My cheesy chicken tetrazzini is an easy baked chicken casserole with pasta and cheese. Make this recipe for your family; it’s a favorite!
It’s easy to make a delicious meal without having to make everything from scratch. This popular and oh-so delicious chicken casserole is the perfect example!
The recipe calls for store-bought rotisserie chicken, a box of spaghetti noodles, and a sauce made from condensed soups and pantry staples. As a result, you save time without sacrificing flavor.
Once you try it, it’s sure to become one of those recipes that the whole family asks for again and again.
Easy Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini
This delicious casserole is one that is fantastic for making with leftover holiday turkey, but traditionally, the dish features chicken and mushrooms in a rich creamy sauce. Most often, tetrazzini is either served over spaghetti noodles, or baked in a casserole with the noodles.
Like most casseroles, there are variations of the classic chicken tetrazzini. Most versions include a topping of some sort. I use cheese, but some people prefer nuts, fried onions, corn flakes, or even panko breadcrumbs.
It’s believed that the dish is named after famous Italian opera star, Luisa Tetrazzini. The recipe creator was a chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, where the opera singer made her American debut.
Video: Making Tetrazzini
Want to see how to make this easy chicken tetrazzini from start to finish? Watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Chicken breasts – I like to use the white meat from a rotisserie chicken, but feel free to cook a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead. You could even use boneless skinless thighs if you prefer darker meat.
This recipe is very adaptable. You can make it with leftover turkey, tunafish, or even canned salmon if you’d like. For vegetarian tetrazzini, add some fresh or canned mushrooms, frozen peas, and/or any other cooked veggie.
- Pasta – Spaghetti or linguine are the most common, but honestly, any pasta will work, even whole wheat or rice pasta. Using a shaped noodle like rotini might make it easier for small children to eat.
- Dry sherry– Cooking sherry is very high in sodium, so I recommend using a drinking sherry or dry white wine, as the flavors are similar enough for this dish.
Alcohol free substitutes for sherry include sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar. If using a vinegar substitute for sherry, use half the amount noted in the recipe. For 2 tbsp of sherry, use 1 tbsp of the vinegar substitute.
- Condensed soups– This chicken casserole uses canned condensed soups to save time. The store-bought versions are pretty high in sodium, so I like to make homemade condensed cream of mushroom soup and condensed chicken soup instead.
- Mozzarella – Always buy fresh and shred your own, as bagged shreds have a preservative that prevents them from melting properly.
How to make easy chicken tetrazzini
Just combine all of the ingredients together and bake until bubbly and golden brown!
NOTE: When making this chicken tetrazzini recipe, it may appear that there is too much sauce. However, as the casserole bakes, the pasta will absorb the excess sauce.
- Prep the chicken and pasta.
- Boil the spaghetti until al dente, then drain the cooking water. Do not rinse the noodles with water. We want the starch to help thicken the sauce. You can toss the noodles in a bit of olive if you’d like, as it helps prevent them from clumping together in the casserole.
- While the pasta is cooking, cut up whatever cooked protein you’re using into bite-sized pieces.
- Make the cream sauce.
Nothing fancy here! Just add the condensed soups and other sauce ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
Be sure to use a bowl that’s large enough to fit the cooked pasta in as well, because you’ll be combining everything together before baking the chicken tetrazzini.
- Combine and bake.
Transfer the ingredients into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Use a nonstick spatula to spread the mixture into an even layer, then sprinkle the shredded cheeses evenly over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the you’re looking at a cheesy chicken tetrazzini! If the cheeses aren’t melted and bubbling, bake for a few minutes longer.
- Storage – Keep covered or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezing – Allow the casserole to cool before covering in foil and placing in the freezer. Or, you can portion it into smaller airtight containers for individual meals. The day before you want to serve it, transfer the containers to the refrigerator to thaw. and add a splash of milk when reheating to add moisture.
- Reheating – Heat in the microwave or in the oven until warmed through. You could even stir it around in a pan on the stove if you’d prefer.
What to serve with a chicken casserole
This cheesy chicken casserole is rich and filling, so keep your sides simple. Garlic bread or dinner rolls and a salad or roasted vegetables is all you need to make this a complete comfort food meal! Instead of a regular garden salad, try my Mexican salad with roasted tomato vinaigrette… it’s delicious!
This post, first published on Kevin Is Cooking in January 2019, was last updated with new content on Sept. 22, 2021.
Chicken Tetrazzini + Video
- 1 lb chicken breast cooked and chopped (See Note 1)
- 1 lb spaghetti or linguine
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp dry sherry See Note 2 for substitutes
- 1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 10.5 oz condensed cream of mushroom soup See Note 3
- 10.5 oz condensed cream of chicken soup
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta in heavily salted boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together garlic powder, sherry, sour cream, cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups and chicken broth until well combined. Gently mix in the chopped chicken and cooked spaghetti, tossing to coat.
- Pour evenly into a greased 13×9" pan coated with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil. Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheeses evenly on top. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until casserole is hot and bubbly.
- I like to use 2 rotisserie chicken breasts to get 2-3 cups of meat. Remove skin and chop breast meat into bite size pieces.
- Good substitutes for sherry include sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar. If using a vinegar substitute for sherry, use half the amount noted in the recipe. For 2 tbsp of sherry, use 1 tbsp of the vinegar substitute.
- Feel free to use homemade condensed cream of mushroom soup.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.