Easy Chicken Tetrazzini


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Chicken Tetrazzini is a classic American pasta dish that offers a comforting taste with its creamy, cheesy sauce and tender chicken. Named after the Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, this dish has been a beloved staple in family kitchens and potlucks across the United States since the early 20th century.

While the origins of Chicken Tetrazzini remain somewhat unclear, it is believed to have been invented in San Francisco. The opera star, renowned for her voice, was reportedly so beloved by a local chef that he named this rich and satisfying dish after her as a tribute. This delightful entree combines cooked spaghetti or linguine with sautéed chicken and mushrooms in a creamy sauce, typically topped with grated cheese and baked until bubbly and golden.

Historical Background

  • Originated in the early 1900s in San Francisco
  • Named after Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini
  • Symbol of American comfort food

Not only is this dish known for its delicious taste and comforting qualities, but it’s also celebrated for its adaptability. Various recipes include different types of pasta, adjustments in the creamy sauce, or even the addition of vegetables to enhance its nutritional value. This versatility ensures that Easy Chicken Tetrazzini can be customized to suit any palate or dietary need, making it a perennial favorite in many households.

Discover more about historical American dishes and how they have been embraced in kitchens across the country. Additionally, explore food safety tips for poultry to ensure that your chicken dishes are not only delicious but also safe to eat.

Ingredients and Substitutions for Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Creating the perfect Easy Chicken Tetrazzini requires a balance of rich flavors and creamy textures. Below is the essential list of ingredients needed to make this beloved dish, along with suggested substitutions to cater to various dietary needs and preferences.

Essential Ingredients

  • Butter: 1/2 cup, melted, provides the base for the sauce.
  • Cream of Chicken Soup: Two 10.5 ounce cans form the creamy backdrop of the dish.
  • Sour Cream: 2 cups, enhances the richness of the sauce.
  • Chicken Broth: 1/2 cup, used to thin the sauce slightly.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: To taste, for basic seasoning.
  • Chicken Breasts: Four, cooked and chopped, are the protein star of the dish.
  • Linguini: 16 ounces, cooked according to package directions, serves as the hearty pasta foundation.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: 2 cups, shredded, for gooey topping.
  • Parmesan Cheese: 2 tablespoons, grated, adds a savory flavor boost.


To make Easy Chicken Tetrazzini accessible for more diets, consider these substitutions:

  • Butter: Use a plant-based butter alternative for a dairy-free version.
  • Cream of Chicken Soup: Opt for gluten-free cream soup or a homemade roux with gluten-free flour and additional chicken broth.
  • Sour Cream: Dairy-free sour cream alternatives are available, or use silken tofu blended with lemon juice.
  • Chicken: For a vegetarian variant, substitute with sautéed mushrooms or a plant-based chicken alternative.
  • Pasta: Gluten-free pasta is a suitable substitute for those avoiding gluten.
  • Cheeses: Vegan cheeses are widely available and can melt similarly to their dairy counterparts.

Incorporating these substitutions can help ensure that everyone at the table can enjoy this classic dish, regardless of dietary restrictions. Additionally, learn more about the benefits of dairy alternatives from the American Dairy Association and find great gluten-free pasta options at the Whole Grains Council.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions for Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Preparing Easy Chicken Tetrazzini is a straightforward process that yields a comforting and hearty meal perfect for any occasion. Follow these detailed steps to ensure your dish turns out creamy and delicious every time.

Preparation Steps

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). This ensures the dish will cook evenly.
  2. Gather all ingredients: Having everything on hand before you start cooking simplifies the process and reduces stress.
  3. Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl. This will be used to combine with other sauce ingredients.
  4. Mix the creamy sauce: Combine the melted butter, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chicken broth, salt, and black pepper in the bowl. Stir until the mixture is smooth and uniform.
  5. Prepare the chicken: Ensure your chicken breasts are cooked and chopped. This can be done ahead of time to expedite the assembly process.
  6. Cook the pasta: Boil the linguini according to the package directions, typically until al dente. Drain well.
  7. Combine chicken and pasta: Add the cooked chicken and drained linguini to the sauce mixture, tossing to ensure everything is evenly coated.
  8. Transfer to a baking dish: Use a 9×13 inch glass baking dish, spreading the mixture evenly across it.
  9. Add the cheese topping: Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese evenly over the top of the pasta mixture.
  10. Bake: Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
  11. Serve: Let the Chicken Tetrazzini cool slightly before serving to allow the flavors to meld together beautifully.

For additional cooking tips and tricks on pasta dishes, explore resources such as Perfect Pasta Tips to enhance your kitchen skills. Ensure your dish is safe and delicious by checking out proper food handling techniques.

Cooking Tips and Tricks for Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

To elevate your Easy Chicken Tetrazzini to restaurant-quality, consider these expert cooking tips and tricks. These insights will help you enhance the flavor, texture, and overall appeal of this beloved dish.

Enhancing Flavor and Texture

  • Sauce Consistency: Achieving the perfect sauce consistency is key. If the sauce is too thick, gradually add more chicken broth until it reaches the desired thickness. For a richer flavor, a splash of white wine can be added during the mixing process.
  • Seasoning Adjustments: Taste the sauce before combining it with the chicken and pasta. Adjust the salt and pepper as needed, and consider adding a pinch of garlic powder or onion powder for extra depth.
  • Cheese Choices: While mozzarella provides a wonderful melt, mixing in some sharp cheddar or a bit of Gruyère can add a complex flavor profile that really enhances the dish.

Perfecting the Baking Process

  • Pre-Baking Pasta: To prevent the pasta from becoming too soft during baking, cook it until just under al dente. It will continue to cook in the oven, absorbing flavors from the sauce.
  • Layering Ingredients: For an even distribution of flavors, layer the ingredients in the baking dish. Start with a layer of pasta and sauce, add a layer of chicken, then repeat the layering process before topping with cheese.
  • Baking Time Adjustments: Keep an eye on the dish as it bakes. If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil to prevent burning while allowing the rest of the dish to cook through.

By applying these tips, you will not only improve the consistency and taste of your Chicken Tetrazzini but also ensure it comes out perfect every time. For more kitchen wisdom, explore articles and guides at Culinary Arts Resources and ensure your cooking techniques are up to par by visiting Safe Cooking Practices.

Nutritional Information for Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Understanding the nutritional content of Easy Chicken Tetrazzini can help you incorporate this dish into a balanced diet. Here’s a breakdown of the main nutritional elements of this comforting meal, which serves approximately eight people.

Caloric Content and Macronutrients

  • Calories: Each serving contains approximately 645 calories, making it a hearty option for meal times.
  • Proteins: With cooked chicken as a primary ingredient, this dish provides a good source of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Fats: The use of butter, sour cream, and cheeses contributes to the fat content, which adds to the dish’s rich flavor and satisfying texture.
  • Carbohydrates: Primarily from the pasta, carbohydrates provide energy that is necessary for day-to-day activities.

Dietary Fiber and Micronutrients

  • Fiber: While traditional Chicken Tetrazzini is low in dietary fiber, opting for whole grain pasta can increase this nutrient, promoting better digestion.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: The chicken and dairy ingredients supply a range of B vitamins, calcium, and phosphorus, which are vital for bone health and metabolic processes.

Considering Dietary Needs

  • Gluten-Free Options: For those avoiding gluten, substituting regular pasta with a gluten-free variety can make this dish suitable without compromising taste or texture.
  • Low-Fat Alternatives: To reduce the fat content, consider using low-fat versions of sour cream and cheeses or substituting them with plant-based alternatives.

For a detailed breakdown of this dish’s nutritional values and how it can fit into various dietary plans, visit nutrition-focused resources like NutritionData. Also, explore ways to make everyday meals healthier at Healthy Eating Guidelines.

Variations of Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Easy Chicken Tetrazzini is a versatile dish that can be adapted to fit various tastes and dietary preferences. Here are some creative twists on the classic recipe that can add variety to your meal planning and ensure there’s something for everyone at the table.

Adding Vegetables

  • Mixed Vegetables: Stir in steamed broccoli, peas, or carrots for added color and nutrition.
  • Spinach or Kale: Incorporate greens like spinach or kale during the last few minutes of baking for a vitamin boost.

Experimenting with Proteins

  • Turkey or Ham: Substitute chicken with cooked turkey or ham to utilize leftovers in a delicious way.
  • Seafood Version: For a pescatarian option, replace chicken with cooked shrimp or tuna.

Cheese Variations

  • Different Cheeses: Experiment with different types of cheese such as Swiss, provolone, or a smoked gouda for a unique flavor.
  • Dairy-Free Cheese: Use vegan cheese substitutes to make a dairy-free version that still offers the creamy texture the dish is known for.

Pasta Alternatives

  • Whole Wheat Pasta: Use whole wheat pasta for a healthier twist that adds fiber.
  • Low-Carb Options: For a low-carb alternative, replace pasta with cooked spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.

These variations not only provide options to accommodate different dietary needs but also keep the menu exciting with new flavors and textures. For more recipe variations and creative cooking ideas, check out Creative Cooking Solutions and find ways to adapt classic dishes to your taste at Healthy Recipe Modifications.


Here are some frequently asked questions about making Easy Chicken Tetrazzini, along with expert answers to help you perfect this dish every time.

Can I make Chicken Tetrazzini ahead of time?

  • Yes, you can prepare Chicken Tetrazzini in advance. Assemble the dish, cover, and refrigerate. When ready to serve, bake it in the oven. This can save time and enhance the flavors as they meld together.

How do I store leftovers?

  • Storage Tips: Cool the leftovers to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat in the oven at 350°F until thoroughly warmed. This helps maintain the creamy texture better than microwaving.

Is Chicken Tetrazzini freezer-friendly?

  • Freezing: Chicken Tetrazzini can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap the dish tightly in aluminum foil and label with the date before freezing. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Can I use different types of pasta?

  • Pasta Varieties: Yes, while linguini is traditional, you can use any pasta you like such as spaghetti, fettuccine, or penne. Each type will slightly alter the texture and presentation of the dish.

What can I serve with Chicken Tetrazzini?

  • Serving Suggestions: Serve Chicken Tetrazzini with a side of garlic bread and a green salad for a balanced meal. For wine pairings, a light white wine such as Pinot Grigio complements the creamy sauce excellently.
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Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

  • Author: Naomi
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


Easy Chicken Tetrazzini is a creamy, comforting pasta dish perfect for any family dinner. It features tender chunks of chicken and linguini enveloped in a rich, creamy sauce, topped with melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, then baked to golden perfection. This dish is a delightful blend of flavors and textures, making it a favorite for both casual weeknight dinners and special occasions.


1/2 cup butter, melted
2 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
16 ounces linguini, cooked according to package directions
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Mix until smooth.
Add the cooked and chopped chicken breasts to the sauce mixture, ensuring even coating. Then, add the cooked linguini and toss until fully coated.
Transfer the mixture into a 9×13 inch glass baking dish, spreading it evenly.
Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese evenly over the top.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, garnish with fresh parsley if desired, and serve.


  • Pasta Choice: Linguini is traditionally used for its ability to hold the sauce well, but feel free to experiment with other types of pasta like fettuccine or spaghetti.
  • Protein Options: While chicken is the standard choice, you can substitute it with turkey or even a mix of seafood for a different flavor profile.
  • Cheese Layering: For an extra cheesy experience, layer some cheese within the pasta before topping it off with more cheese for baking.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Chicken
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 645 kcal per serving

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