This Chicken Tetrazzini recipe has an irresistible creamy garlic sauce, tender pieces of chicken, mushrooms, and a layer of bubbly melty cheese on top. Total comfort food!
What is Chicken Tetrazzini? Well, it's basically a cheesy, creamy chicken and mushroom pasta bake. My version has three kinds of cheese - cream cheese, parmesan, and mozzarella. Heaven on a plate. Apparently it was named after the Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, but this is definitely a very American dish.
This Chicken Tetrazzini casserole isn't made with "cream of" soups. This is the homemade/from scratch version. It's a little more effort (but not too much), and you know what's going into it. Pretty easy to make, and it's crazy good. I did a few tests to get this recipe just right, and each one was better that the last. This dish is great for a weeknight dinner but tasty enough for company!
How to make Chicken Tetrazzini
Here's a quick overview of how to make it (full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below):
- This recipe is a little more involved than some of my other recipes, but the results are worth it. I recommend following the recipe closely, reading through it once or twice ahead of time, and prepping all your ingredients before turning on the stove.
- Start by boiling some water and cooking the spaghetti. Meanwhile, grab a soup pot and sauté your onion, then add in the chicken pieces and cook them until they're just about cooked though.
- You then take the chicken out of the pot and add some more butter, Italian seasoning, garlic, and the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have been sautéed, you stir in the cream, cream cheese, and chicken broth.
- Continue cooking it for 5 minutes until the cream cheese melts in and the sauce thickens up a bit. You then add the chicken back to the pot, along with the cooked pasta and toss it all together.
- Transfer it to a 9x13 baking dish and then top with the cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes then broil for a few minutes until the cheese is nicely browned.
What kind of chicken to use?
I use two boneless/skinless chicken breasts (about a pound of them give or take). You could use chicken thighs instead, or if you want a shortcut, use 3-4 cups of cooked/rotisserie shredded chicken and add it in during step 7. You could even use turkey meat if you prefer!
Recipe notes & tips:
- I prefer to grate my own parmesan cheese and always keep a block in my fridge (I use this cheese grater). It tastes and melts better.
- I recommend sticking to spaghetti for this recipe, but if you've only got another long pasta shape on hand (like linguine or bucatini) then you could try that. Different types of pasta absorb liquid differently, so that's why I'm hesitant to suggest substitutions.
- Try subbing half or all of the chicken broth with dry white wine.
- I've tested this recipe multiple times with the suggested ingredients. I really can't comment on whether a cream substitution would work or not in this type of recipe since the liquid ratios really matter (sauce may end up too thin or too thick).
- If you're really not a mushroom fan, you could leave them out. I've seen some Chicken Tetrazzini recipes use peas, so you could try that instead of or in addition to the mushrooms.
- Try subbing the mozza for cheddar if you like.
- Leftovers: Eat within 3-4 days and reheat on a low heat in the microwave or stove. This is one of those dishes that are best day 1. The leftovers will still be tasty but also a bit dryer than when it's first made.
- Make ahead tip: Follow the recipe up until the baking step, cover the baking dish tightly in foil, and freeze it for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, either let it thaw in the fridge first or bake from frozen. Bake at 350F with foil loosely covering it until the broiling step. Timing will vary depending on your oven, baking dish, and whether it's frozen or not, but 40 minutes is a good starting point. You may need to let it stand a bit longer (10+ minutes) after baking if there's lots of excess liquid.
What to serve with Chicken Tetrazzini:
Try garlic bread, a sliced baguette, or a salad (you may want something lighter since this is a pretty rich dish).
More delicious chicken recipes:
Questions about this cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini recipe? Let me know in the comments below. I hope you will love it!!
- 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 2 uncooked chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 7 ounces cremini or white mushrooms sliced
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese (a block of Philly) softened
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Prep steps: I recommend prepping all ingredients for this recipe prior to getting started. Microwave the cream cheese for 20-30 seconds so it gets very soft (or leave it on the counter for a couple hours). Season the chicken with salt & pepper after you cut it up. Preheat oven to 350F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Boil a salted pot of water for the spaghetti, and cook it 2 minutes less than indicated on the package (it was 9 minutes for the brand I used). Once it's cooked, drain it and set it aside.
- Meanwhile, add the oil, 1 tablespoon of the butter, and the onion to a pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Add in the chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes or until it's almost cooked through (don't overcook). Transfer the chicken to a plate (don't worry if there's some onions left in the pot).
- Add the garlic, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the Italian seasoning, and the mushrooms to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms have released their water and it's mostly cooked off.
- Increase the heat to high and add in the chicken broth, cream, and cream cheese (I cut it into smaller pieces first). Cook for 5 minutes, stirring nearly constantly to help the cream cheese melt in. Don't cook the sauce for longer because then it will get too thick and the pasta will end up dry.
- Turn the heat off and add the chicken back to the pot, along with the cooked and drained pasta. Give it a good stir.
- Transfer the pot contents to a 9x13 baking dish and arrange it in an even layer. Sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese, followed by the mozzarella.
- Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes and then broil for a few minutes until the top has browned a bit (watch it carefully).
- Let it sit for about 5 minutes once you take it out of the oven. I recommend using a spatula to "cut" the pasta like you would lasagna so it's easier to eat and everyone gets some melted cheese on top of their portion.
- You can use cooked/rotisserie chicken instead if you wish (follow the recipe as normal but skip step 4 then add 3-4 cups of the cooked chicken in step 7).
- 12 ounces spaghetti is 3/4 of a pound (16 ounce) package.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.