This cheesy chicken spaghetti recipe is literally the best you are ever going to make, period. Unlike most recipes that bake it, I discovered that the way to make the creamiest (with no canned soups!) chicken spaghetti is to make the perfect cheese sauce, add it to the noodles and then save yourself an entire 30 minutes of unnecessary baking time!
This recipe is right up there with my three cheese creamy skillet mac and cheese recipe for utter decadence!
To Bake or Not to Bake Chicken Spaghetti
We have tried this chicken spaghetti two ways now : baked and unbaked, and guess which one won with my family? The unbaked! Baking this dish will give you a casserole that is more stuck together and thicker – and hey, that might be how you like it! That's not how we usually like our pastas however, so it's not surprise to me that the unbaked version had the rave reviews.
You also don't need to bake this with cheese on top, I have made the perfect sauce and adding any more cheese on top is too much – and if I am telling you it's too much cheese, trust me, it is! Save the calories and enjoy this as-is!
How to Make Chicken Spaghetti
This recipe is faster than others because you don't need to bake the sauce to thicken it! This is ready to go, as-is as soon as you make the cheese sauce, which is why I'm totally claiming this is the best chicken spaghetti ever. Anything that saves a busy family 30 minutes and still tastes amazing is the BEST!
- Cook your spaghetti to al dente, drain and cool.
- Make your cheese sauce.
- Combine the pasta and the cheese sauce.
- Optional: bake in the oven for a more stuck together casserole texture.
Secret Ingredient #1: The Tomato Juice
This is my mother-in-laws trick to the BEST cheese sauce – tomato juice. I have adjusted my base cheese sauce recipe to account for the additional juice that is in the canned tomatoes, most other recipe for chicken spaghetti are going to tell you to drain it – what a loss of flavor this is! Once I tried my MIL's mac and cheese with tomatoes it has been my favorite addition to a cheese sauce. By the way, we now get Rotel tomatoes in Canada, and those are the best ones with the green chiles in them! I've seen them at Superstore!
Secret Ingredient #2 : The Velveeta
Velveeta is always the secret to the perfect creamy cheese sauce. Look, man, this recipe is the FARTHEST THING FROM HEALTHY, don't be kidding yourself that it is! Velveeta ain't gonna kill you, but it is going to make the best cheese sauce ever. Like I always say, make 90% of your cooking from scratch, and cheat that last 10%. Life's short, enjoy a cheat once in a while.
To that end, I have maybe 5? 6? recipes on this entire website that use Velveeta, so when I do, it's because it makes the recipe the best it can be. However if you truly don't like Velveeta, you can add in some more shredded cheese to taste. At the end if the tomatoes and juice hasn't thinned out the sauce enough you can add in some more cream to get it to the right creaminess.
Leftover Chicken Spaghetti = no problem!
You can refrigerate the leftovers for 2-3 days, and simply reheat them for lunches in the microwave! The kids loved taking the leftovers in thermoses for school lunches.
Don't want to eat the leftovers soon? You can freeze the leftovers in sealed, freezer safe containers for up to 3 months and then simply defrost and reheat to eat!
Salads to Serve with Chicken Spaghetti
You are going to want to serve this along with a vegetable loaded salad, like my Greek salad, cucumber salad or my homemade Caesar salad. This is a very heavy meal, skip the bread side dishes! You can even make a marinated vegetable salad, that 70's classic is always a hit!
Enjoy guys! This was 5 stars from the entire family, with one kid that doesn't like chicken unless it's in a sauce and the other that doesn't like anything “different”, so this is 100% a HIT!
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The BEST Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti From Scratch
- Prep Time
- 25 minutes
- Cook Time
- 30 minutes
- Main Course
- Karlynn Johnston
- 16 ounces spaghetti noodles (454 grams)
- 2 cups cooked diced chicken
- 10.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes and green chiles DO NOT DRAIN!! Rotel brand is the best
Homemade Cheese Sauce
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups shredded aged cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces Velveeta cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- parsley or cilantro for garnish, optional
- Cook the spaghetti in a large stock pot according to the package directions to al dente. You want to cook the noodles until they are just soft on the outside but still have some toothsome texture on the inside!
- Once the pasta is done, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Rinse the large pot with cold water to cool it down, drain, then place the spaghetti into the pot again.
Homemade Tomato Cheese Sauce
- Melt the butter in a medium sized sauce pan on medium heat. Stir in the flour slowly, until the butter has melted and is combined with the flour, forming a doughy, balled up mixture.
- Slowly and rapidly whisk the chicken broth into the flour,making sure to continuously whisk to ensure that there are no lumps. Once all of the broth has been added, keep whisking and add in the cream. Keep cooking on medium heat, whisking, until the white sauce has thickened, around 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the sauce pan from the heat and stir in the 2 cups of grated old sharp cheddar, the Velveeta, the sour cream and the garlic powder.. Keep stirring until the cheese sauce is smooth and creamy. Make sure that all of the different cheeses have melted in completely - sometimes this will take a while!
- The cheese sauce will be very thick at this point.
- Once the cheese sauce is smooth, add the tomatoes JUICE AND ALL to the cheese sauce and mix in, then add in the chicken. The tomatoes have now made the sauce thinner and it's ready.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the spaghetti in the pot and stir gently to combine all of the ingredients and to coat the spaghetti noodles completely with the cheese sauce,
- Serve as is, creamy, not baked and seriously the BEST chicken spaghetti ever!
Baking Instructions if Desired
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
- Follow the above cooking instructions to prepare the pasta and the cheese sauce, stopping you have combined the pasta and the cheese sauce,
- Gently spread mixture into the prepared 9x13 pan.
- Cover the casserole with tinfoil and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the casserole is heated through.
- Make this ahead of time and wrap it in tinfoil and refrigerate until the next day.
- Baking this with the tinfoil on helps this to not dry out in the oven while baking!
- If you don't want to use Velveeta, use more shredded cheese instead. You WILL lose all the creaminess though!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.