Baked Chicken Spaghetti – This flavor-packed, cheesy, soul-satisfying recipe boasts everything you could ever want in a casserole. Cheese, chicken, and pasta create a super easy midweek dinner. And talk about the ultimate comfort food! 🥰
I’m a big fan of any casserole, so trust me when I say this baked chicken spaghetti recipe is on another level. Loads of cheese, shredded chicken, and spaghetti cooked in a silky-smooth sauce for a unique baked dish that is always a huge hit.
It might seem like this recipe has a lot going on, but each ingredient adds flavor and texture without overpowering the dish. It’s that casserole magic, my friend. ✨Perfect for a weeknight meal or as a gift for a friend in need, this is one of those recipes you’ll find yourself going back to time and time again.
How Easy Is It?
Is Baked Chicken Spaghetti Easy to Make?
Yes, it is! Don’t let the ingredient list scare you because it’s not complicated at all. Anyone can make this great, even if you barely spend any time in the kitchen. You’re good to go with a few easy cooking techniques (cooking pasta, sautéing veggies, making the sauce) and then combining the ingredients in a dish to bake. You’ve got this one! 🙌
- Chicken – I used boneless chicken breast for this recipe, but you can use just about any kind of chicken you have on hand. Shred rotisserie or leftover chicken, or pop open a can of chicken meat. All of these options will work.
- Pasta – Thin spaghetti is my pasta of choice for this recipe, but honestly, any kind of pasta will work!
- Vegetables – Onion, garlic, bell pepper, and a can of tomatoes add some extra nutrition, not to mention flavor and texture, to this recipe.
- Herbs – Fresh thyme and parsley add new flavor dimensions and a pop of color.
- Sauce ingredients – Chicken broth, evaporated milk, and a little bit of flour makes for a creamy sauce to coat the pasta and chicken.
- Cheese – Last but not least, the cheeses! Cheddar, parmesan, and Monterey jack cheeses make this casserole absolutely mouthwatering.
How to Bake Chicken Spaghetti
Prep the Main Ingredients
- Spaghetti – Boil the spaghetti in a large pot, according to box instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Season and Sear Chicken – Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat up a Dutch oven or skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot or pan. Next, add the chicken, cooking it for about 5-6 minutes on each side or until it is cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. (Photos 1-3)
- Veggies – Heat butter or oil in a skillet or pot over medium heat. Then, add onions, garlic, thyme, and Creole seasoning. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes, until the onions wilt. Throw in the tomatoes and bell pepper and continue cooking for about 2-3 minutes. (Photos 4-5)
- The Roux – Next, stir in the flour until it soaks up all the butter or oil, about a minute. (Photos 6-7)
- Sauce – Gradually stir in the evaporated milk and broth. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes or until it thickens and bubbles. (Photo 8)
- Add Cheese – Finally, add all the cheese and stir until everything’s melted and evenly combined and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Photos 9-10)
Assemble and Bake
- Mix Spaghetti and Chicken – Add the spaghetti and chicken to the skillet, stirring until everything is evenly coated in the sauce. (Photos 11-12)
- Assemble – Transfer the spaghetti mixture into a pan or into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. (Photos 13-14)
- Bake at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. (Photo 15)
- Add a crunchy breadcrumb topping by sprinkling butter-sauteed breadcrumbs on top before you bake. Simply put 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and sauté for a minute or so before adding the breadcrumbs to the pan. Sauté the breadcrumbs for 3-4 minutes or until they are toasty and fragrant. Salt and pepper to taste, and then sprinkle it over the casserole. This extra step takes a little time but it makes the recipe extra special.
- Use whole wheat spaghetti for a slightly healthier take on this recipe. Boil it until it’s al dente, just like regular pasta.
- Try different cheeses and veggies. Feel free to get creative with the veggies and cheeses. You can add or substitute recipe ingredients. Try chopped zucchini, diced broccoli, Colby, Jack, Gruyere, or anything else that sounds good to you.
Tips and Tricks
- My number one tip for this recipe is this: don’t overcook the pasta. Make it just al dente. That way, it still has some bite to it after coming out of the oven. Remember, friends don’t let friends eat soggy pasta. 😂
- For the ultimate gooey, melty sauce, skip the pre-shredded cheeses and shred your own from blocks of cheese. Trust me, the ROI on this one is totally worth it.
- If you are just cooking for two, you can divide your ingredients between two smaller baking dishes, bake one now and pop the other in the freezer to bake later. Yay for make-ahead meals! Speaking of which…
You can literally store this casserole, unbaked, in the freezer in an airtight container for up to three months. Simply thaw it out in the fridge the night before you’ll use it and allow it to reach room temperature before you bake it the day of.
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve this casserole hot out of the oven! It’s best when the cheese and sauce are still gloriously melty. Garnish it with chopped parsley and some red pepper flakes if you dare.
Store leftover chicken spaghetti in an airtight container in the fridge. They should keep for 3-5 days. To reheat leftovers, pop the casserole back in the oven on a low heat setting for 15-20 minutes. You can also just microwave it, which is my reheating method of choice for this recipe.
Italians may cringe, but I think breaking the pasta in half, or even thirds, makes this casserole much easier to eat. Go for it if your inner Italian will allow you.
Make sure you use plenty of water, and the water is boiling before adding the pasta. Once it goes in, stir frequently. After it’s cooked, rinse it with cold water, but only if you aren’t adding it to the sauce immediately.
It’s all about the sauce-to-dry ingredient ratio for this one. Follow the recipe amounts carefully to get a creamy, saucy bake. If you add extra pasta or chicken, your casserole might come out dry. Another tip is to not overbake. Remember that all the ingredients are fully cooked when they hit the oven, so you don’t need more than a 20-minute bake to attain golden, bubbly perfection. Bake longer than that, and you risk drying out your casserole.
What Goes With Baked Chicken Spaghetti
I like to serve this dish with traditional spaghetti sides. Homemade garlic bread and a wedge salad are my go-to sides.
You could certainly get creative, though. Try it with bacon broccoli salad, sweet potato salad, or pea salad on the side. Anything fresh and crunchy is going to balance well with the rich, creamy cheese sauce. 😋
More Hearty Casserole Recipes to Try
- Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
- Cabbage Roll Casserole
- Fiesta Chicken Casserole
- Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
- Ground Beef Casserole
Get ready to try your new favorite comfort food. I already know your family is going to love this one. Already tried it? Let me know your best tips and tricks for a perfect baked chicken casserole in the comment section below. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Watch How to Make It
This blog post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated with additional tips, new photos, and a video.
Baked Chicken Spaghetti
- 8 ounces (225g) thin spaghetti
- 1 pound (450g) chicken boneless breast (or 3 cups cooked shredded chicken)
- ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter (or oil)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- 1-2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
- 1 15-ounce can (425g) diced tomatoes
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced small
- 1 red bell pepper, diced small
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ cup (355ml) chicken broth
- 1 12-ounce can (355ml) evaporated milk
- ¾ cups (90g) parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup (120g) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ cup (60g) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Extra parsley for garnish, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350℉/177℃.
- Start by boiling the spaghetti in a large pot according to the box instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper, or use your favorite spice mix. Let it sit until ready to use.
- Heat a Dutch oven or medium pot over medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil to the skillet.
- Then add the chicken, and saute it for 5-6 minutes on each side until it is cooked through. Remove and set aside.
- Heat butter or oil in a skillet or pot over medium heat. Then add onions, garlic, thyme, and Creole seasoning. Stir for 3-4 minutes or until the onions wilt.
- Toss in the tomatoes and bell peppers, and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the flour until fully incorporated, about a minute. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and broth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes or until the sauce thickens and bubbles.
- Stir in the cheeses, and continue stirring until everything’s melted and evenly combined and smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste.
- Then add the spaghetti and chicken to the skillet, and stir to incorporate evenly.
- Transfer the spaghetti mixture into a pan or lightly greased 2-quart baking dish; top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350F°/177℃ for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
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