Crispy, tender breaded chicken. Deliciously al dente pasta. A decadent, deep red marinara sauce. Melted cheese, perfectly golden brown atop the bed of pasta and chicken. That’s what we’re making today, a fantastic chicken parmesan casserole that’s as easy to make as it is to enjoy.
You can put this chicken casserole together with any leftover chicken you have. Alternatively, you could make it from scratch. There are plenty of options, all equally delicious. A delectable red sauce, plenty of pasta and cheese, and you’ve got a taste of Italy in your own home.
Chicken Parmesan Casserole
You simply need to combine super crispy breaded chicken with pasta, seasoned marinara sauce, baby spinach and loads of hot melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to get this awesome recipe underway. It’s a heartwarming, family friendly recipe that will appeal to just about everyone. There’s just something so comforting about carbs, cheese, and sauce!
We’re sure you’ll love this recipe. Here’s why!
- You can make it up to two days ahead of time. Everybody knows sauce tastes better the next day!
- Got some leftover breaded chicken? Time to use it up!
We encourage you, however, to try this recipe with fresh chicken. Bread it yourself and taste the difference. Our top tip for convenience is to bread a lot (and we mean a lot) of chicken all at once, freezing what you don’t need. Breaded chicken freezes really well!
You’ll need some super simple key ingredients to get this chicken parmesan casserole going. These are:
- Marinara sauce
- Mozzarella cheese, shredded & separated
- Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Baby spinach
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Italian breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil
- Butter, unsalted
- Fresh Parsley, to garnish
Pasta: you can use penne or ziti pasta instead of tortiglioni if you like.
Cheese: For best results, we encourage you to shred a block of low-moisture mozzarella yourself. It tastes much better that way. With your parmesan cheese, too, it’s best to shred it yourself from the block.
Butter: it gives your chicken a beautiful golden color.
How To Make Parmesan Chicken Casserole
- Your first step is to cook pasta. You’ll want to cook it for one minute less than the package recommends so you have beautiful, authentic, al dente pasta. Be sure to salt your water, too. In Italy, they say your pasta water should be as salty as the sea.
- In a medium bowl or measuring cup, whisk together marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Combine the pasta, baby spinach and seasoned marinara sauce.
- The next step is to prepare the chicken. To do this, you’ll want to slice your chicken to make 4 fillets. Coat it in flour mixture , egg, and breadcrumbs, in that order. Now fry the chicken until golden brown. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes so the juices can settle, and slice it.
- Now to assemble your casserole! Place about half of the pasta/sauce mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish, and top with half of your chicken and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Next, you’re going to add the rest of your pasta. Then you’re going to top this with the remaining chicken and cheese. Now you have your beautiful casserole layers!
- The next step is to bake it in the oven at 375° for 25 minutes, uncovered.
As with any recipe, there are a few easy shortcuts you can take to make cooking simple and stress-free.
- You can use frozen chicken tenders if you like. They’re a great way to get this recipe together in a short amount of time. You’ll need to let them sit at room temperature for approximately five minutes, then carefully slice them into smaller strips before adding them to the casserole. You won’t need to adjust the cooking time or temperature for this recipe if you’re using frozen chicken.
- You could also use leftover rotisserie chicken! This is a great way to use up any chicken leftover from the rotisserie. It also cuts out the time you’d otherwise be taking to bread your chicken.
- You can add some crunch factor to rotisserie chicken by combining 1 cup of breadcrumbs with ⅓ cup melted butter. Sprinkle this mix over the top of your casserole before baking at 375° F for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Chicken Parmesan Casserole Pro Tips
Want to give this dish an extra touch of homemade love? Try using your own homemade breadcrumbs to bread the chicken!
Bread large quantities of chicken at once and freeze the leftovers. By “large quantities”, we mean seriously large. Double or triple the amount of chicken you’d otherwise use so you have plenty of leftovers.
Master a simple, classic marinara sauce to make this recipe. A great marinara sauce is key to many Italian recipes.
You can assemble your casserole up to two days before cooking. Of course, you’ll want to refrigerate the dish, so when the time comes to cook it, be sure to let it sit at room temperature for thirty minutes. To cook the casserole you’ve made ahead of time, bake it at 375°F.
You can easily refrigerate this dish. It retains a lot of moisture thanks to the breadcrumbs, spinach and the marinara sauce. You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
It freezes really well, too! Pasta, sauce, and breaded chicken will all freeze just fine. The trick with reheating is to defrost the casserole in your fridge the night before you intend to use it.
How to Reheat
If you’re reheating this casserole, we encourage you to gently spoon some extra marinara sauce over the top to prevent the pasta from drying out while baking.
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