Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

4.60 from 5 votes

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This is pure Italian comfort food: Chicken Parmesan, translated into a pasta casserole.

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti is pure Italian comfort food, a classic Chicken Parmigiana translated into a pasta casserole. To make it, you can use any chunky pasta shape you like, take a shortcut with rotisserie chicken and bottled marinara sauce, and have a hearty, one-dish meal on the table any night of the week. And it’s faster and easier than making regular chicken parm from scratch — a little different but equally delicious!

Pair your cheesy baked chicken ziti with a Romaine and Slivered Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing or Kale Crunch Salad for a filling, satisfying dinner. Holy moly — just look at that cheese pull, wouldja?

Serving cheesy baked chicken parmesan and pasta garnished with fresh basil.

This is pure Italian comfort food: Chicken Parmesan, translated into a pasta casserole.

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Ingredients

  • Dried pasta – Any chunky shape will work, such as penne or ziti. Choose a pasta shape with ridges if possible — it helps the sauce stick to the noodles.
  • Marinara or other tomato sauce – You can use store-bought sauce to speed up the process, or go with homemade marinara.
  • Basil You can either use fresh or dried basil, depending on what you have on hand.
  • Oregano – The same goes for oregano; just make sure to lessen the amount if you’re using dried herbs.
  • Chicken – You can definitely use a purchased rotisserie chicken in this pasta dish. Or use any plain cooked chicken you like, whether roasted, poached, grilled, or sautéed. With that said, if there are seasonings on the leftover chicken you are using, make sure they are compatible with the Italian flavors of this dish.
  • Mozzarella – If you can get fresh mozzarella, that will add a nice delicate texture and flavor to this casserole; if not, no biggie.
  • Parmesan cheese – Either grate it yourself or buy pre-grated; this cheese, in particular, adds a great nutty flavor.
Chicken, pasta, herbs, marinara, and other ingredients for chicken Parmesan.

How to Make Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

  1. Cook the pasta: Al dente, please!
  2. Combine pasta with sauce: In a large bowl, combine the marinara sauce, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper, then add the pasta and toss until it’s evenly covered.
  3. Add in the chicken: Add the chicken, 2 cups of the mozzarella, and the Parmesan. Toss until everything is evenly combined.
  4. Prep the casserole dish: Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cup of mozzarella over the top.
  5. Bake the casserole: Bake for about 30 minutes until everything is hot, the cheese is melted, and the top is golden brown.
  6. Serve: Sprinkle with chiffonaded basil, and serve hot.
Adding chopped basil leaves to Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti casserole.

Cooking Tips and Variations

  • If you don’t have fresh basil and oregano, then using dried herbs is fine and dandy. The typical substitution of fresh to dried is 3:1, which you will see in the ingredients below. And if you prefer to use 2 teaspoons of dried Italian seasoning in place of the dried basil and oregano, go right ahead! You’ll get a few other herbs in the mix, which will blend into the sauce very nicely.
  • For the final basil garnish on top, use chopped or chiffonaded basil, and make sure that it’s fresh. If you don’t have fresh basil, just skip this part.
Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

Make Ahead and Storage

Can I make Chicken Parm Baked Ziti ahead of time?

You can assemble this casserole ahead of time, keep it covered in the fridge for up to a day, and then bake it when you are ready. Make sure to add another 10 or more minutes to the baking time if you are taking it straight from the fridge and putting it into the oven still cold.

How can I reheat leftovers?

This generous casserole will land you with leftovers more often than not, but luckily it reheats really well. You can reheat the casserole by putting it into the microwave — use microwave-safe plastic wrap and a few drops of water to make sure that the noodles are moist upon reheating — or by putting it in the oven with some tin foil on top. Bake until hot throughout at around 350 degrees, about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how much there is.

What should I do if I want to cook for a smaller group?

This recipe can be easily halved if you are making it for a smaller group!

Can I freeze Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti?

Yes! You can wrap the casserole with foil, and freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then bake as directed. You you can bake directly from the freezer, but you will need to add about 45 minutes to the baking time.

What to Serve With Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti casserole in Dutch oven with serving spoon and plates.

More Italian Chicken Dishes

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4.60 from 5 votes

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

This is pure Italian comfort food: Chicken Parmesan, translated into a pasta casserole.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 People
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Ingredients 

  • 1 pound dried ziti or penne rigate
  • 3 cups marinara or other tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano (or I teaspoon dried)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 3 cups grated mozzarella (preferably fresh, divided)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Thinly sliced fresh basil (to garnish)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions.
  • Drain the pasta. In a large bowl, combine the marinara sauce, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Add the chicken, 2 cups of the mozzarella and the Parmesan. Toss until everything is evenly combined. Transfer the pasta to a shallow 3 or 4-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella over the top.
  • Bake the casserole for about 30 minutes until everything is hot and the cheese is melted and the top is golden brown. Sprinkle with the chiffonaded basil and serve hot.

Notes

  • If you don’t have fresh basil and oregano, dried herbs are fine and dandy. The typical substation of fresh to dried is 3 to 1. And if you prefer to use 2 teaspoons of dried Italian seasoning in place of the dried basil and oregano, go right ahead! You’ll get a few other herbs in the mix, which will blend into the sauce very nicely.
  • For the final basil garnish on top, use chopped or chiffonaded basil, and make sure that it’s fresh. If you don’t have fresh basil, just skip this part.

Nutrition

Calories: 475kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 883mg, Potassium: 598mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 781IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 322mg, Iron: 3mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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8 Comments

  1. Nicole says:

    Can you make it ahead of time and then just put it in the oven when ready?

    1. Katie Workman says:

      yes! absolutely. You could even refrigerate this overnight. if it goes straight into the oven from the fridge you will need to add 10 to 15 minutes cooking time.

  2. Holly Belk says:

    This recipe will definitely be saved! My family (and neighbor) loved it! I’ve already shared it with a few friends.

  3. Julie says:

    For anyone following a low-FODMAP diet, this worked great with FODY’s pasta sauce, low-fat mozzarella (not fresh which has more lactose) and brown rice pasta.

  4. Tammie Rockefeller says:

    Dint get hot enough for me. Otherwise it was ok. It wasn’t in the fridge. Maiby the sauce should have been heated first

    1. Katie Workman says:

      so sorry to hear – did you give it the full 30 minutes in the oven? sometimes our oven te3mps aren’t what we think they are – always worth using an oven thermometer every now and then to make sure your temp is accurate. 30 minutes should be plenty for it to get hot.

  5. Rhonda L Bitler says:

    Can ricotta cheese or cream cheese be added

    1. Katie Workman says:

      why not? I would go for ricotta. Maybe fill the casserole halfway, and then just dollop some small spoonfuls over the top, then scoop the rest of the pasta chicken filling over and bake. sounds pretty great, actually!