Ultimate Chicken Casserole Recipe - Coxinha Chicken Bake!

Easy Brazilian Food
by Easy Brazilian Food
6 servings
45 min

This Ultimate Chicken Casserole recipe is creamy and comforting and easy to make! It's a great weeknight easy dinner recipe or for a party with friends.

Ultimate Chicken Casserole recipe on a plate with the casserole in the background. It has shredded chicken, green peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, paprika, and cream cheese holding it all together. On top, you get a layer of ooey gooey cheese and then crunchy potato sticks!

The ultimate chicken casserole recipe is creamy, hearty, warm, comforting, and loaded with flavor, aroma, and texture. This casserole was inspired by the amazing filling in Brazilian Coxinha. Coxinha are chicken croquettes, which have breaded and fried dough on the outside and a shredded chicken filling on the inside. There are so many delicious flavors and I always want more filling, so I thought, why not make an entire casserole with it!

The result is a casserole that has tender shredded chicken, green peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, paprika, and cream cheese holding it all together. On top, you get a layer of ooey gooey cheese and then crunchy potato sticks! It's truly an incredible, but easy chicken casserole recipe the whole family will love!

Ultimate Chicken Casserole recipe in a pie dish with a portion removed and a fork and spoon sitting in the dish. It has shredded chicken, green peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, paprika, and cream cheese holding it all together. On top, you get a layer of ooey gooey cheese and then crunchy potato sticks!

In Brazil, at least in Sao Paulo, sweet pies really don't exist, with the exception of Lime pie. Instead, there are many different types of savory pies, called Tortas. The most popular tortas are Torta de Frango (chicken) and Torta de Palmito (hearts of palm). While this recipe is not a torta as it doesn't have a crust, it was also inspired by tortas in that I baked it in a pie dish.


Simple Ingredients and Swaps

Ingredients prepped and measured out in small bowls for the Ultimate Chicken Casserole Recipe.


  • Chicken Breasts, boneless skinless - Skinless, boneless chicken breasts or chicken thighs will both work in this recipe. You can also use rotisserie chicken or cooked leftover chicken and simply shred it.
  • Garlic cloves - Fresh is best when it comes to garlic. You can buy pre-minced garlic to save time or mince it in bulk and freeze it for use when you need it! You can also substitute in dried garlic flakes or garlic powder.
  • Green Bell Pepper - You can substitute red bell pepper or even Jalapeño if you want heat. You can also simply leave it out.
  • Onion, small – I used yellow onion, but you can use white onion, red onion, shallots, or even scallions or green onions.
  • Olive Oil - I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil to saute the veggies. You can use any oil.
  • Fresh Cilantro leaves - If you don't have fresh, you can use dried cilantro. You could also substitute with fresh basil or fresh parsley.
  • Cream Cheese – Regular full fat cream cheese or Low Fat cream cheese will both work. You can substitute with marscapone, cottage cheese blended smooth, or a combination of these. You can also add in other cheeses, such as shredded cheddar, shredded mozzarella, goat cheese, or other shredded cheeses you like. You want to add about a cup cheese to this recipe.
  • Smoked Paprika - The paprika gives a subtle smokey note to the filling. You can substitute with sweet paprika or chili powder.
  • Lime - Fresh lime juice is best in this recipe. Lemon juice is second best. If you don't have it, you can add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Otherwise, just leave it out.
  • Mozzarella Cheese - I used sliced mozzarella as it's what I can get here in Brazil. However, you can also use shredded mozzarella. Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, gouda, or other soft melting cheeses are fine to use on top.
  • Potato sticks, or batata palha - These can be difficult to find at your local grocery store. If you cannot find any, you can get Batata Palha through Amazon. You can also sprinkle crushed potato chips, bread crumbs, or even parmesan cheese, or french-fried onions on top.


Simple Equipment and Tools

For this chicken recipe, you need a large pie dish that's 9" or 10" or a medium-sized casserole dish or deep baking pan that’s approximately 9×9, 10x10 or similar.

You also need a medium-large pot for boiling the chicken and a medium-sized skillet for cooking the veggies.

Mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

Ultimate Chicken Casserole recipe in a pie dish with a portion removed and a fork and spoon sitting in the dish. It has shredded chicken, green peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, paprika, and cream cheese holding it all together. On top, you get a layer of ooey gooey cheese and then crunchy potato sticks!

Recipe Tips for this Delicious Chicken Casserole

My first tip for this recipe is to make a double batch of the chicken mixture and freeze half for making Coxinha Chicken Croquettes at a later date!

The second tip is for saving time on the chicken, you can buy chicken that's already cooked. You can find rotisserie chickens at the grocery store or even grilled chicken breasts in the deli section. Or make extra chicken breasts for another meal, then shred and freeze it for a later time.


How to Make Recipe

You can cook the chicken 1-3 days in advance or as mentioned earlier, use pre-cooked chicken. I like to boil the chicken so that it is all the same texture without any crispy edges. You can also roast the chicken in the oven at 400 F degrees for 20 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, dice the green pepper and onion. Mince the garlic. Chop the cilantro.

Shred the chicken, then add it to a large mixing bowl with the softened cream cheese, cilantro, paprika, salt, pepper, and lime juice from the lime.

Preheat a medium frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, green pepper, onion, and garlic. Stir to combine and coat in oil and cook for 3 minutes.

Green pepper, onion, and garlic cooked in a pot for the Ultimate chicken casserole recipe.

Then add to the bowl with the chicken and cream cheese and mix everything with a fork or spoon to fully combine.

Hand squeezing lime over a bow filled with shredded chicken, cream cheese, cilantro, onions, green pepper, and seasonings for the Ultimate Chicken Casserole Recipe.

Spread the chicken mixture into a casserole dish. Place the slices of cheese over top. Then add the potato sticks or crushed potato chips.

3-pictures stacked to show the chicken mixture added to pie pan, then slices of cheese placed on top, then potato sticks spread over the cheese for the Ultimate chicken casserole recipe.

Bake in a 400 F degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or until hot in the center.


What to Serve with this chicken casserole

This casserole has so much flavor, so I recommend a simple side of white rice or Brazilian Rice {with Onions and Garlic}.

For a vegetable side, I recommend either Feijão: Brazilian Beans Recipe or this Carrot and Bacon Recipe.

And for dessert, how about Brigadeiros! Brazilian Chocolate Dessert Truffles!

Ultimate Chicken Casserole recipe on a plate with a fork. It has shredded chicken, green peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, paprika, and cream cheese holding it all together. On top, you get a layer of ooey gooey cheese and then crunchy potato sticks!

Ultimate Chicken Casserole Recipe FAQs

Can This Casserole Be Frozen?

This Ultimate Chicken casserole recipe can be frozen after baking. Cool it first in the fridge. Store it in an airtight container in the freezer and it will last for 3-4 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator 24 hours in advance of cooking. Then place in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes minutes covered then 10 minutes uncovered.


Can I add rice or noodles or pasta to this Chicken casserole?

If you want to bulk up this casserole, you can definitely add rice or pasta. White rice, brown rice, quinoa, short-cut pasta (such as penne), or egg noodles are all great additions. Just a couple things to update in the recipe if you are adding any of these.

First, you will need to add some moisture to the filling and likely more cheese. When you mixing the filling together, add another 6-8 ounces of cream cheese plus ½ cup of chicken broth or ½ cup milk or ½ cup of sour cream. Thinning out the filling a bit will help it easily mix with the rice or pasta.

You will want to add 2-3 cups of cooked rice or cooked pasta to the fully mixed filling in a large bowl. Then gently fold the chicken mixture into the pasta or rice. Pour everything into a large casserole dish or baking dish or 2 pie dishes (it will not fit into 1 pie dish) and top with cheese, potato sticks, and bake. You may need an additional 10-15 minutes to bake to warm through completely.

Ultimate Chicken Casserole Recipe - Coxinha Chicken Bake!
Recipe details
  • 6  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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Ingredients

  • 16 ounces Chicken Breasts boneless skinless
  • 4.5 cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup Onion small diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro chopped
  • 8 ounces Cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Lime juiced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • Potato Sticks or Potato Chips
  • 10 slices Mozzarella Cheese (or shredded)
Instructions

In a medium pot, add 4 cups of water and then bring to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 5-8 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink in the center or reaches an internal temperature of 165 F degrees. Turn off the heat, transfer the chicken to a plate to cool.
While the chicken is cooking, dice the green pepper and dice the onion. Mince the garlic. Chop the cilantro.
Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken, then add it to a large mixing bowl with the softened cream cheese, cilantro, paprika, salt, pepper, and lime juice from the lime.
Preheat a medium frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, green pepper, onion, and garlic. Stir to combine and coat in oil and cook for 3 minutes. Then add to the bowl with the chicken and cream cheese and mix everything with a fork or spoon to fully combine.
Spread the chicken mixture into a casserole dish. Place the slices of cheese over top. Then add the potato sticks or crushed potato chips. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until hot in the center.
Easy Brazilian Food
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