Stove-top “Cheesy” Paleo Chicken Casserole

By Jess

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Don’t let the pictures fool you. This casserole is actually dairy-free, but still wonderfully creamy. The secret weapon in this recipe is mashed butternut squash, which gives the dish its creamy texture and golden color. The coconut milk lends silkiness to the butternut squash without overpowering the taste. The ingredients come together to form a rich, comforting casserole just in time for the cold winter months.

Stove-top “Cheesy” Chicken Casserole- this is a great, healthy alternative to cheesy chicken casserole.

Stove-top “Cheesy” Chicken Casserole- this is a great, healthy alternative to cheesy chicken casserole.

Winter means more gatherings, social events, and potlucks. Potlucks, to me, mean a lot of casseroles. In my impression, casseroles are normally loaded with cheese, other dairy, or cream of [insert your preference here] soup. I’m not sure if this applies to everyone, or is just because I grew up in Wisconsin. Eating that kind of heavy casserole is often hard on the stomach and leaves you wanting a nap afterwards. I wanted to make a healthy, lighter alternative to cheesy casserole without losing the warm, homey feel that you get when eating it.

This casserole takes a little bit of prep, but cooks quickly once all of the components are combined. The chicken needs to be cooked and shredded first. Also, the butternut squash needs to be boiled until softened. The squash is then mashed in a large bowl and mixed together with the coconut cream and seasonings. You can adjust the amount of coconut cream to your personal taste when it’s cooking; the more that is added, the creamier the dish will be. Lastly, you stir in the shredded chicken and peas. All of the ingredients are then cooked together on the stove until the peas are done and the dish has become creamy. Casserole, with no oven required.

mixing the sauce

This stove-top chicken casserole will lend you a comforting feel without the usual heaviness of a casserole laden with pasta and cheese. It is a healthy, homey alternative that makes a great dinner or dish to share.

finished recipe
chicken casserole recipe


  • Ingredients
    • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked butternut squash (about 1 small squash)
    • 1/2 cup coconut cream, skimmed from the top of a can of coconut milk
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    • 1 heaping cup green peas, thawed
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp oregano
    • 1/2 tsp thyme
    • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, mash the butternut squash. Stir in the coconut cream, oil, vinegar, salt, oregano, and thyme. Once everything is combined, add in the shredded chicken and peas.
  2. Place the mixture into a large saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, until the peas are cooked and squash is creamy. Top with fresh parsley and serve warm.


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  1. I made this tonight, and it is delicious! So thankful I found your website and this recipe. It is the perfect comfort food.

  2. I made this tonight and was blown away. I loved it. And my husband who hates leftovers is taking some for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe we love it and will put it in our rotation.

  3. It was a little pain for my tastes, so I added some onion powder and chili powder. Delicious! I didn’t have peas so I used shredded zucchini and we served it over cauliflower rice. So yummy and plenty for lunch tomorrow. Loved that I could get the full mouth feel without dairy or cashews. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi,
    I made the stove top cheesy paleo chicken casserole,
    It was really quick and easy to make (I did add a little garlic to it as my husband loves garlic ) it’s ready for him to take to work for night shift…so hopefully it keeps alright. Thanks for the recipe

  5. What a great recipe and a way to repurpose leftover chicken. I added some nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, and black pepper. Even my two year old ate it :).

  6. I think this tasted amazing. I’m concerned with the amount of coconut oil in it if this is your sole entree- lots of fat (even if it is healthy fat). I would include a side of cauliflower rice or serve over zucchini noodles so you aren’t eating such a big portion at once. But like I said- tasted incredible!!

  7. I thought “peas” were not part of the paleo diet because they are classified under the category where you would find also peanuts.

  8. This dish has become a staple in my house since we have “gone paleo.” It an easy dish and has become one of my go-to meals every couple of weeks. Everyone I have turned onto loves it and asks for the recipe, even my niece who “doesn’t eat squash”, loves it.

  9. Question about the coconut cream part….would skimming the cream off the top of a single can of coconut milk equal 1/2 a cup? Or do you have to buy more than one can? And I’m assuming this refers to full-fat coconut milk? Thank you! Trying this for the first time.

  10. I have a tree nut allergy. Any ideas of substitutions for almond products (flour, milk, etc.) and coconut products (flour, milk, cream, etc.) I’d love to try this recipe and can use olive oil, but I don’t know what I can replace the coconut cream with.

    Please help!

    Thank you!

    • Do you know for certain you are actually allergic to coconut? It’s not really a tree nut (in spite of the name) and is not a typical allergen. If you are actually allergic to coconut, you could probably just leave that out of the recipe entirely. If you are looking for additional healthy fat, you could always garnish with avocado and replace the coconut oil with ghee or grassfed butter (some Paleo people eat either of those, some don’t), or with an animal fat (lard, schmaltz, duck fat, tallow, etc) or olive oil.

  11. Will be buying the ingredients this weekend and trying this recipe the beginning of the week, after I make the weekly pot of chicken broth. Always looking for new things to do with that boiled chicken!

  12. SO.DELICIOUS!!! I actually prepared the dish and then put it in a casserole dish and topped it with a little Daiya dairy-free cheese and baked until slightly browned and bubbly. My guests cleared their plates and asked for seconds and the recipe. I have made it several times and every time is GREAT. I would be interested in trying something in place of the peas…. I like the zucchini idea. THANKS!

  13. I made this today and it was pretty good 🙂
    I did an easy slow-cooker conversion by cooking the squash and the chicken in some water for 7-8 hours on low. Then I drained the water, removed the bones, and mashed everything together (yes I actually mashed the chicken lol, it was that soft). I did the rest of the recipe as written, with green beans instead of peas to keep it paleo.
    Next time if I’m around during the day I’ll try cooking everything in the slow cooker from the start (I didn’t know how it would do with just the coconut cream for liquid).

  14. This was soo delish…substituted coconut milk for almond which worked a treat. Served with garlic cauliflower rice and added corn with the peas. All plates clean

  15. Made it tonight. Loved the recipe for its simplicity and how quickly it came together (even though neither the squash nor the chicken were already cooked.) I just sautéed some chicken tenders that were marinating for a day (we hadn’t yet decided what we were doing with them), while my pre-cut store bought butternut squash was cooking. The coconut cream really made the sauce quite creamy and delicious! I tasted as I went and thought the flavors as the recipe stands were pretty good, but I decided to follow in another commenters footsteps and add chili powder. I also added cayenne pepper (hubby likes a kick) and a bit of nutmeg. He and I both loved the dish! Had some “riced” cauliflower in the freezer, so seasoned that up with s&p, garlic and a little cayenne for a quick side dish. This recipe is definitely a keeper for us! Thanks!!

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