Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole

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Chicken Parmesan Casserole — A hearty comfort food casserole that includes juicy chicken, pasta, marinara, the BEST crispy buttery breadcrumb topping and TWO types of cheese!! A family favorite big-batch recipe that’s also great for meal prepping!!

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole - A hearty comfort food casserole that includes juicy chicken, pasta, marinara, the BEST crispy buttery breadcrumb topping and TWO types of cheese!! A family favorite big-batch recipe that's also great for meal prepping!!

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake Recipe

This parmesan chicken casserole is pure, unadulterated comfort food that’s hearty, cozy, and will put a smile on your face.

Juicy bites of chicken are nestled within al dente fusilli pasta and everything is tossed in marinara sauce before being layered with mozzarella cheese and baked until the cheese melts.

There’s also Parmesan cheese and a buttery panko breadcrumb topping, which is the best part of the whole dish for me. It’s so crispy and addictively amazing that I wanted to pick it off the whole casserole before anyone else could have it.

And since I’ll never say no to cheese, having two kinds of cheese — both gooey melted mozzarella and slightly crisped-up Parmesan — is heavenly.

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole - A hearty comfort food casserole that includes juicy chicken, pasta, marinara, the BEST crispy buttery breadcrumb topping and TWO types of cheese!! A family favorite big-batch recipe that's also great for meal prepping!!

Ingredients in Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole

For this easy chicken parmesan casserole with pasta, you’ll need the following ingredients

  • Pasta
  • Marinara sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Kosher salt 
  • Pepper
  • Italian seasoning, or to taste
  • Garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Butter
  • Panko breadcrumbs 
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil, optional for garnishing

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole - A hearty comfort food casserole that includes juicy chicken, pasta, marinara, the BEST crispy buttery breadcrumb topping and TWO types of cheese!! A family favorite big-batch recipe that's also great for meal prepping!!

How to Make Chicken Parmesan Casserole

This chicken parm casserole is very straightforward to prepare and is definitely a family favorite! Here’s an overview of how the casserole is made:

  1. Begin by boiling the pasta and after it’s done, toss it in marinara sauce.
  2. While the pasta boils, sauté seasoned chunks of chicken in olive oil and garlic until it’s done.
  3. Combine the cooked chicken with the pasta and marinara sauce, turn it out into a casserole dish, top with mozzarella and bake briefly.
  4. Remove it from the oven, add butter-soaked panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and bake until the top is lightly golden browned and those breadcrumbs have crisped up nicely.
  5. Garnish with basil and dig right in to this comfort food family dinner! 

Pasta Tip

Only cook the pasta until al dente. It will soak up some of the marinara sauce as it bakes, which softens it further. 

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole - A hearty comfort food casserole that includes juicy chicken, pasta, marinara, the BEST crispy buttery breadcrumb topping and TWO types of cheese!! A family favorite big-batch recipe that's also great for meal prepping!!

Recipe FAQs

Can This Casserole Be Made in Advance? 

Yes! This is a great meal prep recipe because not only does it make 10 servings, you can freeze them for later. Having a freezer stash can save dinner on those unforeseen really hectic weeknights.

Or make it for your next family dinner, entertaining event, or potluck. I can guarantee your casserole dish will be brought home clean because no one can resist comfort food like this.

It tastes just fine being served at room temp so I wouldn’t worry too much if it sits out for bit and isn’t served super piping hot from the oven. Pasta is good at all temps, right?

Can the panko breadcrumbs be substituted?

Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese-style breadcrumbs and different from traditional breadcrumbs. And yes, you do have to use them because they’re the secret to having the crispiness that chicken parmesan in known for, minus any battering, frying, or the like. Regular breadcrumbs just won’t give you the same effect.

They’re crispy little bits of goodness and if you’re wondering what else you can make with them, check out these other recipes using panko breadcrumbs

Can I use another type of pasta in this casserole?

Yes! I used fusilli to make this chicken parmesan pasta casserole, but rotini, bowtie, penne, ziti, small shells, or another small-shaped pasta may be substituted.

Can I Use GlUten-Free Pasta?

Yes! So long as the past is cooked just until al dente, you should be able to use any variety you want, be it gluten-free or regular.

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole - A hearty comfort food casserole that includes juicy chicken, pasta, marinara, the BEST crispy buttery breadcrumb topping and TWO types of cheese!! A family favorite big-batch recipe that's also great for meal prepping!!

What to Serve with Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Serve the chicken pasta casserole with a side salad or steamed veggies for a full meal. Or, serve it with one or more of the following sides:

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake — A hearty comfort food casserole that includes juicy chicken, pasta, marinara, the BEST crispy buttery breadcrumb topping and TWO types of cheese!! A family favorite big-batch recipe that's also great for meal prepping!!

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4.59 from 51 votes

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

By Averie Sunshine
A hearty comfort food casserole that includes juicy chicken, pasta, marinara, the BEST crispy buttery breadcrumb topping and TWO types of cheese!! A family favorite big-batch recipe that's also great for meal prepping!!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10
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Ingredients  

  • 1 pound fusilli pasta*, cooked according to package directions and drained (rotini, bowtie, penne, ziti, small shells, or a small-shaped pasta may be substituted)
  • 25 ounces marinara sauce
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.25 to 1.50 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, or to taste
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 2 heaping cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, do not use regular breadcrumbs because they won’t get crunchy
  • cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil, optional for garnishing

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400F, spray a 3 1/2 quart casserole dish (about 9×13-inches) with cooking spray, cook pasta according to package directions, drain, return to pot, and toss with the marinara sauce; set aside.
  • While pasta is cooking, to a large skillet add the oil, chicken, generously season with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning (I call for 1 tablespoon not teaspoon because this is ultimately flavoring a big recipe but reduce to taste if desired), and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is done; stir and flip intermittently to ensure even cooking.
  • Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly constantly.
  • Add the chicken and any cooking juices to the large pot with the pasta and marinara sauce and stir to combine.
  • Turn mixture out into prepared casserole dish, evenly sprinkle with the mozzarella, and bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is just beginning to turn light golden brown.
  • While cheese is melting, to a small microwave-safe bowl add the butter, and heat on high power for about 1 minute to melt.
  • Add the panko* and stir to combine; set aside.
  • After 10 minutes, or cheese is light golden brown, remove casserole dish from the oven, evenly sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and the buttery-panko breadcrumb mixture.
  • Bake for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until cheese and breadcrumbs are as golden browned as desired, optionally garnish with basil, and serve immediately.

Notes

*Rotini, bowtie, penne, ziti, small shells, or a small-shaped pasta may be substituted.
*Panko breadcrumbs are necessary; don’t use regular breadcrumbs because they won’t give you the same crispy and crunchy texture.
Storage: Extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months, noting the breadcrumbs will not stay crunchy upon reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 428kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 89mg, Sodium: 681mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. So you say this can be used for a meal prep. At what point in the recipe do you stop and freeze it? Do you go ahead and bake it? That’s a little confusing to me

    1. I would make it fully, let it cool, divide it into portions, and freeze them individually in containers.