This is a quick & simple recipe for a cheesy chicken casserole bake made using chicken mince, white sauce, ketchup and lots of mozzarella cheese on top.
We all have those days when we want comfort food - something quick, scrumptious and with lots of melted cheese. This chicken & cheese casserole is one of those recipes. Not only is it simple to make but it lends itself to endless variations all limited by the contents of your fridge.
How to make cheesy chicken casserole bake?
1. Start with boiled pasta. Elbow macaroni is the one I choose because of its small shape, but other sizes can be substituted. In case you don't have macaroni, you can also spaghetti.
2. Decide on your protein layer. This recipe uses chicken mince (qeema) but beef mince or a basic chicken recipe like my ultimate pan seared chicken can be substituted. This is also a casserole that can help you use up those leftovers in the fridge. Use the mince from the aalo keema (Pakistani potato & mince curry) you made on Monday. Wash the leftover chicken from the aalo chicken (Pakistani style potato and chicken curry) you made on Tuesday and just shred it up and use.
3. Make a white sauce. Don't skip out on the chicken cube - it just adds that extra depth of flavour aka umami. Or the red chili flakes which are necessary for that essential Desi kick. Add some melted cheese if you are feeling particularly decadent. Keep aside, and if it gets thick just add some extra milk when heating it up.
4. Add your favourite sauces (such as ketchup, tomato sauce or chili garlic sauce). Yes, you could make home-made tomato sauce or an aromatic marinara sauce but this is a recipe that calls for simplicity so bottled sauces are what I use many times.
5. Cheese - finally top it all off with the magical element that just brings everything together. A little bit of cheese between the layers, and lots of melted cheese on top. Cook it in the oven till the casserole is hot and bubbling with the cheese all melted. Put it under the broiler for 5 minutes to get an even more delicious caramelised top.
What dish should I use for this cheesy chicken casserole?
Any dish can be used for this casserole as long as it is oven safe. Using a glass or ceramic dish is recommended as it can be directly served to the table from the oven; and if you use a glass baking dish (from a brand such as Pyrex) it will allow you to see all the layers. This recipe will make a casserole that fits a 10 x 10 inch baking pan, but you can adjust the recipe to the baking dish you have available. Create an additional layer, or make two small casseroles instead of one big one.
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
Check out other comfort food favourites on the blog below:
Cheesy Chicken Casserole Bake
- 400 grams elbow macaroni
For the Chicken Mince
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 300 grams chicken mince
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 2-3 black peppercorns kali mirch
- ½ inch cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- ½ – 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ – 1 teaspoon red chili powder
For the White Sauce
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 ½ – 2 cups cups milk
- 1 Knorr chicken cube
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup chili garlic sauce
- 200 grams mozzarella cheese; alternatively 100 grams cheddar cheese & 100 grams mozzarella cheese can be used
- 2 tablespoon butter for spreading on bottom & side of baking pan
- 1 teaspoon herbs
- ½ - 1 teaspoon white pepper
- Boil macaroni as per packet directions and set aside.
To prepare the chicken mince:
- Heat oil. Add black peppercorns, cinnamon stick & cloves. Sauté for 30 seconds and then add minced garlic & garlic paste. Cook for 30 – 45 seconds to remove the raw taste.
- Add chicken mince, salt & red chili pepper and cook with a wooden spoon on medium to high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn heat to low, cover the mince and let it cook for about 20 – 30 minutes till it is cooked through. Keep aside.
To prepare the white sauce:
- Melt butter. Add flour and stir for at least 1-2 minutes to cook out the raw taste of the flour. Pour in about 1 cup of milk, and stir with a whisk to make sure there are no lumps in the white sauce.
- Keep heating the white sauce on medium heat till you can see small bubbles on the side after which it should start thickening. Use a whisk to mix the white sauce properly. Add chicken cube & rest of spices. Taste and adjust seasonings if required. Keep aside.
Assembling the Casserole
- Pre-heat oven to 180 Centigrade.
- Take a 10 x 10 or similar size baking pan. A glass Pyrex dish is best as it lets you see the layers. Spread butter across the bottom and sides of the dish. Start by adding about half of the elbow macaroni on the bottom. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of white pepper & Italian herbs. Top with half of the white sauce, ketchup & chili garlic sauce. The next step is adding all of the mincemeat. Top with the rest of the elbow macaroni, white sauce, ketchup and chili garlic sauce. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of white pepper & Italian herbs again. Add shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the casserole.
- Keep casserole in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes till the cheese is melted and the casserole is warmed through. Turn the broiler on for the last 5 minutes to give a lovely caramelized cheesy top. Serve hot.