Chicken Spaghetti Casserole is the one dish my family most often requests! It's is a simple "comfort food" recipe you can make in advance and is a great dish to take to potlucks!
Creamy spaghetti noodles nestled in a cheese sauce with tender chicken and hints of red and bell peppers! This casserole is ready in less than an hour. Read on for step-by-step instructions. Serve with a crispy Caesar salad!
Should I Use White or Dark Meat?
This recipe calls for dark chicken thighs (boneless and/or skinless), but you can use chicken breast if you prefer. Dark meat has a more robust flavor than white meat, but some folks don't like dark meat. If you're on the fence, use a combination of white and dark meat in your chicken spaghetti casserole
How Do I Cook the Chicken?
There are two ways to prepare the chicken for Spaghetti Casserole: Bake or Boil
To bake, salt and pepper the chicken and place it in a lightly oiled dish, covered with foil. Bake at 350ºF for about 40-45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
You can also boil the chicken. Bring a big pot of water to high heat, add the chicken and cook about 25 minutes. Again, you want to make sure the temperature of the meat is at least 165ºF.
Even though the baked-method takes a little longer, I prefer it over the boiled-method. Sometimes, boiled chicken turns out rubbery so to avoid a rubber chicken, I opt for the baked-method.
Can I Use a Rotisserie Chicken from the Deli for Chicken Spaghetti?
Rotisserie deli chicken meat works great in this pasta and chicken casserole! Be aware that sometimes the deli chickens are small and do not yield enough meat. (This recipe calls for 4 lbs. of chicken.) Remove the skin from the chicken, shred the meat and add it to the skillet with the onions and peppers.
Can I Make Chicken Spaghetti Casserole Without Using Condensed Soups?
If you prefer not to use condensed soups in the casserole, make a roux, using 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup flour, milk, chicken bouillon, celery salt and pepper to taste. Then add the seasoned roux to the vegetables as you would the condensed soup.
How to Freeze Spaghetti Casserole
Going to a potluck? You can assemble chicken spaghetti casserole in advance, either cooked or uncooked. For uncooked storage, simply assmeble the dish, cover tightly and freeze until time to serve. Allow uncooked casserole to thaw slightly, then bake in the oven at 350ºF until it's bubbly hot.
If you want to freeze cooked chicken spaghetti, place the chicken spaghetti in a secure container and freeze for up to three weeks. When ready to serve, simply remove from freezer and reheat in the oven at 350ºF or in the microwave.
Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
- 1 lb. pasta (spaghetti)
- 4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup celery finely chopped (about 4 stalks)
- 1 cup onion finely chopped (1 large)
- 1 cup green and/or red bell pepper finely chopped (1 large)
- 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1 can condensed cream of celery
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 12 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese shredded; divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cook the Chicken
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Place chicken on lightly greased baking dish, season with salt and pepper, cover with foil and bake about 40-45 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165ºF - OR - Place chicken thighs (or breasts) in a large pot and cover with water; bring to boil; allow chicken to come to 165ºF; remove chicken and set aside
- While chicken is cooking, chop onions, celery and bell peppers
- Once chicken has cooled, use two forks to shred the meat; set aside
Prepare the Vegetables and Sauce
- Add oil to skillet, place chopped onions, celery and bell peppers in oil; cook about 15 minutes on medium - medium/high heat
- Once vegetable mixture is done, add chicken broth, condensed soups and sour cream; Mix together well and allow to cook for about 5 minutes uncovered
- Add shredded chicken to vegetable mixture; combine well
- Add 4 oz. cheese to mixture; combine well; turn heat to low and prepare pasta
- In a different large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil; cook pasta as indicated on packaging (usually about 9 minutes) Drain pasta; set aside
- Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish; add cooked pasta and vegetable mixture to baking dish; combine well (this is easiest to do with tongs)
- Add remaining half of of the cheese to the pasta and vegetable mixture; mix well
- Top with remaining cheese; bake uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted and casserole is bubbly.
- The beauty of this dish, other than being delicious, is that it serves a crowd without breaking the bank.
- I make this dish with dark meat because I think it's more flavorful, however, if you prefer white meat, then use chicken breast. Cook them as indicated in the recipe
- If you buy skin-on chicken, I've found it's easier to remove the skin prior to cooking the chicken.