If you love classic chicken parmesan you’ll love this chicken parmesan casserole with penne pasta. This is a dinner recipe the whole family will love. This crowd pleaser recipe makes delicious cheesy chicken and pasta.
Why You’ll Love This Chicken Pasta Recipe
TASTE: Cheesy, saucy goodness. This has al the flavor of traditional chicken parmesan while being family friendly. It is definitely comfort food!
PROS: As far as easy chicken pasta recipes goes, this is the tastiest! It’s not a quick recipe but anyone can make this. This makes the best chicken on it’s own, even if you don’t want to add it to pasta! The crispy chicken is the best part.
CONS: This is a multi-step recipe. You’ll need to cook the pasta and chicken separately then bake them all together.
WOULD I MAKE THIS AGAIN? Definitely. The bite sized chicken parm pieces and the cheesy pasta made it a hit with the entire family.
DIET: Gluten Free (optional instructions included)
Ingredients & Substitutions
Below, find information about choosing the right ingredients for this recipe as well as suggestions for substitutions for your chicken parm casserole.
Full printable Chicken Parmesan Casserole Pasta Bake ingredients list and step-by-step instructions can also be found in the recipe card below.
- Chicken: Use 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut in half lengthwise so they are thin (chicken cutlets). Alternatively, you can pound your chicken thinner by placing between layers of plastic wrap and rolling with a rolling pin. Thick chicken will take longer to cook and the outside will brown before the inside is cooked. You could substitute for boneless skinless chicken thighs, if desired. If you prefer not to use raw chicken, you can use breaded chicken tenders instead of making your own breaded chicken parmesan. Cook and dice up your store-bought breaded chicken.
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour or your favorite flour substitute.
- Seasoning: This recipe calls for salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. You can use any type of salt and black pepper. Buy Italian seasoning or make your own Italian seasoning. Crushed red pepper flakes and fresh basil are optional garnish.
- Eggs: Use any kind of eggs. We use size large chicken eggs for this recipe.
- Bread Crumbs: This recipe used panko breadcrumbs. You could substitute for Italian bread crumbs. Just omit the Italian seasoning if you do.
- Cheese: Freshly grated mozzarella cheese will melt much better than store-bought shredded cheese. Freshly grated parmesan cheese will work better than shredded mozzarella. The finer pieces will adhere to the chicken better.
- Oil: The oil is used for pan frying the chicken. Use a high heat oil like vegetable oil or canola oil. Olive oil is not recommended.
- Pasta: We use penne pasta but you could substitute for ziti pasta or rotini pasta as well. This recipe was tested with a wheat pasta. You may have different results with chickpea pasta or lentil pasta or other types of pastas.
- Marinara: Jarred marina varies wildly by brand. We love Rao’s marinara or homemade marinara sauce. But any type of marinara will work for this recipe. This recipe has only been tested with a tomato sauce. You could try it with a creamy sauce but results are not guaranteed.
Gluten Free Option
If you are cooking for someone with Celiac Disease, make sure your work surfaces and dishes are free of gluten contamination. To make this gluten free you will need to substitute a couple items:
- Flour: Use any gluten free flour or gluten-free flour mixture.
- Bread Crumbs: Use gluten-free bread crumbs. Sometimes the store bought gluten free bread crumbs are large pieces. You might want to pulse them in a food processor to make them smaller so they adhere to the chicken better.
- Pasta: Use a gluten free pasta. There are many varieties. For added protein try a lentil pasta or a chickpea pasta.
Full step-by-step Chicken Parmesan Casserole instructions are in the recipe card below. You can print or save to Pinterest for later.
Time to start this easy dinner recipe! This pasta dish takes a little time but anyone can be successful making this.
Prep: Cut boneless skinless chicken breasts in half lengthwise so they’re thinner. Pat them dry and set aside.
Step 1: Set up three breading stations: In the first shallow dish, mix flour, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. In the second, whisk eggs. In the third, combine panko bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese.
Step 2: Dredge chicken breasts in flour, dip in egg, then coat with breadcrumb mixture.
Step 3: Repeat with all chicken breasts. Set asside.
Step 4: Heat oil in a heavy skillet; fry chicken to a golden brown, about 4-5 minutes each side.
Let the golden-brown Parmesan chicken cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
How To Heat Oil To Fry Chicken
For pan frying chicken, you should heat the oil to a temperature of about 350°F (175°C). This temperature is ideal for ensuring the chicken cooks through evenly without burning the exterior. It’s also hot enough to create a crispy, golden-brown crust on the chicken.
If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the oil’s readiness by adding a small piece of bread or a drop of batter to the oil. If it sizzles and browns in about 60 seconds, the oil is at the right temperature. Another method is to stick the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. If bubbles form around the wood and start to float up, your oil is hot enough for frying.
Step 5: Cook pasta al dente in salted water following package instructions; drain and place in a large bowl. No need to reserve pasta water.
Step 6: Add pasta sauce (marinara) to the cooked pasta, mixing thoroughly.
Step 7: Stir in 1 cup of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese into the pasta mixture. Set aside.
Step 8: Cut up cooked chicken parmigiana into bite-sized pieces.
Preheat oven to 370°F and grease a baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
Step 9: Transfer half of the pasta mixture to the dish, top with half the bite-sized Parmesan chicken. Sprinkle ½ cup of mozzarella over it.
Step 10: Add the remaining pasta.
Step 11: Top with remaining parmesan chicken pieces. Spread evenly.
Step 12: Add the remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta. This is the final layer.
Step 13: Cover dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melty and chicken is 160°F. Cooking time will vary depending on the temperature of the ingredients when you put the dish into the oven. If you remove the foil and cool a little longer the melty cheese will brown on top. Personally I prefer to leave the foil on the entire time.
Step 14: Garnish your new family favorite chicken recipe with red pepper flakes and basil; serve this delicious dinner warm. You could also garnish with fresh parsley. Follow storage instructions if you have leftovers to eat the next day.
Make it a complete meal! Serve your chicken parmesan pasta recipe with some garlic bread and a side salad or try one of these recipes.
- Cool Down: Allow the casserole to cool to room temperature before storing. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes.
- Place the casserole in an airtight container. If your casserole dish doesn’t have a lid, you can wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Freeze for Longer Storage:
- For longer storage, wrap the casserole tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil, or portion it into freezer-safe containers.
- It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
- When ready to eat, reheat the casserole in the oven or microwave.
- If frozen, it’s best to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- Safety Tip: Avoid leaving the casserole out at room temperature for more than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, if you prefer, you can cut up precooked breaded chicken to add to your pasta casserole. It will not have all the parmesan flavors but does make an easy chicken pasta recipe.
Set your dinner table with crusty bread and a side salad or vegetable dish along with the cheesy pasta bake
Keeping the casserole covered while you cook will help it not only cook faster but will help keep the cheese solf and melted.
Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole Recipe
- 9×13 casserole dish
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves cut lengthwise
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour for dredging
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
- ⅔ cup parmesan cheese grated and divided
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 8 oz penne pasta
- 23 oz marinara sauce
- 2 cups low moisture mozzarella cheese shredded
- fresh basil optional
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Pat the chicken dry and set aside.
- Prepare the breading stations. You will need 3 shallow dishes. In the first dish combine flour, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning. In the second bowl whisk the eggs. In the third dish combine the breadcrumbs and ⅓ cup parmesan cheese.
- Dredge the chicken in the flour first. Then dip into the egg. Then coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet. Add oil for pan frying the chicken. Cook until it turns crispy and golden on both sides, about 4-5 minutes.
- Allow the parmesan chicken to cool down, then cut into bite-sized cubes and set aside.
- Cook the penne pasta in salted water according to the pasta box instructions. Drain the water and transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl.
- Add marinara sauce to the pasta. Mix to combine.
- Stir in 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Combine well.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a rectangular 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Transfer half of the pasta and sauce mixture to the casserole dish.
- Add half the diced chicken to the top of the pasta.
- Sprinkle ½ cup of mozzarella cheese over the chicken
- Top with remaining pasta and sauce mixture and diced chicken.
- Top with ½ cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place in the center rack of the oven.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the chicken is 160°F.
- Remove from the oven. Optional: Garnish with fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Serve while warm.
- Any shape of pasta will work for this recipe.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, simply microwave for a minute before serving.
- Instead of shallow frying the chicken, you can also bake it.