This cozy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Casserole for Two is made with ingredients you might already have in your pantry or fridge. In a few simple steps, and hardly any hands-on time in the kitchen, this perfectly portioned pasta casserole is baked in under 35 minutes making it a go-to weeknight pasta dinner for two.
JUMP TO THE SECTION TO LEARN:
- INGREDIENTS TO MAKE CHICKEN BROCCOLI PASTA CASSEROLE
- TIPS FOR MAKING THIS PASTA CASSEROLE FOR TWO
- BEST CASSEROLE DISHES WHEN SERVING TWO PEOPLE
- COOKING FOR TWO? HERE'S HOW MUCH PASTA TO COOK
- HOW LONG TO COOK A CASSEROLE THAT HAS BEEN REFRIGERATED?
- EASY SIDES FOR TWO
- PASTA BAKE VS. CASSEROLE: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS WHEN MAKING CHICKEN BROCCOLI PASTA CASSEROLE
- RECIPE VIDEO
- RATE THE RECIPE
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on this page are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. I personally own the recommended products and love using them which is why I signed up to be an affiliate.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE CHICKEN BROCCOLI PASTA CASSEROLE
This dish is a family favorite that I have tested to make on a smaller scale. I admit I think of the boys every time I make this, it is the ingredient trifecta of Chicken for the meat lovers, broccoli to check the vegetable box, and cheesy curried noodles to take this from bland to “this is delicious”. Oh and let’s not forget the cheesy crumb topping.
FOR THE CASSEROLE
It is made with simple ingredients, few steps and is a great weeknight pasta bake for two.
Here's what you need to make this weeknight pasta bake:
- Pasta – any small, shaped pasta works here, such as macaroni elbows or shells. Consider using whole wheat for a more nutrient-dense meal.
- Broccoli – For this recipe I use frozen broccoli rather than fresh, so you can just pop open the bag and toss florets straight into your baking dish. It's a no-frills dinner that takes less than 35 minutes to make.
- Chicken - chicken thighs, chicken tenders, or chicken breast are good chicken options for this recipe. Chicken thighs will give you more flavor and are most tender. To make this even easier and faster, pick up a grilled or roasted chicken breast from the deli, chop it up and toss into the casserole.
Leftover chicken? Make chicken pesto sandwiches for another quick weeknight meal.
- Cream of Chicken Soup – a can of condensed cream of chicken soup works in this recipe, however if you are missing this key ingredient, or want to avoid label ingredients you cannot pronounce…you can make your own homemade condensed cream of chicken soup.
- Mayonnaise – I prefer the lower calories of light mayo and I feel like I am not compromising on taste.
- Curry Powder
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
FOR THE TOPPING
There are two options for the crumb topping. The first is the family favorite of crushed White Cheddar Cheez-its. Trust me it works great!
Not a Cheez-its fan? Try Toasted Panko combined with a teaspoon or more of lemon zest.
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS PASTA CASSEROLE FOR TWO
First, gather your ingredients, a pasta pot, a non-stick skillet/cast iron skillet and/or oven-safe casserole dish. I like to use a 10-inch cast iron skillet to brown the chicken. If you desire to cook your chicken prior to baking, assemble, bake and to serve the casserole.
Step 1: Cook the pasta according to package directions, just one minute shy of al dente. As the pasta will continue to cook when in the oven. Make sure to salt the water before adding the pasta.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE
Step 2: While the pasta is cooking, toss the chicken, mayo, soup, lemon juice and curry together. You can use chicken breast, chicken thighs, or really any leftover chicken. It’s safe to use raw chicken as all of the bacteria will be killed as soon as the dish reaches 160°F. However, you should bear in mind that raw chicken will take 30 – 40 minutes longer to cook.
I like to cook my chicken before tossing together with the mayo and spice mixture. Options are to poach your chicken, reserving the chicken stock for a future use. For the ultimate shortcut, purchase a rotisserie, grilled or baked chicken breast or thighs from your local grocery deli.
Step 3: Gently fold cooked pasta and frozen broccoli into the chicken mixture. Add half of the grated sharp cheddar cheese. Transfer the mixture to a greased oven-safe baking dish, this makes for easy clean up. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 15 minutes in a 375 degree F oven.
Pro Tip: If you like your casseroles saucier, add more mayo and condensed cream of chicken soup. Depending on how much mayo and soup you add you may want to add more curry.
ADD THE TOPPING
Step 4: Top with remaining shredded cheddar cheese and sprinkle with topping of choice. We like sprinkling the top with crushed White Cheddar Cheez-its.
Another topping option is panko breadcrumbs, toasting them in a dry skillet over low heat. Remove from heat and add lemon zest to the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Continue to bake, uncovered until cheese is melted and crumb topping is lightly brown.
Check out our video in the recipe card below or on YouTube to see us in the kitchen creating this tasty dish and sharing tips and tricks on how to make this for two. Try this recipe, rate and comment. I want to know what you think!
BEST CASSEROLE DISHES WHEN SERVING TWO PEOPLE
For this Broccoli Chicken Casserole make sure your cookware is oven safe and can also serve as a serving dish. Casserole dishes come in different materials, sizes and shapes. You can find ceramic, stainless steel, and cast-iron casserole pots in the market. Cast iron casserole dishes are more suitable due to their ability to heat evenly and retain heat for a prolonged period.
Here are my go-to casserole dishes.
COOKING FOR TWO? HERE'S HOW MUCH PASTA TO COOK
Do you have a hard time figuring out how much dried pasta to put in the pot of boiling water so that you don’t have too little or too much? Me Too!
For this small-batch Chicken Broccoli Pasta Casserole we will cook 1-cup of dried small shaped pasta – perfect for making this dish for two people.
My rule of thumb for cooking other pasta, such as spaghetti or linguini, for two is to cook half the box of pasta. Most recipes call for one pound of pasta — which is a standard box or bag — to serve four to six people. It’s far easier to eyeball this than fuss over specific measurements
HOW LONG TO COOK A CASSEROLE THAT HAS BEEN REFRIGERATED
For the best results, remove your casserole from the fridge 30-60 minutes before baking it, to let it come to room temperature. This step minimizes the time your casserole spends in the oven for as little time as possible, promoting even heating and protecting your bakeware so it won’t crack when going from a cold refrigerator to a hot oven.
EASY SIDES FOR TWO
Looking for a side to pair with this dish? Here are some simple salads that will bring bright flavors any time of the year.
- Toss a mix of greens with this shallot vinaigrette.
- This Sicilian Fennel Salad and Oranges with a Fresh Mint Dressing is is light with bright citrus flavors.
- Roasted Beet Salad with a Fresh Mint Dressing
PASTA BAKE VS CASSEROLE: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Growing up in the Midwest, casserole is part of our food language. But what is a casserole? Most people in Minnesota refer to casseroles as a hot dish or bake. Whatever it’s called, it’s defined as a one-dish meal, oven-baked and untouched during baking and served from the same dish.
But what is the difference between a casserole and a pasta bake? In my research, I found that the terms are used interchangeably – both are oven-baked and use one dish.
You can easily go down a google rabbit hole trying to tease out the true difference. A casserole is an oven-baked dish, with three main components: meat, such as chicken or ground meat, fish or other protein, vegetables, and a starchy binder such as pasta, potatoes or flour, there can also be a crunchy or cheesy topping.
While a pasta bake is a Neapolitan dish also referred to as pasta au gratin, using a cooking technique with any pasta such as penne, rigatoni, fusilli, macaroni or tagliatelle. The pasta will be cooked to al dente, covered in a bechamel sauce, topped with cheese and bread crumbs and baked in the oven.
And, that is why I call this dish a pasta casserole!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS WHEN MAKING CHICKEN BROCCOLI PASTA CASSEROLE
It’s safe to use raw chicken since all of the bacteria will be killed when the dish reaches 160°F. However, you should bear in mind that raw chicken will take 30 – 40 minutes longer to cook. Recommend using a quick read food thermometer to test for safe temperature.
It is not necessary to cook the frozen broccoli. This dish calls for frozen broccoli rather than fresh, so you can just pop open the bag and toss what you need straight into your baking dish and save the rest. It's a no-frills dinner that takes less than 30 minutes to make. I find the broccoli texture to hold up better when going freezer to oven –it will maintain some crunch without falling apart when baked.
Add dried cumin, chili and coriander to a simple casserole to spice it up. Always add hardy herbs like bay leaves or rosemary at the beginning of cooking, and throw in lighter herbs like parsley, thyme and tarragon, at the end so they keep their flavor,
There are a number of substitutes you can use for Cream of Chicken Soup
1. Make your own homemade condensed cream of chicken soup
2. Cream of Mushroom Soup
3. Any Creamy Soup (celery, broccoli, potato)
4. Full Fat Sour Cream + poultry seasoning
5. Plain Greek Yogurt + poultry seasoning
6. Plain Yogurt + poultry seasoning
Chicken Broccoli Pasta Casserole (Weeknight Pasta for Two)
Save This Recipe To Your Recipe Box
You can access your saved recipes on this device and generate a shopping list for recipes in your collections.
- 10 - inch cast iron skillet or oven-safe baking dish
- 1 cup pasta any small sized shaped pasta (macaroni, etc.)
- 2 cups chicken thighs breasts or tenders, chopped or shredded, (about 4 thighs or 2 breasts)
- 1 cup condensed cream of chicken soup canned or homemade condensed cream of chicken soup
- ½ cup light mayonnaise
- 1 cup frozen broccoli
- 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese grated
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or more to taste.
- ½ cup White Cheddar Cheez-its or toasted panko and lemon zest
- Salt and Pepper
Cook The Pasta
- Bring 2 quarts water to boil in medium stockpot. Stir 1 tablespoon salt, add pasta into boiling water and cook until one minute shy of al dente. Drain and set aside.
Assemble And Bake
- Preheat oven to 375 °F degrees.
- While the pasta is cooking, toss the chicken, mayo, soup, lemon and curry together.
- Gently fold cooked pasta and frozen broccoli into the chicken mixture. Add three quarters of the grated sharp cheddar cheese. Transfer the mixture to a greased, oven-safe baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 15 minutes in a 375 degree F oven.
- Remove from oven and top with remaining shredded cheddar cheese and sprinkle with topping of choice. We like sprinkling the top with crushed White Cheddar Cheez-itstm.
- Another topping option is toasted panko breadcrumbs. To toast the panko, heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat and add ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until panko is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer panko to medium bowl. Stir in lemon zest and Sprinkle panko mixture over the top of the casserole.
- Continue to bake, uncovered until cheese is melted and crumb topping is lightly brown, about 10 - 15 minutes. Before serving, let the chicken broccoli pasta casserole rest for 5 minutes.
Your Notes, Tips and Tricks
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.