Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

3.6
(9)

This comforting casserole can transport you back to days when mama was cooking in the kitchen.

Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
8 servings
Yield:
1 casserole

Stick-to-your-bones casseroles are a Southern cooking staple, and this Chicken Spaghetti Casserole is no exception. Featuring melty cheese, creamy soup, and hearty chicken and pasta, it’s the perfect meal to serve a hungry crowd. Here, everything you need to know about this tasty chicken casserole

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

What Is Chicken Spaghetti Casserole?

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole was made almost exclusively in Mississippi until famed food writer Craig Claiborne included a recipe for the dish in his cookbook Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking, published in 1987.

With chicken, vegetables, and pasta all held together by a creamy sauce, this casserole is a well-rounded, family-friendly meal. It combines cooked chicken, cooked spaghetti, and sauteed vegetables, plus cream of mushroom soup and shredded cheese. Then everything bakes together to hot and gooey perfection. 

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole Ingredients

There are a few basic ingredients you need to make chicken spaghetti casserole, though there is a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to the specifics. Here’s what you need to get started.

  • Chicken: Our recipe calls for a whole chicken that you boil until tender, but you can cook your chicken however you like—or even pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.
  • Spaghetti: You’ll break the spaghetti into smaller pieces before cooking it.
  • Onion, bell pepper, and celery: Fresh vegetables add brightness and bulk to the casserole.
  • Diced tomatoes: Tomatoes have a mild, slightly sweet flavor, but you could also use diced pimentos, roasted red peppers, or diced tomatoes with green chiles for more of a kick.
  • Cream of mushroom soup: This is what gives the casserole its creamy, decadent texture. If you can’t find cream of mushroom, cream of chicken or cream of celery soup would also work. 
  • Shredded cheese: We like to use Cheddar, but you could also use a combination of Cheddar and Velveeta or Monterey Jack for more heat.
  • Salt, pepper, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and butter: Make sure you have these pantry staples on hand for cooking and seasoning.

How to Freeze Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Casseroles are a great make-ahead meal that you can prep on the weekend and pop in the oven for a home-cooked supper on a busy weeknight. If you want to freeze your Chicken Spaghetti Casserole, complete steps 1 through 3 of the recipe, then cover it tightly and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. Just before serving, finish with step 4, and serve it hot.

Editorial contributions by Alyssa Sybertz.

Ingredients

  • 1 (4-lb.) whole chicken

  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • ½ medium-size green pepper, coarsely chopped

  • 2 celery ribs, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 (10 ¾-oz.) can cream of mushroom soup

  • 1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 4 drops of hot sauce

  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Vegetable cooking spray

  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded medium Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Place first 3 ingredients and water to cover in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 1 hour or until tender. Remove chicken, reserving broth in Dutch oven. Cool chicken completely (about 20 minutes). Discard bay leaf. Skin and bone chicken, and cut meat into pieces.

    boiled chicken with saucepot

    Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove and reserve ¼ cup chicken broth. Bring remaining broth in Dutch oven to a boil over high heat. Break spaghetti into thirds, and cook in broth 12 to 15 minutes or until tender; drain well, discarding broth. Return spaghetti to Dutch oven.

    boiling chicken stock

    Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 3 ingredients, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender; add to spaghetti.

    sauteeing onions and celery

    Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

    Stir together soup and ¼ cup reserved broth; stir into spaghetti mixture. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, and next 3 ingredients. Add salt to taste. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with cheese.

    chicken spaghetti in saucepan

    Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

  4. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese melts.

Additional reporting by
Alyssa Sybertz
Alyssa Sybertz

Alyssa Sybertz is a freelance writer and avid home cook with nearly a decade of experience writing about food, cooking, nutrition, and wellness. She is the author of The OMAD Diet: Intermittent Fasting with One Meal a Day to Burn Fat and Lose Weight, for which she developed over 100 recipes. In addition to writing about food and cooking for Southern Living, she writes about cooking for Allrecipes and Reader's Digest, pregnancy and parenting for Verywell Family, health and fitness for Peloton, and nutrition for First for Women and other outlets.

Alyssa is the food editor for Closer Weekly. She also edits special interest health and nutrition magazines for Centennial Media on topics including intermittent fasting, gut health, and the keto diet. Prior to working as a freelance food and wellness writer, Alyssa was an editor at First for Women magazine, where she contributed to the nutrition, food, and fitness sections.

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