This creamy rich Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole is made with chicken, mushrooms, a few veggies, and plenty of sauce and cheese. Baked till bubbly and the cheese is melted it is the perfect comfort food!
Easy Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe
Chicken Tetrazzini is one of my favorite go-to comfort food recipes. This easy-to-make creamy casserole is always a hit in my household and will be in yours too – I guarantee it!
This dish comes together in under an hour and is full of tender chicken, earthy mushrooms, al dente pasta all coated in a rich creamy sauce and topped with cheesy breadcrumb mixture that’s baked until bubbly.
A delicious budget-friendly meal that is perfect to prepare a day or so in advance and bake when ready for dinner. And for this busy mom, that makes it the perfect meal!
Plus, it’s freezer-friendly so, be sure to whip up a few and freeze for later. Because you never know when a baked cheesy pasta casserole urge may strike.
My family loved this creamy pasta dish the first time I made it and it is now one of their favorites! I know it will be yours too. Check out my ham tetrazzini too!
Spaghetti – Spaghetti noodles are the traditional pasta for this dish but feel free to use any pasta noodle shape you have on hand. Be sure to cook the pasta al dente so it doesn’t get too mushy after baking.
Chicken – This recipe starts with cooked chicken. So prep the chicken or for an easier meal prep use a rotisserie chicken from the store or use leftover chicken from another recipe.
Aromatics – Use onion, celery, green bell pepper to create a delicious flavor base to the sauce.
Spices – Minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Fresh parsley for garnishing. Garlic powder can be swapped if you don’t have fresh.
Cream Soup – I use cream of chicken soup, along with the tomato sauce. Feel free to double up on the cream soups and leave out the marinara sauce all together or use a cream of mushroom soup.
Cream – Use heavy cream and not half & half or milk for a richer flavor. Some prefer to use sour cream too.
Cheese – I used shredded Colby Jack but use your favorite. Shredding/grating your own cheese from a block for better melting. Also add cream cheese.
Breadcrumbs – I like to use Italian seasoned crumbs but use your favorite. You can even use Panko or cracker crumbs.
Pantry staples – Unsalted butter, fresh mushrooms, tomato sauce.
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How To Make Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini
First: Cook the noodles al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water for later. Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.
Second: Melt half the butter in a large pan and cook the onions and garlic for 4 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, celery and bell pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
Third: Add in the spaghetti sauce, cream of chicken soup, heavy cream, and the cream cheese. Stir until combined.
Fourth: Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and toss till combined. If you want the casserole a little saucier, add a little bit of the spaghetti water.
Fifth: Spread the coated spaghetti out in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the cheese.
Sixth: Melt the remaining butter. Stir the bread crumbs into the melted butter until combined. Sprinkle the top of the cheese with the breadcrumbs.
Seventh: Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and the topping is a light golden brown. Remove and serve with your favorite side dish.
For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
Why This Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe is Awesome
- Comes together in under one hour!
- Flavorful and comforting for the perfect weeknight dinner.
- Loved by even the pickiest of eaters, a great recipe the whole family will love.
- Quick and easy to make.
- Most are just a creamy base, but ours uses tomato sauce too.
- Easily made into turkey tetrazzini by using leftover turkey!
- Not only creamy, but this is a cheesy chicken tetrazzini.
What is the difference between Tetrazzini and Alfredo?
Tetrazzini is a baked pasta casserole usually made with mushroom and chicken sometimes, another protein enveloped in a cream-based sauce.
Alfredo, on the other hand, is a sauce that is an emulsion of butter, garlic, and parmesan cheese that coats pasta.
Why is it called Chicken Tetrazzini?
Chicken tetrazzini is named after the Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini but originated in America. The recipe is a baked chicken and pasta dish smothered in a creamy sauce, often made with earthy mushrooms or sweet peas.
After the initial cooking, finish the casserole with either a layer of breadcrumbs, melted cheese, or a combination of both.
What does Tetrazzini mean in English?
Tetrazzini means a pasta dish made with a cream sauce and mushrooms.
What type of pasta goes in Tetrazzini?
Traditionally, long-strand pasta such as spaghetti, linguine, or vermicelli are the preferred shape in this dish.
However, feel free to use short kinds of pasta like macaroni, ziti, penne, rigatoni, or spirals while avoiding tiny pasta such as orzo or Ditalini as they are too small for the casserole.
What can I substitute for the cream of chicken soup?
Feel free to swap cream of mushroom for the cream of chicken soup without effecting the flavor of the dish.
How to Store and Freeze Tetrazzini
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To freeze, prepare the recipe as written in a freezer safe dish. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and then cover with foil and freeze for up to 2 months.
When ready to bake, thaw overnight in the fridge and then bake accordingly.
Can I make Chicken Tetrazzini ahead of time?
Of course! This is a wonderful make-ahead dish.
Make according to recipe instructions, but instead of baking, cover the casserole tightly with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
When ready to enjoy, remove from fridge, bake according to recipe adding about 15 minutes onto the baking time.
Can I make this in the slow cooker?
Yes, you can make this recipe in a crock pot or slow cooker. It’s perfect for a busy day.
- Add all the ingredients (minus the cream cheese, pasta, and cheese) and cook on low for 4 hours.
- Cube and stir in the cream cheese, cover and let cook while you prepare the pasta noodles.
- Cook the pasta al dente, drain, and add to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Top with cheese and breadcrumbs and continue to cook for 10 more minutes or until cheese is melty.
- Serve with garlic bread and enjoy!
What to Serve with Tetrazzini
Serve with a simple side salad and my easy garlic knots for a complete hearty and comforting meal!
Tips for No Leftovers
- You can cook the chicken before using in the recipe or for easier prep, use a rotisserie chicken from the deli. I like to keep cooked chicken breasts in the freezer for just this purpose.
- I prefer shredded chicken in this dish but cubed works well too.
- Cook the pasta “al dente” or firm to the bite. The noodles will cook even more when baked and if you over cook the pasta in the beginning it will be mushy after its baked.
- You can cook the pasta ahead of time, drain, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- If the sauce seems too thick, thin it out with some of the pasta cooking water. Or you can use chicken stock or broth.
- Do not cover the casserole when baking as you want the crumb topping to turn golden brown and crispy. If it starts to get too brown, cover with foil towards the end of the baking time.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!
Creamy chicken tetrazzini made with tender chicken, earthy mushrooms, veggies, and plenty of sauce and cheese! This perfect comfort food dish is baked until bubbly for one rich and hearty meal.
- 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti noodles
- 6 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1/2 bell pepper (diced)
- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms (cleaned, sliced)
- 2 cups chicken (cooked, diced or shredded)
- 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
- 2 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese (cubed)
- 1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
- 1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (for garnish)
- Cook the noodles al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water for thinning the sauce out later.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
- Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan and cook the onions and garlic for 4 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, celery and bell pepper and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and saute for an additional 4 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken, spaghetti sauce, cream of chicken soup, heavy cream, and the cream cheese. Mix till combined.
- Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss till combined. If the sauce is too thick or you want to thin it out, add some of the reserved pasta water.
- Spread the saucy spaghetti out in the pan and sprinkle with the shredded cheese.
- Melt the remaining butter in the microwave and mix with the bread crumbs. Toss to coat.
- Sprinkle the top of the casserole and cheese with the breadcrumbs.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and the topping is nicely browned.
- Remove and serve with your favorite side dish.
*If you love this recipe as much as I do, please leave me a comment and rate it 5 stars. Thank you!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 2 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 490Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 793mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 18g
This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.
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