MEGA CREAMY CHICKEN ALFREDO BAKE IS ABOUT TO BECOME A NEW FAMILY FAVORITE!
This Chicken Alfredo Bake is your favorite chicken Alfredo recipe in creamy casserole form. Hearty pasta gets tossed with luscious Alfredo sauce and juicy chicken then layered with a hidden layer of provolone cheese and sour cream that melts when baked for a ridiculous amount of velvety creamy, cheesy gooey goodness! This chicken Alfredo pasta is easy to customize with extra veggies or different proteins and can be assembled ahead of time – but one thing stays constant – this Chicken Alfredo Bake is always a cheesy, comforting, home run!
Million Dollar CHICKEN ALFREDO PASTA
We are in full “June gloom” here in Carlsbad/San Diego. It was sprinkling last night as I was driving home which had me craving comforting, carby pasta. So, although, it’s summer, I think we need to indulge just a little bit longer with this sensational Chicken Alfredo Bake- because pasta is always a good idea and THIS million dollar pasta is one for the recipe binder.
This Chicken Alfredo Bake joins my Classic Lasagna, One Pot Chili Mac, Cheesy Tortellini Al Forno and Cheesy Taco Pasta Bake as a richly satisfying and decadently delicious pasta BUT its hidden layer of decadence elevates it to the Million Dollar Club. Both my Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese and my Million Dollar Baked Penne feature a cheesy middle layer of sour cream and provolone. I know it might sound odd, but this combination is sensational – and readers agree.
So, when I was making this chicken Alfredo recipe, I knew this sublime layer would elevate it the BEST Chicken Alfredo Bake with a dreamy, creamy center surrounded by Alfredo slathered noodles – queue face plant.
As the pasta bakes, the provolone melts, adding a depth of unbelievable CHEESINESS; as the sour cream melts, it adds a tantalizing layer of CREAMINESS. This creaminess blends into each forkful – so you don’t taste distinguishable cream cheese or provolone – just distinguishable million dollar YUM.
This Chicken Alfredo Bake is also relatively quick to prepare – you make the Alfredo Sauce while the pasta boils, stir in your shortcut rotisserie chicken and pasta – then assemble. Now just sit back and wait for bubbly gooey Parmesan, mozzarella, Alfredo perfection. It’s a long wait.
CHICKEN ALFREDO PASTA INGREDIENTS:
This Chicken Alfredo recipe require mostly pantry friendly ingredients. You will need:
FOR THE PASTA
- recommended pasta: My favorite pasta shape for baked pasta casseroles is cellentani. It is also known as cavatappi, amori, spirali, or tortiglione and should be sold at most grocery stores. It is type of hollow macaroni with scored ridges. Both the hollowness and the ridges area ideal to capture creamy sauces – and I just love the texture of the shape.
- different pasta shapes: That being said, feel free to use short pasta such as ziti, penne, fusilli, etc.
- pastas types: You can use classic pasta, whole-wheat pasta, gluten free pasta.
FOR THE CHICKEN
- shredded, cooked chicken: I have tried both cooked diced chicken and shredded rotisserie chicken in this Chicken Alfredo Bake, and I prefer the rotisserie chicken. You can definitely still make with your own cooked, chopped chicken too. I’ve included instructions below.
- frozen chicken: if you know you are going to make this chicken Alfredo recipe sometime in the future, then grab a rotisserie chicken next time you’re at Costco, divide and freeze it in 2 cup portions. Now, all you have to do is pull out a bag when you’re ready to make this recipe!
- Cook your own chicken: if you want to cook your own chicken for this Chicken Alfredo Bake instead of using rotisserie chicken, it is super easy, here’s how:
- Chop 1 pound chicken into bite size pieces.
- While the chicken is still on the cutting board, dab with a paper towel then toss with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon paprika.
- Melt one tablespoon butter (may sub olive oil) over medium heat.
- Increase heat to medium high and add chicken in a single layer and sear for one minute without moving chicken then continue to cook and stir chicken just until cooked through. Remove to a plate.
FOR THE CHICKEN ALFREDO SAUCE
This Chicken Alfredo Sauce is mega creamy but not as naughty as traditional Alfredo made with just butter and heavy cream. Instead, it begins with a roux to thicken, along with chicken broth and half and half.
- butter: use unsalted butter so we can control the level of salt. You may also substitute half of the butter with olive oil for a lighter sauce.
- garlic cloves: is essential to infuse the chicken Alfredo pasta with garlicky goodness – use more or less depending on your garlic love.
- all-purpose flour: thickens the sauce beautifully. You may substitute with gluten free flour.
- low sodium chicken broth: is more flavorful than just milk or heavy cream. You can also substitute vegetable broth. Make sure you use low sodium broth so your Chicken Alfredo Sauce isn’t too salty.
- half and half: is sold next to the heavy cream and milk and is equal parts milk and cream. I often don’t have half and half on hand but I usually stock heavy cream, so I will make my own half and half. To make your own half and half for this chicken Alfredo pasta, you would need 1 ½ cup milk and 1 ½ cups heavy cream.
- seasonings: in addition to garlic, this Alfredo Sauce is seasoned with chicken bouillon, red pepper flakes, dried basil, dried parsley, dried thyme, onion powder, salt and pepper. You can add more or less of any of the seasonings to suite your tastes.
- Parmesan cheese: is a key ingredient to any Alfredo Sauce. For best results and the BEST Chicken Alfredo recipe, use ONLY freshly grated Parmesan cheese. You don’t want to use the powdered or pre-shredded cheese. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is much more flavorful and melts much better.
FOR THE FILLING
- provolone cheese: you will need 6-8 slices. You just need enough provolone to cover the 9×13 in a single layer. Typically 8 slices medium provolone or 6 large slices as pictured from Costco. Gouda slices would also be delicious.
- sour cream: you can use less fat or full fat. Full fat melt better.
FOR THE TOPPING
- mozzarella cheese: use freshly grated mozzarella for its superior melting abilities and taste. You can use part-skim or full-fat.
- parsley: chopped fresh parsley is optional but it adds fresh flavor and makes a beautiful presentation.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN ALFREDO BAKE
Now let’s get to the main event. Here’s how to make Chicken Alfredo Bake:
- Cook pasta. Begin by cooking your pasta just until al dente according to package directions. Al dente means the pasta will still have a little bite.
- Make Alfredo Sauce. While your pasta is cooking, make the easy, creamy, cheesy, flavorful from-scratch Alfredo Sauce that takes just minutes to come together. To make Alfredo Sauce, cook flour and garlic, stir in half and half, chicken broth, seasonings and simmer until thickened. Finally, stir in Parmesan until melted – and try not to slurp the whole thing.
- Assemble. Stir in cooked chicken and pasta until evenly coated.
- Pasta Layer 1. Now the fun part! Pour half of the pasta into prepared 9×13 baking dish and spread in an even layer.
- Filling. Layer pasta evenly with provolone cheese followed by an even layer of sour cream.
- Pasta Layer 2: Pour remaining pasta over sour cream and spread into an even layer and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake: Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and inside provolone is melted.
- Serve. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired and serve while it’s warm and cozy!
TIPS for Chicken Alfredo Recipe
- Don’t overcook pasta! The pasta is going to continue cooking in the oven so it’s important to not overcook it initially. I recommend testing your pasta about 2 or 3 minutes before the box recommends – pasta should be al dente– meaning it should still be a little firm in the center/ have a “bite” to it.
- Stop pasta from cooking. Strain and rinse your pasta with cold water to prevent it from continuing to cook.
- Prevent pasta from clumping. If you’re not using the cooked pasta right away, toss it with a little olive oil. This will prevent it from sticking together.
- Cook flour for two minutes. Two minutes can seem like a long time but don’t cut it short – you want to make sure to cook out the raw flour taste.
- Thin sauce if needed. Alfredo Sauce can become too thick if its simmered at too high of heat or for too long. But don’t worry, it’s SO easy to fix! Simply stir in a little milk or chicken broth until it reaches desired consistency.
- Saucy pasta. Once the pasta and chicken are combined with the Alfredo sauce, it will seem saucy – this is a GOOD thing because it means no dry Chicken Alfredo Bake! Some of the sauce will be absorbed by the pasta as it bakes.
CHICKEN ALFREDO PASTA VARIATIONS:
This Chicken Alfredo Pasta is delicious in its classic cheesiness or you can use the recipe as a base to customize it. Here are a few ideas:
- Swap protein. I know this is CHICKEN Alfredo Bake, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn it into turkey, beef, ham or sausage Alfredo Bake! Crispy, salty bacon also pairs beautifully with Alfredo – with or without chicken.
- Skip the protein. You can instantly turn this easy pasta casserole into a side dish by omitting the protein.
- Substitute cheeses. You can substitute the provolone with any other favorite melting cheese: mozzarella, Asiago, Gouda, smoked cheddar, Monterrey, etc. – the possibilities are endless!
- Add veggies. Broccoli and Alfredo pair particularly nicely together like in my Shrimp Broccoli Alfredo. Other possible veggie additions include petite peas, bell peppers, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, etc. You will want to steam, roast or boil the veggies before adding to the pasta. An easy method is to add them to the boiling pasta the last couple minutes of cooking like I do with asparagus in my BLT Pasta Salad.
- Add panko topping. There are two ways to add panko: 1) sprinkle panko over the top of your casserole and spray lightly with cooking spray; bake according to directions then broil; 2) for the CRUNCHIEST panko topping, I recommend toasting it in a skillet first – life changing. To do this, melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet. Add 3/4 cup panko and stir and cook unto panko becomes golden brown. Evenly sprinkle over Chicken Alfredo pasta and bake according to directions.
- Make casserole gluten-free. To make this chicken Alfredo recipe gluten free, use your favorite gluten free pasta and gluten free flour.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN ALFREDO BAKE?
We love this Chicken Alfredo Bake with a big salad and Garlic Parmesan Butter Breadsticks. It is also delicious with any of the following:
- Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad
- Roasted Parmesan Broccoli
- Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
- Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Lemon, Butter
- Soft and Fluffy Dinner Rolls
- Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette
- Winter Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
CAN I MAKE CHICKEN ALFREDO BAKE IN ADVANCE?
Yes! You can make and assemble the Chicken Alfredo Bake a day in advance and refrigerate (without baking) or make the sauce ahead and/or pasta ahead of time. Here’s a breakdown of your options:
1. Assemble and refrigerate:
- Take care that your noodles are cooked al dente and are rinsed in cold water so they don’t keep cooking.
- Take care the Alfredo Sauce isn’t too thick as it will thicken more sitting in the refrigerator.
- Assemble Chicken Alfredo Bake according to directions up until baking.
- Tightly cover with foil and refrigerate.
- Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
- Bake according to directions or until completely warmed through.
2. Make Alfredo sauce in advance:
- You can make the Alfredo sauce up to 3 days in advance.
- Refrigerate it in an airtight container.
- Gently heat in a large skillet before using, adding additional milk as needed to thin to desired consistency.
3. Make pasta in advance:
- You can cook the pasta al dente up to 5 days ahead of time.
- Rinse pasta with cool water.
- Toss with a drizzle of oil to prevent it from sticking together.
- Transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag and squeeze out excess air.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
CAN I FREEZE Chicken Alfredo recipe?
Yes! You can freeze Chicken Alfredo Bake that is baked or unbaked. You can make just to freeze or eat half and freeze the leftovers or portion it into two 8×8 casserole dishes and eat one now and freeze the other. You could even portion it out into individual portions once bake and just microwave to reheat.
So, how well does Chicken Alfredo Bake freeze? It freezes pretty well because the base is a roux and not just heavy cream. That being said, the cheese can become a little grainy, but still delicious. So, expect delicious – just not fresh out of the oven perfection. For best results, I recommend freezing unbaked pasta casserole (pasta is less mushy), but both methods will work.
HOW TO FREEZE UNCOOKED CHICKEN ALFREDO BAKE (recommended)
For best results, I recommend freezing unbaked Chicken Alfredo Bake because the pasta only bakes ones instead of twice which means more al dente pasta.
- Take care to cook pasta al dente.
- Assemble Chicken Alfredo Bake according to recipe directions in a freezer safe dish.
- Wrap casserole dish all the way with 2 layers of plastic wrap.
- Cover the plastic wrap with one layer of aluminum foil.
- Label Chicken Alfredo Bake.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
HOW TO FREEZE COOKED CHICKEN ALFREDO BAKE
- Take care to cook pasta al dente.
- Bake according to directions in a freezer safe dish.
- Let cool on the counter for one hour.
- Cover casserole with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill completely before freezing (this will prevent an unpleasant texture).
- Cover casserole tightly with a second layer of plastic wrap all the way around the dish followed one layer of aluminum foil.
- Label Chicken Alfredo Bake.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
HOW TO COOK CHICKEN ALFREDO PASTA FROM FROZEN
- Do NOT defrost Chicken Alfredo Bake before baking – this will result in the best texture (vs mushy).
- Remove plastic wrap from casserole and cover tightly with foil.
- Bake covered at 350 degrees F for one hour.
- Uncover and bake an addition 10-15 minutes or until hot in the center.
LOOKING FOR MORE ITALIAN RECIPES?
- Lasagna Soup
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- Italian Vegetable Soup
- Zuppa Toscana
- Minestrone Soup
- Easy Baked Risotto
- Marinara Sauce
- Fettuccine Alfredo
- Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
- Skillet Cheesy Meaty Penne
- Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo
- Parmesan Meatballs and Orzo
- Italian Meatballs
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