Homemade chicken broccoli penne alfredo is an easy and delicious casserole with an added perk of being ready to eat in 30 minutes! Cooked chicken breasts, broccoli florets, homemade alfredo sauce, penne pasta, and parmesan cheese are baked together for a delicious meal that your family will ask for time and time again.
This delicious meal is made with simple, wholesome ingredients. It's creamy and comforting and very easy to make. No heavy cream needed!
If you're looking for the perfect weeknight dinner for the family, this certainly fits the bill. We use penne pasta to grab and hold that wonderful alfredo sauce (some for every nook and cranny!). It's one of our favorite kid-friendly dinner recipes. Even the grandchildren gobble this up!
Why You'll Love It
After reading my fantastic opening, do you need more reasons to love this recipe? I can easily come up with a few more reasons to love this chicken broccoli penne alfredo!
Milk, please! You probably already know that Chicken Broccoli Alfredo is a classic Italian dish made with butter, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. For this recipe, I've replaced the heavy cream with whole milk because it seems to be the practical and economical choice, plus it works just fine!
The real deal. However, real butter and parmesan cheese are a must for this recipe! Don't underestimate the power of freshly shredded cheese! It's superior over the pre-shredded stuff in a bag.
Penne for your thoughts. Ehhh, too cheesy? Nevertheless, penne pasta works so well for this casserole. The creamy cheesy sauce manages to make its way inside the hollow pasta and clings to every nook and cranny in the broccoli...mmm.
If you have any extra chicken, use it for my Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole; another creamy comfort food! And if you're looking for another recipe to use penne pasta, try my Lemon Garlic Pasta; the creamy lemon garlic sauce will knock your socks off!
Ingredients You'll Need
Cooked, diced chicken breasts - for 3 cups of diced chicken breasts, you'll need 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Frozen broccoli florets - the steam-in-the-bag version works well. If you use fresh broccoli, you'll still need to steam it or boil it first until it's crisp (not mushy).
Penne (pen-ey) pasta - for best results, cook the pasta al dente because it will finish cooking in the oven. Any brand pasta will work, but I really like the shape and texture of Barilla Penne Pasta.
Parmesan cheese - buy a block of parmesan cheese and shred it (or shave it off) yourself (do not use the canned cheese!)
Whole milk - hey, you don't need to use heavy cream to make a thick and creamy alfredo sauce; you can even use 2% milk but I recommend whole milk.
Butter - real butter is best! It provides excellent flavor and adds creaminess to the sauce.
Cornstarch - to thicken the sauce.
Minced garlic - jarred minced garlic is very handy to keep in the fridge.
Seasonings - to season the chicken before cooking it, use a little steak seasoning. You'll use dried basil, dried rosemary, salt, and pepper to season the alfredo sauce.
Substitutions and Variations
- Instead of chicken breasts, you can use thighs or rotisserie chicken; plus this will also save you some prep time.
- Pasta substitutions include fettuccini, linguine, or pasta twists (or use your favorite!)
- Instead of broccoli, try asparagus.
- Add sliced, sauteed mushrooms for additional vegetable and to add an earthy tone.
- Substitute leftover turkey, sliced brats, or 1 pound of cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp to your penne pasta alfredo.
- To add more flavor, season the chicken with steak seasoning or Cajun seasoning before cooking it. You can also add 1-2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes!
How to Make It
Chicken Broccoli Penne Alfredo is ready in only 30 minutes!
Step 1: Make the delicious, easy, creamy alfredo sauce by combining melted butter, cornstarch, milk, and the seasonings.
Step 2: Add the cooked chicken, steamed broccoli, cooked penne pasta, and cheese.
Step 3: Mix well and pour into a casserole. Cover.
Step 4: Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, or until heated well.
This recipe makes 4 extra large servings or 6 regular servings if served with a side such as garlic bread or a green salad.
What to Serve With It
Although this is a filling and comforting casserole, you can serve it with a Caesar salad; spinach salad; garlic bread or bread sticks; or roasted parmesan potatoes.
- Don't let the homemade alfredo sauce intimidate you. It's easy to make and only takes a few minutes of prep. Plus, it tastes much fresher and better than the jar version. The creamy sauce is the perfect complement to this chicken broccoli penne alfredo.
- While the pasta is boiling, go ahead and steam the broccoli in the microwave.
- Cook the pasta al dente since it will continue to cook a little after you put it in a strainer/colander.
- Instead of using pre-shredded parmesan cheese, buy a small block of parmesan cheese and shred or shave it yourself. It will make this dish taste even better!
Best Way to Cook Chicken
This recipe calls for cooked chicken, and for casseroles like this, there are several ways to cook chicken. Once your chicken is cooked using one of these methods, you can use it into your casserole. Just make sure the chicken is fully cooked.
Pan fry - My favorite way to cook chicken for this casserole is to season the chicken and pan-fry it in a little olive oil or butter over medium-high heat until it's cooked through (165F on a digital thermometer). This method can give you a nice seared flavor for the chicken.
Boil it - Place the chicken in a pot of simmering water, chicken broth, or a combination of both. Boil for about 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. The chicken may not be the prettiest, but it will be good and tender for making chicken alfredo.
Bake it - Season the chicken with your choice of herbs and spices, then bake it in the oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Just be careful about overcooking the chicken, which makes it too dry.
Slow cooker - To batch cook chicken, place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker with your desired seasonings and about a cup of liquid (such as broth or sauce). Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the chicken is tender and easy to shred. If you've never cooked chicken in the slow cooker before, you'll be pleasantly surprised how good it is!
Storing and Reheating
Store leftover alfredo in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I prefer to use BPA-free glass containers with locking lids. Check out this 18-piece set of glass food storage containers with locking lids from Bayco, available now on Amazon.
To reheat cold leftovers, place a serving in a microwave safe bowl and cover it. Heat at 50% power for about a minute or until it's hot enough for you. If the mixture seems too thick, stir in 1-2 tablespoons of milk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yep, and all you need to do is simply substitute fettuccine noodles for the penne pasta. I happen to love penne pasta for this recipe because the creamy alfredo sauce oozes into the openings and sticks to the ridges of penne pasta. Yum!
This freezes very well! Be sure to freeze in an airtight container to prevent ice crystals from forming. When you're ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then heat in a 350F oven (or heat in the microwave) until piping hot.
Instead of broccoli, you can use cauliflower, asparagus, or mixed vegetables.
Other Pasta Recipes You'll Love
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Chicken Broccoli Penne Alfredo
- Large saute pan or skillet
- Sharp kitchen knife
- measuring spoons
- measuring cup(s)
- large pot for cooking pasta
- Pasta strainer
- Casserole dish
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 2-½ cups whole milk
- 3 cups cooked chopped chicken breasts Seasoned as desired, cooked and diced, chopped, or shredded. Another option is to use 1 whole rotisserie chicken; remove meat from bones and chop. Discard skin.
- 10 oz steamed broccoli florets Frozen, steam in the bag kind.
- 8 oz penne pasta Cooked and drained.
- ½ cup parmesan cheese Shaved or shredded; not the canned cheese!
- extra parmesan cheese if desired
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish if desired
- Preheat oven to 350F. Melt butter in a large pan or skillet. Stir in the cornstarch and seasonings. Add milk. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Check the flavor and add additional seasonings if needed.2 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, ½ teaspoon dried basil, ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, salt to taste, black pepper to taste, 2-½ cups whole milk
- Stir in chicken, broccoli, pasta, and cheese. Mix well and pour into a casserole dish. Cover.3 cups cooked chopped chicken breasts, 10 oz steamed broccoli florets, 8 oz penne pasta, ½ cup parmesan cheese
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until heated well. Stir before serving. Top with additional parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, if desired.extra parmesan cheese if desired, chopped fresh parsley for garnish if desired
- To use only one pan, use a large oven-proof skillet. After cooking the ingredients on the stovetop, you can simply transfer the skillet to the oven to bake.
- Use the meat from a whole Rotisserie chicken instead of the chicken breasts.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
This recipe was originally published in 2018 and was updated in 2023.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy to my readers. I'm not a nutritionist and I don't guarantee the accuracy of this data. The data may differ according to the brands I used versus the brands you use. To calculate the data yourself using your brands, try using an online nutrition calculator or app.