Chicken Spaghetti Recipe


Chicken spaghetti is a delightful fusion of tender chicken pieces and spaghetti noodles, enveloped in a creamy, flavorful sauce. This dish combines the best of Italian and American cuisine, making it a popular choice for family dinners and gatherings. Its versatility allows for numerous variations, catering to different taste preferences and dietary needs.

In various cuisines, chicken spaghetti holds a special place. In Southern cuisine, it’s a comforting casserole dish often found at potlucks and family reunions. In Italian-American cuisine, it’s a hearty, flavorful meal that satisfies both young and old.

In this article, we will explore the history and origins of chicken spaghetti, provide a classic recipe, and discuss various cooking techniques, popular variations, serving suggestions, and more. By the end, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge to make this delicious dish at home.

History and Origin of Chicken Spaghetti

Brief History of Spaghetti

Spaghetti, a staple of Italian cuisine, dates back to the 12th century in Sicily. It was traditionally made from durum wheat semolina and has evolved into various shapes and sizes over the centuries. The popularity of spaghetti grew as Italian immigrants brought their beloved pasta dishes to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

How Chicken Spaghetti Evolved

Chicken spaghetti, as we know it today, is an American creation, combining Italian pasta with American ingredients and flavors. This dish likely originated in the Southern United States, where casseroles are a popular comfort food. The introduction of canned soups in the mid-20th century made the dish even more accessible and convenient for home cooks.

As the dish evolved, various cultural influences shaped its ingredients and preparation methods. Today, you can find chicken spaghetti recipes that incorporate everything from spicy peppers to creamy cheeses, each adding its unique flair to the dish.

Chicken Spaghetti Recipe

This Chicken Spaghetti features a creamy 3-cheese blend of cream cheese, cheddar, and mozzarella. Rotel tomatoes pair perfectly with this creamy cheese sauce made from scratch!


  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 10 oz. diced tomatoes & green chilies
  • 8 oz. Thin Spaghetti
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Red pepper flakes & chopped parsley, to garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the Chicken (Optional)

  • Slice the chicken in half lengthwise to create 2 thinner slices. Pat dry and season lightly with salt/pepper and Italian seasoning.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sear the chicken on each side for 5-6 minutes. Remove and set aside. Dice into bite-sized pieces once cool enough to handle.

Make the Sauce

  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Melt the butter in the same pot and use a silicone spatula to clean the chicken bits from the bottom. This is called “fond” and it gives the sauce a nice flavor.
  • Add the onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Sprinkle flour over the onions and toss to coat. Cook for 2 minutes, until you can no longer smell flour.
  • Add the chicken broth in splashes to maintain the thickness of the roux. Stir in between each splash. Add the milk next, a little bit at a time. Whisk until combined and smooth.
  • (Now is a good time to start boiling the water for the pasta. Cook it according to package instructions and drain once finished.)
  • Meanwhile, let the sauce simmer and reduce while the pasta water heats up. Add the softened cream cheese and stir continuously until melted and smooth. This is more difficult if the cream cheese is cold.
  • Reduce heat to low and let the base cool a bit. Sprinkle in the shredded cheddar and stir to combine.
  • If you’d like to thin the sauce out at all, add a little bit of the juice from the diced tomatoes, otherwise, drain the juice and add the tomatoes along with the chicken. Stir to combine.
  • Stir in the spaghetti. If you’re not using an oven-safe pot, transfer to a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish.


  • Top with mozzarella cheese and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • To brown the top slightly, broil it for 1-2 minutes at 475°, watch it closely during this time.
  • Remove from the oven. Garnish with red pepper flakes and fresh Parsley. Serve with a side of Garlic Bread with Cheese.

PRO Tips:

  • You can also use 2 cups of cooked chicken in this recipe, either leftover chicken or rotisserie. The benefit of cooking fresh chicken in the pot is that it transfers more flavor into the sauce.
  • Shred your own cheese from a block, it will melt better and give you much creamier results. Bagged shredded cheese contains cellulose which prevents it from melting as well in soups and sauces.
  • Don’t add the cheddar cheese when the base is very hot, or the dairy will separate and the consistency will be grainy. (This is outlined in the instructions as well.)
  • I prefer to use thin spaghetti for this recipe but you can use regular, angel hair, or other types of pasta noodles if that’s all you have.


Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Note that the consistency of the sauce won’t be exactly the same when reheated from frozen.

Nutrition Information:

  • Calories: 547kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 32g
  • Saturated Fat: 16g
  • Trans Fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 103mg
  • Sodium: 641mg
  • Potassium: 507mg
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Vitamin A: 931IU
  • Vitamin C: 11mg
  • Calcium: 332mg
  • Iron: 2mg

Enjoy your delicious Chicken Spaghetti!

Classic Chicken Spaghetti Recipe

Introduction to the Classic Recipe

The classic chicken spaghetti recipe is a beloved dish combining tender chicken, al dente spaghetti, and a creamy, cheesy sauce. It’s perfect for family dinners and gatherings, offering comfort and flavor in every bite.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Ingredients:
    • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
    • 8 oz spaghetti, cooked and drained
    • 1 can (10.5 oz) cream of mushroom soup
    • 1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  2. Instructions:
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
    • In a large skillet, sauté the onion and bell pepper until they are tender.
    • Add the shredded chicken, diced tomatoes with green chilies, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, and chicken broth to the skillet. Stir well to combine.
    • Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes until the mixture is heated through.
    • Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet and toss to coat evenly with the sauce.
    • Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese on top.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Tips for Perfecting the Recipe

  • Use freshly grated cheese for a smoother and creamier texture.
  • Do not overcook the spaghetti. It should be al dente to avoid becoming mushy when baked.
  • Let the dish rest for 10 minutes after baking before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together.

Popular Variations

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

For an extra cheesy version, increase the amount of cheese in the recipe. Use a blend of cheeses such as mozzarella, Parmesan, and cheddar. Consider adding a cheese sauce made from a roux (butter and flour mixture) and milk for even more creaminess.

Spicy Chicken Spaghetti

Add a kick to your chicken spaghetti by incorporating spicy elements:

  • Jalapeños or red pepper flakes can be added to the sauce.
  • Use a spicy variety of diced tomatoes with green chilies.
  • Consider adding hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste.

Healthy Chicken Spaghetti

To make a healthier version:

  • Use whole wheat spaghetti for added fiber.
  • Substitute the cream soups with a homemade version using low-fat milk and whole ingredients.
  • Increase the amount of vegetables, such as spinach, zucchini, or carrots.

Cooking Techniques

Baking vs. Stovetop Methods

  • Baking: Results in a bubbly, cheesy top and a well-blended dish. Best for serving at gatherings.
  • Stovetop: Faster method with a slightly different texture, as it skips the baking step. Ideal for quick meals.

Time-Saving Techniques

  • Use pre-cooked chicken: Rotisserie chicken is a great option.
  • Prepare ingredients ahead of time: Chop vegetables and cook spaghetti in advance.
  • One-pot method: Cook everything in one pot to reduce cleaning time.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Overcooking spaghetti: Ensure it is cooked al dente.
  • Skipping the resting period: Allowing the dish to rest helps in setting and enhances flavor.
  • Using low-quality cheese: Freshly grated cheese melts better and has a superior flavor.

By following these techniques and tips, you can create a perfect chicken spaghetti dish that is sure to impress.

Serving Suggestions

Side Dishes to Pair with Chicken Spaghetti

Pairing chicken spaghetti with the right side dishes can elevate your meal to a feast. Consider these options:

  • Garlic bread: A classic choice that complements the creamy sauce.
  • Green salad: A fresh, crisp salad with a light vinaigrette balances the richness of the dish.
  • Steamed vegetables: Broccoli, green beans, or carrots add a healthy touch.
  • Coleslaw: Provides a crunchy contrast and a tangy flavor.
  • Roasted asparagus: Adds a touch of elegance and a unique flavor.

Wine and Beverage Pairings

For the perfect beverage pairing:

  • White wine: A crisp Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc enhances the creamy flavors.
  • Red wine: A light Pinot Noir or Merlot can complement the dish without overpowering it.
  • Non-alcoholic: Sparkling water with a slice of lemon or a light iced tea works well.

Presentation Tips

Enhance the presentation of your chicken spaghetti with these tips:

  • Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle chopped parsley or basil on top.
  • Serve in a large, shallow dish: Allows for even distribution and a more appealing look.
  • Use colorful vegetables: Add bell peppers or cherry tomatoes for a vibrant appearance.

Cultural Significance

Chicken Spaghetti in Southern Cuisine

In Southern cuisine, chicken spaghetti is more than just a meal; it’s a tradition. Often served at family gatherings and church potlucks, this dish symbolizes comfort and community. It’s typically prepared as a casserole, making it easy to serve and share.

Influence in Other Cuisines

While rooted in Southern American cuisine, chicken spaghetti has influenced other culinary traditions:

  • In Italian-American households, it’s a hybrid dish combining Italian pasta with American flavors.
  • In Mexican-American cuisine, variations include spicy peppers and salsa, adding a zesty twist.

Health Benefits and Considerations

Nutritional Analysis

Chicken spaghetti can be a nutritious dish if prepared with the right ingredients:

  • Protein: High from the chicken.
  • Carbohydrates: Provided by the spaghetti.
  • Vitamins and minerals: From added vegetables.

Modifications for Dietary Restrictions

Adapt chicken spaghetti for different diets:

  • Gluten-free: Use gluten-free pasta and soups.
  • Dairy-free: Substitute cheese with dairy-free alternatives and use coconut milk for creaminess.
  • Low-carb: Replace spaghetti with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.

Potential Health Concerns

  • High sodium content: Due to canned soups. Opt for low-sodium versions.
  • High fat content: From cheese and cream. Use low-fat alternatives to mitigate this.


What is the Best Way to Store Leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven until heated through.

Can Chicken Spaghetti be Frozen?

Yes, chicken spaghetti can be frozen. Place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

How Can I Make Chicken Spaghetti Gluten-Free?

To make gluten-free chicken spaghetti, use gluten-free pasta and ensure that all other ingredients, like canned soups, are gluten-free.

What are Some Vegetarian Alternatives?

For a vegetarian version, replace chicken with plant-based proteins like tofu or chickpeas. Use vegetable broth and cream of mushroom soup as substitutes.


Recap of Key Points

Chicken spaghetti is a versatile and comforting dish with roots in Southern cuisine. It can be adapted to suit various dietary needs and preferences.

Encouragement to Try Different Variations

Experiment with different variations such as cheesy, spicy, or healthy versions to find your favorite. Each variation offers a unique twist on the classic dish.

Closing Remarks

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, chicken spaghetti is a dish that brings joy and satisfaction. Try it out and share it with your loved ones!

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Chicken Spaghetti Recipe

  • Author: Wendy Balderas
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


This Chicken Spaghetti features a creamy 3-cheese blend of cream cheese, cheddar, and mozzarella, paired perfectly with Rotel tomatoes. This dish is made from scratch and offers a delightful combination of flavors.


  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 10 oz. diced tomatoes & green chilies
  • 8 oz. Thin Spaghetti
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Red pepper flakes & chopped parsley, to garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook the Chicken (Optional): Slice the chicken, season with salt/pepper and Italian seasoning. Sear in olive oil until cooked. Dice into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Make the Sauce:
    • Melt butter in the same pot, clean chicken bits (fond).
    • Add onions, cook until softened. Add garlic and cook briefly.
    • Sprinkle flour, cook until the raw flour smell disappears.
    • Gradually add chicken broth and milk, whisk until smooth.
    • Simmer and reduce the sauce. Add cream cheese, stir until melted.
    • Add shredded cheddar, stir to combine. Add diced tomatoes (drained) and chicken.
    • Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain, and stir into sauce.
  4. Bake: Transfer to a greased casserole dish if necessary. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. Broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the top.
  5. Garnish: Remove from oven, garnish with red pepper flakes and parsley. Serve.


  • Use 2 cups of cooked chicken as an alternative.
  • Shred cheese from a block for better melting.
  • Avoid adding cheddar cheese to very hot sauce to prevent grainy texture.
  • Thin spaghetti is preferred but any pasta will work.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 547 kcal
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 641mg
  • Fat: 32g
  • Saturated Fat: 16g
  • Trans Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Cholesterol: 103mg

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