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Chicken spaghetti casserole comfort food heaven! It combines tender chicken, a creamy, dreamy, savory homemade sauce with a hint of spice and 3 kinds of cheese.
Perfect for throwing together on a busy weeknight, the whole family will love this one!
Step-by-step photos and instructions are below!
Easy Chicken Spaghetti Recipe
This is one of my family’s favorite comfort foods. It’s super easy to make and then you throw it in the oven to bake while you clean up and pull together a few side dishes.
This is not your usual chicken pasta, folks. It’s kicked up with onions, garlic, tomatoes and green chilies and a big old pile of cheese. What’s not to love about that?
The creamy cheese sauce that is the key to the whole dish is made in the same skillet you use to cook chicken in, and it adds so much flavor to the sauce, as well as reducing the number of dishes you have to do. You’re welcome.
Other versions of cheesy chicken spaghetti use cream of chicken soup, or cream of mushroom soup, but this one has a homemade sauce that I think trumps them all!
This is a great recipe to double for a crowd, and I can guarantee you no leftovers!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Uses common ingredients, easily found at your local grocery store, or in your pantry and fridge at home.
- Family friendly. Everyone will come running for this when they smell it cooking!
- It’s so easy to make. Yep, we do a few steps and use quite a few ingredients, but nothing too crazy. Just read the recipe in full before beginning, and you’ll be good!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yup! You just want to make sure you cut them into bite sized pieces before adding to the sauce.
It’s a dish with diced or shredded chicken, cream sauce and veggies with epic seasonings to round it out.
Well, not really. It’s very much an indulgent dish. You could try using whole wheat pasta or using low-fat cheese. However, your best bet is to add some extra vegetables in. Try bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach. Be sure to test for flavor/seasoning before baking.
Absolutely. Just prep it a day in advance, and store in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge and set on the counter for 30 minutes before topping with cheese and baking.
The Best Side dishes for Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
I have included step-by-step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
Leftover rotisserie chicken can of course be used, but some really great flavor will hit your sauce if you cook fresh chicken. When we whisk in the liquids, we scrape up the brown bits from cooking the chicken for ultimate deliciousness.
Breaking spaghetti noodles. We do this because it makes it much easier to scoop out of the casserole dish onto plate.
Break the spaghetti inside a bag so you don’t fling pasta all over your kitchen. Ask me how I know this.
It will look like you have way too much creamy sauce than you need, but trust me! It will absorb a little as it bakes vs drying out.
How to store leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven until thoroughly warmed.
Chicken thighs can be used in place of chicken breasts. Just be sure to cut them into small bite size pieces so they mix well into the sauce.
Diced tomatoes with green chilies can be used (you can use Rotel tomatoes with chilies).
Chopped roasted red peppers can be added.
Bump up the heat by adding a little pinch of red pepper flakes into into the sauce (when you add the garlic powder and Italian seasoning)
Chicken spaghetti freezes exceptionally well considering that it is a cream based sauce. Cool completely, then store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
Recipe Ingredients and Possible Substitutes
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Chicken breast. I use boneless skinless chicken breasts that are already thinly sliced, but you can easily slice them up yourself. The point of it is to make them cook faster! Chicken thighs can also be used. They’ll need to be diced small after cooking, think slightly bigger than pea sized. You can use leftover chicken if you have it on hand.
- Seasonings. The usual seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning. Mix these up to make them how you like.
- Pasta. Although this is a spaghetti recipe, fettuccine can also be used (break it the same way). Any pasta can work, but it won’t be chicken spaghetti then, will it? You can use regular or thin spaghetti.
- Butter. This forms the basis of the sauce
- Flour. This forms the roux we use for the sauce.
- Vegetables. Onions and garlic plus diced tomatoes and chilies. You could add some diced red, green or yellow bell peppers to this if you’d like to.
- Stock. I use chicken stock, chicken broth or vegetable stock.
- Heavy Cream. You can totally use half and half, whole milk or cream cheese.
- Cheeses. I use a mix of mozzarella cheese sharp cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese. You can switch them out in the sauce for Velveeta cheese if you wish!
- Cutting board
- Kitchen Knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Large Skillet, for cooking the chicken and making the sauce
- Large pot for cooking the pasta
- Tongs, for mixing the pasta and sauce
- 9×13 casserole dish, for baking the spaghetti.
How to make Chicken Spaghetti (without canned soup)
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The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Season the chicken with seasoned salt and pepper, heat a little oil over medium-high heat in a skillet and cook chicken until golden brown and fully cooked. Chicken is fully cooked at 165°F when tested in the middle with a meat thermometer.
Remove from the heat, and cut chicken into very small pieces (slightly bigger than pea sized)
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti
Break the spaghetti in half (see notes).
Boil water in a large pot, add salt and boil the spaghetti until al dente (that means cooked, but firm to the bite). You don’t’ want to overcook the spaghetti, as it will continue to cook when baked.
While the pasta cooks, make the cheese sauce and preheat the oven to 375° F
In the same skillet you used to cook the chicken, add butter and onion and cook until translucent, then add the garlic and cook 30 more seconds.
Add the flour, garlic powder, and Italian Seasoning to the skillet and stir it all in, cooking until it gets bubbly.
Whisk in the stock, scraping up all the browned goodness from the bottom of the skillet. If the sauce gets too thick, thin the sauce with extra stock.
Remove from the heat, and add the cream.
Add grated sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella and parmesan and continue whisking until smooth. Add the tomatoes and chilies. Taste and add more seasoning if needed (you shouldn’t!).
Add the chicken and sauce to the cooked pasta and mix well. Use a pair of tongs to make it super easy.
Pour the pasta, sauce and chicken to a large baking dish (I use a 9×13), and sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake until bubbling around the sides and golden brown on top.
More delicious pasta recipes:
Want more Easy Pasta Recipes? Try these!
- Skillet Mac & Cheese. Comfort food at its finest, this skillet mac & cheese is so easy! Just the skillet and a pasta pot, the and a quick broil, and this is ready FAST!
- Florentine Chicken Lasagna Rolls Spinach, garlic, and cheese are all winners for this weeknight dinner! Delicious homemade Alfredo sauce is the key to these!
- Ham Tetrazzini. A super-fast weeknight dinner, this Ham Tetrazzini is a spin on the traditional version and is sure to please the whole family.
- Easy Cheesy Chicken Tomato Pasta. Quick to make, and super tasty – this recipe uses just 6 ingredients (mainly pantry staples) is yummy and kid-friendly to boot! The whole family will enjoy this one!
Creamy Chicken Spaghetti
For the chicken
- 8 oz spaghetti (dry)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 cup onion (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup cream
- ½ cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 14oz can diced tomatoes (drained)
- 4oz can diced green chiles
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
Cook the chicken
- If using precooked chicken, skip this step.
- Season the chicken breasts with seasoned salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook the chicken on both sides until golden brown.
- Remove, and allow to rest before cutting into very small pieces (think slightly bigger than pea sized)
Cook the pasta
- In a large pot of boiling water, add the salt, and cook the spaghetti until tender. Drain, and set aside.
While the pasta cooks, make the sauce and preheat the oven to 375° F
- Add the butter to the skillet you cooked the chicken in and add the onion.
- Cook until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Sprinkle the flour, garlic powder and Italian seasoning over the onions and garlic. Mix it all in and cook for 30 seconds until it is bubbly.
- Whisk in the stock scraping the bottom of the skillet to get all the browned bits up (they add flavor to the sauce). If the sauce gets too thick, thin it with some stock.
- Add the cream, and ½ cup each of parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses
- Whisk until smooth and thickened.
- Add the tomatoes and chiles to the sauce, and mix.
- Add the sauce and cooked chicken to the cooked spaghetti, and mix using tongs to really blend it well.
- Add the whole mixture to a 9×13 baking dish.
- Sprinkle over ½ cup of cheddar, and ½ cup mozzarella.
- Bake at 375°F until bubbling around the edges and golden brown on top.
- Remove from the oven and allow it cool slightly before serving.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.