This time of year, when everyone seems to be craving warm pasta dinners around the table on chilly winter nights, this chicken alfredo baked ziti recipe always goes viral here on the blog. And this time of year, when I make a batch for myself, I’m always reminded how unbeatable this Italian casserole will always be. I mean, creamy alfredo sauce, savory chicken, hearty pasta, two delicious kinds of melty cheese — what’s not to love?! There’s a reason why this one will always be a classic.
That said, while this recipe already features my lightened-up alfredo sauce recipe, there are all sorts of other ways you can make this comfort food a bit healthier if you’d like. From subbing in whole wheat pasta (this one is my go-to), to adding in your choice of veggies (we’re quite partial to broccoli in our house), to making it all gluten-free if you’d like (easy to do with a few simple tweaks), options to customize this casserole abound. And bonus, it can be ready to serve a big crowd in less than 45 minutes.
Who’s ready for a helping?
My original photo for this recipe from 2014.
Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti Ingredients:
To make this Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti recipe, you will need:
Pasta: Feel free to use any shape (ziti, penne, fettuccine, etc.) and variety (classic, whole-wheat, gluten-free, etc.) of pasta that you prefer.
Shredded, cooked chicken: I either shred a rotisserie chicken, or use leftovers from this baked chicken breasts recipe.
Shredded mozzarella cheese: Feel free to use part-skim or full-fat.
Alfredo sauce: We will use my lightened-up alfredo sauce recipe, made simply with olive oil (or butter), garlic, flour, chicken stock, low-fat milk, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Also, this recipe is not naturally very saucy. So if you would like, many of our readers recommend doubling the sauce.
Toppings: Freshly-grated Parmesan is a must, in my book. And feel free to sprinkle on some chopped parsley for extra freshness and flavor.
Also, see below for suggestions on other delicious ingredients you can add in to this easy baked ziti. (Here’s lookin’ at you, broccoli and Cajun seasoning. ♡)
How To Make Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti:
Alright, let’s talk about how to make baked ziti! Simply…
Prepare the alfredo sauce. To make the alfredo recipe, just sauté some garlic in olive oil (or butter). Stir in some flour to thicken, add stock and milk and bring to a simmer. Then stir in the Parmesan, season with salt and pepper, and you’re ready to go!
Cook the pasta (and chicken). Meanwhile, do some multi-tasking and cook your pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of generously-salted water. Also, if you are cooking your chicken from scratch (vs. using leftovers or shredding a rotisserie), go ahead and cook it while the pasta and sauce are being prepared.
Layer everything together. Once your pasta, sauce, and chicken are all ready to go, it’s time to combine everything! In your pasta pot, stir together the pasta, alfredo sauce and chicken until combined. Then spread half of the pasta mixture out evenly in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle on half of the mozzarella. And repeat with the remaining pasta mixture, and remaining half of the mozzarella.
Bake. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake (uncovered) for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and has started to brown a bit on top.
Add toppings. Remove and sprinkle with lots of freshly-grated Parmesan and finely-chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
Serve. Then dish it up while it’s still nice and warm, and enjoy!
There are so many ways to customize this chicken alfredo bake! For example, feel free to…
Add in veggies. Broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower, and any number of other veggies would be delicious added to this chicken alfredo recipe. Just note that they won’t get cooked much during the 20 minutes of baking time. So if whatever veggies you add require a longer cooking time, feel free to toss them into the boiling water with the pasta for a few minutes or sauté (or roast) them for a few minutes before adding them to the casserole.
Add in extra Italian herbs. If you would like an herbier chicken alfredo pasta, feel free to add some dried Italian seasoning or chopped fresh Italian herbs into the alfredo sauce. (Or, you can also sprinkle some chopped fresh basil on top of the pasta after baking.)
Nix the protein. Not into chicken? Feel free to use shrimp in this recipe instead. (Or make it vegetarian and add in some extra veggies instead.)
Make it spicy. I really love sprinkling lots of crushed red pepper into (and on top of) this casserole to give it a bit of a kick.
Make it cajun. To give this recipe a Cajun twist, feel free to stir 1-2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (to taste) into the alfredo sauce.
Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of well-salted boiling according to package instructions. Drain. Return pasta to the stockpot and add chicken and alfredo sauce. Gently toss to combine until the pasta is evenly coated.
Pour half of the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of mozzarella. Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and serve immediately, sprinkled with additional toppings if desired.
To Make The Alfredo Sauce:
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.
Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Made this today. Gotta tell you, the aroma of this amazing meal still lingers. Everyone loved it!. Thank you .Keep it up honey.
Thanks for sharing Anna — we’re glad to hear it was a hit! :)
Can I add some sun dried tomatoes? Looks delish!
Yes, you can add sun dried tomatoes!
Twin teen boys LOVE this !
Thanks SO much X 2 ! !
We’re so glad to hear that — thanks for sharing with us! :)
Can I add zucchini and squash to this?
Sure, we think those would be yummy additions!
thank you for this wonderful recipe!! I multiplied this by 16 and made it for a funeral luncheon. It was much loved by all and I received many compliments on this dish. I added some diced ham and used 1/2 and 1/2 instead of milk. I really appreciated how accurate all the quantities of the ingredients were. Many thanks! You seem like such a beautiful person and I enjoy your site!
You’re so welcome Janice — we’re happy to hear it was such a hit! Thanks also for your sweet words about the blog! :D
I have made this twice now in 2 weeks my family loves it. The first time I made it just like your original, the second time I added sauted mushrooms and fresh spinach and WOW !! This recipe is great.
Thanks for sharing Richard — we’re so glad to hear that! :D
This was heavenly!!! The whole family loved this recipe!
Thanks NaTisha — we’re so happy to hear that! :D
I’m thinking about adding a vegetable like asparagus tips or zucchini slices etc. How and when would you incorporate a veggie in this recipe?
It looks delicious as is but just thought I’d sneak in vegetable.
We think that’s a great idea Michelle! We think asparagus tips or broccoli would be awesome in this! We’d suggest blanching and shocking them, then adding them to the casserole (that way they won’t get overcooked, but will be tender enough). We hope this helps and that you enjoy the dish!
Excellent. Will make again. Next time I will double the Alfredo sauce though.
We’re glad you enjoyed it Penny! :)
Can you use jar Alfredo sauce? If so, how much?
Hi Michelle! Yes, you could use jarred alfredo sauce and we think 1 jar should be enough. We hope this helps!
ThIs looks so delicious. I was wondering can I use preggo garlic alfredo sauce. How big of a jar for this recipe would I need?
That’s fine Teresa — we think a large jar should be enough, though it might be good to buy two just in case (if you find you don’t need any extra sauce from the second jar, you’ll at least have it on hand for next time)! :)
I made this and my husband and I loved it! It was so satisfying and we had leftovers for a few days. We always like to do this to take to work for lunches and to make weeknights a bit easier. I through some asparagus on top of all the pasta and yumminess (in about 1.5″ pieces) and it made the dish. It was so satisfying and really yummy.
My alfredo sauce didn’t really thicken up though. I always have bad luck making a rue (if that’s what this is…) and was wondering if you had any tips for me.
Thanks for sharing Sarah — we’re so happy you and your husband enjoyed this! As far as the alfredo sauce not thickening, it sounds like you probably just needed to cook it a little longer. We hope that helps!
LOVED THIS RECIPE SO MUCH! I followed it almost exactly but did add a can of stewed tomatoes (italian style) just for fun. It was awesome….I want to make it again tonight! I served it also to two guests who agreed it was the best pasta they have had yet.
Thanks Rachael, we’re so glad to hear that! :D
Going to try this tonight! Is it okay to refrigerate leftovers and eat it within 2-3 days? Thanks :)
Of course! We hope you enjoy! :)
Looks delicious! Can I make it the night before?
Hi Sally! Yes, you can definitely make this the night before. We hope you enjoy!
AWESOME dish, thanks for sharing. Making it for they whole family tonight!
We’re so happy it was a hit, Sheri!
I made this tonight and it was SO! DELICIOUS! I was throughly impressed with how tasty the Alfredo sauce was! Beats canned sauce any day. If I may ask, how would you suggest reheating the leftovers?
We’re so happy you liked it, Leigh! As far as reheating, the microwave should be just fine, but you could also heat this in the oven at 200 degrees, with some foil over-top, maybe for 15 minutes or so.
How many people does this serve? I want to make it for a family gathering of 8 adults and 2 children.
Hi Terry! This yields 6-8 servings (it says right above the recipe title). You may want to double it so you don’t have to worry about whether you have enough for everyone, and that way some folks can also have leftovers. We hope you enjoy!
What are the freezing instructions in case I want to make one to eat now and one to freeze for later? Can’t wait to make!
Hi Alice! You can prepare this (unbaked, and without the cheese on top), and then freeze, if you like. When you’re ready to bake it, add the cheese, cover it with foil to start, and bake for about 30 minutes (at 375). Remove the foil, and then bake for 10-20 more minutes (or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown). We hope you enjoy!
I added herbs and bacon lardons to the sauce. Tastes amazzzzzzzing. Will deffo be making this again and so easy
Oooh, we love your style, Chelle — awesome additions! And we’re so glad you enjoyed this!
Hi there! Love your blog! I actually found this recipe from My Fitness Pal suggesting each serving is about 341 calories. Do you know how much is considered 1 serving? You may not know this answer, but I thought I’d at least ask! Thanks for the awesome blog :)
Thank you, Kahli — we’re so glad you love the blog! As for an accurate serving size with the information you calculated, we’re not really sure. This entire recipe should make enough for 6-8 generous servings. Hope this helps!
What is a serving size and calories per serving? If it’s there, I didnt see it . Can’t wait to try it. Thanks.
Hi Susan! This makes 6-8 pretty generous-sized portions (it’s listed above the recipe title). However, we unfortunately do not know the nutritional info/calories for this. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
What is the serving size and how many calories per serving? Please and tank you
Hi Misty! This makes 6-8 generous-sized portions. As for the calories per serving, we’re sorry but we are unsure. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
I just saw this recipe posted on MFP, and it sounds amazing. I want to try making it, and would like to add diced tomatoes and broccoli to it. I’m a noob AND a picky eater (dangerous combination), so have a couple of questions:
1) Do tomato and broccoli go together?
2) I read the above comments, and curious if I have to blanch the broccoli or if it will be cooked enough if I just throw it in raw before baking.
I hope these questions aren’t too dumb. :)
Thanks, Jessica — we hope you enjoy it! These questions aren’t dumb at all! We would suggest blanching the broccoli before adding it to the ziti. Also, we think tomatoes would be yummy in this with the broccoli! :)
Delish! I didn’t realize you make the alfredo sauce from scratch.
So I had actually also bought some sauce. It wasn’t clear until you read how to make it.
We’re glad you enjoyed it!
It was very yummy
Thanks, Bob — we’re happy you enjoyed it!
Hi! I was planning on making this for dinner tonight because I have all of the ingredients in my kitchen already, and it looks delicious! However, I was wondering if I could use shredded Parmesan cheese in the sauce instead of grated Parmesan cheese? (I only have the shredded!)
Hi Kari! Yes, that’s definitely fine, we hope you enjoy! :)
Hi there – looks delicious! Can you make the casserole in advance and bake it later? I’d love to be able to assemble earlier in the day and just pop it in the oven when we’re about ready to eat.
Thanks, Ty — we hope you enjoy! And yes, you could make this in advance and bake it later.
Just made it for the first time. Except for some extra Alfredo sauce, I followed the recipe. The results were terrific. Nice blend of flavors, pasta cooked perfectly. It will definitely be a keeper in my rotation. Thank you for sharing.
We’re so glad to hear that, Steve! We appreciate you giving the recipe a try! :)
Could you make this with shrimp? If so, would you put them in cooked and then bake as per the chicken recipe or would you put them in uncooked and let them cook in the oven? Going to try it with chicken but I have a kiddo who LOVES shrimp Alfredo so want to be able to surprise her with a recipe! Thanks!
I would add them in uncooked and let them cook on top of the pasta. I haven’t tried it, but think that would probably be the right amount of cooking time for the shrimp at that temperature (it might be a little too long though, not sure).
I made, this to rave reviews. I paired it with broccoli, red pepper, shallot, red pepper medley, saute in butter and a fruit salad. Have enough for another dinner even though 5 people ate. Thanks for another keeper.
Awesome, so glad you enjoyed it! That all sounds DELICIOUS. :)
I’ve recently switched to Almond milk and finding it doesn’t work well with some recipes. Would it effect the Alfredo Sauce?
Hi Ann! The sauce may be a bit thinner and the flavor will be a tad different, but it should work fine (you could also use lactose-free milk if you switched because of dairy sensitivity). We hope you enjoy!
Had this last night my daughter loved it and said it is now one of her favourite pasta meals :)
Awesome, I’m so glad to hear it! :)
Hi! This recipe sounds amazing! Especially the lite alfredo sauce. I have to cook for 40-45 people this coming Thursday October 13 . I have decided to make this and I was wondering if you could help me figure the correct amounts of the ingredients I would need to feed that many people? Thank you!
Thanks, Patty — we hope you and your guests enjoy! One batch of this makes 6-8 servings, so if you need to serve 40-45 people, then you’ll probably want to make 6 batches of this to ensure folks get enough.
Can I make this ahead of time and put it in the fridge to be popped into the oven later during the day?
I haven’t tried that before, but imagine it would work ok (especially if you cover it tightly with plastic wrap). If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out! :)
This looks delicious and I’m planning on making this on Saturday night. My question is what would you make for possible side dishes?
Thanks, Tamara — we hope you enjoy it! As for sides that would go well with this, a good salad is always a safe bet, but roasted/steamed broccoli, brussels sprouts, or other roasted veggies would be great sides. We hope this helped!
Good receipt but disjointed . I will try now that I
Figured out the sequence.
I can enjoy Alfredo sauce again! Thank you. I quit eating it cuz it was just too rich for me but your version is wonderful! There was enough sauce when it was fresh but the leftovers were a little dry. I think next time I’ll use a little less pasta and that should help. I used macaroni instead of penne cuz I didn’t have enough. I looked up the volume measure and found that 12 oz equals 3 cups, so maybe I’ll try 2 1/2? Also I’m all about the one dish meal, so I added frozen peas I had steamed right at the last minute. Delicious!!!
Thanks for sharing with us, Shelley — we’re so glad you enjoyed it, and we love that you added peas! :)
I just made this tonight and it was delish! I used whole wheat penne pasta and I love your sauce recipe!
Thanks for sharing, Lala — we’re glad you enjoyed it! :)
Thanks for your reply. There were NO leftovers and some people had 3 n 4 servings!
We’re so glad to hear it was a hit, Patty! :)
This was good I would make it again I did add chopped stew tomotes in to give it color and flavor a very good recipe?
We’re glad you enjoyed it, Joanne — and we bet the tomatoes were yummy in this1
When adding the chicken should put it in cooked or uncooked I was confused by this??
Hi Britt! The recipe calls for cooked chicken (we usually just use chicken we cut from a rotisserie chicken): 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts). We hope you enjoy!
Can you make the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate til ready to bake it all together?
We think that should be fine. We hope you enjoy!
This was SOOOO good! I doubled the sauce and next time I will even make more sauce. It was a little dry for me, but I love extra sauce. It was delish and everyone in the family loved this! Thank you!
We’re so happy you and your family enjoyed it, Tara! :)
I made this , it is good but estimated it to be around 575 calories a serving 9×13 pan decided in 6servings, to me that’s kinda high, not what I would consider skinny girl .?
Hello, this looks delish! Just wondering if you’ve ever made this into a freezer meal? I was thinking I could prepare it as the recipe states, don’t cook it, just put it in the freezer. Then when ready to eat, thaw and cook. What do you think?
Thanks, Jessie — we hope you enjoy it! We haven’t tried making a freezer meal version of this, but you certainly could! Our only reservation would be the high amount of dairy in the recipe (dishes with lots of dairy aren’t usually ideal for freezing as it can alter the texture and the sauce may break). If you try it though, definitely let us know how it goes!
I found this recipe on Pinterest a while back and have made it several times. It’s definitely my go-to chicken alfredo recipe. Love it! Thanks!
We’re so glad to you love it, Lisa! :)
Thank you for this recipe! My picky boys gobbled it up! Will be making again and again. :)
Yay, so glad to hear it! :)
Hi! Thanks to you I now have to cook this wonderful meal at least 1 time each weekend! My 16 and 9 year old girls and even my husband ask for it as often as possible. It is very good, I think I am adding to much cheese and not enough milk or something. It’s on the dry side- still good. I will be cooking this again tomorrow and I will take it out if the oven a few minutes earlier. Maybe that will help with the dryness.
As my husband said” winner, winner is this Chicken Dinner”! Lol
Thanks for sharing with us, Susana — we’re so happy you and your family enjoy this! :)
This was a great change in the regular dinner rotation. It was sooo good! Thanx!
We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Stephanie!