This quintessential cheesy chicken pasta bake will make your weekend lunch yummilicious with your family and friends! You can make it ahead too & just bake it to perfection before serving!
I really wonder why I haven’t shared my recipe of chicken pasta bake earlier even after making this frequently at home! My easy cheesy broccoli pasta bake was loved by all and I am sure this one too won’t fail to impress you guys!
This chicken pasta bake has all the goodness we look for in a perfect baked pasta – the right amount of cheesiness, the mind-blowing flavors and the appropriate chicken to pasta ratio! Every bite of this chicken pasta bake is a cheesy flavor bomb!
If you are already have your own family favorite recipe of chicken pasta bake, I would be obliged if you share it with us! If you are beginning to try your hands on this, I strongly recommend this recipe of mine as it’s quite simple to follow & guaranteed to succeed!
I have already shared many pasta recipes on my blog as pasta is one of our favorite meals when we want to eat out of our own native cuisine. We love our basil pesto pasta with chicken or shrimp as much as creamy mushroom pasta!
We do have our favorite meatless pasta recipes too! You will freak out on our spaghetti aglio e olio or easy cheesy broccoli pasta bake! These have been our cult favorite and keep repeating themselves on our dinner table!
While thinking over all the pasta recipes I have shared here till date, I am feeling that I must create a pasta recipe round-up for your easy access. I already have chicken recipe and weeknight dinner recipe round-ups for you! Does that help?
Baked pasta is generally a family meal as it can easily feed 6 or more adults; my chicken pasta bake is no exception and that’s why I recommend this as a great option for weekend family lunch or even as a great brunch recipe!
You can serve this chicken pasta bake just on its own or with a very simple salad with greens on the side which will lighten it up. The baked pasta is generally very heavy due to all the cheese and hence a small portion goes a long way.
This chicken pasta bake recipe of mine serves generous portion for 6 people and if you have additional sides, then it could serve even 8 people. Honestly, we loved this baked pasta so much that we didn’t even need another side and that might be the case with you as well!
My chicken pasta bake recipe is very straight forward and easy to customize if you want to tweak it to your liking. The veggies I have used are just the bell peppers in order to add vibrant colors to my dish. You can skip them if you don’t like peppers.
Throw in veggies of your choice – zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms or spinach can be good alternatives. Or you can completely skip veggies and only make it with chicken. This recipe is kid-friendly too where you can hide veggies to feed your fussy kid!
This cheesy goodness will win even the fussiest kid ever and they will relish this chicken pasta bake will all their mind & soul! A total win-win recipe for all of us – busy parents as well as professionals!
To make my chicken pasta bake even more scrumptious, I used chicken thighs cut up into small bite-sized pieces as I feel that chicken thighs make everything taste better! You can use chicken breasts of course, but if you are anything like me, chicken thigh is what you should go for!
To make your chicken pasta bake perfect every time, make sure to use the best quality cheese you can find at your local grocery store. The flavors of cheese you use make all the difference between a good baked pasta and a not-so-good one!
Cheddar is my choice of cheese in such baked pasta dishes. Cheddar not only adds immense flavor, but also melts beautifully and binds everything together making sure you have the most pleasurable experience at each bite!
To have double dose of cheese in my cheesy chicken pasta bake, I added generous amount of grated cheddar into my white sauce. Additionally I added slices of processed cheese in between layers of pastas while assembling it.
Finally, top it all up with another generous layer of grated cheddar so that it melts nicely. I initially made a mistake of topping my pasta with cheese slices only which do not melt as easily & nicely as cheddar.
Hence I topped it up with more grated cheddar at halfway through baking time and it turned out gorgeous! You may also need to put your baking dish under broiling mode for last 5 minutes so that the cheese becomes super-melty and golden brown!
I was very happy with the way my chicken pasta bake tasted with all the flavors from Italian seasoning with a dash of cayenne pepper and of course thanks to delicious cheddar cheese! It simply became a showstopper on our dinner table! Try this out and I guarantee you will love it as much as we did! Enjoy!
- Chicken thighs – 600 gms, boneless & skinless, cut into small bite-sized cubes
- Penne pasta – 300 gms
- Cheddar cheese – 100 gms, grated
- Cheese slices – 10 or more
- Onion – 1, large, finely chopped
- Garlic – 8 to 10 cloves, grated
- Red bell pepper – 1 small or half of a big one, cut into 1-inch long pieces
- Green bell pepper – 1 small or half of a big one, cut into 1-inch long pieces
- Italian seasoning – 2 tsp
- Cayenne pepper – 1 tsp
- Red pepper flakes – ½ tsp
- Freshly ground black pepper – ½ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Olive oil – 4 to 6 tbsp
- Butter – 4 tbsp
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp
- All-purpose flour – 2 tbsp
- Milk – 1 lt / 4 cups
- Cheddar cheese – 100 gms, grated
- Salt & black pepper to taste
- Cook the penne pasta according to packet instructions. Cook it 2 minutes lesser than what is recommended in the packet as pasta will continue to cook while baking. Rinse the cooked pasta in running water and let it sit in a colander to allow excess water to drain out.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Once the oil is hot, add finely chopped onion and grated garlic. Sauté the onion & garlic for 8 to 10 minutes on medium high flame until the onion softens and becomes translucent. You don’t need to brown the onion.
- Now add the chicken cubes to the skillet and cook them along with onion for 8 to 10 minutes on medium heat. Chicken should turn opaque by now.
- Next add both the bell peppers, stir them in and sauté them along with chicken for 10 minutes on medium flame until they soften a little.
- Now it’s time to add all the spices to the chicken. Add Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes, salt & pepper to taste. Give a good stir to ensure all the spices are mixed in evenly.
- Once the chicken is completely cooked through, take the skillet off the heat and transfer the chicken mixture to a large bowl. Set it aside until needed!
- Heat a deep saucepan and add butter & olive oil to it. Once the butter melts completely, add all-purpose flour and continue to stir using a wire-whisk or spatula.
- Once the flour slightly changes its color and raw smell is almost gone, in about 1-2 minutes, pour in the milk while continuously stirring the sauce.
- Let the sauce come to a simmer and thicken. Then add the grated cheddar cheese and stir to mix well. Let the cheese melt on low heat, about 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and now start assembling the chicken pasta bake!
- Preheat your oven to 180 C / 350 F and place the wire rack at the middle of the oven. Take a large baking dish and brush the bottom of the dish as well as all the sides with butter or olive oil.
- Transfer the cooked pasta to the large bowl having chicken and mix well using a spatula.
- Now transfer ⅓ of chicken-pasta mixture to the greased baking dish. Flatten the chicken & pasta to make an even layer. Then drizzle ⅓ of the white sauce on top of the pasta.
- Now place cheese slices on top of white sauce covering all the chicken & pasta.
- Repeat the same with half of remaining chicken & pasta mixture, followed by half of remaining white sauce and topped with cheese slices.
- Make the final layer by evenly spreading remaining chicken & pasta on top of the sliced cheese, drizzle remaining white sauce and then finally top it up with grated cheddar cheese.
- Bake the chicken pasta in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the cheese on top is completely melted and bubbling. Your chicken pasta bake is ready!
- Serve it with your favorite roast chicken or a simple salad. Enjoy!