What’s not to love about cheesy pasta with a delicious crispy au gratin crust? This chicken cordon bleu casserole recipe is comfort food that’s perfect to feed the family and entertaining.
In fact, I know you’re going to love it because it’s easy to make and when you use leftover cooked chicken, it comes together in less than 30 minutes:
Doesn’t it look incredible? Told ya 😉
I first made this dish way back in 2012, and you can tell by the picture below, we’ve come a long way! While the photos are fresh and updated, this recipe is timeless and doesn’t need any help- it’s delicious all by itself.
What is Chicken Cordon Bleu
Originally, chicken cordon bleu is breaded chicken stuffed with ham and cheese, that’s pan-fried or oven-baked. It is a laborious process, you know, the stuffing and breading of each chicken breast.
Since my family loves the chicken + cheese + ham combo, I made a healthier version without breading. You can find the bread-less Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu here.
In short, I’ve never met anyone that didn’t like chicken cordon bleu -baked, fried, the healthy version, or otherwise. It’s the perfect people-pleaser recipe.
This pasta takes all that crispy, crunchy, melted-cheese-goodness into a simple and larger meal that the crew will demand again and again.
I don’t do buttered, smothered, twice baked or fried type of southern recipes, but from time to time, entertaining family and friends calls for a big pan of food that is easy to make.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this zesty chicken cordon bleu casserole:
- Penne pasta (or your favorite variety)
- Alfredo sauce, homemade or prepared
- Cooked chicken breast, diced
- Cooked ham steak, diced
- Bacon or bacon bits
- Creole or Cajun seasoning, optional
- Monterrey Jack cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
If you don’t have ham steak, don’t give up on this recipe. Use deli ham and chop it up. If you don’t have either, add additional cooked chicken.
What Cheese to use for Chicken Cordon Bleu
While many recipes use Mozzarella as the cheese base, I personally love the added sharpness of Monterrey Jack Cheese.
By all means, if you don’t have Monterrey Jack, use Mozzarella. You’ll definitely want to use a cheese that melts easily for this recipe -and yes, you can use the grated Italian blends you find at the grocery.
What pasta is best for Chicken Casserole
I love using penne pasta in this baked chicken cordon bleu casserole because the Alfredo sauce and added seasoning often get trapped inside the penne, so I feel like it’s extra flavor in every bite.
However, any pasta will do, like macaroni, spiral pasta, and in a pinch, you can use spaghetti too!
What I love about this dinner recipe is that I can easily put to use that bit of chicken that’s leftover from the week, any deli ham that wasn’t used in lunches… you get the idea.
This recipe is another reason this meal makes me happy: I put leftovers to use and leftovers reheat great.
Best Chicken Cordon Bleu Sauce
Homemade Alfredo sauce is what ties this cheesy, chicken pasta dish altogether. Of course, if you’re short on time, you can use jarred alfredo sauce and still have a winning recipe.
Not convinced you’ll have the time to make your own alfredo sauce? Watch how easy it is to make at home in this video.
What makes this the best chicken casserole
With hundreds of chicken recipes on my websites and in my cookbooks, I firmly believe this is the best chicken casserole recipe you’ll find around.
The suggestion to use Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning will add a little “zesty” and spice that takes this recipe to another level. I like to use Zatarain’s Big and Zesty Original Creole Seasoning but feel free to use what you have around.
If you don’t have any Cajun or Creole seasoning, add some paprika, garlic powder, and a pinch of cayenne to your sauce. Check out the recipe notes for deets below.
How to Make Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Now that we’ve got the ingredients figured out let’s talk about the steps to make chicken cordon bleu casserole.
1. Prep the Oven
Position the oven rack in the middle. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or cast-iron skillet with oil.
2. Boil the Pasta
In a large pot, bring water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, remove from heat, drain water, and return pasta to the pot.
3. Mix it All Together
To the pasta, add the Alfredo sauce, chicken, ham, crumbled bacon, and Creole seasoning, and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and heat ingredients through for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Transfer the hot pasta mixture to the greased baking dish and top with the cheeses. Broil on low for about 3 minutes, until the cheese has melted and a golden crust has formed. Carefully remove the dish from the oven.
Dish yourself a hefty helping of this pasta and as always, enjoy!
The best part is that this is can be one of those mid-week 30-minute meals that come together fast because the entire thing is just assembly and a quick broil for the crispy, cheesy topping. Unlike traditional casserole recipes, there’s no baking just a quick broil!
Is Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole Healthy?
I’ll admit the cordon bleu pasta isn’t the lightest thing in my recipe list, but I try to make it with real ingredients, no fake or artificial “cream of soup” cans, and just fresh ingredients.
If you are looking for a lighter meal that involves chicken and cheese, my grain-free Chicken Cordon Bleu should satisfy that craving.
Every now and then, I splurge when it comes to homemade meals and I swear this recipe is worth it.
Gluten-Free Pasta Casserole
You can make this a gluten-free pasta casserole recipe by simply swapping out the traditional wheat pasta for your favorite gluten-free brand.
Since this recipe is not baked, the pasta never dries out so that means you can most definitely use gluten-free pasta -which tends to have a slightly tougher texture.
What to Serve with Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
This pasta is a hefty serving all by itself but I know some of you like to have at least one vegetable on the side- I hear you! I usually serve it with a green salad on the side but if you’re looking for a few great side dishes, you’ll love:
Whether you serve them with this pasta or not, try those Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts because they are BOMB!
Zesty Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Pasta
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 2 cups Alfredo sauce, homemade or prepared
- 1 1/2 cups diced chicken breast, about 8 ounces
- 8 ounces cooked ham steak, diced
- 6 strips bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled or, 1/4 cup bacon crumbles
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 1/2 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Position the oven rack in the middle. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or cast-iron skillet with oil.
- In a large pot, bring water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, remove from heat, drain water, and return pasta to the pot.
- To the pasta, add the Alfredo sauce, chicken, ham, crumbled bacon, and Creole seasoning, and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and heat ingredients through for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Transfer the hot pasta mixture to the greased baking dish and top with the cheeses.
- Broil on low for about 3 minutes, until the cheese has melted and a golden crust has formed. Carefully remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
- Calories: 359
- Sugar: 1.2g
- Sodium: 903.2mg
- Fat: 12.7g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 36.3g
- Fiber: 1.4g
- Protein: 24.3g
- Cholesterol: 47.4mg
More Chicken Dinner Ideas
I definitely have a thing for chicken. It is high in protein, easy to prepare, and best of all… kid-approved! I have many chicken dinner recipes but here are a few I think you’ll enjoy: