Baked Chicken Alfredo — Hearty Italian-inspired comfort food! Fettuccine noodles are tossed in a homemade alfredo sauce, topped with chicken, baked, and then finished off with crispy crunchy breadcrumbs! A classic yet easy recipe that’ll be a guaranteed family favorite!
This is my family’s dream food! They are pasta fanatics and there is nothing that says comfort food classic pasta recipe like this baked chicken fettuccine alfredo.
There are perfectly cooked al dente fettuccine noodles that are tossed in a super creamy homemade alfredo sauce.
The easy alfredo sauce is made with cream cheese, heavy cream, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. Not diet food, but oh so good!
Everything is nestled into a baking dish with whole chicken breasts on top, baked, and then sprinkled with bread crumbs and baked for five more minutes.
Those little breadcrumbs are crispy, crunchy, buttery, Parmesan-infused little bits of perfection. They add a wonderful texture contrast and really finish off this homemade fettuccine alfredo with chicken just perfectly.
Whether you’re looking for a Sunday family dinner recipe, a weeknight comfort food dish so you can have planned leftovers in the coming days, or you’re a pasta lover at heart, I promise this will become a family favorite recipe that’ll go into your recipe rotation.
Despite it being a 100% homemade, Italian recipe you can have it ready from start to finish in 1 hour.
Ingredients in Baked Chicken Alfredo
When you’re ready to make this comfort food baked chicken alfredo pasta, you’ll need to have on hand the following common, easy-to-find fridge and pantry ingredients including:
- Fettuccine noodles
- Alfredo Sauce
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese
- Heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Garlic powder
- Nutmeg, optional
- Pasta water, optional but strongly recommended
- Chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Bread Crumb Topping
- Italian breadcrumbs
- Parmesan cheese
- Melted unsalted butter
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parsley, optional for garnishing
How to Make Baked Chicken Alfredo
Making baked fettuccine alfredo already isn’t hard and shouldn’t be intimidating if you follow my basic and straightforward steps.
Step 1: Boil the fettuccine noodles according to package directions and drain and rinse after it has cooked. While the noodles cook, make the sauce and topping.
Tip: Save some pasta water because if the alfredo sauce is a bit thick, you can thin it out with a bit of pasta water, and most likely you’ll want to.
Step 2: Alfredo Sauce – Combine the butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, and heat gently and stir constantly until melted.
Step 3: Add the Parm and mozzarella cheeses, garlic powder, optional nutmeg, and stir until melted. If the sauce seems thick, add 1/2 cup pasta water. Set aside.
Tip: It’s better to start with a slightly thinner sauce if you’re going to err on the side of thin or thick because the pasta will continue to absorb the sauce as it cooks and it’s beneficial to not have too thick, or too tight, of a sauce at the outset. This is why adding pasta water is recommended.
Step 4: Topping – Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, melted butter, and toss to combine. Set aside.
Step 5: Pour the sauce over the cooked fettuccine and transfer it to a 2-quart baking dish.
Step 6: Coat the chicken in olive oil and season it with salt and pepper and then lay it on top of the coated fettuccine noodles.
Step 7: Bake for about 2o minutes.
Step 8: Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese, bread crumb mixture, and bake for 5 more minutes.
Step 9: Optionally garnish with parsley and serve!
What Kind of Chicken Should I Use?
I only use boneless skinless large chicken breasts that are close to 1 pound each. I halve them and then I pound the four halves and recommend pounding them so that they cook faster and more uniformly.
While I’m sure you could use chicken thighs, I never have. I have also never used bone-in chicken as it’s not the style of this homemade chicken alfredo bake.
Can I Use Store-Bought Alfredo Sauce?
Even though it’s really not a big deal to make your own homemade alfredo sauce for this baked chicken alfredo pasta recipe, if you want to use store-bought alfredo sauce that’s fine.
You will need about 2 cups worth, or approximately a 15-ounce jar which is a commonly sold side.
Do I Have to Add the Breadcrumb Topping?
My family loves the crispy breadcrumb topping on anything from mac and cheese to Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole, so I would never skip it.
The fine, yet just-enough. crunchy and crispy element really adds a lovely touch. However, if you want to omit it you can.
What Kind of Cheese is Best for Baked Alfredo?
When it comes to making decadent, rich oven-baked chicken fettuccine alfredo, for the alfredo sauce you need to use:
- Cream cheese
- Heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese (also use this for the bread crumb topping)
- Mozzarella cheese (also used for a final sprinkling)
Do not use use lite cream cheese, which has too much water and not enough fat.
Do not use milk or half-and-half in place of heavy cream.
Do not use green “Parmesan” cheese in a can. Use freshly grated or shaved Parmesan.
Tip: If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, their prices on Parmesan are as reasonable as I can find without buying a Costco-sized block!
This isn’t a light, diet-friendly dish so my suggestion is to use full-fat dairy and high quality cheeses and embrace it Ina Garten style!
What to Serve with Baked Fettuccine Alfredo
When you’re ready to serve this Italian-themed masterpiece pasta recipe, in my opinion it needs nothing else!
You can however serve it with more carbs, such as garlic bread. Or if you’re feeling like adding a fresh element, you can’t go wrong with a classic Caesar salad or another favorite salad recipe.
How to Store Leftovers
Extra chicken fettuccine will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
While pasta in general freezes fairly well, I haven’t ever frozen this one because sometimes cream sauces can get a little funky looking during the freezing-thawing process and so have never frozen it.
In terms of making this dish ahead of time, it’s possible to assemble it, get it totally ready to go, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight and bake it off the next day.
However, take note, the noodles will absorb lots of the alfredo sauce as it sits overnight so definitely thin your sauce out with at least 1/2 cup pasta water if you plan to make ahead.
Tips for the Best Baked Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
You can’t have baked chicken fettuccine alfredo without alfredo noodles. However, if you want to use another type of long strand pasta noodle like pappardelle, spaghetti, linguini, or your favorite, it’s fine.
When you’re making the alfredo sauce and you’re stirring in the cheeses, as I mentioned already, the fettuccine noodles will continue to absorb sauce as the dish bakes.
This is why a thinner sauce is recommended. You can see how it looks after you’ve stirring in the cheeses, but if it’s thick, add 1/2 cup pasta water.
Make sure not to cook or heat the sauce over high heat. Anything with dairy can “break” (the proteins denature or break and the sauce looks horrible) if you heat it too fast or it simply gets too hot so use a medium-low flame.
As you’re baking the chicken fettuccine alfredo, 20 minutes is a good guideline. However, if your chicken breasts were thicker, they may need an additional 5 to 10 minutes which is fine.
Add the breadcrumb topping mixture after the chicken has totally baked through. All it needs is about 5 minutes to toast to a nice golden browned color.
Make sure to select regular or traditional or Italian-style breadcrumbs and not panko bread crumbs. I have a ton of panko bread crumb recipes but this isn’t one of them.
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Baked Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
- 12 ounces fettuccine noodles
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 ounces brick-style cream cheese, use full fat for best results
- 2 cups heavy cream, do not use milk or half-and-half
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
- ½ cup pasta water, optional but recommended
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved and pounded thin and uniform*
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bread Crumb Topping
- ½ cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Fresh parsley, optional for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 375F and spray a 9x13 or approximately 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- Pasta - To a large stockpot, cook the fettuccine according to package directions, drain, rinse, and set aside in a large bowl. Note - Save about 1 cup of pasta water for the alfredo sauce. While it cooks, make the alfredo sauce.
- Alfredo Sauce** - To a medium saucepan, combine the butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, and heat over medium-low to melt, stirring nearly constantly to melt.
- Add both cheeses, garlic powder, optional nutmeg, and stir to combine and melt the cheese.
- The alfredo sauce needs to be fairly thin because it gets poured over the fettuccine and the noodles absorb the sauce in the oven so you don't want the sauce to be too thick. At this point, I recommend adding 1/2 cup pasta water to thin out the sauce, although eyeball and if it's already pretty thin, you can add none or less than 1/2 cup, using your judgment.
- Pour the alfredo sauce over the fettuccine, stir and toss to combine and coat well, and transfer them to the prepared baking dish in an even, loose layer; set aside.
- Chicken - Pound the chicken to an even and uniform thickness so it cooks through in the allotted baking time.
- Drizzle it with olive oil, massage it into both sides, and sprinkle both sides of each chicken breast with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken on top of of the fettuccine and bake for about 20 minutes. If your chicken is thicker, you may need to bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, bake as needed until done. While it's baking, made the bread crumb topping.
- Bread Crumb Topping - To a medium bowl, add the bread crumbs, Parmesan, melted butter, and toss with a fork until small crumbly bits form.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven, evenly sprinkle the 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and the bread crumb topping over the top, and return the the baking dish to the oven for about 5 minutes, or just until the cheese has melted and the bread crumbs are lightly golden browned.
- Optionally garnish with fresh parsley.
- Serve immediately with garlic bread, a Caesar salad, or as desired. Extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. I have never frozen this because cream sauces sometimes don't tolerate the freezing/thawing process well so I've never tried. Reheat leftovers gently in the microwave or as desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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