The Key Ingredient For Flavorful Chicken Casserole Is Likely Already In Your Pantry

The joy of a chicken casserole is in its loose assembly, which allows you to use an array of ingredients to pull together a comforting meal. Maybe you rely on a can of condensed soup for creaminess or use rotisserie chicken to make the meal faster. No matter what your sworn-by chicken casserole ingredients might be, there's a strong case to be made for tossing in some dried herbs such as oregano and thyme. 

In fact, we think dried herbs are an essential component that gives the chicken casserole layers of flavor. Take a note from Tasting Table's recipe for classic chicken casserole created by recipe developer Molly Madigan Pisula. "The dried herbs in this recipe really take it up a notch," Pisula says. "They pair well with the chicken and mushrooms in this dish but add another layer of flavor." 

You might think that fresh herbs are the move, but there's a reason why dried herbs work so well in a chicken casserole. Fresh herbs lose taste and texture in casseroles whereas dried herbs rely on cooking time to release those layers of flavors. It's also easy to use whatever dried herbs are already in the cabinet and pantry, and they don't require rinsing and chopping like their fresh counterparts so it also saves time.

Use a variety of dried herbs to elevate your chicken casserole

Dried oregano and thyme are the key to our chicken casserole recipe, but they're certainly not the only herbs that can give the classic dish an elevated flavor. Molly Madigan Pisula recommends dried basil, rosemary, or herbs de Provence – a blend of dried herbs such as thyme, tarragon, and rosemary — as alternatives. To make an Italian-inspired chicken casserole, use the Italian seasoning that might usually make its way to your Sunday sauce. 

A jar of dried cilantro lends itself to a Mexican-style chicken casserole paired with peppers, tomatoes, and beans — and topped with fresh avocado, of course. Dried sage and parsley also work well with poultry, but the culinary reality here is that you can pull out the dried herbs already in the kitchen and pair them with whatever style of chicken casserole you crave. Before you start, there are a few things you need to know about cooking with dried rather than fresh herbs

For example, you'll mix the dried herbs into the filling along with the shredded chicken, sour cream, and other additions in our recipe. Should you want to use fresh herbs, too, use them as a garnish after the casserole comes out of the oven. The use of dried herbs will certainly help pull off an elevated chicken casserole, but consider these other tips for making casseroles including the proper dish to use for a next-level meal.