Cheesy, creamy and so delicious! This Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake is super easy to make with lots homemade sauce, tender chicken and perfectly cooked broccoli. Baked until hot and bubbly with melty mozzarella cheese on top!
Nothing beats an easy, delicious, from-scratch dinner! All you need is about 20 minutes of hands-on cooking time, then this chicken and broccoli pasta bake goes into the oven. You'll have dinner on the table in under an hour!
Even better, the from-scratch cheese sauce is so creamy and cheesy and there's lots of it!! Because nothing is more disappointing then scooping into a pasta bake only to discover that it's dry. Trust me, that won't be the case with this recipe! Your pasta will be swimming in sauce and covered in lots of melty cheese!
Just as important, the chicken is so tender and the broccoli is perfectly cooked - it's soft without being mushy and still has a crisp bite.
You'll definitely want to make enough for leftovers because this pasta bake reheats extremely well! Just pot the whole bake back in the oven, or reheat individual portions in the microwave.
Why You'll Love This Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake.
- Super creamy & cheesy! No dry pasta bake here! The pasta is swimming in delicious creamy, cheesy sauce, then is baked with more shredded mozzarella cheese on top!
- Easy to make. You'll have dinner on the table in under an hour, and only half of that time is hands-on cooking. Even better, this recipe is kid-friendly! They'll love to help make it and they'll love eating it! They're hardly know they're eating a vegetable when it's covered in delicious cheese sauce!
- Tender chicken and perfectly cooked broccoli. No on likes tough chicken or mushy broccoli! This recipe is far from that. The chicken is juicy and fork tender, and the broccoli florets are tender but still a tiny bit crunchy - perfect!
- Chicken breast
- All-purpose flour
- Chicken broth
- Parmesan cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Mozarella cheese
*Scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredient list.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions.
Pasta. I used rigatoni, but any short cut pasta will work!
Cheese. Parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella cheese all bring different flavors and textures to the pasta bake. However, if need be, you can substitute more of one type of cheese for another. But, I do recommend using at least using either cheddar or mozzarella.
Ground nutmeg. I love adding a pinch of ground nutmeg to creamy pasta sauces. It just really makes the sauce pop. But, if you don't have any ground nutmeg, the pasta bake will still taste amazing without it.
Milk. Using milk creates the perfect consistency. When baking pasta, you want the cream sauce to be on the thinner side because the sauce will continue to thicken up and absorb into the pasta as it bakes. If need be, you can substitute half & half or heavy whipping cream, but the sauce will be thicker.
Broccoli. I recommend using fresh broccoli because it has the best texture, but you can use frozen broccoli in a pinch.
How to Make Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake.
If you're looking for an easy chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake, this is it! All you need is about 15-20 minutes of hands-on cooking. The rest of the time, the pasta bake is in oven.
- Step 1: Cook the pasta and broccoli. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. During the last 2 minutes, add in the broccoli and boil for another 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to a baking dish.
- Step 2: Cook the chicken and onion. While the water comes to a boil and pasta cooks, cook the chicken and onion in a large skillet with butter until nicely browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Step 3: Make the sauce. Sprinkle flour over the chicken and onion to create a roux to thicken the sauce. Pour in chicken broth and milk, then simmer until thickened. Mix in seasoning and cheese.
- Step 4: Assemble and bake. Pour the chicken sauce over the pasta and broccoli and mix together. Sprinkle with more cheese and bake until hot and bubbly.
Make ahead, storage & Reheating.
Make ahead. You can mix up the Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake in advance. Mix the pasta and broccoli with the chicken sauce, then cover and refrigerate. Remove the fridge about 30 minutes prior to baking. If the casserole is still cold, it may take a little longer to bake.
Storage. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Reheating. Reheating individuals portions in the microwave is the quickest way to reheat this pasta bake. Alternatively, you can cover the pasta and bake at 375 degrees F until warm and bubbly.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Can I make Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake in advance?
The pasta casserole is best served freshly made, but you can make it up to a couple days in advance, if need be. Prepare the pasta through step 5, then cover and refrigerate. Remove the pasta from the fridge while the oven preheats, so it can come to room temperature. You may need to add an extra 5-10 minutes to the baking time.
Can I use heavy cream or half and half instead of milk?
Yes! The sauce will be a little thicker, but both will still work great!
Can I use frozen broccoli?
Yes, you can use frozen broccoli. Instead of boiling the broccoli for 2 minutes like the recipe calls for with the fresh broccoli, only boil the frozen broccoli long enough to thaw it, about one minute.
Can I used leftover chicken?
Yes! Use about 2-3 cups of leftover cubed or shredded cooked chicken. Instead of sautéing the onions and chicken together, just sauté the onions for about 5-7 minutes. Add the pasta, broccoli, sauce and leftover chicken to the baking dish and mix together.
More Recipes You'll Love!
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Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake
- 8 ounces pasta (I used rigatoni)
- 3 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 1-2 heads)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into small pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 ½ cups mozarella cheese, shredded (or more cheddar)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the pasta. Careful not to overcook the pasta, as it will continue to cook in the oven. Once the pasta is about 2 minutes from al dente, add the broccoli and cook another 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to baking dish. I used a 8x10 inch dish.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons butter, onion, and chicken. Cook until the chicken is lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. The chicken will finish cooking in the oven.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and garlic to the skillet with the chicken and onion; cook for one minute. Mix in the flour and cook another minute. While mixing, slowly pour in the chicken broth then milk. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, until thickened to gravy consistency.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and mix in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, parmesan, cheddar and ½ cup mozzarella cheese. Pour over the pasta and broccoli in the baking dish and mix together. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly golden brown and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.