Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake

Cheesy Chicken Pasta Recipe – a weeknight favorite! Chicken and pasta tossed in a quick homemade cheese sauce topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Comfort food at its best! Kids and adults gobble this up! Bow tie pasta, chicken, butter, flour, milk, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, spaghetti sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Can make in advance and refrigerate or freezer for later.

plate of cheesy chicken pasta, salad, and garlic bread with text overlay

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Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake

This Cheesy Chicken Pasta casserole is super delicious. It is basically chicken mac and cheese topped with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese. It sounds weird, but the flavors really work together. I made this for a family dinner a few weeks ago and it was gone in a flash. Everyone loved it! Whip up some garlic bread and a green salad and you have a meal better than any restaurant!

baking dish of chicken pasta

How to Make Cheesy Chicken Pasta Casserole

This pasta dish is super easy to make with only a few simple ingredients. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and place in a large bowl.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat on the stove. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute. Slowly whisk in milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Keep whisking until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and stir in shredded cheddar cheese until smooth.

Pour cheese sauce over pasta. Stir in cooked chopped chicken. Spoon pasta mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Pour spaghetti sauce over pasta and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in a preheated oven until bubbly. Garnish the pasta with parsley.

Helpful Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

  • I use rotisserie chicken in this casserole.
    • You can use any cooked chicken you have on hand.
      • Chicken breasts, chicken thighs, chicken tenderloins, or canned chicken all work fine.
  • I use bow-tie pasta. Penne pasta also works great.
  • Can use milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream in the cheese sauce.
  • Our favorite store-bought spaghetti sauces are Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Marinara (green label), Rao’s, Carbone, and La Famiglia DelGrosso.
  • What can I add to the pasta?
    • spinach
    • broccoli
    • green peas
    • mushrooms
  • Can I make Cheesy Chicken Pasta ahead of time? Yes! You can assemble the casserole in advance and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
    • You will need to add 10 to 15 minutes to the cooking time if baking cold straight from the refrigerator.
  • Can I freeze Cheesy Chicken Pasta? Yes! Assemble the casserole and cool completely. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
    • When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
    • Reheat in the microwave.
scooping chicken pasta from baking dish

What to Serve with Baked Chicken Pasta

This makes a ton; it would be great for a crowd. If you don’t have an army to feed, no worries. It is great reheated. You could also divide this into two pans and freeze one for an easy weeknight meal. 

This pasta has been on repeat at our house. We like to top it with some red pepper flakes, a dash of oregano, and parmesan cheese. Whip up a green salad or baked parmesan zucchini to finish off the meal. Add this easy pasta dish to your menu the next time you need a meal the whole family will enjoy!

plate of cheesy chicken pasta, salad, and garlic bread with text overlay

Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake

Yield: 8 people
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cheesy Chicken Pasta Recipe – a weeknight favorite! Chicken and pasta tossed in a quick homemade cheese sauce topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Comfort food at its best! Kids and adults gobble this up! Bow tie pasta, chicken, butter, flour, milk, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, spaghetti sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Can make in advance and refrigerate or freezer for later.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and place in a large bowl.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Keep whisking until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and stir in cheddar cheese until smooth.
  • Pour cheese sauce over pasta. Stir in cooked chicken. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 9×13-inch pan. Pour spaghetti sauce over pasta and top with mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, until bubbly.

Notes:

  • I use rotisserie chicken in this casserole.
    • You can use any cooked chicken you have on hand.
      • Chicken breasts, chicken thighs, chicken tenderloins, or canned chicken all work fine.
  • I use bow-tie pasta. Penne pasta also works great.
  • Can use milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream in the cheese sauce.
spaghetti sauce
  • Our favorite store-bought spaghetti sauces are Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Marinara (green label), Rao’s, Carbone, and La Famiglia DelGrosso.
  • Can I make Cheesy Chicken Pasta ahead of time? Yes! You can assemble the casserole in advance and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
    • You will need to add 10 to 15 minutes to the cooking time if baking cold straight from the refrigerator.
  • Can I freeze Cheesy Chicken Pasta? Yes! Assemble the casserole and cool completely. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
    • When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Steph

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Comments

  1. i am Italian and usually make my own sauce – but i have found a jar that comes pretty close to home made. it’s called Victoria – check it out

  2. Made this last night for dinner. Unfortunately, DH and I thought it was very bland tasting. It definitely needs more seasonings added other than what is in the jar of spaghetti sauce. My youngest DD didn't think it sounded good with the spaghetti sauce added so she just ate some of the chicken, pasta and cheese sauce before I put it in the baking dish with the spaghetti sauce. When I asked her how it was, she also said that there was no taste.

    1. I seasoned the chicken with Tony's (season all would also work). I also added onion and garlic for some extra flavor. I didn't have enough space in the pan for the spaghetti sauce, but it was delicious as a cheesy dish. I might add some mushrooms next time. It would have been rather bland w/o the onion and garlic for sure.

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