When it’s time to eat, Chicken Spaghetti is comfort food that delights everyone. This easy recipe is a heavenly combination of noodles, chicken, and red peppers in a creamy sauce, with lots of melted cheese.

Chicken spaghetti being scooped out of a green casserole dish.

For us Midwesterners, this recipe is a delicious blast from the past. Other versions use canned cream of mushroom or chicken soup, but I prefer a homemade, 3-ingredient creamy sauce that’s made right in the pan.

The greatest part about this recipe is that you probably already have the ingredients to make it. It’s ready to devour in under an hour and the chicken stays tender and juicy without ever drying out.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Chicken Spaghetti Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled chicken spaghetti ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes

  • Spaghetti: Or use something more forkable, like penne or ziti.
  • Chicken: I always use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but you can use chicken breasts, leftover rotisserie chicken, or even leftover turkey.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large pot with 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Meanwhile, sauté the onions and bell pepper in a Dutch oven or skillet with some olive oil over medium-high heat.
Various vegetables being cooked in a silver skillet.
  1. As soon as they’re softened, add the chicken, chili powder, and some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is golden brown on the outside, about 5 to 7 minutes. Then move everything to a bowl and set aside.
Chicken chunks and vegetables in a silver pan.
  1. Return the skillet to the stove, and melt the butter. Then whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, until the flour just begins to brown. Quickly pour in the milk and chicken broth and whisk over the heat until it forms a sauce (about 3 to 5 minutes). Season the sauce with salt and pepper (if you skip this, your casserole may be bland). Add half the shredded cheese, the chicken and vegetables, and the pasta back into the pot. Stir until combined.
Chicken spaghetti sauce in a silver pan with a whisk resting in it.
  1. Pour the casserole into a baking dish and scatter the rest of the cheese over the top. Bake at 400 degrees until the casserole is hot and the cheese is bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Chicken spaghetti in a green baking dish before being baked.
  1. Once you take it out of the oven, let it stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley, extra cheese, or a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Chicken spaghetti in a green baking dish.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 12 cups of casserole, enough for 8 generous servings (1 ½ cups each) or more if you’re serving it at a potluck or as part of a buffet with other main dish options.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Make up to 2 days before you need it; store covered in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer: Cover, wrap, and freeze the unbaked casserole. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bake in a 400 degree oven until heated through.
  • Season at every step: I like to salt and pepper at several stages, just to layer the seasoning and make the flavors really pop. If you don’t season the sauce, the casserole will be bland.
  • Foil: Everyone’s oven is a little different. If yours runs hot, cover the casserole with foil to protect the cheese from burning.
  • More vegetables: Add or substitute sliced button mushrooms, canned green chilies, scallions, diced tomatoes, blanched broccoli florets, or olives.
  • Crumb topping: If you love crunch, toss bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, or even cornflakes in melted butter and sprinkle on top of the casserole before baking.
  • Spicy: If you crave spicy foods, add diced jalapeños or serranos to the sauce with the chicken, and serve with plenty of hot sauce on the side.

How to Make Chicken Broth

For the best, most delicious homemade chicken broth, start with a whole raw chicken or chicken pieces and simple vegetables and herbs. At the end of it, you’ll have 4 cups of delicious cooked chicken and…

1 hour 40 minutes
View Recipe

More delicious casseroles

Chicken spaghetti being scooped out of a green casserole dish.

Chicken Spaghetti

When it's time to eat, Chicken Spaghetti is comfort food that delights everyone. This easy recipe is a heavenly combination of noodles, chicken, and red peppers in a creamy sauce, with lots of melted cheese.
5 from 8 votes
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 8 servings (1 ½ cups each)
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 556

Ingredients 

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti (see note 1)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces (see note 2)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • fresh parsley minced, for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 9 to 10 minutes. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken and chili powder and season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper). Cook until chicken is golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer chicken and vegetable mixture to a bowl.
  • Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat and melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk and chicken broth and cook until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper). Do not skip this step or your casserole may be bland!
  • Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese. Add cooked spaghetti and chicken and vegetable mixture and toss until well combined. Transfer to a 3-quart or larger baking dish and top with remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  • Bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes (a chicken piece should register 165 degrees on an internal thermometer). Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Spaghetti: Or use something more forkable, like penne or ziti.
  2. Chicken: I always use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but you can use chicken breasts, leftover rotisserie chicken, or even leftover turkey.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes about 12 cups of casserole, enough for 8 generous servings (1 ½ cups each) or more if you’re serving it at a potluck or as part of a buffet with other main dish options.
  4. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  5. Make ahead: Make up to 2 days before you need it; store covered in the refrigerator.
  6. Freezer: Cover, wrap, and freeze the unbaked casserole. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bake in a 400 degree oven until heated through.
  7. Season at every step: I like to salt and pepper at several stages, just to layer the seasoning and make the flavors really pop. If you don’t season the sauce, the casserole will be bland.
  8. Foil: Everyone’s oven is a little different. If yours runs hot, cover the casserole with foil to protect the cheese from burning.
  9. More vegetables: Add or substitute sliced button mushrooms, canned green chilies, scallions, diced tomatoes, blanched broccoli florets, or olives.
  10. Crumb topping: If you love crunch, toss bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, or even cornflakes in melted butter and sprinkle on top of the casserole before baking.
  11. Spicy: If you crave spicy foods, add diced jalapeños or serranos to the sauce with the chicken, and serve with plenty of hot sauce on the side.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 556kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 34gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 461mgPotassium: 523mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1196IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 299mgIron: 2mg
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Comments

  1. I made this for supper tonight because I got the recipe from being on your email list this morning. Such a wonderful dish. Thanks Megan.5 stars