BBQ Chicken Casserole {keto, paleo, Whole 30 options}

Handing holding spoon to scoop out BBQ chicken casserole
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If you are looking for a simple, crowd-pleasing dinner to make that has the flavor of BBQ chicken pizza minus the crust, try this BBQ chicken casserole!

My husband and I love BBQ chicken pizza.

It was a classic pizza flavor we used to make, but now we don’t eat classic pizza crusts.

In trying to bring back that BBQ chicken pizza taste, this casserole was created!

The best part is that this casserole doesn’t have a long list of ingredients.

With just 6-ingredients, you can create a delicious casserole with rich flavors.

white bowl full of BBQ chicken casserole

Step-by-Step Directions to Make BBQ Chicken Casserole

I know, I know, you are thinking how can the directions be so long with there only being 6 ingredients??

I like to give folks choices depending on what kitchen gadgets they have, so just glance through and use the sections that apply to you for preparing each step!

1. Prepare the Sweet Potatoes

The first step is to prepare the sweet potatoes (for keto, use the cauliflower swap mentioned below).

There are two options for preparing the sweet potatoes.

My favorite way to make sweet potatoes is to roast them in the oven.

The flavor and texture of an oven roasted versus a boiled sweet potato is much better in my opinion, but boiling the sweet potatoes will be faster if you want dinner on the table sooner!

I also leave the skin on my sweet potatoes for the extra nutrients found in the skin.

But if you don’t like the skin on your sweet potatoes, just remove the skin as suggested in the options below.

Method 1: Oven Baked Sweet Potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the sweet potatoes and pierce with a fork a couple of times.

Bake in the oven for an hour (if your potatoes are small, it might only take 45 minutes).

Move on to step 2 while the potatoes bake!!

To tell if the sweet potatoes are done, use a knife or a fork to make sure the potato is easy to pierce through to the middle.

When the sweet potatoes are done, remove from the oven.

If you want to remove the potato skin, now is the time to do it. Then, use a fork and serrated knife to dice the potatoes.

If the potatoes are too hot to handle, cut a couple times to let the steam out and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.

Once all of the potatoes are diced, add them to an 8×8″ or 9×13″ pan.

Add the butter (or avocado oil for paleo) and stir until everything is coated.

Method 2: Boiled Sweet Potatoes

This is a great way to cook your sweet potatoes in the summer when you don’t want to have the oven on for an hour.

Fill a medium to large sized pot halfway with water.

Set pot on the stove and turn the heat to high to get the water boiling.

Wash the potatoes with water and a brush.

If you want to remove the potato skin, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.

Using a large knife and cutting board, dice the potato.

Once the water in the pot is boiling, add the potatoes.

Boil for 10-20 minutes, or until they have reached your desired level of doneness.

Please note that the sweet potatoes will not really get any softer in the oven, so if you like your potatoes soft, make sure they are soft in THIS step.

And be sure to move on to step 2 while the potatoes are boiling!

Once the potatoes are done, drain the water from the pot.

Toss with the butter (or avocado oil for paleo) and add the sweet potatoes to an 8×8″ or 9×13″ pan.

glass pan of diced Japanese sweet potatoes

2. Make the Shredded Chicken

The easiest way to prepare the chicken is to follow my Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, do not despair!

There are other options of preparing the chicken for this recipe which I have included below.

Instant Pot Chicken

Read here for the full directions on how I make my shredded Instant Pot chicken.

As a quick summary, add 2 cups of liquid and the chicken breasts to the Instant Pot.

Put on the lid and select pressure cook, using 8 minutes for fresh chicken or 12 minutes for frozen chicken.

When the Instant Pot beeps that it’s done, either quick release the steam after the Instant Pot has rested for 5 minutes or let it naturally release.

Once you have removed the lid, move the chicken to a separate bowl and shred it.

Stove Top Boiled Chicken

You can also cook the chicken in a pot of boiling water.

Boil for 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Remove the cooked chicken from the boiling water and shred it.

bowl of shredded chicken next to primal kitchen bbq sauce and pan of sweet potatoes

3. Make it BBQ Chicken!

Once the chicken is shredded, it’s time to add some flavor!

We prefer the Primal Kitchen brand of Whole 30 approved Unsweetened Organic Classic BBQ Sauce, but feel free to use whatever brand of BBQ sauce your family likes!

Or get fancy and make a homemade BBQ sauce like this Whole 30 one (no dates needed)!

Just keep in mind that making your own BBQ sauce will add more prep time!

BBQ shredded chicken in glass bowl

4. Layer on the BBQ Chicken

Now that you have fabulous BBQ chicken, layer that on top of the sweet potatoes.

Square glass dish of BBQ shredded chicken

5. Add Some Toppings!

These toppings are totally optional, so feel free to stop here and enjoy your dish (which we have definitely done before).

However, these toppings really take this dish to the next level!!

Chop up some red onion – sprinkle it on top…

casserole with red onion on top

Layer on the chopped green bell pepper.

BBQ Chicken casserole without the cheese

If desired, add some shredded cheese on top.

Again, the cheese is not needed, so if you eat dairy-free/paleo/Whole 30, just leave the cheese off!

close up of BBQ Chicken Casserole before baked

6. Bake the BBQ Chicken Casserole

Since most of the ingredients are already warm, you really only have to bake the dish long enough to reheat any layer that has gotten a little cold or to melt the cheese if you are using it.

I find that 20 minutes at 350 degrees is perfect to get everything piping hot again.

two oven mitts holding BBQ Chicken Casserole

7. Now Enjoy!!

BBQ Chicken Casserole is best hot from the oven!

spoon holding BBQ Chicken Casserole

How to Make Whole 30/Paleo BBQ Chicken Casserole

It’s very easy to turn this casserole into a Whole 30 BBQ chicken casserole.

The notes are in the recipe below, but just for an overview, use ghee or avocado oil instead of the butter and leave off the cheese.

See?

Easy-peasy Whole 30!

How to Make Keto BBQ Chicken Casserole

It’s very easy to turn this casserole into a Keto BBQ chicken casserole.

Just swap out the sweet potatoes for either mashed or riced cauliflower!

Mashed Cauliflower

Take one head of cauliflower and cut it into florets to steam it.

Once steamed, use a fork or a blender to puree the cauliflower.

Add the 1/2 cup of butter and let it melt in the hot cauliflower.

Stir in 1 teaspoon each of onion and garlic powder.

Layer into the bottom of the casserole dish and add the BBQ chicken, vegetables, and cheese as shown above!

Riced Cauliflower

Use a food processor to rice up one head of cauliflower or just buy a bag of frozen riced cauliflower (I love buying these from Costco in bulk!).

Melt the 1/2 cup of butter in a saucepan and add the riced cauliflower.

Cook to your desired level of softness.

Layer into the bottom of the casserole dish and add the BBQ chicken, vegetables, and cheese as shown above!

white bowl of BBQ chicken casserole

Print

BBQ Chicken Casserole {keto, paleo, Whole 30 options}


  • Author: Monster Cookie
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

If you are looking for a simple, crowd-pleasing dinner to make that has the flavor of BBQ chicken pizza minus the crust, try this BBQ chicken casserole!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 small or 1 large Japanese sweet potato (or 1 head of cauliflower for keto, see the How to Make Keto BBQ Chicken Casserole section above)
  • 1/2 cup butter (use ghee for paleo or 1/4 cup avocado oil for Whole30)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds chicken
  • 1 jar Classic Unsweetened BBQ Sauce (or 1 cup of your family’s favorite BBQ sauce)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • Optional: 8 ounces of shredded cheddar or gouda cheese (omit for paleo/Whole 30)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes and pierce the skin a few times with a fork. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour (or 1-1/2 hours if using a large sweet potato). Alternatively, you can also boil the sweet potatoes (see above for directions).
  2. While the sweet potatoes are baking, make Instant Pot shredded chicken (or see abbreviated directions above as well as directions on other methods for making the chicken). Once the chicken is shredded, add the BBQ sauce.
  3. While the chicken is in the Instant Pot or boiling on the stove, chop the onion and the green bell pepper.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes are done (leave the oven on!), let them cool for 5-10 minutes so that they are easier to handle. Use a knife to cube the potatoes and add the butter (or avocado oil). Let the warm potatoes melt the butter and then toss to coat. Add them to an 8×8″ baking dish.
  5. Layer the BBQ chicken on top of the sweet potatoes. Spread out the onion and green pepper over the chicken. Sprinkle the cheese on top if using.
  6. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until everything is hot again and the cheese has melted.
  7. Serve hot!

Notes

Storage: BBQ chicken casserole can be stored in the fridge 3-4 days. Any longer than that and you will want to freeze leftovers in an airtight container.

Freezing: This casserole can also be made ahead of time and frozen. It works best to freeze the casserole without the cheese on it and then add the cheese when you are ready to bake it. Freeze for up to 6 months for best freshness (although it can be stored indefinitely and still be safe to eat). Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking in the oven. Reheat at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Keywords: keto paleo whole30

 

BBQ Chicken Casserole pin

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