Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake


Chicken and spinach pasta bake. Pinned over 1 million times!

This Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake recipe is the one dish I’m most famous for. It is a fabulous filling and hearty meal for cold winter nights! The thick melted cheese, spongy noodles and savory spinach marry together to make a beautiful dish.  Not only does it look pretty in a casserole dish for serving, but it makes your whole house smell warm and inviting. If you are here from Pinterest, please follow my boards here; would love to share with you on my favorite addiction!!

I’m proud to say this Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake recipe has been pinned well over a MILLION times. Talk about popular! I must tell you, this is one of my favorite dishes to make when we are having company over. It’s tried & true and from the kitchen of my friend, Jessica’s mom. She found it in a Southern Living magazine back in 2007.

I love this dish for company because you can cook & chop the chicken as well as cutting up several other ingredients in advance plus it has beautiful presentation. Added bonus: I frequently get asked for the recipe. Hope you all enjoy this Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake dish, too!

4.8 from 16 reviews
Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz uncooked rigatoni
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 1 (10 oz) pack frozen spinach, thawed
  • 3 c cubed, cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 (14 oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (8 oz) container chive & onion cream cheese
  • ½ t salt, ½ t pepper
  • 1½ c shredded mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Prepare rigatoni according to package directions.
  2. Spread oil on bottom of 11×7 in baking dish; add onion in a single layer.
  3. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or just until tender.
  4. Transfer onion to large bowl, set aside.
  5. Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between paper towels.
  6. Stir in rigatoni, spinach, chicken, & next 4 ingredients into onion in bowl.
  7. Spoon mixture into dish & sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.

  8. Bake covered at 375 for 30 minutes.
  9. Uncover & bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly.

This recipe is my go to for bringing to friends and family when they need a good casserole. Last time I made it, I substituted the noodles for whole wheat and I’ve even omitted the onion for nursing mommies. You really can’t go wrong with this recipe!

Need a cute kitchen themed gift to go with your dish? Check out the pretties below!

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Comments

  1. Hilary Hartman says

    Hi! I am curious, will the Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake recipe change a lot if I were to use fresh spinach instead of frozen?

    Thanks!!

    • Monica Winkowitsch says

      I was wondering the samething. I have not tried the recipe, but I would like to use fresh spinach instead of frozen.

      • HeatherHeather says

        HI Monica, I’ve had others tell me they’ve used fresh and it’s worked great. If you do, please let me know how much you use and if you like it. Thanks so much!

        • AshLee Bilbo says

          I used fresh spinach rather than frozen spinach. I probably used about five ounces of it and chopped it up. I didn’t use as much as the recipe called for because I wasn’t sure how the guys I cook for would like it. However, this dish turned out fantastic and it has definitely made it’s way into our usual meal plans.

  2. lucy says

    Hi this looks scrummy. But could you please tell me how many people more or less this feeds? Am cooking for 50 plus and need to calculate. Thanks.

    • HeatherHeather says

      Would love to hear when you try it, Holly! I have never re-heated it myself so please come back and leave a comment to let us know!

  3. Amanda says

    I have made this several times. Delish! Can anyone tell me the calorie count??! I’ve thrown away all of my ingredient packaging.

  4. jan jones says

    I have made this countless times, but today I have loads of ground beef, so I am trying that instead of chicken. Also, I just use regular cream cheese and add in some spices (onion powder and dried chives) – less expensive, and more likely to have it on hand than the specialized stuff.

  5. Mary Anne Jones says

    I have made this several times…it is a staple in my repertoire now.
    My husband absolutely LOVES this dish. I made it for my family, which that night included my step-son, and while he turned his nose up at the Spinach part, he quickly ate the first serving and went back for seconds. I have made this for other family members that simply love it as well.
    Thank you for sharing this now favorite recipe!

  6. Jeanne says

    I love this dish! I made it for my fiance about a week ago and again for my daughter who’s visiting today. It’s wonderful and loved by all! Thanks for the great recipe. It also tastes great the day after as leftovers!

    • HeatherHeather says

      Woohoo, love the hear that Tiffany! Way to get your kids involved too; what a great activity and fun learning experience for them.

  7. colleen says

    Love this! I did make a few changes for a larger amount. Used a whole box of rigatoni, 2 bags (8oz) of fresh spinach, 2 cans diced tomatos and 16oz cream cheese. I also sauteed the onions and spinach together instead of putting the onions in the oven first and cooked the chicken in a balsamic marinade. Made a delicious Sunday dinner! Still got the prep done in under an hour.

  8. Marian says

    A great way to use spinach! I sauteed the onions and spinach together and added some garlic. After reading some of the reviews, I added a small can of tomato sauce. Tasty and wonderful consistency! My hubby wants me to make it again soon!

  9. GinaZ says

    Tried this recipe and didn’t think it had much flavor. If I make it again I will add artichokes and additional seasonings. It wasn’t as creamy or cheesy as I thought it would be.

  10. Katie says

    Found this recipe tonight while looking for something for dinner to use up some shredded chicken….and as I was making it, I realized I make a recipe just like this only instead of chicken, I use Italian sausage…. It’s almost identical! The other recipe always turns out delicious and is one of our favorites, so I’m thinking this will be just as yummy!!

  11. Kate says

    I’m wondering about swapping out the onion and chive cream cheese for a herb and garlic cream cheese…has anyone tried this? I made this for supper tonight and it was a huge hit. I decided to make it for a frozen meal swap and I was thinking about freezing it unbaked and then people could throw it in the oven for a bit longer right from the freezer. I wonder, though, how long to cook it from frozen? Maybe add 15-20 mins to the cooking time? Suggestions?

  12. says

    Heather, I’ve had this recipe on my “make” list for too long, and finally got around to it tonight. It was excellent! I never would have thought to use the chive and onion cream cheese. It was the perfect comfort food for a snowy night.

  13. Barb says

    Heather, I made this tonight with a few minor change to use what I had in house! Lol. I sautéed the onion in a pan on top of stove, added everything to that pan including fresh spinach and I used a can of stew tomatoes and added a 1/4 cup roasted green Chilis! A nice little bite to it! After adding cheese I added 1/2 cup of diced can tomatoes over top so plenty moist! Very yummy and great for pot lucks we have often here in Florida!

  14. corinne locher says

    Made this last night, only I sautéd the onions with fresh garlic & mushrooms, & used 2 tons of cream cheese. During my husband’s 2nd helping, I asked him if he thought this was a keeper & he said yes! I loved it too!

  15. Becky says

    I made this recipe with a couple adjustments based off of what I had in the house and it was delicious! The adjustments I made were to use fresh spinach (from the garden) that I sauteed with the onion instead of frozen spinach, 1 brick of light plain cream cheese instead of the chive cream cheese, and dreamfields rotini pasta instead of rigatoni. I used leftover Costco rotisserie chicken that I cut up, and both kids (a 1 1/2 year old and a 4 1/2 year old) and my husband liked it, so it’s definitely a keeper!

  16. says

    My husband and I thought this was great. I did reduce the amount of crushed red pepper flakes, but otherwise made the recipe exactly as written. Unlike others, I did not need to add cornstarch to thicken the sauce. After 25 minutes of simmering, it had reduced to a lovely, syrupy consistency. This is definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Bonnie says

    Made this today but realized at the last moment I didn’t have the cream cheese so used laughing cow herb and garlic cheese and it was SO good. My husband and myself loved it so will make again and freeze in portions. I see no reason why it wouldn’t freeze well. The kids ages 11-13 thought it was so so but that’s nothing new.

    Thanks so much for the delicious and EASY recipe.

  18. Karla says

    Heather, I made this last night and it was BEYOND AWESOME! I absolutely love it when I can add new recipes to my regular rotation and this is definitely one of them!
    The only thing I did differently was to add about a half a cup of the pasta water when mixing all together. I noticed another reviewer said that it was a little dry. Adding pasta water should alleviate that. Another note on what could be causing the dryness – I’ve been cooking for a very long time, but didn’t realize until this past year that when measuring ounces of pasta, it is really best to actually weigh that measurement versus using a numbered measuring cup. They are NOT the same measurements. (Hope that makes sense!)
    Oh, and I just sauteed’ the onions in the same pan that I seared/cooked my chicken breast in.
    Again, absolutely loved this!

  19. Adriana says

    Cross your fingers – I’m ready to go in the oven with the following changes:
    – used 3/4 cup of savory ricotta cheese left over from stuffing squash blossoms.
    – sautéed the onion until golden
    – sautéed 6 oz. fresh spinach, along with fresh garlic
    – stirred a handful of shredded Parmesan into the chicken and pasta mix
    – used 2 cups shredded mozzarella cause who wants 1/2 cup left over when you can have a cheesier casserole?

    Can’t wait for it to come out of the oven!

    • HeatherHeather says

      Hi Elaine! I’ve never tried it that way but I bet you could. If you try it, please let us all know, how it went!

  20. Tiffany says

    Can someone please let me know how i could cook this all at once in one pan. This looks very delicious, but the prep seems unnecessarily tedious. Do we really need to precook the noodles and chicken before the oven?

  21. Janelle says

    Mine came out a little dry…I think maybe next time I will use 16oz of cream cheese…maybe that will help? It was still good though.

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