This chicken spaghetti is a baked pasta dish with diced chicken and zesty tomatoes in a creamy cheese sauce. The perfect comfort food meal to serve a crowd!
Chicken spaghetti is a classic dish that never goes out of style. It’s easy to make, full of flavor, and is perfectly gooey and cheesy. My version features diced cooked chicken and Ro-Tel tomatoes in a homemade sauce. This meal can even be assembled earlier in the day, then baked right before you’re ready to eat.
How do you make chicken spaghetti?
This recipe starts with a homemade cheesy sauce, which is made with a thickened milk mixture, cream cheese and plenty of freshly grated cheddar cheese. The cheese sauce is mixed with cooked spaghetti, chicken and Ro-Tel tomatoes. The pasta goes into a baking dish, then another layer of cheese goes over the top. The final step is to bake the pasta, then add a sprinkle of parsley and serve.
Tips for chicken spaghetti
- You can use any type of cooked chicken in this recipe – diced roasted chicken, shredded chicken, leftover chicken or even rotisserie chicken work just fine.
- I recommend using freshly grated cheddar cheese, as the pre-shredded bagged cheese at the grocery store contains anti-caking agents and doesn’t melt as smoothly.
- This pasta can be assembled up to 8 hours before you plan to bake it. Store the covered dish in the fridge, then bake for an additional 10 minutes to compensate for starting with a cold casserole.
Chicken spaghetti variations
This is a basic version of baked spaghetti, but there are so many different ways you can customize it to your tastes.
- Protein: Instead of diced chicken, try ground chicken, sliced steak or small cooked shrimp.
- Pasta: Spaghetti is traditional, but you can also use linguine, fettuccine, penne or even macaroni.
- Add-Ins: You can add a variety of ingredients to this recipe such as sauteed bell peppers or mushrooms, sliced black olives, corn or beans.
- Cheese: Instead of cheddar, try Monterey Jack, pepper jack or even mozzarella.
This recipe is written using traditional Ro-Tel tomatoes, which have a bit of a kick, but aren’t overly spicy. My kids don’t have any problem at all with this heat level. If you’re looking for a spicier dish, you can use hot Ro-Tel, or alternatively add some diced pickled jalapenos into the mix.
Chicken spaghetti is comfort food at its finest, and is perfect for potlucks, parties, or any other occasion where you’re looking to serve a crowd. This dish is hearty enough to stand on its own as a complete meal, but I often add a vegetable on the side such as steamed broccoli or roasted asparagus. However you serve it, this pasta is sure to be a hit!
MORE DELICIOUS PASTA RECIPES
- Pizza Stuffed Shells
- Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Sausage and Pepper Pasta
- Philly Cheesesteak Pasta
- Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- 16 ounces spaghetti
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup onion finely diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 cups milk
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided use
- 4 ounces cream cheese cut into 1 inch pieces.
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups cooked chicken diced or shredded
- 10 ounce can Ro-Tel tomatoes with chilies drained
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9"x13" pan with cooking spray.
- Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water according to package directions.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly add the milk to the pan, whisking constantly.
- Bring the milk mixture to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes or until just thickened.
- Remove the sauce from the heat, and mix in 2 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese, along with the cream cheese. Stir until cheeses are melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain the spaghetti and return it to the cooking pot. Add the chicken and tomatoes to the pasta.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and toss to coat evenly.
- Place the pasta mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese over the top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.
This post was originally published on September 1, 2016 and was updated on August 28, 2019 with new content.