Cozy Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini
Cozy Creamy, Chicken tetrazzini! This chicken casserole has tender chicken, a creamy and tangy white sauce all tossed with egg noodles, sauteed mushrooms, and topped with a generous handful of buttered breadcrumbs. It’s easy to make and feeds a crowd!
We’re doing a throwback today with the creamiest, coziest noodle bake known to man. I’m not one to make a lot of casseroles. Seriously, I think I may have like one other recipe on here. But when we’re talking about a dish full of egg noodles wrapped in a creamy white sauce, somewhere between forkfuls of this stuff, I start to wonder why I don’t make things like this more often. I am a Midwesterner at heart after all. 🤷🏻♀️
This noodle casserole is perfect for the colder spring evenings. It’s hearty, filling and feeds a crowd. And if you’re from the Midwest, serving chicken tetrazzini for Easter, is 100% acceptable.
My creamy chicken tetrazzini begins like most recipes. You know, the noodles, sauteed baby bellas, and tender shredded chicken. But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t change the whole thing up. We’re kicking it up with seasonings and tossing some shredded melty cheese into the white sauce.
YES, I repeat, there is cheese in the white sauce!
And I’ll never make chicken tetrazzini without it again.
What is Chicken Tetrazzini:
You know, when I was developing this recipe, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t leading you on, by calling this tetrazzini if it wasn’t. None of that, expectations vs. reality business. Sure we hear that word being thrown around all the time when we talk about a white sauce noodle dish. But what the heck is tetrazzini anyway? It’s basically an American dish made with diced poultry and mushrooms in butter/cream sauce, topped with parsley. There was some talk about using a can or two of condensed cream of mushroom soup, but nope. We’re not using any of that here.
There shall be no cream of mushroom soups in my chicken tetrazzini. I’m a from-scratch kinda gal.
I have to admit; I’ve been working on my chicken tetrazzini game for a while now. And after tons of experimenting, I can tell you that I’m picky about my tetrazzini bake. For instance, I know I like tons of tangy sauce. But I also know that the sauce can’t be too thin. It needs to coat and hug the noodles with just the right consistency. I also want that sauce to have flavor. Not just your butter, flour, milk, and broth ratios. We need to elevate this casserole a little more. And when it comes to topping the casserole, garlic and parmesan buttered bread crumbs reign superior to just topping this with shredded mozzarella.
My chicken tetrazzini starts and ends with all real ingredients. There are precisely zero cans of condensed this, or that. Sure, there are things you to can do to make this faster, like batch cook chicken breasts, shred and freeze them or grab a rotisserie chicken on the way home if that’s more your jam.
A bit of good news for those of us that hate cleaning pots and pans – make this in an oven-safe pot (like a dutch oven), and you can pop that baby right in the oven without having to transfer anything. Lazy Chicken tetrazzini, why yes, I’m all about that.
Making the Best Chicken Tetrazzini:
Anyone can make chicken tetrazzini, but there are a few things I’ve learned over the years on how to elevate your noodle casserole. Here’s what I suggest:
- Don’t overcook the noodles. Nothing says 90’s retro casserole the way an overcooked noodle does. You’ll need to boil them but make sure they aren’t cooked all the way through. With the 30 minutes of oven time, we’ll need to make sure the noodles are undercooked so that they don’t get mushy.
- Use sour cream to add depth to the cream sauce. Yes, friends just like the sauce I make for my shrimp enchiladas, this casserole also gets a hint of sour cream to help make it even more delectable.
- Use rotisserie chicken for faster prep or batch cook chicken breasts in advance if you’re making this for Easter.
- Don’t use pre-shredded cheese for this one! It’s coated with ingredients like potato starch, and it’ll leave you with a cream sauce that isn’t as smooth and silky.
- Use garlic powder and onion powder to add a more concentrated POW to the dish and cut down on prep time from not having to chop all those ingredients!
- Garlic powder in the crust adds an extra level of flavor, and the smell will make your tummy rumble even if you’re not hungry
Finally, let this all hang out in a preheated oven until it’s golden on top and bubbly around the edges.
A chicken tetrazzini casserole recipe that’s easy to make, has loads of garlicky goodness and feeds a crowd.
Casserole vibes all around. ✌🏼
- 1 pound cooked shredded or diced chicken
- 12 ounces cooked egg noodles*
- 1 pound baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- ½ cup sour cream (full fat)
- 1¼ cups cream (half and half or whole milk)
- 1½ teaspoon garlic powder, divided
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese*
- Saute: Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add a swish of oil to a large saute pan and saute the mushrooms over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, remove to a plate.
- Sauce: Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the same saute pan, once it melts add the flour and whisk. Cook for 1-2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Slowly stream in the chicken broth about 1/4 cup at a time while you whisk using your other hand. Allow the sauce to start bubbling, then let thicken for 3-4 minutes or until it just coats the back of a spoon. Lower the heat to the lowest heat setting and add the sour cream, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and onion powder as you whisk to make a smooth sauce. If the heat is too high the sour cream will curdle (fine to eat, just not as visually appealing.) Once the sour cream is mixed in, stream in the cream. Kick the heat back up to medium-high and allow the sauce to thicken, 2 minutes.
- Assemble: Remove from heat, stir in the cheddar cheese and let it melt. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. Fold in the noodles, sauteed mushrooms, and shredded chicken. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, add the prepared tetrazzini to the pan. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl, stir in the parmesan, Italian breadcrumbs, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of garlic powder (if desired.) Scatter the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the casserole. Bake, uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until the breadcrumbs brown and the sauce bubbles around the rim. Brown under the broiler for a few seconds to darken the breadcrumbs more if you'd like. Serve warm topped with chopped parsley if desired.
- I've only tested the recipe as written so I'm not sure about milk/sour cream substitutes here.
- For the noodles, you can use fettuccine, egg noodles, or even linguine or spaghetti. Be sure to undercook the noodles by 2-3 minutes as they will complete cooking with all the other ingredients in the oven.
- Be sure to grate your own cheese here! Using pre-grated cheese may result in a lumpy sauce that just won't get smooth.