Chicken Spaghetti Casserole is classic comfort food! The simple dish combines tender pasta with chicken and vegetables in a creamy, cheesy sauce. It's an easy dinner that you can make in advance, or a delicious meal to bring to a friend in need. Serve the casserole with a salad and corn muffins or biscuits for the perfect family supper!
Hearty Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
This particular chicken spaghetti casserole is a basic dish that can be tweaked in a variety of ways to suit your family’s taste preferences and schedule. Use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken or boiled chicken — anything goes! The kids will go crazy for the creamy combination of noodles and chicken in a creamy sauce with plenty of cheese on top!
Which chicken to use for a Chicken Pasta Bake?
You'll need cooked chicken for this recipe, and a variety of options will work. Pick the most convenient method for you:
- Boiled and Pulled Chicken: Boil about 1 ¾ lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs until cooked through (about 20 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken and use in the recipe. You can use as little as 1 ½ lbs. of meat, or as much as 2 lbs. of meat to start with -- whatever you have on hand. You'll need a total of about 4 cups (more or less) shredded. I find that 1 ¾ lbs. of chicken breasts yields about 4 cups of pulled chicken, but there's some flexibility here -- it doesn't need to be exact.
- Rotisserie Chicken: This is a great shortcut! Purchase a large rotisserie chicken (or two small chickens) from the grocery store, shred the meat, and use in the recipe as instructed.
- Leftover Chicken: If you have leftover grilled or baked chicken from a previous meal, put those extras to good use in this casserole.
- Canned Chicken: Yep, you can even use canned chicken in this casserole!
What cheese for Chicken Spaghetti?
This recipe calls for a combination of cheddar and Velveeta cheeses. I love the flavor that you get from the cheddar, while the Velveeta has a creamy melting quality that you just can't replicate with other cheeses. The Velveeta blends into the sauce and just makes the whole dish taste rich, creamy and cheesy. That said, if you really don't like the idea of using Velveeta cheese, you can substitute with additional cheddar cheese. You can also try other good melting cheeses in this casserole, such as Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby, Colby-Jack, Mozzarella or Gruyere. You can even make chicken spaghetti with cream cheese or pimento cheese stirred into the dish instead of the Velveeta.
Chicken Spaghetti Casserole with Rotel
I prefer using a small jar of diced pimentos in this casserole because they add nice color and mild flavor that appeals to kids of all ages. If you want a casserole with some spicy kick to it, swap out the pimentos and instead use a 10-ounce can of drained Ro*Tel diced tomatoes with green chilies.
How to Make Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
This is a very easy dinner recipe that you can assemble in advance and refrigerate or freeze until needed!
Ingredients for Chicken Spaghetti
- Green bell pepper
- Diced pimentos or Rotel diced tomatoes
- Cream of mushroom soup
- Chicken broth
- Cheddar cheese
- Velveeta cheese
- Salt and pepper
Step 1: Cook Spaghetti
Boil the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.
Step 2: Add Remaining Ingredients
Add the remaining ingredients to the pasta, stirring until everything is well combined. Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.
Sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top and the casserole is ready for the oven!
Step 3: Bake
Bake the dish, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven for about 45 minutes, or until it's hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted on top.
What to serve with Chicken Spaghetti
This creamy spaghetti goes well with any of the following sides:
- Wedge Salad
- Caesar Salad
- Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- Fluffy bakery-style Corn Muffins
- Pumpkin Bread
- A simple green salad dressed with Buttermilk Dressing or Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette
- Arkansas Green Beans with Bacon
- Roasted Broccoli
- Roasted Asparagus
- Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Creamed Peas
- Three Bean Salad
This is the ultimate prep-ahead meal to get dinner on the table quickly and easily -- even on busy nights. Assemble the casserole, wrap tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.
Can Chicken Spaghetti Casserole be frozen?
Freeze the chicken spaghetti before baking. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, cover with foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, allow the dish to come to room temperature on the counter for 30 minutes, and then bake according to recipe instructions.
To bake from frozen, cover the dish with foil for the first 45 minutes, and then continue baking for about 30-45 more minutes (uncovered), or until heated through.
Leftover baked chicken spaghetti will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat the casserole in a 350 degree F oven, covered, just until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for about 1 minute.
Tips for the Best Chicken Spaghetti Recipe
- Don't overcook the pasta. Boil the spaghetti just until it's al dente (or 1 minutes less), so that it still has a firm bite. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven, and you don't want to end up with mushy spaghetti in your casserole.
- Whole Wheat Chicken Spaghetti: Use whole wheat spaghetti noodles instead of regular noodles. Boil the whole wheat pasta until al dente, according to the package instructions.
- Chicken Spaghetti Recipe with Ritz Crackers: For buttery crunch on top of your casserole, add a Ritz cracker crumb topping. To make the topping, stir together 1 sleeve of coarsely crushed Ritz crackers (about 30 crackers, or 1½ cups of crumbs) with 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle the buttered crumbs over the top of the casserole before baking.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired, just before serving.
- Cooking Just for Two? Divide the ingredients between two 8-inch square baking dishes. Cook one now, and freeze the other casserole for later. If you prefer just one smaller casserole, you can cut all of the ingredients in half and bake in an 8-inch square dish. You can cut the baking time back to about 30-35 minutes for the smaller casserole.
More chicken casseroles that you might enjoy:
- Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
- Doritos Chicken Casserole
- Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Buffalo Chicken Casserole
- Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
- 16 ounces spaghetti, broken into pieces
- 4 cups cooked and diced or shredded chicken
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup diced onion
- 1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained or 1 (10 ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
- 2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup, NOT diluted
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup finely-diced or grated Velveeta cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions for al dente (almost tender, but still with a little bite). Drain and return to the pot.
- Add chicken, bell pepper, celery, onion, pimentos or Rotel, condensed soup, broth, ½ cup of the cheddar cheese and all of the Velveeta. Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer spaghetti mixture to prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese over top.
- Bake (uncovered) for 45 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted on top.