This is our favorite Tuscan Chicken Pasta — loads of flavor and made all in ONE pan. That’s right — toss together uncooked chicken, uncooked pasta, and uncooked veggies and bake to creamy and cheesy perfection!
A Simple Tuscan Chicken Pasta Recipe
The combo of pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken, and spinach is one I’ll never be sick of! But throwing all those ingredients into one pan and letting the oven do all the work? Game changer!
We throw uncooked pasta, uncooked chicken, and uncooked spinach in one casserole dish and totally forget about it. And while it’s baking, you’re left with plenty of time to whip up an Italian Salad or this favorite Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad. Or…watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show. I’ll be honest, I usually do the latter. 🙂
What to serve with Tuscan Chicken Pasta? We love this Olive Garden Salad, Garden Salad, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or Fruit Salad Recipe on the side!
How To Make Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- Generously grease a 9×13-inch pan. We recommend ceramic or glass, but we have tested this recipe in a metal pan, and works as well, but sometimes can lend a metallic flavor to the tomatoes.
- Dump mostly everything in. Right into the dish, we add uncooked pasta, flour (to thicken), seasonings, butter, chicken stock/broth, and milk.
- Cover and bake!
- Add in the cheese. Remove the foil and give everything a good stir. Add in the cheese and gently mix through (it will melt in the oven).
- Bake again! Bake everything once more and then mix through the tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan cheese. As you combine these ingredients it will wilt the spinach, melt the cheese, and fully cook through the pasta– all while the sauce finishes thickening up.
Tuscan Chicken Pasta Tips
- Seasonings go a long way! If you don’t feel this recipe has enough flavor, you may just be missing salt and/or pepper; don’t forget to add more as needed! Keep in mind that the pasta hasn’t been cooked in salted water, so it does need a good amount of seasoning.
- This recipe doesn’t cook up the same in smaller pans; you’ll want a 9×13-inch pan or a dish that can comfortably fit 14-16 cups.
- If you’d like to make this Tuscan Chicken Pasta Healthier, use reduced-fat milk — it won’t be as creamy, but still tasty! As written, this recipe is a lot more nutritious than other recipes — a lot of the liquid is chicken broth/stock, minimal butter included, and there is no heavy cream! (Or here is a Healthy Pasta Bake made with plant-based milk.)
Below are several of the ingredients in this recipe along with a few ingredient specific notes
What Is Tuscan Chicken Made Of?
- This creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes uses our favorite sun-dried julienne-cut tomatoes with herbs. The herbs in the tomatoes add lots of extra flavor with no additional work or loads of extra seasonings.
- Pick up a bag of pre-washed baby spinach. This is a huge time saver as opposed to washing, drying, removing stems, and cutting down a bundle of regular spinach. Just give the baby spinach a quick coarse chop to allow the spinach to wilt down quickly and integrate nicely.
- To ensure everything is cooked through evenly and within the time suggested in the instructions, we recommend rotini pasta. This is a great pasta to soak up all the surrounding flavors and hold the sauce in nicely. With other pasta shapes, the flour has the tendency of getting stuck inside, forming clumps rather than helping to thicken the sauce.
What’s In the Tuscan Sauce?
The sauce base is made up of flour, butter, chicken stock/broth, whole milk, and mozzarella cheese. Below are a few ingredient notes:
- The better the stock, the more flavor this dish will have. We love and use Swanson® Chicken Stock (not sponsored). If using chicken broth instead of stock, you may need a bit more seasoning for a more robust flavor.
- We use and recommend whole milk. This is intended to be a creamy recipe, and the lower-fat milk choices won’t achieve the right texture. That said, you can use 1% or 2% ( which yields a less creamy dish). Unfortunately, skim milk or a dairy milk alternative doesn’t work the same.
- Add freshly grated cheese. To avoid clumping, I like to freshly grate the cheese (packaged grated cheese has a cellulose coating that keeps it from melting as smoothly). Speed up the grating by using a food processor with a grating attachment.
This Tuscan Chicken Pasta recipe is great right out of the oven, but if you’re looking to jazz it up a bit, below are some topping suggestions we’ve loved:
- Fresh basil pesto: A scoop of pesto is divine — it complements the other flavors beautifully. I recommend getting a refrigerated, freshly-made basil pesto, which you can find near refrigerated fresh pasta and gourmet cheeses. Rana’s® Basil Pesto is my personal favorite store-bought pesto sauce (not sponsored).
- Additional Parmesan cheese: Another sprinkling of finely grated Parmesan is the perfect finishing touch — it adds a nice final seasoning (Parmesan is salty!) and melts nicely into the pasta. For the perfect super-fine texture, we like to use a microplane and grate it right over the serving plates.
- Freshherbs: This pasta is rich and indulgent-tasting, so it benefits from fresh herbs to cut through the richness. We love flat-leaf Italian parsley and/or fresh thyme best.
- Fresh lemon juice: A squeeze of fresh lemon adds a nice acidity and freshness.
- Dijon: if you love tang, stir through a teaspoon (up to 1 tablespoon) of good Dijon mustard.
Can You Freeze Tuscan Chicken Pasta?
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Note that it does thicken and become less creamy as it sits (pasta continues to absorb surrounding liquid). Here is a great resource for how to reheat the casserole in the oven or microwave without drying it out.
Because of all of the dairy (cheese and milk) in this dish, it isn’t a great candidate for freezing and thawing. The milk solids will separate as it thaws, resulting in a grainy texture with some separation. Additionally, the pasta bloats and becomes mushy.
More One Pot/Pan Recipes
- Cheesy Sausage Pastawith broccoli
- One-Pot Spaghettiwith ground turkey
- Herb Ricewith dried herbs
- Sausage and Chickpeaswith roasted sweet potatoes
- BBQ Pork Mac & Cheesewith beef brisket or BBQ pork
Tuscan Chicken Pasta
Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- 2cupschicken tendersNote 1
- 2teaspoonsItalian seasoning,separated
- Fine sea salt & pepper
- 2-1/2cups (8 oz.)uncooked rotini pastaNote 2
- 1/4cupwhite flour
- 1/2teaspoon each:garlic & onion powder
- 1-1/2teaspoonminced garlic
- 1-1/2cupschicken stock/brothNote 3
- 2cupswarm milkNote 4
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1cupmozzarella cheese
- 1/2cupchopped sun-dried tomatoesNote 5
- 2cupschopped baby spinach
- 1/2cupParmesan cheese,Note 6
- Optional: fresh parsley, squeeze of lemon juice, scoop of basil-pestoNote 7
PREP: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray. Measure out milk and microwave for 45 seconds. Measure out chicken stock/broth and microwave for 30 seconds. Grate mozzarella cheese and set aside to get at room temperature.
CHICKEN: Pat chicken tenders dry with paper towel then dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss with 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, salt & pepper to taste (I add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper).
COMBINE: Add the following ingredients in this order to the greased pan: uncooked pasta, flour (sprinkle evenly on top), seasonings (remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, onion, & garlic powder), and salt/pepper to taste (I add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper), minced garlic, chicken broth/stock, milk, and butter (cut into 2 pieces). Stir well. Add the seasoned chicken in one even layer on top. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
BAKEAGAIN: Remove foil, and stir ingredients together really well. Add in mozzarella cheese and stir through again. Press pasta and chicken below the sauce. Return the pan to the oven, uncovered, and bake for another 15 minutes or until pasta is tender (don’t over-bake or sauce will bake out; it should be pretty saucy at this point). Remove from oven and gently stir. Add in the coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped spinach, and a handful (not all) of the Parmesan cheese. Gently stir to combine and wilt the spinach. Continue to mix, gradually adding in the rest of the Parmesan cheese while stirring. As you mix, the sauce will continue to thicken to a perfect creamy consistency! Enjoy immediately garnished with fresh parsley if desired.
STORAGE: Leftovers well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Note that it does thicken and become less creamy as it sits. (The pasta continues to absorb the surrounding liquid.) Here is a great resource for how to reheat the casserole in the oven or microwave without drying it out. Because of all of the dairy (cheese and milk) in this dish, it isn’t a great candidate for freezing and thawing. The milk solids will separate as it thaws resulting in a grainy texture with some separation. Additionally, the pasta bloats and becomes mushy.
Note 2: Rotini: This recipe works best with this specific pasta — it’s the best at soaking everything up and bakes through perfectly in the time. Other pasta shapes may hide the flour so the dish won’t properly thicken. Check the package label for other pasta to be sure it has a similar boil time to rotini (9-11 minutes).
Note 3: Chicken stock/broth: The better the stock, the more flavor this dish will have. We love and use Swanson® Chicken Stock. If using chicken broth, you may need a bit more seasoning.
Note 4: Milk: Warm milk will heat quicker and ensure the sauce won’t split–this happens when dairy is heated too rapidly. This is intended to be a creamy recipe, and we recommend whole milk, but you can use 1% or 2% (less creamy dish). Unfortunately, skim milk or a dairy milk alternative doesn’t work the same in this recipe.
Note 5: Tomatoes: Use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and give them a quick coarse chop. Opt for tomatoes that are packed in oil with herbs for more flavor and no extra work on your end!
Note 6: Parmesan cheese: Grab a block of Parmesan and grate it on the small holes of a grater. Alternatively, use finely grated Parmesan cheese. Parmesan from the can will be too salty and won’t melt into the sauce nicely.
Note 7: Optional toppings: Check out the paragraph titled «Optional Toppings/Additions» in the blog post for ideas for jazzing or changing up this dish!
We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.