Dinner

Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake

at a glance
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
4.7 — Votes 15 votes

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This one-dish pesto chicken pasta bake is so flavorful and easy to pull together that you may never go back to making pasta on the stove again!

Top down view of white, square casserole dish with pesto pasta topped with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella on a wooden cutting board.

The Fabulousness of a No Boil Pasta Bake Recipe

There is nothing better than a no-boil pasta bake recipe. It’s the epitome of ease! The entire meal cooks in a single casserole dish, prep is a breeze, and there is no need for additional pots and pans. The flavors of this pasta bake are perfectly balanced by the bright, herby flavors of the pesto, saltiness from the cheese, plus the sweet and tart combo of the sun-dried tomatoes, all carried by perfectly cooked pasta and tender chicken.  The result is a super flavorful, fulfilling meal that is beautiful and tastes great!

No Boil Pesto Pasta Bake Ingredients

The ingredients are simple, but the flavor is complex! Here’s what you’ll need to make this pesto pasta bake:

Pesto pasta ingredients on a grey and white marble surface.
  • 12 ounces of penne pasta
  • 22 ounces of pesto
  • 1 ½ cups of chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 8 ounces of mozzarella pearls
  • 1 ½ pounds of chicken breast
  • 8 ounces of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
  • 1 tablespoon of Balanced Bites Italian Spice Blend (or 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning + 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper

How to Make Pesto Pasta Bake with Chicken

After just 10 minutes of hands-on prep, your meal will be ready to bake. Here’s how you’ll make this pesto pasta bake with chicken:

Hand holding small, white bowl with seasoning sprinkling over a white bowl with cubed chicken breast.
Hand stirring pesto and broth in casserole dish with noodles.
Cubed chicken breast being added onto of pesto pasta.
Pesto pasta topped with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella.
Casserole dish tightly covered with foil on a grey and white marble surface.
Side view of pesto chicken bake in a white casserole dish.
  1. Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 
  2. Season the chicken. Cube your chicken into 1” pieces and season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. 
  3. Prep the pasta. To a 9×13 casserole dish, add the pasta, pesto, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Stir to combine, then add the chicken and sun-dried tomatoes and give the ingredients one more stir to ensure everything is well incorporated. Finish it off by placing the mozzarella pearls evenly throughout the dish.
  4. Cover and bake. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. 
  5. Serve and enjoy! Remove the foil carefully, the steam will be hot! Serve and enjoy!

Variations on Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake

  • Make it gluten-free. Use gluten-free pasta (we used this one) to make this dish gluten-free.
  • Make it vegetarian. If you prefer to have a vegetarian dish, simply omit the chicken. It will still be just as tasty and satisfying!
Wooden serving spoon with a scoop of pesto pasta held over the casserole dish.

Tips for Baked Pesto Pasta

  • Pesto sauces vary. Our favorite pesto is the basil pesto from Costco (it’s a great deal for such a delicious product!). If you use a freshly made pesto, like the one you can find at a local grocer, you may find that your dish has a lot more oil than a shelf-stable prepared pesto. We recommend using less pesto if this is the case.
  • Get a tight seal. Make sure that the foil is tightly sealed over the casserole dish to ensure that it traps the steam to help cook the pasta.
  • Submerge the pasta. To ensure that all of the noodles cook through, make sure the pasta is covered in the sauce/broth mixture before it heads into the oven. If it’s not, some of the top noodles may not get cooked through.

How to Serve Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake

This chicken pesto pasta bake is a complete meal on its own, but if you are looking to add something to it, a simple side salad with mixed greens is a great addition. 

Storing Baked Chicken Pesto Pasta

To store your chicken pesto pasta bake, let the dish cool completely, then cover the dish or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Plate of pesto pasta bake on a white plate next to casserole dish with pasta bake.
Q Do you have to boil pasta before baking?
A

The best part about this recipe (besides it being delicious!) is that you do not have to boil the pasta before baking. Simply mix all of the ingredients together in a dish, cover, and bake. Everything cooks together in the oven.

Q Can you put raw pasta in the oven? Does it need a liquid?
A

The pesto sauce plus the chicken broth act as the cooking liquid for the pasta, so it can go into the oven raw.

Q Should I put pesto on before or after cooking?
A

The pesto heads into the dish with all the other ingredients for this pasta bake.

a white baking dish of baked feta pasta sitting on a marble surface

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Pesto Pasta Bake

By: Melissa Guevara
4.7 — Votes 15 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings
This one-dish pesto chicken pasta bake is so flavorful and easy to pull together that you may never go back to making pasta on the stove again!

Ingredients  

  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 22 ounces pesto
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 ounces mozzarella pearls mini
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast cubed
  • 8 ounces sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
  • 1 tablespoon Balanced Bites Italian Spice Blend (or 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning + 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  • Cube your chicken into 1” pieces and season with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • To a 9×13 casserole dish, add the pasta, pesto, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Stir to combine, then add the chicken and sun dried tomatoes and give the ingredients one more stir to ensure everything is well incorporated. Finish it off by placing the mozzarella pearls evenly throughout the dish.
  • Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Remove the foil carefully, the steam will be hot! Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Pesto Pasta Bake
Amount per Serving
Calories
928
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
53.4
g
82
%
Saturated Fat
 
9.2
g
58
%
Cholesterol
 
90.8
mg
30
%
Sodium
 
2091.8
mg
91
%
Carbohydrates
 
59.6
g
20
%
Fiber
 
6.5
g
27
%
Sugar
 
4.5
g
5
%
Protein
 
52.4
g
105
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Notes

Tips for Baked Pesto Pasta:
  • Pesto sauces vary. Our favorite pesto is the basil pesto from Costco (it’s such a great deal for such a delicious product!). If you use a freshly made pesto, like the one you can find at a local grocer, you may find that your dish has a lot more oil than a shelf-stable prepared pesto. We recommend using less pesto if this is the case.
  • Get a tight seal. Make sure that the foil is tightly sealed over the casserole dish to ensure that it traps the steam to help cook the pasta.
  • Submerge the pasta. To ensure that all of the noodles cook through, make sure the pasta is covered in the sauce/broth mixture before heading into the oven. If it’s not, some of the top noodles may not get cooked through.
Variations for Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake:
  • Make it gluten free. Use a gluten free pasta (we used this one) to make this dish gluten free.
  • Make it vegetarian. If you prefer to have a vegetarian dish, simply omit the chicken. It will still be just as tasty and satisfying!
Meet the Author
Melissa Headshot

Melissa Guevara

Melissa spends the bulk of her time writing, managing our content calendar, and lending a hand in recipe shoots. She values time spent exploring outdoors with her family and baking all things sourdough.⁠
Get to know Melissa

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    Recipe Rating




  1. Marissa Adcock says

    Marissa Adcock —  07/18/2022 At 22:33

    5 stars
    SO quick to throw together and SO delicious. Both my kids ate up every bite! Definitely keeping it in our rotation.

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  07/19/2022 At 11:04

      We are so glad to hear that, Marissa! Thank you for taking the time to share with us. -Team F&F

  2. Jorie W. says

    Jorie W. —  07/21/2022 At 19:19

    5 stars
    Just made this and it was SO easy and delicious! Made clean up a breeze! ❤️
    Is this able to be frozen? If so, what is best way?

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  07/26/2022 At 08:49

      We are so glad that you enjoyed this recipe, Jorie! This can absolutely be frozen. You could freeze individual portions or the entire pasta bake. We recommend an airtight container or wrapping the storage container(s) in a double layer of foil to protect against freezer burn. -Team F&F

  3. Jennifer says

    Jennifer —  07/25/2022 At 18:00

    This was so yummy. We all enjoyed it. Some of the pasta noodles that were poking up were uncooked. I will mix everything else (besides noodles and chicken broth) and pour over undisturbed noodles next time. 10/10. Loved this dish.

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  07/26/2022 At 08:50

      So glad that you loved the dish, Jennifer! Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback and tips with us. -Team F&F

  4. Ana says

    Ana —  07/27/2022 At 13:04

    5 stars
    Amazing!!!

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  07/29/2022 At 08:39

      Thank you, Ana! -Team F&F

  5. Erin says

    Erin —  07/30/2022 At 22:15

    5 stars
    This was so incredibly easy to make. My 11 year-old put it together while I prepped something else. This is definitely going into our regular rotation.

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  08/01/2022 At 16:48

      Love to hear that, Erin! Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and feedback with us. -Team F&F

  6. Dawn M. says

    Dawn M. —  08/01/2022 At 06:49

    I was so excited to try this new dish – but it was an epic fail………………I followed the directions, all the pasta was coated, ingredients thoroughly mixed…after 40 minutes, chicken was not cooked and pasta was not cooked…added another 10 minutes, and finally had to put a serving into a bowl in the microwave just to be able to eat the chicken. I have never had something like this happen and I was so disappointed.
    Was the chicken supposed to just lay on top of the noodles, or be mixed in as the recipe calls for? BTW, the pasta never got completely cooked…

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  08/01/2022 At 16:56

      Hi Dawn, we can imagine how disappointing that must have been. We find when the pasta doesn’t cook in a no-boil pasta bakes, it is due to steam escaping during the cooking process. We’ve made the recipe both with the chicken mixed in as well as laying on top of the noodles and have not had the issue of it not cooking properly. We are so sorry this was your experience! -Team F&F

  7. Anna Brawner says

    Anna Brawner —  08/09/2022 At 11:30

    Hi! I made this before and it was delicious! What’s the best way to make it ahead of time? I want to make it today so that my mom can just throw it in the oven for dinner tomorrow. Would it still cook ok if I mixed everything and it sat in the fridge uncooked over night?

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  08/09/2022 At 11:56

      Hi Anna! That will totally work! Hope your mom enjoys, too. -Team F&F

  8. Mandy says

    Mandy —  08/15/2022 At 18:24

    5 stars
    This was insanely delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and it was super easy on a busy week night and it came out perfectly. I love the fact that i was able to pop it together super quick and put it in the oven while I finished up my to do list after work! I will be making all of the other baked pasta dishes also and no more boiling pasta! Hooray!

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  08/16/2022 At 09:30

      We are so glad you enjoyed, and it was an easy dinner! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with us. It means so much! -Team FF

  9. Mandy says

    Mandy —  08/29/2022 At 20:08

    4 stars
    This was full of flavor but a little salty. It defiantly took a whole hour to cook at 400 degrees not 40 min. 2 of my 3 kids ate it. I will make it again because it was easy to prep and a great week night dinner but I would like to figure out which ingredient made it salty so I could adjust it as needed.

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  08/30/2022 At 10:42

      We’re so sorry it was salty and took longer to bake Mandy. We have made this recipe over a dozen times and haven’t run into that. All we can think is that maybe the pesto was a saltier pesto? We are glad that it was an easy, weeknight dinner, but sorry that the end product didn’t meet your expectations! -Team FF

  10. Crystal says

    Crystal —  09/02/2022 At 22:39

    I followed the directions to a tee. Even used the same pasta and pesto recommended in the recipe, but after 40 minutes in the oven (sealed tightly with foil & all pasta submerged) my noodles were still hard…what did I do wrong? It was very soupy when I took off the foil.

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  09/06/2022 At 14:03

      Hi Crystal, we are so sorry you had this experience! From the sounds of it, you did everything right and way more of the liquid should have been absorbed by the time it was done baking. What type of noodles did you use? We would love to try to help you troubleshoot. -Team FF

  11. Crystal says

    Crystal —  09/06/2022 At 14:52

    Hi Melissa
    I used Jovial GF brown rice penne pasta noodles which I believe is what you recommended in the recipe.

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  09/06/2022 At 15:09

      Yes! We have used those noodles. I know how disappointing it is when a recipe doesn’t work out. Since I can’t be in the kitchen with you, it is really tough to nail down exactly what went wrong. My best guess is that the seal from the foil wasn’t quite tight enough. I really have to pinch it hard around the sides of my pyrex baking dish when I make it at home. So sorry again! -Team FF

  12. Crystal says

    Crystal —  09/07/2022 At 13:57

    3 stars
    I have enjoyed many recipes off of the Fed & Fit website, but this one was a no for me. I followed the directions exactly and it was nowhere near done after 40 minutes. The noodles were still hard and it was very greasy/soupy. Maybe it was my oven?? It was edible after cooking it for about an hour but I still had to pour a ton of grease from the pan so it wasn’t swimming in oil. I also thought there was too much pesto in it, but that’s more of a personal preference. I will continue to come back and use other recipes I’ve loved from this site, but this one will not be one of them.

    • Brandi Schilhab says

      Brandi Schilhab —  09/13/2022 At 13:16

      Bummer, Crystal! We haven’t run into those issues with this recipe, but we’re so sorry that you did!

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