Impress family and guests with this fast, 40 minute Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini. Anyone can whip up this easy, from scratch family dinner and bring a comforting and delicious chicken and pasta meal to the table. The luxurious mushroom and white wine cream sauce will make you feel like a you’re serving up something gourmet, but it’s still simple enough to make any night of the week.
If you’ve never had chicken tetrazzini, you are in for a huge treat. It’s a creamy, baked pasta dish that originated in San Francisco back in the early 1900’s and has been gracing out dinner tables with amazing, iconic flavors ever since.
It’s loaded with chicken, peas, and a homemade mushroom cream sauce that’s perfectly decadent when tossed with pasta and topped with buttery breadcrumbs. It’s the kind of dish you’ll pull out when you want to create a comforting meal for the family, but it can also easily be served to impress any guests. They’ll be amazed that you created the sauce from scratch and you’ll be thrilled knowing that it was super easy and only took you 40 quick minutes from start to finish.
Why I LOVE this recipe!
- Made from scratch but EASY – Making a sauce from scratch might sound complicated, but I promise it’s simple and SO worth it. Anyone can make a homemade chicken tetrazzini, even if you’re a beginner!
- Comforting – A creamy pasta and chicken casserole like this one is always a filling, satisfying family dinner.
- Versatile – Different noodles, different veggies, more or less saucy, no matter how you like it, you can make it just right for your family.
- Complete meal – Chicken, pasta, creamy sauce, and vegetables make this the perfect stand alone dinner any night of the week.
What to Serve with Chicken Tetrazzini
Since this easy chicken tetrazzini has the classic flavors of cream and mushrooms, it will pair well with many of your favorite traditional side dishes. There are both classic options and some healthy options to keep it light.
Side Dish Ideas
- Green Salad – A simple mixture of lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers tossed with a light and bright dressing like lemon vinaigrette, red wine vinaigrette, or balsamic vinaigrette can be a refreshing, healthy side dish.
- Corn on the Cob – Make either Crock Pot corn on the cob or super fast Instant Pot corn on the cob to have a tasty vegetable side ready to go with dinner.
- Green Beans – Whether you like to oven roast green beans or sauté green beans on the stove, they can be seasoned with complimentary flavors to go with your chicken tetrazzini.
- Brussels Sprouts – Choose one of my 5 flavor recommendations on crispy roasted sprouts to pair perfectly with a creamy baked pasta.
- Broccoli – Roast broccoli with garlic and parmesan, or make a nutty and delicious brown butter broccoli and watch your kids love their vegetables!
- Oven Roasted Veggies – There are so many ways to dress up a pan of roasted mixed vegetables. I’d recommend trying garlic roasted veggies, my perfect roasted veggie recipe, or Cajun oven roasted vegetables.
- Garlic Bread – Creamy mushroom sauce and pasta go great with my AMAZING garlic bread.
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This easy chicken tetrazzini recipe is as simple as promised! Just 40 minutes for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Pasta – Start with the dry pasta of your choice. We use spaghetti because it’s traditional but you can use a kid-friendly option like penne, bowties, or anything else your family likes!
- Mushrooms – You can use your family’s favorite mushrooms, whether that’s baby bellas, white or brown button mushrooms, or portobellos.
- Onion – I used a yellow onion, but white onion or shallots would also work.
- Wine – I recommend either a dry white wine or cooking wine to deglaze the pan. If you prefer not to use wine you can replace this with extra broth instead.
- Broth – Either chicken or vegetable broth will both work. You can also use stock or bone broth too.
- Heavy Cream – Cream adds a velvety richness to the homemade tetrazzini sauce, but since we’re using a roux to thicken it, half and half will also work.
- Salt & Pepper – These are super important in this recipe. Since we’re making it from scratch make sure you have both on hand to add flavor to the casserole.
- Chicken – You can use any kind of neutrally flavored chicken that you like. Grill and chop breasts, shred baked chicken, or do what we do and use leftovers from a store bought, oven baked rotisserie chicken, or slow cooker rotisserie chicken.
- Peas – I like to add frozen peas to add extra veggies and make this a complete meal. If you’d like to add more or switch in your favorite vegetable you can. Broccoli, carrots, or spinach are all good options. You can also leave them out if you prefer.
- Parmesan – Romano or asiago make good substitutions if you have trouble finding parmesan cheese.
- Breadcrumbs – I like the crunchiness of panko breadcrumbs, but regular, unseasoned breadcrumbs can work as well.
- Cook the pasta al dente – Since the chicken tetrazzini casserole is baked in the oven, it’s important to not overcook your pasta. Drain it when it’s ‘al dente’ or when it still has a tiny bit of a bite. It’ll finish cooking to perfection in the oven.
- Use an oven safe skillet – If you have a large oven safe skillet, it will help so much. You can transfer the dish straight into the oven from the stove top, which saves a minute or two and some clean up. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. Just transfer the filling to a large casserole dish instead.
- Don’t forget to deglaze – All the brown bits in the pan from cooking the mushrooms and onions are really important for flavor. When you pour in the wine, gently scrape the bottom and sides of the pan to release them. They’ll add amazing taste your sauce.
- Adjust for more sauce – If you love a really saucy baked chicken tetrazzini you can reduce the amount of pasta you use. As written this recipe will have enough sauce to just lightly coat the pasta and chicken.
If you’d rather not reduce the pasta portion, simply increase the amount of sauce by adding an additional 1/2 cup of broth and heavy cream. Make sure you taste it and add more salt and pepper as needed to season the extra sauce.
- Look for the right thickness – Homemade sauce can feel intimidating if you’re new to making them from scratch, but it’s actually really easy to know it’s done. When it coats the back of the spoon and doesn’t just run off, you’ll know it’s ready to add in the chicken and peas.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Use pre-cooked chicken– Use a rotisserie chicken or leftovers to eliminate any time it would have taken to cook chicken fresh.
- Use leftover pasta– If you already have cooked, plain pasta from a previous meal, this dish can truly come together in a flash. Skip the boiling instructions and add the noodles to the sauce according to the recipe instructions.
- Assemble it ahead– You can prep the entire dish and store it in the fridge up to 24 hours ahead. Hold off on adding the topping until you’re ready to bake.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini– Prep the recipe as directed but double the parmesan cheese, omit the breadcrumbs, and grate a cup of mozzarella. Follow the instructions, adding half the parmesan cheese to the cream sauce after it is done thickening. Stir gently off heat until it’s smooth, then add the chicken, peas, and pasta. Top with the shredded mozzarella and remaining parmesan, then bake as directed.
- Chicken Tetrazzini with Rice– Make recipe as directed but replace the 12 ounces of dried pasta with 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice. Make it according to package instructions then fold the cooked rice into the sauce with the peas and chicken, and bake the tetrazzini as instructed.
- Million Dollar Chicken Tetrazzini– Use my million dollar chicken bake as inspiration for a creamy baked pasta. Make the sauce as directed but melt 4 ounces of cubed cream cheese into the sauce. Fold in 1/2 cup of cooked, crumbled bacon with the chicken and peas. Omit the breadcrumbs and parmesan and instead top the casserole with 1 cup of shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese and 1/4 cup of bacon. When it’s finished baking, sprinkle 1/4 cup of sliced green onions over the top and serve.
Freezer Meal Instructions
Making this easy chicken tetrazzini recipe into a freezer meal is simple! Follow the steps below and you can store this recipe in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Prep the recipe as directed up to the point of adding the breadcrumb topping.
- Freeze in a freezer safe casserole dish.
- When ready to cook, thaw in the fridge for 24-48 hours first.
- Top with a fresh breadcrumb mixture and bake as directed.
Chicken Tetrazzini Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making easy chicken tetrazzini, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to a month
More EASY Chicken Casserole Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my chicken dinner recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- Buffalo Chicken Rice Casserole
- Chicken Burrito Casserole
- Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake
- Loaded Baked Potato Chicken Casserole
For the Chicken Tetrazzini
- 12 ounces dry spaghetti
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided in half
- 8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cups shredded chicken, I use rotisserie chicken
- 12 ounces frozen peas
For the topping
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup dry panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Cook spaghetti to al dente per package directions.
- In a large oven safe skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and onion and saute for 4-6 minutes, or until they are soft and golden.
- Add the other 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and once it melts, sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and cook for about 1 minute.
- Stir in the cooking wine and stir quickly to deglaze the pan. Then slowly stir in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Finally stir in the cream, salt and pepper and let simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
- While the sauce thickens, drain the spaghetti. In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and melted butter.
- Once the sauce is ready (coats the back of a spoon) stir in the chicken and peas, and then toss with the spaghetti.Sprinkle the bread crumb topping over the top and transfer pan to the oven to bake for 20 minutes or until the topping gets golden brown and the edges begin to bubble.*If you don’t haven an oven save skillet, transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.