This baked chicken and broccoli pasta casserole features tender chunks of chicken and broccoli in a creamy white sauce and topped with cheese for an easy, flavorful pasta bake that is sure to be a family favorite.
Why This Recipe Works
This easy chicken and broccoli pasta bake is a great option when you're in need of some cozy, comfort food. It's a perfect mash up of chicken alfredo and baked ziti. And it's always good to sneak a little broccoli in your diet!
This chicken broccoli pasta is not only tasty, it's also simple to make and ready in just 45 minutes. So it's perfect for a busy weeknight!
- Chicken - I like to cut up a couple of sautéed chicken breasts for this pasta. To make it quicker you could cut up a rotisserie chicken.
- Pasta - I used penne pasta, but most small, shaped pasta will work. Other good options are ziti, cavatappi, and farfalle.
- Broccoli - I recommend using a head of fresh broccoli so you can control the size and quality. Frozen broccoli will work in a pinch, but you may need to chop any large pieces or remove some stems before adding it to the casserole.
- Cheese - I highly recommend shredding your cheese from a block for this recipe. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with additives to prevent clumping and will not melt as smoothly. This can lead to a grainy texture in your cheese sauce.
- Cook the Pasta and Broccoli - Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Cook your pasta in a large pot of water according to the package directions. During the last two minutes of cooking add the broccoli in with the pasta.
- Make a Roux - While the pasta cooks, set a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for around 45 seconds. Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.
- Make the Sauce - Pour in the milk and cream and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until slightly thickened, then stir in 1 cup of mozzarella and ½ cup of parmesan cheese.
- Add to the Dish -Lightly spray your casserole dish with cooking spray, then add the pasta, broccoli, and chicken.
- Combine the Sauce - Pour the cheese sauce overtop and stir to combine. This can also be done in a large bowl if you prefer.
- Top and Bake - Top with the remaining cheese, then bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
- For the smoothest sauce and best melting, shred your own cheese from a block for this recipe instead of using pre-shredded cheese.
- If you use a large enough pan to make the sauce, you can combine everything right in the pan, and if it's oven-safe, you can even bake it right in the pan.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. You can also freeze this dish for up to 3 months.
Reheat leftovers in a 350ºF oven. Smaller portions can be reheated in the microwave. When reheating creamy pasta like this one, stir in a splash of milk or cream to keep the pasta from becoming dry during reheating.
What to Serve with Chicken Pasta Casserole
This broccoli chicken pasta bake is a hearty meal on its own, but you can never go wrong with a side of buttery garlic bread. And a simple salad, like my copycat kale crunch salad, is a perfect way to start the meal.
- This alfredo pasta bake is also delicious with shrimp in place of the chicken.
- For a meatless version, replace the chicken and broccoli with sautéed mushrooms and spinach.
- If you're not a broccoli fan, peas are another good veggie option.
- For a crispy topping, instead of cheese, combine ½ cup of panko bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons of melted butter and top the assembled pasta.
Yes, to lighten this dish up a bit, you can use half and half in place of the cream and low-fat milk instead of whole milk. The sauce will just not be quite as rich. You do need some fat to help the sauce thicken properly though, so don't use all milk.
This dish is best fresh, but it can be assembled a day in advance if needed. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before you're ready to bake, and add another 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
More of my favorite pasta recipes
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- Lasagna with Homemade Noodles
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta (Under 30 Minute Meal!)
- Creamy Cajun Pasta with Shrimp
- One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta
Baked Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Recipe
- 1 pound penne pasta , cooked according to package directions
- 3 cups diced cooked chicken
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Cook your pasta in a large pot of water according to the package directions. During the last two minutes of cooking add the chopped broccoli in with the pasta.
- While the pasta cooks, set a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 30-45 seconds. Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.
- Pour in the milk and cream and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until slightly thickened, then stir in 1 cup of mozzarella and ½ cup of parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Lightly spray your casserole dish with cooking spray, then add the pasta, broccoli, and chicken. Pour the cheese sauce overtop and stir to combine.
- Top with the remaining cheese, then bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.