Jump to RecipeJump to VideoLeave a ReviewPin Recipe

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

You don’t even have to boil the pasta, cook the chicken, or sauté the vegetables! Just stir everything together and 10 minutes later you’ll have a creamy chicken penne pasta casserole that’s ready for the oven. It’s a one pot meal that makes weeknight dinners easy!

Overhead shot of chicken penne casserole in a white baking dish.
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Chicken Penne Pasta | 1-Minute Video
  2. Why You’ll Love this Chicken Penne Casserole
  3. Ingredients
  4. How to Make Creamy Chicken Penne Pasta Casserole
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Preparation and Storage Tips
  7. Recipe Variations
  8. Tips for the Best Chicken Penne Pasta Recipe
  9. Dump-and-Bake Creamy Chicken Penne Pasta Recipe

How to Make Chicken Penne Pasta | 1-Minute Video

Dump-and-bake dinners certainly aren’t fancy, but they help us get a homemade meal on the table — even on our busiest nights. From dump-and-bake chicken parm casserole, to my kids’ favorite sesame chicken noodlesdump-and-bake meatball casserole, tuscan chicken pasta, or dump-and-bake ham, cheddar, and rice casserole, there’s a tasty option to please everyone at your table. This chicken penne casserole is just the latest in our lineup of weeknight winners!

Overhead shot of a close up bowl of chicken penne pasta.

Why You’ll Love this Chicken Penne Casserole

  • Easy. Instead of sauteing or boiling the chicken and vegetables, this version takes advantage of my favorite dump-and-bake method to eliminate tedious prep work. There’s no need to boil the pasta in advance or to pre-cook the chicken or veggies. Instead, all of the ingredients mingle, share seasonings, and simmer together in one dish in the oven.
  • Family-friendly. There are certain recipes that are just guaranteed to be a hit with the kids (and with the husband)! If it involves creamy penne pasta, I can throw just about anything else into the casserole and know that my boys will clean their plates. This particular cheesy, creamy chicken dinner is full of fresh vegetables and tender noodles for a simple, nourishing, and satisfying dinner.
  • Versatile. This recipe is easily adaptable, so you can change up the ingredients to suit your family’s preferences or to use up whatever you have on hand. For instance, omit the mushrooms, but add frozen corn, peas, or diced carrots. You can use shredded rotisserie chicken (instead of the raw chicken), or try cooked sausage. If you don’t like cream of celery soup, swap it out for cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup instead. The options are endless!
Process shot showing how to mix together the ingredients for dump and bake chicken penne pasta casserole.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pan of chicken penne casserole. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Condensed cream of celery soup: I typically use the Campbell’s Healthy Request variety, but any similar option will work well. You can pick your favorite flavor of condensed soup to use here. For instance, swap out the cream of celery for cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup.
  • Milk: a little bit of liquid to thin the soup and make the creamy sauce.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth: or sub with water. This is extra liquid for the pasta to absorb as it cooks in the oven.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Onion, mushrooms, red bell pepper, and celery: fresh veggies that add flavor, color, and texture to the meal.
  • Chicken: cut up raw, boneless skinless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. The meat will cook in the oven along with the pasta. You can substitute with boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer the dark meat.
  • Penne pasta: this is the brand that I use, which has a suggested time of 11-12 minutes on the box. You can substitute with another short pasta shape, such as rigatoni, elbows, bowtie (farfalle), or rotini. You may need to increase or decrease the total baking time for your casserole if you choose a different pasta.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: feel free to sub with just about any other cheese that you like. For instance, try shredded mozzarella cheese, Monterey Jack, American, Colby, Pepper Jack, or even some Parmesan cheese.
Process shot showing how to make dump and bake chicken penne pasta.

How to Make Creamy Chicken Penne Pasta Casserole

This creamy chicken penne casserole makes weeknight dinners quick and easy! I’ve included the detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Whisk together the liquid ingredients and the seasoning.
  • Add the vegetables, uncooked penne pasta, uncooked chicken, and some of the cheese.
  • Transfer the mixture to a greased 8-inch square baking dish (or other 2-quart dish); cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Bake the casserole, covered, in a 425°F oven for 45 minutes, until the pasta and veggies are almost tender.
  • Remove the foil and stir the chicken mixture.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  • Return the dish to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 5 more minutes, until the pasta is tender, the chicken is cooked through, and the cheese melts.
  • Let the pasta bake stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Square overhead shot of dump and bake chicken penne pasta casserole.

Serving Suggestions

This chicken pasta is basically an entire meal in one dish, thanks to the meat, noodles, and veggies. That said, if you’d like to round out the meal, the chicken penne casserole goes well with any of the following sides:

Horizontal side shot of a bowl of creamy chicken penne pasta casserole.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: You can assemble the pasta dish a few hours in advance, or even leave it covered in the refrigerator overnight before baking. The pasta will start to soften and absorb some of the liquid as it sits, so you may need to decrease the baking time slightly. You don’t want to overcook the casserole or you’ll end up with gummy, mushy pasta.
  • Storage: This casserole is best enjoyed immediately from the oven. Leftovers will  keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The pasta will dry out a bit as it sits.
  • I do not recommend freezing this casserole because pasta has a tendency to get gummy and mushy when thawed.
Overhead shot of a white baking dish full of chicken penne pasta.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of using fresh diced onion, add ¼ teaspoon onion powder.
  • Don’t have penne pasta? Substitute with other similar short pasta shapes such as rotini, rigatoni, or elbows. Just pick a pasta that has a similar cooking time as the penne (about 11-12 minutes recommended on the package) — otherwise you’ll need to adjust the casserole’s baking time in the oven.
  • Have leftover cooked chicken (or rotisserie chicken) on hand? You can use cooked chicken in lieu of raw chicken, if you prefer. Stir the cooked chicken into the casserole at the end (just before you sprinkle the cheese on top).
  • Use any variety of condensed soup that you like. For instance, substitute with organic condensed soup, homemade condensed soup, or with other flavors of condensed soup (such as a can of Cream of Chicken soup and a can of Cream of Mushroom soup).
  • Add buttered Ritz crackers, buttered seasoned bread crumbs, or buttered panko breadcrumbs if you like a crunchy topping.
  • Swap out the chicken breast and use diced chicken thighs instead.
  • Season the sauce with additional herbs and spices that you enjoy. Good options include parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, and chives. You can also jazz up the casserole with Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, and/or sundried tomatoes.
  • Add a splash of dry sherry to the sauce for even more flavor.
Side shot of a blue and white bowl full of creamy chicken and penne pasta.

Tips for the Best Chicken Penne Pasta Recipe

  • For a richer, creamier sauce, stir in ¼ cup of sour cream towards the end (just before sprinkling the cheese on top).
  • Instead of the fresh veggies, use frozen baby broccoli florets in this dish. They’re perfectly bite-sized, which means there’s no chopping necessary (just dump them right into the pan)! Thaw them first and they’ll soften nicely in the oven. If you prefer, you can use frozen broccoli cuts, or substitute with about 2-3 cups of fresh broccoli florets. If using the fresh broccoli, you don’t need to pre-cook it. It should be plenty soft by the time the pasta is done.
  • Dice the chicken into small, bite-size pieces before adding it to the dish. It will cook faster this way, and it will be easier to eat without cutting.
  • I find that it’s easiest to cut the chicken with sharp kitchen shears.
  • Total cooking time will vary depending on the type of pan that you use and on your individual oven. A glass or ceramic casserole dish will take longer than a metal pan, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the pasta. The noodles should be tender and the sauce should be thicker.
  • Be careful not to overbake the casserole or the pasta will become mushy.
  • Garnish the finished dish with fresh herbs (such as fresh parsley, fresh basil, or fresh thyme) for an added layer of flavor.
Overhead image of two blue and white bowls full of chicken penne pasta casserole.

More Dump-and-Bake Chicken Casserole Recipes to Try

Dump and Bake Chicken Alfredo Pasta Casserole

48 minutes mins

Dump-and-Bake Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

55 minutes mins

Dump-and-Bake Chicken Parm Casserole

50 minutes mins

Square overhead image of baked chicken penne pasta casserole on a wooden table.

Dump-and-Bake Creamy Chicken Penne Pasta

5 from 13 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Calories 343 kcal
Just stir all of the raw ingredients together in a dish and this creamy chicken penne casserole is ready for the oven!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup, not diluted (or sub with cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup diced onion (I used frozen diced onion as a shortcut)
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • ½ lb. raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces (or sub with boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together condensed soup, milk, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir in onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, celery, raw chicken, uncooked pasta, and ½ cup cheese.
    Process shot showing how to mix together the ingredients for dump and bake chicken penne pasta casserole.
  • Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
    Overhead image of a white baking dish full of chicken penne casserole before it goes in the oven.
  • Remove foil and give everything a stir in the dish. At this point, check to make sure that the pasta is al dente (tender, but with a firm bite). If it’s still too hard, cover again and return to the oven until the pasta is al dente. Once the pasta is al dente, sprinkle remaining ½ cup of cheese over top.
    Process shot showing how to make dump and bake chicken penne pasta.
  • Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 5-10 more minutes, or until pasta is tender, chicken is cooked through, and cheese is melted.
    Square overhead shot of dump and bake chicken penne pasta casserole.

Video

Notes

  • For a richer, creamier sauce, stir in ¼ cup of sour cream towards the end (just before sprinkling the cheese on top).
  • Instead of the fresh veggies, use frozen baby broccoli florets in this dish. They’re perfectly bite-sized, which means there’s no chopping necessary (just dump them right into the pan)! Thaw them first and they’ll soften nicely in the oven. If you prefer, you can use frozen broccoli cuts, or substitute with about 2-3 cups of fresh broccoli florets. If using the fresh broccoli, you don’t need to pre-cook it. It should be plenty soft by the time the pasta is done.
  • Dice the chicken into small, bite-size pieces before adding it to the dish. It will cook faster this way, and it will be easier to eat without cutting.
  • I find that it’s easiest to cut the chicken with sharp kitchen shears.
  • Total cooking time will vary depending on the type of pan that you use and on your individual oven. A glass or ceramic casserole dish will take longer than a metal pan, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the pasta. The noodles should be tender and the sauce should be thicker.
  • Be careful not to overbake the casserole or the pasta will become mushy.
  • Garnish the finished dish with fresh herbs (such as fresh parsley, fresh basil, or fresh thyme) for an added layer of flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the recipeCalories: 343kcalCarbohydrates: 39.9gProtein: 27.4gFat: 8.8gSaturated Fat: 4.4gCholesterol: 56.8mgSodium: 633.9mgFiber: 2.6gSugar: 6.2g
Keyword: chicken penne casserole, chicken penne pasta, chicken penne pasta recipe, creamy chicken penne
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in June, 2018. The photos were updated in December, 2023.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Your Dump and Bake Chicken Penne Pasta is a dream for any working mom! I’m always looking for quick and easy to prepare meals to work with my busy schedule, and this recipe would provide the perfect quick home-cooked meal. I’ll be dropping this recipe onto my thumb drive to pull up at home, and so I can prepare this tonight. I always appreciate when you provide the nutritional facts, because I never have the time to look it up!

  2. This looks amazing! I can’t get enough of baked meals at the moment because it’s so cold here!

  3. Now that’s a good looking recipe! I hope it’s as delicious as it looks! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Could this be turned into a freezer meal? And at which point in the directions would you recommend putting it in the freezer?

    1. Hi! Yes, I think it would work fine as a freezer meal. I would assemble it according to the recipe instructions through step 3. Cover and freeze until ready to bake. Then, when the time comes to bake the dish, I would allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before it goes in the oven.

      Hope that helps, and let me know if you give it a try. I haven’t done that myself, so I’d love to know if it works! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    There were supposed to be leftovers; I was counting on it. Alas, it was quite a hit that there were only a few spoonfuls left toward the end. Most popular pasta bake I’ve made.

  6. I enjoyed the dish, but I don’t think my guys were big fans. I had to cook it longer than directed and ended up turning the oven up to 450. I will probably make it again, although it won’t classify as a family favorite. I do like being able to just dump everything in one dish!

    1. 5 stars
      Delicious! My husband and I loved this recipe! The only thing I would do differently next time is make sure the soup is mixed with the broth and milk until creamy. Mine stayed separated through the baking and so did not look creamy. But still tasty! My husband can be picky but he loved this!! Thank you for our new dinner idea!
      I also used bow tie pasta because that’s what I had and it cooked nicely!

    1. Hi! I’ve used uncooked rice in similar recipes before, but I haven’t tested it with this particular recipe. I think it would work, but you may need to adjust the cooking time a bit longer. Let me know if you give it a try!

      1. 5 stars
        I hadn’t cooked in over a year. My step children just decided it’s best to disrespect me as much as possible, so naturally I decided to give up cooking good home cooking food. Going out was getting old so I decided to try this recipe. I doubled the recipe and boy am I glad I did! I was glad it was so easy to make in case something happened with the step kids, I wouldn’t feel like I slaved all day for nothing. They were being mean to me all day, but when they are this, they gathered around me telling me this is the BEST dinner they had ever ate!!! My daughter said her tongue had no taste buds because she burnt them off, she couldn’t wait for it to cool to eat it because it looked, smelled, and tasted sooooo good! I wish I could copy al the texts that all the kids sent me last night about this dinner!! My husband agree with them too! This is definitely the best and easiest recipe available! Thank you Blair! BTW I had to forward the recipe to my oldest daughter who just moved out and is learning how to cook! Perfect for her to try!

        1. Oh, that makes me so happy to hear, Tessa! Thank you! I hope you’ll try some of the other dump-and-bake recipes on my blog. They’re all so easy — and total timesavers in the kitchen!

  7. 5 stars
    Hello Blair!
    I recently found your website when googling a slow cooker chicken stew (which I am also making at the moment) when this recipe for dump and bake chicken Parm popped up in a video. I don’t usually like those but I was intrigued with the thought of a quick chick Parm that require almost no work!!
    I added some frozen veggies and used an ancient grain spiral pasta to make it even healthier and lower carb but still with the comfort of pasta with it.
    It was delicious.!! I’m single and sometimes hate cooking for one as it’s a lot of work. So, this simple recipe which I did with amounts for 2 people worked perfectly and quickly. Thank you!!
    I also want to try your Aunt Bee’s biscuits. I never have luck making biscuits so I’ll let you know how it goes!!
    I truly enjoyed my Saturday afternoon finding your recipes and becoming more excited about finding simple delicious meals. Thank you!!

    1. Hi, Jennifer! I’m so glad that you found my site and that you’re having fun trying some new recipes in the kitchen. Thanks for taking the time to leave me a note. I hope you love the biscuits! 🙂

  8. Delicious, we made last night and my kids and husband loved it. We added black olives because my husband loves them and it came out very yummy. Thanks for the recipe. We will make again for sure.

    1. Hi, Jane! Yes — I think that would be great! If you prefer the broccoli/cauliflower really tender, you might want to parboil it (or steam it in the microwave) before adding it to the dish.

  9. So far, not impressed. It’s been in the oven for 1.5 hours and the pasta is far from cooked. Turned up the oven and put the lid back on. Hoping for the best so I don’t waste food at this point.

  10. 5 stars
    Excellent…I added a shallot finely diced, some chopped fresh tomato as I had no bell peppers and added a generous 1/2 teaspoon of Herbs de Provance…my shredded cheese in the fridge was Velveeta Mexican mix shred.. I live in an RV with a 3 ft x 4 foot kitchen..which includes the sink area and the area I put my convection oven and coffee maker. Anything I can fix in a short time, with a one pan clean up, that is tasty and satisfying…I am all in. This will be made again…and again…and I am reading through all your dump recipes!

  11. This is my first dump and bake recipe. A great idea, and it tastes really good. At my advanced age I don’t cook much anymore, so for me this was a lot more prep than I had imagined. Mainly the chopping. Next time, if I make it again, I will do all that ahead of time.

  12. Hi, Tim! I’m not sure — I haven’t tested it a Dutch oven. In general, I find that the cast iron conducts heat better than ceramic baking dishes, so I’m guessing that it will cook faster in the cast iron Dutch oven. Just start checking it about 10-15 minutes early, and leave it in as long as necessary. You’ll be able to tell easily when it’s done because the pasta will be tender. Just don’t let it cook for too long or the pasta will get mushy.

  13. 5 stars
    This is so good! Took about 10 minutes to put together. I added garlic, thyme, parsley and salt to mine but I add that to every chicken dish. I also substituted drained corn for the mushrooms because of an allergy. All 4 of the men in my house had second helpings of that tells you anything. (I doubled the recipe)

  14. I haven’t made this yet but I will. My concern is that this dish needs more liquid for the pasta to cook without being too thick, not creamy. Help!! I don’t want to ruin a whole casserole. Tx

    1. Hi, Emily! This is how we’ve found success when testing the recipe multiple times. That said, you can feel free to use more liquid if you like!

  15. This dish looks perfect for an upcoming ski weekend! I’d like to assemble it about 24 hrs before it would be cooked. Do you think that’s ok as it contains raw chicken?

    1. Hi Penny,

      We recommend assembling it according to the recipe instructions through step 3. Then, cover it, and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve, following the instructions as normal.

      Enjoy!

  16. I’m thinking about doubling the casserole but not doubling the meat. I’d use about 6 ounces of cooked chopped chicken. I assume I would use my 3 quart pyrex. Since I’m not using raw chicken, how would I adjust the liquid?

    1. I would keep the liquid the same, since the pasta will still need to absorb a lot as it cooks. Hope you enjoy!

  17. I want to make dump penne chicken. Can I use frozen diced onion red peppers green peppers and celery (all in 1 bag) ? If so how much?

    1. Hi, Linda! Yes, the frozen veggie blend should work well. I would use about 1 1/2 cups total. Hope you enjoy!