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Cheesy Chicken Pasta is loaded with flavor, lots of cheese, chicken, bacon, veggies, and makes a hearty delicious dinner any night of the week. Make this ahead of time and bake when ready to eat for busy weeknights.
Cheesy Chicken Pasta
Cheesy Chicken Pasta is made with a creamy sauce, gooey melted cheese, shredded chicken, veggies, and topped with more cheese and breadcrumbs for the perfect crunch. This casserole is so satisfying and hearty, the whole family will love it!
There’s no doubt that pasta is the ultimate comfort food, especially when it’s it’s a creamy cheesy pasta. This easy pasta dish comes in handy on any busy day or night. It’s easy to make ahead and pop in the oven. You can even make this for meal prep lunches during the week.
- Shredded cheese: I love using sharp or white cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese but you can use your favorites. Shredding the cheese yourself is always recommend and key to getting a super creamy cheese pasta. You can use pre-shredded cheese but just know it won’t be as cheesy since the cheese is coated in starch to prevent stickiness. You could also use a combination of your favorite types of cheese.
- Chicken: You can use any type of precooked chicken. Chicken breasts, chicken thighs, chicken tenders, and my favorite, rotisserie chicken.
- Bacon: Adds a smoky and meaty flavor. I like cooking my bacon until crisp to get little crispy bites in the pasta.
- Sour cream: Adds creaminess and just the right amount of tang. Alternatively you could also use cream cheese but make sure it’s softened and easy to combine into the other ingredients.
- Heavy cream: Helps make the cheese sauce extra creamy.
- Pasta: We love using bow ties for this pasta bake but any type of pasta will work that’s bite-sized, just be sure the cooked pasta is al dente since it will cook a bit in the oven too. Some other pastas that would work great in this recipe is rigatoni, shells, fusilli, rotini, and penne pasta.
- Vegetables: Mushrooms and broccoli are great veggies to add to this pasta bake because they don’t need a lot of cooking time and they pair perfectly with the creamy cheese sauce. You can use your favorite vegetable in this as long as it doesn’t require a ton of cooking time. Fresh veggies are best since they have less moisture than frozen veggies.
How To Make Cheesy Chicken Pasta
Prepare baking dish: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray a large baking dish or casserole dish with cooking spray.
Mix together cheesy sauce: In a large bowl, whisk together the shredded cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper.
Add pasta: Fold in the precooked pasta, chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, bacon, and sun dried tomatoes until fulled combined and coated.
Bake: Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with bread crumbs and more cheese (optional). Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown and cheese is melted. Allow the pasta to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Quick Meal: This meal only takes about 15 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to bake. I always recommend doubling the recipe so you have an extra tray of these in your freezer.
- Hearty dinner: The whole family will absolutely love everything about this recipe, even if you have a picky eater or two.
- Comfort food: There isn’t anything better than cheesy pasta when we want comfort for dinner. Since this pasta bake already has plenty of protein and veggies, this is all you need for a satisfying complete dinner.
- Make ahead: You can easily prep this dish ahead of time and bake it in the oven when you want to eat it.
You can really pick and choose which ingredients you want to add to this recipe. If you have picky eaters, you can completely omit or swap out ingredients to make this the perfect meal. Some add-ins or replacements you can use are:
- Fresh spinach or kale
- Parmesan cheese
- Garlic powder
- Fresh herbs
- Cherry tomatoes
- Bell peppers
- Chicken strips
- Fresh basil
- Protein: Instead of using shredded chicken, you could use shredded pork, ground beef, crumbled sausage, and shredded turkey.
- Vegetarian: Omit the bacon and chicken and this can be a Veggie Pasta Bake.
- Add more veggies: Other veggies you can use are bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, artichoke hearts, kale, and carrots.
- Healthier alternative: There’s a few ways to make this pasta bake on the healthier side. Use whole wheat pasta, use low-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, cut back on the cheese to only 1 cup, use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon, use regular milk or low-fat milk instead of heavy cream.
- Gluten-free: Make this a gluten-free pasta dish by using gluten-free pasta.
Leftovers & Storage
To-store: Store any leftover Chicken Pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It tastes even better the next day hot or cold! Reheat in the microwave or oven until warm.
To-freeze: Make the recipe as directed but do not bake. Cover the baking dish tightly wish plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, place baking dish in the refrigerator overnight or leave out on the counter for a few hours. Bake in the oven according to recipe instructions.
Other Delicious Pasta Recipes
- Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells
- Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- Pastina Recipe
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Chicken Alfredo
- Pasta and Mini Meatballs
- One Pot Lemon and Ricotta Pasta
- Baked Gnocchi
- Creamy Broccoli Pasta
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Cheesy Chicken Pasta
- 2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teapoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups bow tie pasta cooked and drained
- 1 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken I use rotisserie chicken
- 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 1 cup fresh mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 cup bacon cooked and chopped
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes chopped
- 1/4-1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray a large baking dish or casserole dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the shredded cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
- Fold in the precooked pasta, chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, bacon, and sun dried tomatoes until fulled combined and coated.
- Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with bread crumbs and extra cheese (optional). Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown and cheese is melted. Allow the pasta to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!