This Cheesy Penne Chicken Pasta is a quick and easy dinner full of creamy cheese sauce, penne pasta, and chicken baked with a seasoned crumb topping in a casserole dish.

Is there anything better than a cheesy pasta? I love this creamy Penne Chicken Pasta dish. It is quick and easy to put together full of creamy cheese flavor with that toothsome pasta bite.

Casserole recipes equals comfort food

Sometimes, when a person is sick, all they want is some comfort. In our busy, busy world, comfort can be hard to find when you want it. I’ve been sick most of the week. I’m not sure if it is allergy or cold that got me down but it got me down. 

I decided that I needed some comfort food. Cheesy pasta casseroles speak those words to me, so I decided to throw something together with what I had on hand. It turned out so well that I decided I had to also share it with my readers!

Cheesy Chicken Penne Pasta

What you need to make this Penne Chicken Pasta

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Chicken Tenderloins

Whole Grain Penne Pasta (this is the brand I used)

Olive Oil



Vegetable Broth

Heavy Cream

Gruyere Cheese

Cheddar Cheese

Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs


Large Skillet

Casserole Dish

Tips for an easy recipe

  • If you have it on hand, use leftover chicken breasts. Or, use canned, drained chicken.
  • Once the pasta is cook, toss it with about 1/2 tablespoon of oil to keep it from sticking together
  • Use 1-1/2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic in place of the garlic clove
  • If the breadcrumbs haven’t browned by the time the dish is ready, turn the broiler on and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden.

Make this chicken pasta recipe your way

  • Substitute 1 can of tuna fish for the chicken
  • Stir 1 cup of chopped tomatoes into the pasta dish with the cream (step 5)
  • Substitute chicken broth for the vegetable broth.
  • Use one of your favorite cheeses. A hard cheese is best. Parmesan cheese, asiago, colby, and swiss.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of red pepper flakes
pinnable image for pasta casserole

Other pasta comfort food dishes you may like

Cajun Chicken Pasta is a little bit of spice and a whole lotta nice. Quick, easy, and delicious.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole is one of the easiest recipes to make. Few ingredients, and kids (and my picky eater) love this!

Cincinnati Style Chili is a delicious way to enjoy two favorites, chili and pasta! Topped off with a pile of cheese and onions, this is a delicious pasta meal.

Creamy Chicken Riggies is a creamy, spicy, indulgent dish that is pure comfort food in your bowl.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese is a good old fashioned pasta casserole just like mom made. No boxes required.

Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi is an Applebee’s knock off that I created so we could enjoy it at home. This recipe was my favorite dish to order every time we went out to eat!

Velvet Shrimp is exactly how it sounds. Velvety and creamy, this old bay infused cheese sauce with shrimp is served over pasta for a light dinner. Yes, this recipe only sounds indulgent. It is a lower calorie recipe.

Cheesy Penne Chicken Pasta

Whole wheat penne pasta and chicken in a creamy, cheesy sauce.
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Penne Chicken Pasta
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 437kcal


  • 8 oz whole wheat penne pasta cooked until al dente
  • 6 cooked chicken tenderloins
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable broth I use better than bouillon
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces gruyere cheese shredded
  • 2 ounces mild cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon butter sliced very thin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook pasta according to package until al dente. Set aside. 
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil In a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken tenderloins and cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until chicken is lightly browned and no longer pink inside.
  • Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside to cool. Once the chicken has cooled, chop it into bite sized pieces.
  • Using the same skillet the chicken was cooked in, add the remaining olive oil. Add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  • Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, allowing broth to reduce slightly.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and bring back the broth mixture back to a low boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, until cream sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. 
  • Add the gruyere and cheddar cheese and stir until well blended. 
  • Mix the cooked pasta, peas, chicken, and sauce together and transfer to a baking dish. 
  • Sprinkle the top of the casserole with breadcrumbs and dot with the butter. 
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly around the edges and top is lightly browned.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 411mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.


  1. Kathleen August 12, 2011 at 12:49 am - Reply

    This looks amazing. I can't wait to make it for my baby boy!

  2. Deeba PAB August 12, 2011 at 12:52 am - Reply

    Sorry you were unwell Shelby. This does sound like a true comfort dish. Nothing like a creamy pasta to boost the spirits!

  3. Coleen August 12, 2011 at 1:53 am - Reply

    I love comfort food anytime…sick, not sick, happy, sad..anytime. This looks fantastic. I can't believe you are that sick and still cooking. Not me!! If I'm that sick, we have cereal!! I sure hope you are feeling better.

  4. Linda August 12, 2011 at 4:01 am - Reply

    I hope you are feeling much better!

    This looks so creamy and, well, comforting. 🙂 I'm shocked you had heavy cream in your fridge. :O

  5. Simona August 12, 2011 at 6:39 am - Reply

    I hope you are feeling better now. You certainly prepared a nice pasta dish and I am not surprised it was comforting. Reading your post make me think about the last time I was really sick: I also managed to get up and prepare what I needed at that time to comfort me. Thank you so much for contributing this to Presto Pasta Nights.

  6. Shelby August 12, 2011 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Linda, it was what I bought when I wanted to make that peanut butter caramel sauce….and fortunately it hadn't expired or gone bad on me yet!

  7. bellini August 12, 2011 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Something similar, only with smoked Gruyere, used to be on the menu at a local restaurant. I was sad when they took it off and added so many Tex Mex recipes.

  8. Fallon August 12, 2011 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Sounds so good!I always stay away from cream based sauces because of them adding more calories.. but this just looks like it would be worth it!

  9. Patsyk August 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Those photos definitely say "comfort food" to me! I always crave some cheesey pasta goodness when I'm feeling the way you have been this week. Definitely a fabulous dish!

  10. Pegasuslegend August 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Wow does this ever look great!

  11. Ruth Daniels August 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    It definitely does sound like perfect comfort food. I do hope it did the trick and cured you. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  12. Mads August 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Pasta is my #1 comfort food when I'm feeling sick. It doesn't do harm to my tummy, it takes 10 minutes, and it is delicious.
    This looks especially good.
    Feel better!

  13. Inspired by eRecipeCards August 13, 2011 at 1:19 am - Reply

    DELICIOUS. I love the idea of using cauliflower as the base for this. Terrific recipe

  14. Inspired by eRecipeCards August 13, 2011 at 1:22 am - Reply

    Just started eating my whole wheat pasta. I love the look of peas in the pasta. Makes it much more appealing

  15. Karen August 13, 2011 at 3:32 am - Reply

    Thanks for much for the kind words! It's always so nice to hear when someone makes a dish, and I'm so glad you liked it (the chicken sounds like a great alternative!). I hope you're feeling better and can enjoy the weekend!

  16. Miriah October 18, 2019 at 7:42 pm - Reply


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Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

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