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You don’t even have to boil the pasta for this simple dump-and-bake chicken pesto Alfredo! With tomatoes, fresh spinach, and just 10 minutes of prep, the one-dish meal is seriously the world’s easiest weeknight dinner.

Overhead image of chicken pesto alfredo pasta bake on a wooden dinner table.
Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love this Chicken Pesto Alfredo Recipe
  2. Ingredients for Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
  3. How to Make Chicken Pesto Alfredo
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. Preparation and Storage Tips
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best Chicken Pesto Alfredo Pasta Recipe
  8. Dump-and-Bake Chicken Pesto Alfredo Pasta Recipe

If you love dump-and-bake pasta recipes, be sure to try this dump-and-bake meatball casserole, a pan of tuscan chicken pasta, my kids’ favorite sesame chicken noodles, an easy dump-and-bake ravioli casserole, a pan of hot dog casserole, and this dump-and-bake Italian sausage casserole, too!

Why You’ll Love this Chicken Pesto Alfredo Recipe

  • Easy. Instead of sauteing or boiling the pasta 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 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 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 includes fresh vegetables and tender noodles for a simple, satisfying dinner.
  • Lots of Flavor. Thanks to the addition of white wine, basil pesto, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and zippy crushed red pepper flakes, this isn’t your average boring or bland chicken alfredo pasta!
  • 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 spinach, but add sliced mushrooms, frozen corn, peas, or diced carrots. You can use raw chicken (instead of the rotisserie chicken), or try cooked sausage.
Square side shot of a bowl of alfredo pesto chicken pasta casserole.

The Difference Between Pesto and Alfredo Sauce

Pesto and Alfredo sauce are two very different sauces, both of which are delicious with pasta. In general, pesto sauce includes parmesan cheese, salt, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Alfredo sauce, by contrast, features heavy cream and cheese as the primary ingredients.

In this dish, you get the best of both worlds! The recipe combines both pesto and Alfredo sauce for a flavorful pasta bake that will make your tastebuds sing.

Close up side shot of chicken pesto alfredo pasta bake in a green casserole dish.

You Don’t Have to Cook the Pasta Before Putting it in the Casserole

While many casserole recipes call for cooking pasta before mixing it into the dish, this particular recipe is designed specifically for uncooked pasta. That means that you do not boil the noodles on the stovetop before adding them to the casserole dish.

Instead, the noodles cook right in the oven with the rest of the ingredients. This requires extra liquid in the pan (since the pasta absorbs a lot as it cooks), and extra cooking time to make sure that the noodles are tender.

Close overhead shot of a bowl of chicken pesto alfredo pasta.

The Best Chicken to Use in this Chicken Pesto Alfredo 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 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken and use in the recipe.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: This is a great shortcut! Purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred the meat, and use in the recipe as instructed.
  • Purchase Cooked Chicken: Instead of a rotisserie chicken, you can purchase cooked pulled chicken or cooked diced chicken at the grocery store.
  • Leftover Chicken: If you have leftover grilled or baked chicken, put those extras to good use in this casserole.
  • Canned Chicken: Yep, you can even use canned chicken in this casserole!
Overhead shot of a serving spoon in a dish of chicken pesto Alfredo.

The Best Casserole Dish to Use

We rounded up the best casserole dishes you can buy, including 2 that I personally own and love! While I use different-sized casserole dishes for different dump-and-bake meals, the Staub Ceramic Rectangular Baking Dish earned the top spot. You can buy it on Amazon for $78.95 or at Target for $79.95. That said, I also love the beautiful, Scandinavian style of the Dansk Kobenstyle Baker shown here, available for $135.

The total baking time for this recipe will vary depending on your individual oven, and on the type of dish that you choose. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the pasta. The rigatoni should be tender and much of the liquid should be absorbed.

Stirring together ingredients for chicken pesto alfredo in a baking dish.

Ingredients for Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for this easy chicken pesto alfredo. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step directions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Alfredo sauce: I keep it simple with a jar of store-bought sauce, but you can certainly use your own homemade Alfredo if you prefer. You’ll need a total of about 2 ½ cups, which is approximately one very large 22-ounce jar, or 1 ½ 15-ounce jars.
  • Chicken broth: adds flavor to the pasta and creamy sauce as the ingredients cook together in the pan. Chicken stock also works well.
  • White wine: for even richer flavor. If you don’t want to cook with wine, just sub with extra broth or water.
  • Basil pesto: pick a store-bought pesto for convenience, or make your own homemade pesto when fresh basil is in season.
  • Italian seasoning: a convenient blend of marjoram, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and other herbs.
  • Garlic powder and onion powder: even more savory flavor.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes: for a spicy kick. If you don’t want a spicy casserole, omit this ingredient altogether.
  • Chicken: you’ll need cooked chicken for this recipe. Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, or see my notes above for other options.
  • Mezzi rigatoni pasta:  this is the brand that I use, which has a suggested cook time of 9 minutes on the package. If you can’t find mezzi rigatoni, then substitute with another short pasta shape with a similar cooking time, such as penne, rigatoni, or rotini. You may need to increase the total baking time for your casserole if you choose a different pasta.
  • Petite diced tomatoes: for color and flavor. You can sub with fire-roasted diced tomatoes or regular diced tomatoes if you like.
  • Fresh baby spinach leaves: add great color, texture, and nutrition to the dish.
  • Cheese: I like an Italian blend of cheeses, but shredded mozzarella also works.
Overhead shot showing how to make chicken pesto alfredo.

How to Make Chicken Pesto Alfredo

This creamy chicken pesto alfredo makes weeknight dinners quick and easy! You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Whisk together the sauce and seasoning.
  • Stir in the chicken, uncooked pasta, and diced tomatoes.
  • Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
  • Stir in the spinach and top with cheese.
  • Broil for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese melts.
Square overhead image of chicken pesto alfredo pasta bake on a wooden dinner table.

Serving Suggestions

Here are some easy sides that go well with creamy chicken pesto pasta:

Overhead image of a fork in a white pasta bowl full of chicken pesto alfredo.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: You can assemble the casserole a few hours in advance, or even leave it covered in the fridge 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, so you may need to stir in some additional Alfredo sauce or stock when you reheat the dish. Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes.
  • I do not recommend freezing this casserole because pasta has a tendency to get gummy and mushy when thawed.
Close up shot of a spoon in a pan of chicken pesto alfredo pasta casserole.

Recipe Variations

  • If you prefer to start with raw chicken instead of cooked, shredded chicken, you’ll need about 1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs. Dice the chicken into bite-size pieces and add it to the casserole at the beginning (when you add the uncooked pasta). The chicken will be cooked through by the time the noodles are tender.
  • Don’t have mezzi rigatoni? You can substitute with other similar short pasta shapes such as penne, rotini, or elbows. Just pick a pasta that has a similar cooking time as the mezzi rigatoni (about 8-10 minutes recommended on the package) — otherwise you’ll need to adjust the casserole’s baking time in the oven.
  • For an alcohol-free dish, omit the white wine and replace it with water or extra broth.
  • Add different vegetables to the dish. Good options include grated zucchini or sliced fresh mushrooms.
  • Add buttered breadcrumbs on top for a crunchy texture.
  • Cooking for a Smaller Family: Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square pan. Check the pasta after 35 minutes, as it may be done slightly sooner than the larger pan.
Horizontal side shot of a bowl of chicken pesto alfredo.

Tips for the Best Chicken Pesto Alfredo Pasta Recipe

  • You’ll need at least one large 22-ounce jar of Alfredo sauce. If you can’t find this larger size jar in your store, purchase two smaller (15 ounce) jars and measure out about 2 ½ cups of sauce total. One smaller jar won’t be quite enough.
  • Pick a dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinto Grigio, or Pinto Gris. Use something that you enjoy drinking!
  • Total cooking time will vary depending on the type of pan that you use, your brand of pasta, and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the pasta. The noodles should be tender and much of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Be careful not to overbake the casserole or the pasta will become mushy.
  • Garnish the casserole with herbs like fresh basil or fresh parsley for a bright, colorful touch.
Overhead shot of a green baking dish full of chicken pesto alfredo.

More Chicken Pasta Casserole Recipes to Try

Square overhead image of chicken pesto alfredo pasta bake on a wooden dinner table.

Dump-and-Bake Chicken Pesto Alfredo Pasta

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 42 minutes
Total: 52 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 448 kcal
This easy chicken pesto alfredo is ready for the oven with just 10 minutes of prep time!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (22 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce (or 1 ½ 15-ounce jars) (approximately 2 ½ cups total)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup white wine (or sub with additional chicken broth or water)
  • ¼ cup prepared basil pesto
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less, or omit entirely if you don’t like it spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cups diced rotisserie chicken (or other diced cooked chicken)
  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked mezzi rigatoni pasta (or other similar short pasta shape such as rotini or penne)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, well drained
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend or mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs such as basil, oregano, and parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In the prepared baking dish (or in a separate large bowl), whisk together the Alfredo sauce, broth, wine, pesto, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir in the chicken, uncooked pasta, and diced tomatoes. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
    Stirring together ingredients for chicken pesto alfredo in a baking dish.
  • Uncover; stir gently with a fork. At this point you should check the pasta to make sure that it is al dente (firm but just about finished cooking). If it’s still too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven until pasta is al dente. Then move on to the next step.
    Overhead shot showing how to make chicken pesto alfredo.
  • Stir the spinach into the pasta. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Place the dish under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, just until the cheese melts and starts to get crispy on top. Watch the dish the entire time since the food can burn quickly under the broiler! Garnish with chopped fresh herbs and serve.
    Overhead image of chicken pesto alfredo pasta bake on a wooden dinner table.

Notes

    • If you prefer to start with raw chicken instead of cooked, shredded chicken, you’ll need about 1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs. Dice the chicken into bite-size pieces and add it to the casserole at the beginning (when you add the uncooked pasta). The chicken will be cooked through by the time the noodles are tender.
    • Don’t have mezzi rigatoni? You can substitute with other similar short pasta shapes such as penne, rotini, or elbows. Just pick a pasta that has a similar cooking time as the mezzi rigatoni (about 8-10 minutes recommended on the package) — otherwise you’ll need to adjust the casserole’s baking time in the oven.
    • For an alcohol-free dish, omit the white wine and replace it with water or extra broth.
    • You’ll need at least one large 22-ounce jar of Alfredo sauce. If you can’t find this larger size jar in your store, purchase two smaller (15 ounce) jars and measure out about 2 ½ cups of sauce total. One smaller jar won’t be quite enough.
    • Total cooking time will vary depending on the type of pan that you use, your brand of pasta, and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the pasta. The noodles should be tender and much of the liquid should be absorbed.
    • Be careful not to overbake the casserole or the pasta will become mushy.
    • Pick a dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinto Grigio, or Pinto Gris. Use something that you enjoy drinking!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casseroleCalories: 448kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 15gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 1090mgPotassium: 363mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1085IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 172mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: alfredo pesto chicken, chicken pesto alfredo, chicken pesto alfredo pasta, pesto alfredo chicken pasta
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
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!

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Comments

  1. Sandi says:

    5 stars
    My family LOVES this! Easy, flavorful, and re-heats well.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you so much, Sandi! We’re glad you enjoy it.