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Southern Chicken Spaghetti

This Old Fashioned Southern Chicken Spaghetti takes me right back to my childhood. It’s easy to make in one-pot and is served creamy, cheesy, and with Rotel or fire-roasted tomatoes. Wanna save time in prep? Grab a rotisserie chicken!

Southern chicken spaghetti in a white bowl

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Why chicken spaghetti? Have you ever had it? Growing up, I always assumed we were eating it this way to balance out the normal version made with ground beef and marinara sauce. But nope, it’s actually a thing! In the South, I have seen it prepared this way (as in the recipe) and as a casserole baked with even more cheese.

One thing I don’t like about most versions is they use Velveeta cheese and cream of chicken or mushroom soups. I simply don’t need those to thicken up pasta and casseroles. You will love this version.

What Type of Pasta to Use

I’m using spaghetti pasta. You can use whatever type of pasta you like including whole wheat (cook in accordance with the instructions on the package) or low carb spiralized vegetables.

dry spaghetti pasta, raw red peppers, green peppers, onions, fire roasted tomatoes on a flat surface

Do You Break the Spaghetti in Half

People often break their spaghetti in half so that it will fit in the pot they are using to cook the pasta. I find I don’t need to do this and it’s frowned upon especially in the Italian culture. Some even consider it bad luck. The pasta is meant to be eaten by twirling it around your fork. It’s hard to do that if you have smaller pieces.

It won’t harm the pasta if you do! So if you must, feel free!

Use a pot that is large enough to fill 5-7 quarts of water. Once you add the spaghetti to boiling water it will wilt down quickly and fit the pot.

cooked spaghetti pasta in a colander

Add Salt to the Water When Cooking the Pasta

You should always salt your water when cooking pasta. The salt won’t sink into the flavor of the pasta because it doesn’t absorb most of it. The salt will keep the pasta from being sticky and slimy. I usually add a teaspoon.

What Type of Chicken to Use

I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can also use skinless chicken thighs with no change to the cooking time. You can also use a cooked rotisserie chicken. Chop your chicken into cubes and a little time is saved.

raw chicken breast cut into chunks, chicken broth, and spices in separate bowls

Cream Sauce Ingredients

As always, feel free to use a store-bought sauce if that’s your preference and you want to save some time. Do you, boo.

This sauce has a white cream base using butter, cream cheese, and broth, along with cheesy flavor from cheddar cheese and Parmesan. Feel free to use whatever cheese you like. Be sure to buy the cheese in block form and grate it yourself. I do not recommend pre-shredded cheese or processed cheese like Velveeta.

Pre-shredded cheese is coated in potato starch and preservatives to keep it fresh. It does not melt as well as cheese that you buy and grate yourself. It also doesn’t taste as good!

You can substitute cheddar or Parmesan for whatever you like.

For some tomato flavor, I like to use fire-roasted tomatoes. You can omit them if you wish or even substitute them for fresh tomatoes or any canned tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes and chilies like Rotel.

How to Thicken the Sauce

The cream cheese does a great job of thickening the sauce. Be sure to use softened cream cheese. It will take a long time to melt down cold cream cheese if you toss it in straight from the fridge. Soften it at room temperature or in the microwave for 15-20 seconds prior to adding it to your cream sauce.

If you find your sauce is still too thin, combine 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour along with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl to create a slurry. Add the slurry mixture to the cream sauce and stir until it thickens.

If your sauce is too thick, you can thin it out with additional broth.

heavy whipping cream, cream cheese, shredded cheddar, shredded Parmesan, butter, and garlic in separate bowls

How to Make Southern Chicken Spaghetti

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Cook the spaghetti in accordance with the instructions on the packaging.
  2. Place a large pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the chicken cubes and spices. Cook and set aside.
  3. Add green peppers, red peppers, and onions to the pot. Saute and set aside.
  4. Add in the butter. Once melted add the garlic.
  5. Cook for 2 minutes and then add a few tablespoons of the broth to the pot. Deglaze.
  6. Add in the remaining broth, cream cheese, heavy cream, cheddar, Parmesan, fire-roasted tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.
  7. Stir constantly and cook until the cheese melts.
  8. Add the cooked pasta, chicken, and vegetables back to the pot. Stir.
  9. Simmer.
collage of 4 photos showing how to cook chicken in a pot along with red pepper, green peppers, and onions
collage of 4 photos showing how to make cream sauce with butter, garlic, and chicken broth
collage of 4 photos showing how to make cream sauce with butter cream cheese and cheddar

What Type of Pot to Use

I’m a huge fan of making this a one-pot recipe. I go for this 7-quart Dutch oven. It’s large enough to cook the pasta in and it can withhold higher heat for sauteeing the vegetables and chicken. If you want to make this using one pot, grab one that’s large enough and retains heat well.

If you use a smaller pot, the pasta has less water to cook in. This results in a higher amount of starch in the pot, which will cause your pasta will to come out sticky after you drain the water. To be safe, always go for a big pot, even if you’re only cooking a small amount of pasta. You can read about more Common Mistakes When Cooking Pasta here.

southern chicken spaghetti in a Dutch oven

Additional Toppings and Substitution Ideas

  • Crumbled Bacon
  • Shrimp
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Grated Parmesan
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Black Olives
southern chicken spaghetti in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

How to Store and Reheat

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge tightly sealed for 3-4 days. I reheat in the microwave. It will maintain its consistency and flavor if eaten within 3-4 days. It often tastes even better the next day because the flavors have gotten a chance to really sink in.

Freezer Tips

You can freeze the dish tightly covered and sealed up to 2 months. With pasta, the faster you eat it after freezing, the better the texture and consistency. Since this dish has dairy, when you reheat you will notice separation. This is normal. Defrost overnight in the fridge.

Pair With These Recipes

Air Fryer Garlic Bread
Creamy Cucumber Salad
KetoAir Fryer Garlic Bread
Southern Green Beans
Southern Collard Greens
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Keto Broccoli Salad
Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli
Air Fryer Green Beans

Southern chicken spaghetti in a white bowl

More Pasta Recipes

Spaghetti Salad
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Seafood Stuffed Shells
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
Southern Soul Food Baked Mac and Cheese
Seafood Mac and Cheese
Lobster Mac and Cheese

Southern chicken spaghetti in a white bowl with a fork full of spaghetti
southern chicken spaghetti in a Dutch oven
Print Pin
5 from 54 votes

Southern Chicken Spaghetti

This Old Fashioned Southern Chicken Spaghetti takes me right back to my childhood. It's easy to make and is served creamy, cheesy, and with Rotel or fire-roasted tomatoes. Wanna save time in prep? Grab a rotisserie chicken!
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine southern
Keyword chicken spaghetti, Southern chicken spaghetti
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 5 servings
Calories 690kcal

Ingredients

  • 10 oz dry spaghetti pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil Divided into 2 portions, 1 teaspoon each.
  • 1 pound skinless chicken breasts Diced into 1-inch cubes.
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning Divided into 2 portions, 1 teaspoon each.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped red peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions I used white onions.
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream See notes.
  • 15.5 oz fire-roasted tomatoes Drained
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese I used sharp.
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook the spaghetti in accordance with the instructions on the packaging. Prep your vegetables and chicken while the spaghetti cooks.
  • Place a large pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the chicken cubes and season with 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook for 5-6 minutes until fully cooked through on both sides. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
  • Add an additional teaspoon of olive oil (if necessary, your pot may be well coated from cooking the chicken) along with the green peppers, red peppers, and onions to the pot. Saute until the veggies are translucent and fragrant.
  • Remove the vegetables and set them aside.
  • Reduce the heat on the stove to medium and add the butter. Once melted add the garlic.
  • Cook for 2 minutes and then add a few tablespoons of the broth to the pot. Deglaze the pan by using use a wooden or silicone spoon to scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pot. The brown bits have flavor and stay in the pot.
  • Add in the remaining broth, cream cheese, heavy cream, cheddar, Parmesan, fire-roasted tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Stir constantly and cook until the cheese melts. Taste the sauce repeatedly to ensure it meets your liking. Add additional Italian Seasoning, salt, or pepper as needed.
  • Add the cooked pasta, chicken, and vegetables back to the pot. Stir.
  • Reduce the heat to low and place the lid on the pot. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce and pasta are well incorporated.
  • Serve.

Video

Notes

  • I’m a huge fan of making this a one-pot recipe. I go for this 7-quart Dutch oven. It’s large enough to cook the pasta in and it can withhold higher heat for sauteeing the vegetables and chicken. If you want to make this using one pot, grab one that’s large enough and retains heat well.
  • As always, feel free to use a store-bought sauce if that’s your preference and you want to save some time.
  • You can soften the cream cheese at room temperature or place in the microwave for 15 seconds or until softened.
  • You can substitute heavy whipping cream for half and half, coconut milk, or any milk that you prefer.
  • You can use whatever type of pasta you like including whole wheat (cook in accordance with the instructions on the package) or low carb spiralized vegetables.
  • You can substitute chicken breasts for skinless chicken thighs with no change to the cooking time.
  • You can also use a cooked rotisserie chicken. Chop your chicken into cubes and a little time is saved.
  • For some tomato flavor, I like to use fire-roasted tomatoes. You can omit them if you wish or even substitute them for fresh tomatoes or any canned tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes and chilies.
  • The cream cheese does a great job of thickening the sauce. Be sure to use softened cream cheese. It will take a long time to melt down cold cream cheese if you toss it in straight from the fridge. Soften it at room temperature or in the microwave for 15-20 seconds prior to adding it to your cream sauce.
  • If you find your sauce is too thin (the brand of cream cheese you use matters), combine 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour along with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl to create a slurry. Add the slurry mixture to the cream sauce and stir until it thickens.
  • If your sauce is too thick, you can thin it out with additional broth.
  • A serving is 1 cup of cooked pasta + sauce, chicken, and vegetables.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 690kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 38g
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Recipe Rating




Sydney

Wednesday 27th of October 2021

This is delicious! The picky eater in my family loves it!! He had two bowls. Love the instructions on the recipe grated cheese melts better that processed cheese. Totally agree! Your recipes have become our family staples.

Sarah S

Wednesday 27th of October 2021

I had never heard of southern chicken spaghetti until Brandi shared the recipe. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew she wouldn't let me down. It was delicious. Came together so easily. Read the entire post and don't skip shredding your own cheese. Next time I'm going to try it with shrimp.

Annie

Tuesday 26th of October 2021

This is AMAZING. Have been looking forward to my leftovers all day.

Katherine

Monday 25th of October 2021

Highly recommend - this was delicious and the sauce really elevated the dish. We love veggies and noodles, so we added spiraled zucchini noodles (half pasta, half zoodles), spinach, mushrooms, and more peppers, and green onion on top. Next time we will definitely include the additional veggies again. Easy week night meal and looking forward to leftovers this week!

Rashawnda Wright

Monday 25th of October 2021

Made with rotisserie chicken. The sauce was simple and delicious. I literally tasted it and said "how?". I ate it imagining all the ways I can eat it in the future..parmesan crusted chicken, seafood, blackened chicken...the list goes on.