Crispy Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Everything you love about chicken parmesan in one casserole dish! Crispy Chicken Parmesan Casserole is an easy, weeknight-friendly pasta dish loaded with sauce, tender chicken, and lots of crispy crumbs!
This recipe is sponsored by RAGÚ®. We’re using their RAGÚ Simply Traditional Sauce to make today’s easy chicken parm casserole.
Weeknight-friendly chicken parmesan casserole!
Those words have to be the best thing you’ve read on the internet today. Mostly because when I say things like ‘weeknight-friendly,’ I mean 10 ingredients, 45 minutes of cooking time, and one saucy, flavorful casserole!
Traditional chicken parmesan is made with crispy breaded chicken cutlets, fried until golden on the outside and tender on the inside. They’re topped with marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and baked until the cheese just melts and the sauce heats through. I’ve gone ahead and tossed all of those flavors together with pasta, loaded it up with the most flavorful RAGÚ sauce and added more garlicky breadcrumbs for good measure. We’ll bake it till the whole thing is hot, melty and saucy.
It’s absolutely perfect for busy weeknights and great to assemble and drop off for a family member or a friend that needs a little baked casserole of comfort in their life.
Ingredients for easy chicken parmesan casserole:
- Pasta: You can use a variety of pasta shapes for this recipe. Rotini, rigatoni or even penne pasta work well for this recipe and hold onto the sauce.
- Chicken Cutlets: You can use store-bought breaded cutlets to make this dish really quickly or you can use thinly slice chicken breasts and bread your own if you have time. I’ll provide ingredients and directions if you prefer to make your own – this casserole is extra special that way!
- Olive Oil: A few glugs of olive oil to help cook the chicken cutlets.
- RAGÚ Simply Sauce: I love using the RAGÚ Simply line of sauces! They’re made with quality ingredients, like vine-ripened tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and Italian spices. And, there’s are no added sugar, no artificial colors and no high-fructose corn syrup. They come in four delicious sauce varieties provide versatility and work great as meal starer that gives anything you make a “from-scratch” flavor!
- Mozzarella Cheese: I prefer to buy a block of low-moisture mozzarella and just shred it myself. Pre-shredded mozzarella is often coated in starches to keep it from sticking together, which doesn’t allow it to melt as beautifully in the oven as cheese shredded from a block of mozzarella does. Though, either option will work here!
- Butter: We’ll toss breadcrumbs, parmesan and garlic powder with the melted butter to help create a crunchy topping for the casserole.
- Panko breadcrumbs: I like to use panko over Italian breadcrumbs, as it gives the casserole another added layer of crunch.
- Parmesan Cheese: What would chicken parm be without an abundance of parm? We’ll add it to the breadcrumb mixture and sprinkle it on top so that it adds more crunch right when you dig in!
- Garlic Powder: A pinch of garlic powder is added to the panko mixture to give it more flavor.
- Parsley: We’ll sprinkle the casserole with fresh parsley as a garnish to give the casserole a bit more eye appeal when it’s bubbly out of the oven!
Chicken parmesan casserole recipe:
- Prep everything first. You’ll want to start preheating the oven and also getting a large pot of water boiling. While the water boils, fry off the chicken cutlets in a pan until the chicken is golden on the outside and completely cooked in the center. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and, when it’s cool enough to handle, just slice it or dice it into small, bite-sized pieces.
- Boil the pasta and toss it with RAGÚ sauce. When the water is boiling, generously salt the water. Then, cook the pasta for two-minutes less than what’s listed on the package. We’ll finish cooking the pasta in the oven, so we don’t want it to be cooked through yet. When the pasta is still quite al dente, drain it, add it back to the same pot and toss it with all but 2 tablespoons of the RAGÚ Simply sauce.
- Layer the casserole and bake until golden. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of sauce in the dish. Add half of the pasta, half of the chicken and half of the mozzarella. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients. Then, melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Add the breadcrumbs, parmesan and garlic powder and mix until the panko soaks up all the butter. Sprinkle this on top of the casserole using a spoon or your hands. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then, remove the foil and continue to cook for another 10 minutes until the breadcrumbs become golden and crunchy.
FAQs about chicken parm casserole
- Can you use rotisserie chicken instead of cutlets? You can! Just shred the rotisserie chicken and toss it with the sauce and pasta before layering it with cheese.
- Can you use leftover breaded chicken from another recipe? Yes! Just slice or dice the chicken the same and add it in where the chicken is mentioned in the recipe.
- Can I use spaghetti instead of the other pasta shapes mentioned? Though almost any kind of pasta should work for this recipe, I like that the short-cut pasta and chicken pieces are the same size, so I prefer to use penne, rigatoni or rotini as I find it more satisfying! But yes, spaghetti noodles will also work. However, you may need to bake it for less time. Please use your best judgment for doneness.
- If I wanted to make scratch cutlets, could I do that a day in advance? Yes, absolutely! I sometimes bread the cutlets a day in advance, cover and refrigerate. Other times, I’ll fry them as well and just reheat them to room temperature on a baking sheet in the oven for a few minutes. Slice or dice the chicken and continue on with the recipe!
- Can I use a different RAGÚ red sauce for this recipe? Yes, other flavors and types of RAGÚ red sauce can be used for this recipe as well. Click here to see all the sauces in the RAGÚ Simply line up.
A big thank you to our friends over at RAGÚ for sponsoring this post. We love working with companies that make good, wholesome foods!
- 12 ounces penne, rotini or rigatoni pasta
- 4 store-bought, breaded chicken cutlets (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons oil (plus more)
- 1 (24 ounce) jar RAGÚ Simply® Traditional Sauce
- 1 ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400˚ F. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Lightly grease a 2.5-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour 2 tablespoons of RAGÚ Simply sauce in the bottom of the dish and spread with a spoon. While the water is boiling, cook the chicken.
- CHICKEN: Add the oil to a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. When hot, add two pieces of chicken at a time and cook each batch for 6-9 minutes, flipping halfway until the chicken is cooked through. Remove to a wire rack, repeat with remaining chicken adding more oil to the pan if needed. Allow the chicken to cool before cutting into small strips or bite-size pieces.
- PASTA: Salt the water when boiling and cook pasta 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, don’t rinse it, and add it back to the same pot. Toss with remaining sauce until thoroughly combined.
- ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Add half of the pasta to the dish, half of the chicken and half of the mozzarella. Followed by remaining pasta, chicken and mozzarella. Microwave butter in a bowl until it melts. Add the panko, parmesan and garlic powder and combine until the panko absorbs the butter. Sprinkle on top of the casserole. Cover the dish and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to bake for another 10 minutes until golden on top. Garnish with chopped, fresh parsley and serve!
- If you’d like to make your own cutlets: you’ll need 1 lb. thinly sliced chicken cutlets. Season chicken with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon onion powder. Dredge seasoned cutlets in ⅓ cup flour, then a beaten egg, and finally a mixture of ¾ cup panko + ¾ cup parmesan. Place the first cutlet on a clean surface and bread remaining cutlets the same way