The Best Chicken Tetrazzini

The BEST chicken tetrazzini recipe begins with chicken, mushrooms, and pasta tossed together with a creamy, garlicky sauce.

Layer that deliciousness in a baking dish and sprinkle it with just a handful of cheese before baking just long enough to melt everything together. Served with warm bread and a salad, this meal is a hit every time.

creamy pasta with chicken on a blue plate with a wooden fork

Almost 18 years ago now, my sweet friend Lisa brought my family a pan of this Chicken Tetrazzini. It was a night just a few days after my middle son was born; and in the midst of our new baby fog and sleep deprivation, we managed to eat an absurd amount of this dish.

You know those dishes you taste once and can’t stop thinking about? This chicken Tetrazzini recipe is one of those. When you’re exhausted from a new baby, a hot meal at the end of the day is extra divine.

I promised Sean I’d get the recipe as soon as possible. Lisa shared her recipe with me and this pasta has made regular appearances on our table ever since. 

Best Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe

At the time, this was the best chicken and pasta dish we had ever tasted, giving it the honor of being christened “The Best Chicken Tetrazzini.” (And it still stands as one of the tastiest chicken pasta dishes you’ll ever make!)

It’s an easy and comforting dinner that I make so often I can just about cook it from memory at this point. And I have a feeling that chicken tetrazzini will be a meal my boys think of when they think of favorite family dinners from their childhoods.

Chicken tetrazzini in large stainless pan on floral towel

My whole family enjoys this meal very much and one of my boys would happily do his best to eat this entire recipe on his own! As I began to make this for dinner last night, I was surprised to realize that I didn’t already have this recipe on the blog.

It’s become such a favorite, I rarely even pull out my recipe book when I make it anymore. Since this is one of our family’s most requested meals, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t share the love with all of you.

tetrazzini on blue plate with fork and floral napkin

Traditional Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this:

  • spaghetti noodles
  • butter
  • garlic
  • mushrooms
  • chicken
  • flour
  • chicken broth
  • heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan
sauteed mushrooms

Chicken Tetrazzini with Mushrooms

Do you have mushroom haters in your family? This recipe is completely delicious without the mushrooms as well.

I find that the mushroom flavor is not very strong in this recipe compared to the garlic and chicken. Even my kids who aren’t the biggest fans of mushrooms enjoy the chicken tetrazzini recipe as written. That said, if you’re truly mushroom averse feel free to leave them out. 

roux for creamy chicken pasta

Recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini

At first glance, this recipe might look like it has a lot of steps but it’s plenty easy enough for a weeknight meal. It’s a fantastic way to use up leftover baked chicken, too!

If you don’t have any leftover cooked chicken and don’t feel like making any, a grocery rotisserie chicken will work just fine too.

Kitchen Tip: I use this skillet, this colander, and this baking dish to make this recipe.

sauce for tetrazzini

To make the ultimate chicken tetrazzini, you start by sauteing mushrooms in a pan with melted butter and garlic.

The smell of the garlic cooking in the butter is always enough to make me want to eat all the garlicky mushrooms straight from the pan. Fortunately, knowing how good the final dish is, gives me the self-control I need.

After removing the cooked mushrooms from the heat, you make a roux with more butter, flour, and chicken broth. Then add heavy cream.

There are a couple of different ways you can make this. Layer the cooked pasta, chicken, and mushrooms in a dish and pour the sauce over it all. Then sprinkle the whole thing with cheese.

chicken, mushrooms, and pasta in cream sauce in large skillet

Or alternatively, toss the pasta, chicken, and mushrooms back into the pan with the sauce and stir to coat.

Sprinkle with cheese and pop the oven-safe skillet in the oven to melt the cheese.

20 minutes in the oven gets the sauce bubbling and the cheese melty. Chicken Tetrazzini is delicious served hot from the oven. We also love having leftovers around to reheat for the next couple of days.

This chicken recipe is garlicky, creamy and full of tender chicken. I can’t emphasize enough how big of a hit this meal is both with the kids and adults alike.

Chicken Tetrazzini is a full meal all on its own but it is also great served with a simple green salad tossed with Homemade Italian Salad Dressing.

baked chicken pasta with mushrooms and cream sauce

Baked Pasta Recipe

Looking for more baked pasta ideas? Lately, we’ve all been loving this Cheesy Pizza Pasta Bake and this Cheesy Baked Mexican Pasta. With a side of crusty bread, these meals are dinners that no one can resist.

For a pasta that’s sure to warm you up, try this Mushroom Florentine Pasta, or this One-Pot Creamy Tuscan Pasta. Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta and Homemade Hamburger Helper are kid favorites too.

The Easiest Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese is on our meal plan for this week. As an added bonus, it looks simple enough that my kids should be able to make it themselves.

blue plate with pasta, chicken, and mushrooms

Did you know that you can make creamy, rich, and saucy stovetop mac and cheese from scratch in the same amount of time it takes to cook boxed mac and cheese?

Creamy, rich truffle mac and cheese is a fancy spin on the ultimate comfort food. If you’ve never tasted this awesomeness, you’ve been missing out and I can not recommend it highly enough.

Creamy and cheesy, with wonderful lingering heat, this green chile mac and cheese is a keeper, transforming the quintessential comfort food into a dish that is positively irresistible.

We love the convenience of a make-ahead pasta salad like the Creamy Pasta Salad or Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad. If you love the garlic in this chicken tetrazzini recipe you’re also sure to love Garlic Lover’s Potato Salad

Big pans of pasta often make a good amount of food so we’re likely to have leftovers for lunch the next day. That’s a dinner win in my world.

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Servings: 6 servings

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  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook and drain the pasta, according to the directions on the package. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and the mushrooms, and cook for 3-5 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken, toss to coat, and remove from the heat.

  • Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the melted butter and then slowly add the chicken broth, whisking to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.

  • Cook for 2 minutes and then add the cream. When the sauce begins to simmer again, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer on low, stirring constantly for 8-10 minutes. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cooks. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Place the pasta in a 9×13 baking dish and then spread the chicken mixture over top of it. Pour the sauce over everything to coat thoroughly and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted. Stir and sprinkle with parsley, if desired, before serving.

This classic recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini can be made both with and without the mushrooms. Feel free to skip them, if they aren’t your thing. The garlic in this recipe is adjustable to your tastes, I always opt for more, because we are huge garlic lovers. I tend to use whichever pasta I have on hand when making this meal, though spaghetti noodles are my favorite most of the time.

Calories: 384kcal · Carbohydrates: 34g · Protein: 8g · Fat: 25g · Saturated Fat: 15g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 6g · Trans Fat: 0.4g · Cholesterol: 71mg · Sodium: 576mg · Potassium: 327mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 3g · Vitamin A: 990IU · Vitamin C: 2mg · Calcium: 53mg · Iron: 1mg

{originally posted 8/29/14 – recipe notes and photos updated 5/29/23}

creamy baked chicken tetrazzini
creamy chicken pasta with mushrooms on blue plate

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