The Best Chicken Tetrazzini

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The BEST Chicken Tetrazzini begins with chicken, mushrooms, and pasta that is tossed together with a creamy, garlicky sauce.

Then everything is sprinkled with just a handful of cheese and baked long enough to melt it all together. Served with warm bread and a salad, this meal is a hit every time.

Homemade Chicken Tetrazzini

Chicken Tetrazzini

Almost 15 years ago, a very sweet friend brought my family a pan of this Chicken Tetrazzini. It was a night just a few days after my middle son was born; 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 from my friend as soon as possible. She shared the recipe with me and this pasta has made regular appearances on our table every since. 

This was the best chicken and pasta dish we had ever tasted, giving it the honor of being christened “The Best Chicken Tetrazzini.”

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.

The Best Chicken Tetrazzini

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 myself if I didn’t share the love with all of you.

Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe

This chicken tetrazzini looks 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.

To make this 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. Luckily, knowing how good the final dish is, gives me the self-control I need.

Chicken Tetrazzini is a creamy belly warming favorite

After removing the cooked mushrooms from the heat, you make a roux with more butter, flour and chicken broth then add heavy cream. Pour the sauce over a pan layered with cooked pasta, cooked chicken and the mushrooms then sprinkle the whole thing with 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.

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. 

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

Chicken and Mushroom Tetrazzini

Baked Pasta Recipes

Looking for more baked pasta ideas? 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.

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

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.

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 wonderfully carb-filled dinners that no one can resist.

Big pans of baked pasta also make a good amount of food so we’re likely to have leftovers for lunch the next day. No matter how many times I make baked pasta, my kids never seem to tire of it.

Kids and adults alike love this chicken tetrazzini

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

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Kids and adults alike love this chicken tetrazzini

The Best Chicken Tetrazzini

5 from 6 votes
Recipe barely adapted from and with thanks to my friend Lisa
Pin Print Review
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces spaghetti noodles or the pasta of your choice (gluten free works great)
  • 5 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1-3 large cloves garlic
  • 8 ounces baby mushrooms sliced
  • 3 cups cooked chicken chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour brown rice flour works great for gluten free
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt skip this, or adjust as needed, if using store-bought chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 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, 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 if desired, right before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

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.
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{originally posted 8/29/14 – recipe notes and photos updated 10/7/20}

Chicken Tetrazzini - homemade comfort food at its best!

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Chris says

    Turkey tetrazzini was one of my favorite things to look forward too at our huge family reunions at the farm around Thanksgiving and I only make it around that time. I need to give chicken tetrazzini a shot.

  2. Anonymous says

    I always put celery in mine! Love your choice of pasta in your photo – I will give it a try next time.

  3. Eileen says

    This looked so good that I had to make it right away, but I didn't have any chicken. So I cooked up some without the chicken and froze the rest until I could go grocery shopping. I just wanted you to know that it tasted wonderful both ways!

    • Mary says

      There's no need to cover the dish. It's only going to bake for 20 minutes, just long enough to get bubbling hot and melt the cheese. Enjoy!

    • Mary says

      I frequently prepare this a day ahead and just cover it overnight in the refrigerator. I bake it later when we are ready to eat! If I'm delivering this as a meal for a friend, I'd probably take it and let them bake it when they want to serve it.

  4. Vanessa C. Conley says

    This is the best chicken and pasta dish we hat. I don’t believe I can cook a great and delicious dish for my family. They like it so much and would like to add it into menu’s Christmas.

  5. Karen Schroeder says

    Would this work if I put in a crockpot, instead of the oven?
    I have a potluck dinner party to attend and since it is being served in courses my tetrazzini will be sitting for a bit.

    • Mary says

      I think if you’re just keeping it in the crock-pot on WARM, that would be fine. It only goes into the oven to melt the cheese, so the crock-pot set any higher than that would probably cook it too much. Enjoy!

  6. Donna Brost says

    Made this tonight. I’ve followed other Pintrest recipes to the t and have been disappointed with the out come. So I made some changes. First I used breast tenderloin and precooked them to med rare. I added some frozen peas for color. Also not enough garlic. I added garlic powder. The sauce was thin and bland.. I added parmesan cheese. There was not enough sauce for all the chicken and pasta. It really soaked it up.. I made a pkg mix of Alfredo and added to the sauce.. topped it with some toasted almonds and parmesan cheese. Makes a lot. Just for me and husband. I’ll look for other recipes to try.

    • sue says

      Instead of using an alfredo mix, double the amount of sauce. My husband says you can never have too much sauce in any casserole. I love tetrazzini…

  7. Bill Myers says

    Excellent!! Guests didn’t know there was garlic in it until I told them and then most, but not all ,said they could taste it. I might use 3 cloves instead of 2 next time. Noting a reviewer’s comment, I added 2 tablespoons of white wine, to the white sauce and it did contribute subtly to the flavor. The combination of chicken., cream, garlic and mushrooms was heaven sent. Be sure to be liberal with the black pepper. We had it with a green salad and pears poached in spiced red wine.5 stars

  8. Mindi says

    This really was the best chicken tetrazzini. I’ve never made it before and wasn’t really even sure what is was, but now I am a huge fan! I used GF rotini noodles, GF flour, and GF breadcrumbs, and it came out divine! It is so rare to find a pasta dish that you can make gluten free and have it be really good and not just “good for something that’s gluten free”. I doubled the garlic, used GF rotini noodles, and had to leave out the chicken because I forgot to get it at the store :S so we ate it with Swedish meatballs leftover from the night before. Delish!5 stars

  9. Colleen says

    The name of this dish is most appropriate!! My family loved this dish and raved the entire meal!! I tweaked it a bit yesterday because of our schedule – I cooked frozen breasts in my crockpot with chicken broth – seasoned with more garlic than the recipe called for, plus a healthy dash of oregano, along with salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika – then used this broth for the sauce. Added 1/2 cup of parmesan on top of the chicken, then added the sauce, and then another 1/3 cup parmesan to the top. It was one of the best dishes I have ever made…just ask the fam!!! 🙂5 stars

  10. Gerri says

    My mom makes this with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Honestly, it’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Just knowing that it’s coming. She uses rotini pasta and it’s perfect. Think I will remind her how far away Thanksgiving is, and see if I can guilt her in to a batch…….

  11. Deb says

    It truly is the best and easiest to make. I added a little spinach to give it a healthy spin. Broccoli would also be good. I wonder if white wine could be added with the chicken broth or as a substitute to give it a real boost?Let me know how you feel about it.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m so glad that you loved the recipe, Deb! It is delicious with broccoli added too. I haven’t tried it with white wine, but I’m sure that would be good too.

  12. Bill Myers says

    Absolutely delicious, I agree.
    Do you mince the garlic cloves, as I did, or simply cook them whole with the mushrooms?
    Yes, I added two tablespoons of white wine as on reviewer suggested.

  13. Diane says

    I love this recipe. Made it several times. I add onion into the mushroom and garlic sauté.
    In fact, it’s our dinner tonight!5 stars