I have a real soft spot for homemade chicken spaghetti—it’s one of those hearty dishes that brings comfort and a touch of nostalgia to my kitchen table.
From the tender strands of pasta enrobed in a velvety cheese sauce to the chunks of savory chicken nestled throughout, each bite is like a warm hug from the inside out. It’s a versatile meal, too; whether I’m up for crafting a sauce from scratch or I need a quick fix with a shortcut, this dish caters to my schedule and my cravings.
Making this meal is a gesture of love, not just for those who get to enjoy it, but for myself as well. I take pleasure in deciding between using fresh, rotisserie, or even leftover chicken, and the cheese—oh, the options there!
Cheddar is a classic choice, but a three-cheese blend can take the dish to new heights of flavor. For a hint of heat and color, a can of Ro*Tel or some diced pimentos does the trick. It’s a recipe that lets me play with ingredients and make something special every time.
The beauty of chicken spaghetti isn’t just in its taste, but in its ability to be shared. It’s the perfect dish for family dinners, potlucks, or even freezing for later use. Every time I whip up this meal, it’s an opportunity to create something that’s both delicious and practical, satisfying my stomach and my soul in equal measure.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For a comforting homemade chicken spaghetti, I always begin with the essentials. Here’s what I gather before I start cooking:
Cooked Chicken: I typically use 2 cups of chicken, either left over or freshly cooked and shredded. For convenience, rotisserie chicken works great as well.
Spaghetti: About 3 cups uncooked spaghetti, broken into two-inch pieces. It’s one of the defining features of this dish to break the pasta into small pieces before cooking.
Cream Soup: The base of the sauce often includes 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup. This creates a rich and creamy texture that coats the pasta beautifully.
Cheese: For that sharp, tangy flavor, I use 2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese. This melts into the sauce, adding a deliciously gooey component.
Here’s a simple list to make shopping a breeze:
- 2 cups cooked chicken (shredded)
- 3 cups spaghetti (uncooked, broken)
- 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
For depth of flavor and added crunch, include the following finely diced vegetables:
- 1/4 cup green pepper
- 1/4 cup onion
To finish, I like a little color and mild sweetness in my sauce:
- 1 jar (4-ounce) diced pimentos, drained
- Seasonings include 1 teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or salt and pepper to taste.
Remember, these are just guidelines. Feel free to add your own twist with spices or other ingredients that suit your palate!
How To Make Homemade Chicken Spaghetti
When I prepare Homemade Chicken Spaghetti, I like to start with the core ingredients: spaghetti noodles, cooked chicken, and a creamy sauce base, typically consisting of a roux with cheese and/or cream soups.
First, I cook the spaghetti in boiling water until al dente. It’s important to ensure the noodles still have a bit of firmness, as they’ll continue to cook once mixed with the sauce. I usually allow for about 8-10 minutes for this step, then drain the noodles and set them aside.
Next, I focus on the chicken. If I’m short on time, I’ll use shredded rotisserie chicken, which is a convenient option that doesn’t compromise on flavor. Otherwise, I’ll boil and shred boneless chicken breasts myself. I aim for about two cups of chicken.
For the sauce, I begin with a simple roux made from butter and flour, to ensure my spaghetti has a thick and creamy texture. After cooking the roux, I gradually whisk in chicken broth and cream, simmering until it becomes lush and velvety. To bring a personal touch to my dish, I like to fold in some Velveeta Cheese and Ro*tel tomatoes for a little zest and color.
Once the sauce is ready, I combine the cooked spaghetti, shredded chicken, and the sauce in a large pot, stirring well to coat every strand and piece of chicken evenly with the sauce.
Finally, I transfer everything to a casserole dish, sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top, and bake it in a preheated oven until the cheese is gooey and golden brown. A little tip: placing it under the broiler for the last couple of minutes adds a deliciously crispy top layer that my friends and family can’t get enough of.
Tips for the Best Homemade Chicken Spaghetti
When I make Homemade Chicken Spaghetti, I’ve discovered a few tricks that ensure it turns out wonderfully every time.
Choose Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality cheese because it will melt better and give your dish a creamier texture. The tomatoes you use can add a tangy freshness that elevates the dish, especially if you incorporate Ro*tel tomatoes for a bit of a kick.
Shred Your Chicken Well: Either cook and shred your own chicken, or if you’re in a rush, a rotisserie chicken can be a great time-saver. Make sure it’s shredded finely to distribute it evenly throughout the dish.
|Velveeta or cheddar
|Ro*tel or fresh chopped
|Cook al dente
Perfect Your Pasta: Boil your spaghetti until it’s just al dente. It should have a slight bite to it because it’ll continue cooking in the oven.
Sauce Consistency: For the sauce, I prefer making my own roux-based sauce for a richer flavor. However, if I’m pressed for time, I’ll go for a shortcut version with cream of chicken soup.
Seasoning is Key: Don’t hold back on the spices. Garlic powder, onion powder, and a touch of seasoned salt bring out the flavors without overwhelming the dish.
Lastly, I highly recommend baking your chicken spaghetti just until it bubbles and the cheese is perfectly melted. It retains the moisture and ensures that every bite is as delightful as the last.
What to Serve with Homemade Chicken Spaghetti
When I prepare Homemade Chicken Spaghetti, I like to consider side dishes that complement the rich and creamy texture of the main dish.
Salads: A crisp salad is always a great choice. My go-to options include:
Vegetables: Roasted or grilled vegetables add a healthy balance. I often opt for:
- Grilled asparagus: The charred edges and tender stalks are excellent with the pasta.
- Blistered tomatoes: Their juiciness and slight charring taste divine next to cheesy spaghetti.
Breads: I like to offer something to mop up any leftover sauce. Here’re a couple of breads that work well:
Others: For something unique, try:
- Fried pickles: Their tanginess and crunch are surprisingly good with chicken spaghetti.
- Sweet potato fries: They add a sweet and savory element that’s quite satisfying.
I always aim for variety and balance when selecting sides, taking both flavor and texture into consideration to create a well-rounded meal.
How to Make Ahead
When I know a busy week is approaching, I like to prepare meals in advance. Chicken Spaghetti is one of my favorites for this because it reheats well and can save me a ton of time. Here’s how I make my chicken spaghetti ahead of time:
- Cooked spaghetti
- Shredded chicken
- Cheese sauce or your sauce of choice
First, I cook the spaghetti al dente, since it will cook further when I reheat it later. This prevents it from becoming too soft.
Then, I shred my cooked chicken. I usually use leftovers or even a rotisserie chicken if I’m short on time.
Next, I mix the chicken with the spaghetti and my cheese sauce. Alternatively, you can explore an alternative chicken spaghetti recipe that doesn’t require creamed soups but still delivers on creaminess.
I’ll transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and top it with cheese, if desired.
Finally, I cover the dish with foil and store it in the fridge. It keeps well for about two days.
- I preheat my oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Remove the spaghetti from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
- Then, I bake it covered for about 20 minutes. If I want the top to be golden and bubbly, I’ll uncover it for an additional 5-10 minutes.
For an even longer shelf life, I freeze my chicken spaghetti. Once assembled, rather than refrigerating, I wrap it tightly and freeze it. When I’m ready to enjoy it, I thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then bake as per the above reheating instructions. This method really makes the flavors meld together beautifully.
How to Store Homemade Chicken Spaghetti
When I make homemade Chicken Spaghetti, storing it properly is key to enjoying leftovers.
Refrigeration: For immediate storage, I place the Chicken Spaghetti in an airtight container and refrigerate it. It’s best to consume it within 3-5 days. Make sure the pasta is cooled to room temperature to avoid condensation before sealing the container.
Freezing: If I need to store it longer, freezing is a great option. Here’s my method:
- Let the Chicken Spaghetti cool completely.
- Divide the portion into serving sizes.
- Transfer into freezer-safe bags or containers.
- Label with the date; it’s easy to forget when you froze it.
The Chicken Spaghetti can be frozen for up to 2 months. Remember to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Reheating: To retain the texture when reheating, I use the oven or microwave. If using an oven:
- Preheat it to 350°F (175°C).
- Place the Chicken Spaghetti in an oven-safe dish.
- Cover with foil to keep moisture in.
- Heat for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
In the microwave:
- Place it in a microwavable container.
- Cover with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap.
- Reheat on medium power, stirring occasionally, until hot.
These methods help keep my Chicken Spaghetti tasting fresh and delicious.