This Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake combines our creamy homemade Alfredo sauce with fresh pesto, cooked chicken, pasta and cheese for a hearty meal that your family and friends will love. Best of all, it takes just 30 minutes to make, can be made in advance and is super easy to adapt.
Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake
There are so many reasons to love this recipe for Chicken Pesto Alfredo Pasta. Most importantly, of course, it is absolutely delicious. The creamy sauce combines Alfredo sauce and pesto for a surprisingly fresh result that tastes great with your favorite pasta, chicken and plenty of cheese.
We also love this recipe because although it is quick and easy, it can also be made a day in advance and even works great as a freezer-meal. In fact, this is one of my regular go-to pasta bakes when I need something simple but hearty to bring to new parents or someone in need.
You can go all out and make homemade Alfredo sauce, homemade pesto and freshly grilled chicken breast. Or, take a few shortcuts and use store bought sauces and rotisserie chicken. Any variation I have made with this dish has tasted great.
Ingredients in Chicken Pesto Pasta
Alfredo Pasta Sauce
- Cream - use heavy cream for this recipe for the creamiest sauce.
- Nutmeg - just a little pinch is all you need to add great flavor to the sauce.
- Salt - sea salt works great.
- Garlic Powder - the sweet garlic flavor is great in this sauce. Plus, there are no chunks so it stays super creamy.
- Parmesan Cheese - use freshly grated Parmesan for the sauce. The stuff in the can won’t melt properly.
- Pesto - you can either use store bought pesto, or try our easy Homemade Basil Pesto recipe.
Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake
- Pasta - for pasta bake recipes, I like to use penne, shells, gemelli, or mostaccioli. You’ll want to cook the pasta al dente because it will continue to cook in the oven. For a slightly healthier version, you could try using whole wheat pasta. Or, make this gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- Mozzarella Cheese - you can use shredded mozzarella, or shred your own.
- Parmesan Cheese - for the best flavor, you’ll want to use more freshly grated Parmesan for topping this pasta bake.
- Chicken - you can use just about any form of cooked chicken in this recipe. Rotisserie chicken is a great hack that will save you some time. You can also use grilled chicken, shredded chicken, sauteed chicken or leftover chicken. Anything you have on hand will work!
- Parsley - I like to garnish this pasta bake with a little freshly chopped parsley.
How to Make Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Make the Alfredo pesto sauce. In a large saucepan, combine the heavy cream, nutmeg, salt, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted and the Alfredo sauce is smooth - about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in about 3 tablespoons of prepared pesto, mixing to combine. Set aside until you are ready to use.
- Cook the pasta. Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions.
- Mix the sauce with pasta and chicken. Drain the pasta and add the cooked pasta to the prepared pesto Alfredo sauce. Add the chicken and about ½ cup of mozzarella cheese, then stir until well-combined.
- Top with cheese. Pour the chicken pesto pasta into a 9” x 13” casserole dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese and the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top of the pasta. If desired, drizzle 2-3 extra tablespoons of pesto on top of the pasta.
- Bake. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden and bubbly.
- Serve. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! You can prepare the entire recipe, then cover and refrigerate it unbaked up to 1 day in advance. The following day, remove the casserole dish from the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you preheat the oven.
Yes! Chicken Pesto Pasta makes an excellent freezer meal. You can freeze it either baked or unbaked. As long as it is covered well, it can be stored for up to 2 months frozen.
Make sure you only cook the pasta until just before al dente. It will continue to cook in the oven, so if you cook the pasta completely it will become very mushy.
You can make your very own homemade basil pesto using our simple recipe. When basil isn’t in season, I will use the premade pesto from Costco.
If your crew has any nut allergies, you can find different pesto varieties at most supermarkets, including nut-free options. It will all work - just find your favorite and go with that.
Storing and Reheating
- Refrigerator: store leftovers covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: you can freeze this entire pasta bake either before or after baking. Cover well and store frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or for an hour at room temperature before baking.
- To reheat: to reheat a large portion of leftovers, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and reheat in a 350 degree oven until warmed through. You can also microwave smaller portions.
Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe
Alfredo Pesto Sauce
- 2 cups Heavy Cream
- 1 pinch Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 ½ cups Parmesan Cheese grated
- 3 Tablespoons Pesto homemade or store bought
Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake
- 18 oz Pasta cooked to al dente
- 1 ½ cups Mozzerella Cheese shredded
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- 2 cups Cooked Chicken shredded, rotisserie, grilled
- ¼ cup Parsley fresh chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a 9" by 13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine the heavy cream, nutmeg, salt, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted and the Alfredo sauce is smooth - about 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and stir in about 3 tablespoons of prepared pesto, mixing to combine. Set aside until you are ready to use.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and add the cooked pasta to the prepared pesto alfredo sauce. Add the chicken and about ½ cup of mozzarella cheese, then stir until well-combined.
- Pour the chicken pesto pasta into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese and the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top of the pasta. If desired, drizzle 2-3 extra tablespoons of pesto on top of the pasta.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then garish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!
More of Our Favorite Pasta Recipes to Try
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Chicken Spaghetti
- Viral Feta Pasta Recipe
- Easy Crockpot Lasagna with Ravioli
- Lemon Ricotta Pasta Recipe
- The Best Marinara Sauce
- Ground Beef Pasta Bake
- Sausage and Pepper Pasta
- Cajun Chicken Pasta
- More Pasta Recipes
- More Easy Dinner Ideas
This Pesto Alfredo Chicken Pasta Bake is made from homemade Alfredo sauce that's been adapted to make a creamy pesto Alfredo sauce. It's mixed with chicken, your favorite noodles and just the right amount of cheese for a perfect pasta bake.