Whenever I’m drawing a blank for dinner ideas, I immediately dig into my casserole recipes. Everyone loves a casserole, and this Chicken Parmesan Casserole is one of my favorite Italian comfort foods. I can never have enough melted mozzarella cheese!
CHICKEN PARMESAN CASSEROLE
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I love chicken parm so much, I’ve made it into a million meals. I love it on sliders, I love it with spaghetti squash for lower carbs, and I absolutely love this chicken parmesan casserole recipe! Penne pasta with shredded chicken is covered in marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese for the best easy casserole dish ever.
To replicate that beloved crispiness on the chicken with classic Chicken Parmesan, I added a mix of Parmesan cheese and Panko breadcrumbs on top. You don’t have to worry about your chicken parm getting soggy with this chicken parmesan casserole with pasta. If you can’t find Panko, check your store’s international aisle since they’re a Japanese product!
PASTA: I love using penne pasta for this baked chicken parmesan casserole. It keeps its texture in the baking dish but is super tender, too. My kids like it when I use bowtie pasta, too!
CHICKEN BREASTS: You need a few cups of cooked and shredded chicken for this casserole. You can make your own or use a rotisserie chicken. Anything to make this easy chicken parmesan casserole even easier!
MARINARA SAUCE: This is a great way to use leftover homemade spaghetti sauce! However, I usually use a jar of my family’s favorite store-bought sauce.
Of course, you can’t have chicken parmesan without the Parmesan cheese! I like the added texture of shredded cheese in this recipe, but grated works too.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PARMESAN CASSEROLE
- First, boil your penne pasta until it’s perfectly al dente. Drain the pasta and then put the noodles back in the pot.
- If you need to cook the chicken, do this while the pasta is cooking. Just heat some olive oil in a large skillet and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Then cook over medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Then chop or shred the chicken on a cutting board.
- Once everything is prepped, add the sauce, cooked chicken, and shredded mozzarella to the cooked pasta in the pot and stir it all up.
- Now, spread about half the mixture in a greased baking dish, and top it with half the sliced mozzarella cheese. Top it off with the rest of the chicken pasta.
- Next, sprinkle a mixture of Parmesan cheese and Panko bread crumbs over the casserole. Place the remaining mozzarella slices over the bread crumbs.
- Then all you need to do is bake the casserole for 15 minutes in a preheated oven until the cheese is melted. I like to broil this casserole for 2-3 minutes when the baking time is up. This makes the bread crumbs golden brown and gets that bubbly, brown cheese on top – like a pizza!
- Once the casserole is ready, take it out of the oven and sprinkle some fresh basil on top. That’s it!
I like to garnish my easy chicken parmesan casserole with sliced fresh basil. You can always add parsley or even more Parmesan cheese, too!
CAN YOU BAKE RAW CHICKEN IN A CASSEROLE?
When it comes to raw chicken, you always have to be careful. This budget-friendly protein is full of flavor but also salmonella. The casserole needs to cook long enough to ensure the chicken is cooked through.
To be safe, I use shredded cooked chicken in this chicken parmesan casserole. You can boil it, prep it in a Crockpot, use an Instant Pot, or even grab a rotisserie chicken from the store! Then the casserole only needs to bake fore 15 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and breadcrumbs to brown.
Whenever you’re cooking chicken. make sure the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F. Slow-cooked chicken is the easiest to shred, too!
HOW DO YOU KEEP CHICKEN PARMESAN FROM GETTING SOGGY?
The best part of chicken parm is that crunchy crust! But how do you keep it from getting soft and mushy?
Traditionally, chicken parmesan is breaded and fried, similar to fried chicken! But if you don’t fry it just right, it can absorb too much sauce or get soggy while it rests.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS CHICKEN PARMESAN CASSEROLE RECIPE
Baking dish: I use a long 9×13 baking dish for this baked chicken parmesan casserole. I prefer a ceramic baking dish because it heats evenly and makes the mozzarella cheese perfectly melted.
Large pot: When you’re boiling pasta, you need a big pot filled with salty water. Otherwise, the noodles can stick together and cook unevenly.
Chicken Parmesan Casserole Recipe
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (see note)
- Salt & pepper
- 36 ounces pasta sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into 12 slices
- ⅓ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Fresh basil chiffonade
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt. Cook pasta according to package until al dente. Drain and place back in the pot.
- While the pasta cooks, place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and cook the chicken until it's cooked through, flipping once, about 8 minutes. (The chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.) Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred or chop it up.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and grease the inside of a 9-inch x 13-inch casserole dish.
- Add the pasta sauce, chicken, and shredded mozzarella to the pasta. Stir to combine.
- Spread half of the pasta into the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer 6 slices of fresh mozzarella over the pasta. Pour the rest of the pasta into the dish and spread it out edge to edge.
- Mix the Panko crumbs and Parmesan together and sprinkle over the top of the pasta. Place the remaining 6 mozzarella slices over the breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 15 minutes until breadcrumbs are browned. Broil for 2-3 minutes to have bubbling golden mozzarella on top. (YUM!)
- Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve warm.