This Chicken Pesto Alfredo is comfort food at its finest! This yummy freezer meal is bursting with flavors of chicken, pesto, bacon, cheese, spinach and tomatoes all tossed together in a creamy white sauce. Make it ahead of time and pop it in the oven for a weeknight dinner!
My Baked Chicken Pesto Alfredo Freezer Meal is one that really doesn’t get old. Plus it’s all real food, baby! Nothing processed. The flavors of this Italian dish mesh so well together and even though there are some “fancier” ingredients (says my kids) even my pickiest of eaters will eat it.
This baked chicken pesto alfredo has chicken, pesto, bacon, cheese, fresh spinach, and some tomatoes all mixed together in a delicious white sauce. This pasta is da bomb! That’s right I said “da bomb” and I meant it. I think I will take it even further and say that my baked chicken pesto alfredo freezer meal is da bomb diggity!
This chicken pesto alfredo pasta is made with chicken, basil pesto (make your own or use store-bought!), bacon, cheese, spinach, and tomatoes all mixed together in a simple white sauce of milk, chicken broth, flour and butter. The topping is to die for with bacon, bread crumbs, cheese and a touch of olive oil. Delicious!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PESTO ALFREDO PASTA
Make a simple white sauce by melting butter in a pan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour over melted butter and whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Then add in chicken broth and whisk quickly together. Cook over heat until it’s thick and bubbles up. Set white sauce aside.
Cook penne pasta according to package directions. Drain noodles and then dump them into a large mixing bowl.
Add in white sauce, cooked chicken, cheese, spinach, crushed tomatoes, milk, pesto, and 1/2 cup of bacon. Mix well.
Pour pasta into a 9×13 baking dish.
In a separate bowl mix parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, remaining bacon and olive oil.
Cover pasta with bread crumb mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
CAN YOU FREEZE CHICKEN PESTO ALFREDO?
Yes, it is so easy! Before baking cover with foil, label, and freeze.
To cook it, thaw it in the fridge the night before, remove foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
CAN I PORTION IT OUT INTO SMALLER DISHES?
Yes, I love to do this! If you want smaller portions, divvy it out in small loaf pans or little aluminum lasagna pans. Remember to label it with the recipe name and cook time and temperature. Store in the freezer and bake in the oven for a quick dinner.
The baking times might be a little bit less, but not much. Start watching it about 15 minutes before the time listed to see if it is done.
WHAT OTHER RECIPES CAN YOU MAKE WITH CHICKEN?
- Bake this delicious Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas
- Make this Homemade Chicken Taquitos with Cilantro & Pepper-Jack Cheese
- Prepare this Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Make this Instant Pot Chicken Teriyaki
- Prepare this Seriously Easy Chicken Pot Pie
The next time you make this chicken pesto alfredo recipe, I would love to see it! Snap a picture and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #happymoneysaver and tagging me @happymoneysaver!
Chicken Pesto Alfredo Pasta
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 16 oz penne pasta – cooked al dente and drained
- 4 cups cooked chicken cubed
- 4 cups shredded Italian cheese blend 16 ounces
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 tbsp basil pesto
- 3/4 cup crispy bacon- finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Make a simple white sauce by melting butter in a pan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour over melted butter and whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Then add in chicken broth and whisk quickly together. Cook over heat until it’s thick and bubbles up. Set white sauce aside.
- Cook penne pasta according to package directions. Drain noodles and then dump them into a large mixing bowl.
- Add in white sauce, cooked chicken, cheese, spinach, crushed tomatoes, milk, pesto and 1/2 cup of the bacon. Mix well.
- Pour pasta into a 9×13 baking dish.
- In a separate bowl mix together parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, remaining bacon and olive oil.
- Cover pasta with bread crumb mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
MAKE IT A FREEZER MEAL
- Before baking cover with foil, label and freeze. Thaw, remove foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Loved this recipe?
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This recipe was first posted on August 26th, 2016, but has been updated with new photos and better-detailed instructions on September 16th, 2021.
Comments & Reviews
J Burton says
Sorry, didn’t enjoy. There were too many flavors going on…the tomatoes, alfredo, pesto, bacon. All good things, but too many things in one bite.
Is this seriously 918 calories per portion?!?!? Wow that’s pretty Unhealthy if it is.
Or is 918 for the whole tray?
No, the calories are right. It is a really decadent meal!
I made this but I reduced the cheese, it says 4 cups- 16 oz. but 16 oz is 2 cups?
What’s right 2 or 4 cups?
Weight and volume are not the same. 8 ounces of cheese equals 2 cups grated.
For freezer meal it’s says before baking cover with foil, label and freeze. Thaw, remove foil and bake 350 degrees for 45 mins. Do you bake before you freeze and then bake again after thawing?? I was thinking No the “before baking …confused my simple mind, lol
No, I don’t bake before freezing.
Do I have to bake this recipe before freezing it and then bake it again when using it, or can I just put it in the freezer before baking?
In the freezer before baking – then bake fresh day of!
Phenomenal. I made this for the guys hunting trip a few years ago, and they request it every year! I double this every time I make it. The only thing I cheat on is I use a rotisserie chicken. Wonderful recipe, thank you!
It was OK. Takes a lot of steps and time to put together. Would help if you had some leftover bacon or cooked chicken, ready to use. I was starting fresh with every ingredient, and it took forever.
At mixing steps, all ingredients would not fit into one bowl, even my largest stainless steel one. Had to split ingredients between two bowls, hoping somewhat equivalent, then add both into baking pan. It all fit into 9×13, but such a dense dish, we 4 will be eating this for weeks. Teen boy who eats everything in sight said “meh”.
Last thing, 4 cups is waaay too much cheese. I stopped after adding 2 cups and it was more than plenty, almost too much.
This recipe is a winner, and I hope you’ll try it again! I recommend making it with frozen spinach (thawed and water squeezed out) to save a little time and money. I also bought the little shelf stable jars of pesto so they’re on hand too. I was really impressed with the flavor and how well it came together in not much time. If you cook and cube the chicken breasts ahead, it can also save a lot of time. Portion it in small loaf pan or little aluminum lasagna pans, labeled with the recipe name and cook time/temp, so you can store them in the freezer and put one in the oven for a quick dinner. They make great food gifts for friends and neighbors needing a quick dinner. You’re right that you wouldn’t want a large 9×13 pan all at once, but the little pans are helpful and create less waste.
Sarah Tillman says
Can this be cooked in a crock pot instead of the oven? If so, what would the cook time be?
No, I wouldn’t recommend cooking in a slow cooker. But if you do try it and it does indeed work, come back and let me know!
Wondering at what point in the recipe you add the milk and the Italian cheese. Thank you.
with the spinach and everything.
I thought you would add the milk in with the chicken broth to make the white sauce, no?
This recipe is a real winner. Everyone I have served it to asks for the recipe. I was so impressed I went out and bought your book. Thank you for sharing.
Pam Lehmann says
This recipe is a keeper. I only had frozen spinach so I thawed it befor adding. I also added some left over asparagus. It was great. I used a 9 x 13 pan but didn’t want to overfill it so I had enough extra for an 8×8 to put in the freezer.
Mary Kudlacek says
This is my all time favorite! I make it regularly as a freezer meal for my family. I’ve made it a few times for new mamas and I think everyone has come back and asked for the recipe!
Have you ever separated it into smaller sizes to freeze? I am going to make this for my friend who just had a baby but it would just be for her and her hubby to eat so I didn’t want to make it a full pan.
Yes I do this all the time! The baking times might be a little bit less, but not much. Just start watching it 15 minutes before time listed and you’ll be fine.
Really delicious recipe! My whole family loved it. My husband is not a fan of breadcrumbs so I just put Parmesan on top. I had enough for a 9×13 to eat and an 8×8 to freeze. I’ll definitely be making again!
Can you bake this from it’s frozen state, or do you have to thaw it out first?
You can bake it from frozen state, just cover it for the first 45 mins or so then take off foil and finish baking until it’s all cooked through and bubbling throughout. I’m thinking 45-55 minutes, but just watch it closely.
Hello there This looks so good. How long does it last in the freezer for?
Hi! I’d suggest using up this freezer meal within 4 months!
Could you use frozen spinach?
Yes you can! But you’d use a lot less frozen spinach since it’s condensed down in frozen state.
Michelle Koester says
A lot of work but delicious! I found the recipe to make enough for at least 12 people. It made enough for an 8×11 dish to eat and an 8 x 8 to freeze. I just doubled the topping. I was impressed by the flavor and my family loved it!
This is probably a ‘newbie’ question but can you please clarify whether the “16 ounces” of pasta is a dry (uncooked) measure or whether I should cook it and THEN weigh it?
Thank you in advance!!! Great recipe collection, Karrie. So very helpful for busy moms and dads!
Cindy Downs says
Looks like the recipe says cooked al dente and drained (Hope I am not steering you in the wrong direction.
The “16 oz. penne pasta” is dry pasta. You cook it in step 2 of the instructions. She was just clarifying that you don’t overcook it, by cooking it el dente. I believe it is always uncooked pasta as measured in dry ounces because that’s how it is sold in packages in stores.
Linda Bell says
Was so excited to try this. In fact, doubled the recipe to give to friends. Gotta say…wasn’t overwhelmed. I found it to be a bit bland. Added a ton of garlic, would double the sauce next time. Just so so to my husband & I. Might sub Italian sausage instead of chicken if I made it a second time.
How do you cook the chicken for this meal? Stove top?