Easy Chicken and Macaroni Casserole

Easy chicken and macaroni casserole recipe

The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
368 Calories
15g Fat
36g Carbs
20g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 368
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 809mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 6mg 31%
Calcium 106mg 8%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 274mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This take on a classic casserole that many of us enjoyed while growing up is a useful and delicious recipe that will make a fan out of you once you've prepared it. A one-dish meal, this comfort food extravaganza has everything you want in a pasta bake—it's as creamy and rich as it is filling and easy to make. Chicken and pasta might seem like an obvious choice and a meal you've seen already, but this dish is nothing like other recipes. Our secret—not-so secret—weapon is the addition of pimientos, which add depth of flavor, a pop of color, and a sweet taste to the creamy sauce that makes this casserole simply irresistible.

Peas, cream of chicken soup, and milk complete the sauce. Serve with a simple green salad with a tangy vinaigrette and some fresh bread for a wholesome and filling dinner that also makes great leftovers for office and school lunches. This is the ideal meal to repurpose already-cooked chicken, like rotisserie chicken breasts, leftover grilled chicken, or cooked packaged chicken breasts.

A buttery crumb crust finishes this casserole perfectly and some optional shredded cheese adds richness and texture to the bake. Although the peas are a great choice, other vegetables of your liking can be used, such as mushrooms, green beans, bell peppers, broccoli florets, or corn. Any other short pasta shape works well, such as penne, farfalle, fusilli or orecchiette.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked macaroni

  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken, or about 2 cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed

  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 (4-ounce) jar pimientos, drained

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, or a cheddar-Jack blend, optional

  • 1 cup soft breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy chicken and macaroni casserole
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  2. Heat the oven to 400 F. Grease a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish.

    Casserole dish and spray
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  3. Cook the macaroni in salted boiling water for about 2 to 3 fewer minutes than indicated on the package directions. Drain thoroughly.

    Macaroni in pot
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  4. Combine the cooked macaroni, chicken, peas, cream of chicken soup, milk, pimientos, salt, and pepper in the prepared casserole dish and gently mix well. 

    Macaroni and veggies
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  5. If using, sprinkle with shredded cheese.

    Sprinkle with shredded cheese
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  6. In a small bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with melted butter; sprinkle over casserole.

    Casserole with breadcrumbs
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  7. Bake the casserole uncovered for 25 minutes, or until the breadcrumb topping is lightly browned and the filling is hot and bubbling. Serve immediately.

    Baked chicken and macaroni casserole
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  8. Enjoy.

What can I use instead of condensed cream of chicken?

If you would rather not use the condensed soup, or you just realized you forgot to buy it, replace it and the 1 cup of milk with 2 cups of white sauce made with half milk or cream and half chicken stock.

How to Make Soft Breadcrumbs

This recipe calls for soft breadcrumbs instead of dried. Packaged dried breadcrumbs are too fine to use as a topping for this casserole. To make your own soft breadcrumbs, use fresh bread or bread that is about a day old and process it in the food processor until small but not very fine crumbs form.