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.
Will try,seems delicious
I loved this but I think it’s a little dry -not enough alfredo sauce.
Hi Jessica! Definitely feel free to make a little extra sauce next time if you’d like (maybe try 1 1/2 times the recipe).
Sounds & looks so good ! My grandchildren are indeed picky. I am making this tonight for them. They do like chicken alfredo & really don’t mind it with broccoli so l am adding that, too. I even got heavy cream so that’s going in there too. When l told them that’s what we are having for dinner, they all said “yummy” . They are bound to like it,tho l usually make it with fettuccine noodles & not in a casserole!! I am starving so l am heading to the kitchen. They all just came I from school. It’ only 10 days ’till Christmas so they are excited enough to eat anything!!LOL
We hope they enjoy this, Katherine! :)
This was a awesome pasta dish!
Instead of chicken I used leftover turkey!
Also I added some sliced olives for a little
extra taste. Yummy!
We’re so happy you liked it, Linda!
This was delicious. Thank you for posting the recipe.
Awesome, so glad you enjoyed it! :)
I tried and is delicious thank you ?
We’re so glad you liked it!
Thank you for such a delish recipe!! I have made it twice now. First time with fresh spinach and tonight with fresh mushrooms. Tonight’s flavor won! A keeper for sure!! I was wondering though, since it makes a lot, can it be frozen once prepared?
Thanks again and I am looking forward to trying more of your recipes.
Thanks for sharing, Trina — we’re so glad you enjoy the recipe, and we bet it was especially delicious with the mushrooms you added! You can freeze this, though it doesn’t hold up incredibly well when frozen (due to the amount of dairy in the sauce).
This is really to delicious, I love to read your blogs and used to try your recipes here in my home :).
We’re glad you enjoyed it!
This recipe looks delicious. I love Chicken Afredo. This will be great to make. Thanks for the recipe.
Thanks, Aisha — we hope you enjoy it!
I just calculated the nutritional info (roughly, some of the ingredients had to be entered as approximations) for 6 servings. Here it is:
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 11.8 g
Saturated Fat 4.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.1 g
Cholesterol 45.4 mg
Sodium 320.1 mg
Potassium 205.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.5 g
Dietary Fiber 6.2 g
Sugars 2.1 g
Protein 24.0 g
Easy to make. The kids loved it! We will be makeing this again. I also doubled the sauce and used fettuccine. May add broccoli next time.
Yay, I’m so glad to hear it!
I’ve done this before and my husband and I love it! We have a baby on the way and I was wondering if this could be frozen?
We’re glad to hear that, Kenzie — and congrats! :) Pasta with this much dairy isn’t very ideal for freezing, but we do know some people who have frozen this and thought it was fine. You can definitely freeze it, it just might not hold up as well. We hope this helps!
I just made this and it was delicious!! Thank you very much for the recipe.
We’re so happy you enjoyed it, Kim!
I think I’ll make this,sound good to me.
I can’t wait to try and make this, Looking forward to it. Thank you for sharing!!
Thank you, we hope you enjoy it!
Hi Haley! Thank you for this delicious recipe. Made it last night & it was absolutely fantastic :) The only thing I added was 1 can of diced tomatoes for a bit of color & texture. There are many different things I may try with this recipe just so we never know what to expect. Job well done. Super easy!!
Hi Kathy! We’re so glad you enjoyed it! This is actually Ali’s blog and recipe, I just help out around here. :)
How could this be garnished? Im doing it for sba practical
Hi there! We would just sprinkle some fresh parsley on top. We hope you enjoy!
Is there a way to make this ahead of time and freeze it? What would you suggest?
Hi Sarah! 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!
Hey Sarah – I’ve frozen this before and it still reheated well! Definitely not as good as it was fresh, but I was still impressed with how well it held up :)
I’ve frozen this dish a couple of times, and it is wonderful. Just don’t bake it ahead of time. Prep, then freeze, thaw and then bake.
This dish was a nice and easy dish and more importantly it was a HUGE hit with my family!
We’re so glad to hear that, Angela!
I used only 7 oz of pasta instead of 12 oz and the amount of sauce was perfect according! Loved it!
Awesome, glad you enjoyed it! :)
How many servings should this make?
Hi Carrie! This makes about 6-8 servings. We hope you enjoy!
My boys (ages 2 and 7), niece and nephew (2,3) LOVED this meal!!!! Keeping this one for sure! Thanks so much!! :)
Awesome, so happy to hear it!
I have made this recipe before from you and it was amazing! Can it be prepped and stored in the freezer the night before cooking?
Thanks, Ashley, we’re glad you enjoyed it! And did you mean to say fridge? If you’re just prepping it the night before you want to bake it, we wouldn’t put it in the freezer. The fridge will be just fine though. :)
I made this tonight and it was awesome! Made up super fast, especially with the rotisserie chicken. Husband isn’t a fan of alfredo but my daughter and I loved it!
Thanks for sharing, Teresa — we’re so glad you and your daughter enjoyed it!
Easy & taste good
Did I miss points n how many it serves? It looks fabulous. .I appreciate your recipes!
Hi Kelsey! We list the number of servings in the top lefthand corner of the recipe box (just above the recipe title). This makes 6-8 servings. We hope you enjoy! :)
This was great, my family loved it! I really liked the light alfredo sauce. I am printing out for my recipe collection now!!
Thanks for sharing, Robyn, we’re so glad to hear that! :)
i would love to try this, a little confused on how much garlic cloves to use,
Hi there! The recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic. We hope you enjoy!
Love these is recipe, a nice change for someone who loves pasta dishes. I’ve made this multiple times now, the only thing I changed is adding more Mozzerlla cheese, I love cheese!! So good.
Thanks, Jessica, we’re glad you enjoy it! :)
I wanted something different and this provided the base! Easy, quick and delicious.
I substituted imitation crab (seasoned with Old Bay) for the chicken, added salad shrimp and pimientos- then baked as directed. When done, I topped with diced tomatoes and sliced avocados and lightly spritzed with lemon juice. Perfect!!
Thanks for the base recipe – it was delicious!
Thanks for your review, Brian! We’re so happy you enjoyed it, and we’re glad you gave this a try with some crab and shrimp — yummy! :)
Love this recipe! Huge hit for everyone I’ve ever made it for!
Thanks, Avri, we’re glad to hear that!
Thanks for the great instructions !! I loved trying this recipe with the girls I nanny. They thought it was so great!! And it was much easier than I expected and took the right amount of time that you said. Thank you
You’re very welcome, Sam, we’re happy you and the girls enjoyed it!
Made it tonight. Actually had every ingredient on hand and it tasted great! I added fresh mushrooms and will probably add onion next time. Weight Watcher Smart points 9 pts for 7 ounces… about the same as a SmartOne meal!
Thank you, Jody, we’re so happy you enjoyed it!
Hello! I am a newlywed, and I made this for my husband and he loved it! I am going to a family reunion in August and I want to make it for the reunion! Since I have never cooked for more than two people, I am having a hard time figuring out the measurements for so many people ( It’s only for 12 people, but I still do not have much experience). Any help would be appreciated!
Hi Rae! We’re so glad you and your husband liked this! If you wanted to make this to serve 12 people, we would make two batches of this. We hope everyone enjoys!
How much is in each serving, like 1 cup?
Hi Chelsey! This recipe makes about 6-8 servings. We don’t have the nutritional value available, so the serving size is up to you. We hope you enjoy the recipe though! :)
Hello, does anyone know how well this recipe does as leftovers? I want to make it ahead of time and re-heat individual portions throughout the week (meal prep). Thanks!
Hi Lindsay! This makes great leftovers! :) We hope you enjoy!
Really enjoyed it will certainly make it again even my 5 year old granddaughter liked it . I will increase the sauce next time like some others had mentioned, but totally my preference. Really enjoyed the lighter sauce
Thanks, Ginger, we’re so glad you both enjoyed it!
I will be trying this tonight… It sounds wonderful
This was so great! My whole family loved it! I don’t usually cook, and when I do it is tolerated at best. I made this with green beans and cornbread and everyone went back for seconds! I was so happy. It gave me a dash of pride to have them actually enjoy it. Thank you for this!
Wonderful, so happy to hear it!
This was a great recipe! I don’t usually cook and when I do it is tolerated at best, but tonight I made this with green beans and cornbread and everyone went back for seconds. Thanks for the ego boost!
So glad to hear it!!
I made this last night! I decided to double the alfredo sauce recipe. It was a HIT! I fed my Dad, hubby, teenage son and daughter. Everyone has seconds! I’m
Saving this one and I will make it one of my regulars!
Thank you so much for sharing!
Excellent recipe and the family absolutely loved it! I doubled the alfredo sauce (because we like saucy) and added fresh baby spinach. 24 oz. bag in a colendar and drain pasta over it then added all to the sauce. That way I avoided having to make a side to go with it.
Sorry it was a small bag 6 oz of spinach.
This came out delicious
Thank you so much for this recipe! I love anything pasta and this was just AMAZING! I’ll be trying more recipes soon. (:
This Chicken Alfredo Bake is amazing! I made it with the suggested Alfredo Sauce recipe – so easy and used rigatoni that I had on hand. Will pass this one on and definitely do it again. Thanks, Leona S.
I made this with the Skinny Alfredo sauce, we like it saucy so I doubled the batch. My family absolutely LOVED IT!! It honestly is restaurant quality. Making it again for the second time.
Delicious. .. definately need to double alfredo sauce tho
4 Kids ranging in age from 2-9 and a very happy husband gobbled this up….and took seconds. They proclaimed me a chef & it was the quietest dinner table ever. We added broccoli and had cooked our chicken in the instant pot earlier. YUM!
Amazing! Everyone loved it more than regular Alfredo. Tanks for a great recipe!