly grease a square baking dish with either butter or a non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine Main Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, cheddar cheese, celery, and crumbled bacon.
- Prepare the Sauce: In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ranch seasoning, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and onion powder. Season this mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper to your liking.
- Mix and Transfer: Stir the sauce into the chicken mixture until thoroughly combined. Transfer this to your pre-greased baking dish.
- Add the Crunch: Sprinkle the crushed potato chips evenly over the top of the mixture in the baking dish.
- Bake and Serve: Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it’s hot, bubbly, and the cheese has fully melted. Serve immediately and enjoy your culinary masterpiece!