This Healthier Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Bake is a healthier version of a Pioneer Woman classic — homemade with no cream soups! It’s an easy make ahead and freezer friendly meal. Includes how to recipe video
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Chicken Spaghetti is always a favorite around here — I mean, it’s creamy, it’s loaded with flavor, and you can never go wrong with pasta!
This Chicken Spaghetti Bake is a casserole version of the Pioneer Woman classic, made with healthier ingredients and a few extra veggies for good measure.
Pasta bakes are a meal we love because of how easy they are to prep and bake ahead, gift to a neighbor in need, or throw in the freezer for a busy day. This Rigatoni Pasta Bake, Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake and this Baked Ziti are more favorites!
They are low on fuss, heavy on comfort!
Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Vegetables: Peppers and onions just go so well in this chicken spaghetti casserole, and I like to throw shredded carrots into pretty much everything (like this Healthier Skillet Lasagna!). You can leave out these vegetables, add in extra, or swap for ones you have on hand.
- Whole wheat spaghetti: Because the pasta is cooked separately in boiling water, you can use absolutely any variety of pasta you want (although can you call it chicken spaghetti if you don’t use spaghetti?!). White or high fiber, long or short, fat or skinny 🙂
- Chicken breasts: If you don’t have any cooked, chopped chicken on hand, I recommend prepping a big batch of this Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken or Instant Pot Shredded Chicken to keep on hand for easy meals. Check out these Shredded Chicken Recipes for loads more ways to use it!
- Spices: Although my husband enjoys a good amount of spice, the rest of us prefer or chicken spaghetti on the milder side. Feel free to add in extra spices (chili powder, chipotle powder or cayenne are great options!) if you like the heat!
- Low fat milk and chicken broth: I like to use a combination of low sodium chicken broth and low fat milk for my sauce — the broth adds lots of flavor and keeps the sauce from being heavy, and the milk adds a nice touch of creaminess. You can always use whole milk or cream, but because I wanted to keep this on the lighter side I stuck with low fat, low sodium options.
How to prep this Chicken Spaghetti ahead:
- Prep the veggies: this can be the most time consuming part! You can chop and shred the veggies and set aside in the refrigerator for several days.
- Cook and chop the chicken: no chicken on hand? Throw these Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts in the crockpot and don’t worry about it 😉
- Make your sauce, and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
- Prep the entire casserole up to the point of baking, cover and refrigerate up to 4 days (provided all of your ingredients are at their freshest when you start).
How to freeze and reheat pasta bakes:
One of the many things to love about this Chicken Spaghetti and so many pasta bakes, is that they are so easy to make ahead and freeze.
Life is busy, and every now and then we need something that is already done and waiting!
To prep ahead, simply make the recipe in its entirety but do not bake. Pour into a 9×13″ baking dish, two 8×8″ baking dishes, or a variety of smaller oven-safe dishes if you are feeding one or two, and freeze up to 3 months.
To serve, I recommend thawing overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for several hours before heating through in an oven at 350 degrees F, covered. Check your pasta bake after 20-30 minutes, and add a big splash (1/4-½ cup of water or broth if it appears dry).
Although you can bake right from frozen, this can take quite a while (up to 90 minutes) and I have found it doesn’t heat through as evenly.
More chicken dinners you’ll love!
- Chicken Parmesan — a family favorite!
- Chicken Rice Soup — healthy and hearty!
- Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Chicken — set it and forget it!
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Healthier Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Bake
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- ½ medium onion chopped
- ½ green bell pepper chopped
- ½ red bell pepper chopped
- 375 grams whole wheat spaghetti, broken in half
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 large carrot peeled and shredded
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups low fat milk
- 3 cups cooked, chopped chicken breast (about 3 breasts)
- 3 cups low fat cheddar cheese divided
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, green pepper and red pepper and cook until softened.
- Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions until just al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven). Remove from the heat and drain. Set aside.
- Add salt, paprika, pepper, garlic to the vegetables and cook 1-2 minutes. Stir in shredded carrots.
- Stir in flour until completely absorbed. Add broth and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened (about 3 minutes).
- Stir in milk and continue cooking until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Stir in 2 cups of cheddar cheese.
- Pour cooked spaghetti and chicken into prepared baking dish. Top with prepared sauce and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
- Bake 20-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve.
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