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Southern Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini

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This Chicken Tetrazzini from Southern Living is a cheesy, flavorful chicken casserole that’ll have you craving more! A creamy casserole with tender chicken, mushrooms, bell peppers, plus all the right seasonings – it’s sure to satisfy any appetite.

Pan of chicken tetrazzini.

This Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe Is

  • Straight from Southern Living, a trusted source for delicious recipes that we love to make in the South.
  • Great for serving at home, at potlucks, and for taking to friends and neighbors in their time of need.
  • Hearty and filling with over 3 cups of different cheeses.

Let’s take a look at how it’s made.


Ingredients to make chicken tetrazzini.

For this American dish (it’s believed to have originated in San Francisco), you need the following:

  • Sliced almonds
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Spaghetti noodles
  • Butter
  • Green bell pepper, chopped
  • All-purpose flour
  • Milk
  • Dry white wine
  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • Sliced fresh mushrooms
  • Diced pimientos
  • Garlic powder
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Sharp Cheddar cheese


Prep your ingredients.

  • Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces (approximately ½-inch cubes).
  • Chop the green bell pepper.
  • Drain the jar of pimentos.
  • If you are using a block of Parmesan cheese, grate it. You’ll need ½ cup in this recipe.

Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Bake the sliced almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan for 4 to 6 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring halfway through.

Sliced almonds roasted on a baking sheet.

Next, combine 1 cup water, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.

Chicken chunks cooking in a pan.

Add chicken to the pan of water, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes or until done. Drain the chicken and discard the liquid.

Chicken cooked in a skillet.

Combine olive oil, 6 cups water, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the spaghetti noodles and cook for 10 minutes or until they are almost tender. Drain the water.

Pot of cooked spaghetti noodles.

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat and add bell pepper. Sauté until it is tender.

Bell peppers cooking in butter in a pot.

Gradually whisk in flour and blend.

Sauteed green bell peppers in a cream sauce.

Gradually whisk in milk and the next 6 ingredients along with 2 cups of Cheddar cheese until it is all blended well.

Mushrooms, peppers, and cheese in a stockpot.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in the chicken.

Chicken tetrazzini filling in a pot.

Spread half of the spaghetti into the prepared baking dish and then spread half of the chicken and cheese mixture over the spaghetti. Repeat the layers.

Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese and almonds. Bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Chicken, bell peppers, spaghetti noodles, and mushrooms.

What to serve with Chicken Tetrazzini?

Serve this creamy pasta dish with garlic bread and a fresh salad to complete the meal.

Can I use turkey?

Of course. You can even use Thanksgiving Day leftover turkey to make this. If using leftover cooked turkey, skip the part of cooking the chicken and add chopped turkey to the cheesy bechamel sauce.

Can I use chicken that has already been cooked?

Yep! Go ahead and buy that rotisserie chicken at Sam’s or Costco. Pull the meat off the bones, chop, and add to the sauce as mentioned above.

Why is tetrazzini called tetrazzini?

The name is derived from an Italian opera star named Luisa Tetrazzini. In the early 20th century, she performed in the United States and a chef came up with the idea to make a rich pasta dish and named it after her.

Plate of chicken tetrazzini topped with cheese and sliced almonds.

Got spaghetti? Be sure to check out our recipe for Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs – one of the easiest recipes for making spaghetti.

Pan of chicken tetrazzini.

Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini

This recipe for Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini comes from Southern Living and delivers all that you expect from the classic comfort food.  It's loaded with cheesy goodness.
4.41 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 653kcal


  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¾ teaspoon salt divided
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 skinned and boned chicken breasts cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 7 ounces uncooked spaghetti noodles
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 medium-size green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 ½ Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 10 ¾ ounces cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 ounce jar diced pimiento drained
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (12 ounces) divided


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
  • Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 4 to 6 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring halfway through.
  • Combine 1 cup water, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes or until done. Drain chicken, discarding liquid.
  • Combine olive oil, 6 cups water, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti, and cook 10 minutes or until almost tender. Drain well.
  • Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add bell pepper, and sauté until tender. Gradually whisk in flour until blended. Gradually whisk in milk, next 6 ingredients, and 2 cups Cheddar cheese until blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in chicken.
  • Spread half of spaghetti into prepared baking dish; spread half of chicken mixture over spaghetti. Repeat layers.
  • Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and almonds; bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


***Recipe reprinted with permission.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 653kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 1259mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g
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Forkful of chicken tetrazzini.

The Southern Living Heirloom Recipe Cookbook

It is always nice when Southern Living comes out with a new cookbook full of recipes to try. I was sent a copy of The Southern Living Heirloom Recipe Cookbook: The Food We Love From The Times We Treasure. The book is a 336-page paperback book with full-color pictures of classic dishes and sprinkled with a few stories of southern life.

The chapters are organized as follows:

  • Cocktail Hour  it’s always five o’clock somewhere in the South” – Among the recipes are Iced Tea, Zesty Bloody Mary, Orange-Champagne Cocktail, Sugared Pecans, Olive-Cheese Sandwiches, Chicken Salad in Swiss Cheese Puffs,  and Oysters Rockefeller.
  • Cherished Breads  “baked goods that make the heart grow fonder” – Here you will find Southern Cheddar Spoon Bread, Favorite Southern Cornbread, Refrigerator Bran Muffins, Blueberry Streusel Muffins, Orange Rolls, Sour Cream Crescent Rolls, Quick Monkey Bread, Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, and others that are sure to make you want to start baking.
  • Memorable Mainspass-down recipes loved by generations of Southerners” –  Dixie Fried Chicken, Chicken Kiev, Smothered Quail, Beef Wellington, Pepper Steak, Veal Marsala, Stuffed Peppers, Crispy Fried Catfish, Classic Trout Amandine, Shrimp Creole, Pork Chops with Cream Gravy, and several other will help you figure out how to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”
Adam's Ribs photo.
Adam’s Ribs
  • All the Fixin’ssumptuous side dishes that also make great veggie plate medleys” – With recipes such as Summer Fruit Salad, Marinated Vegetable Salad, Green Goddess Salad, Fresh Green Beans Amandine, Baked Beans, Fried Okra, Creamed Spinach, Macaroni Au Gratin, Delicious Black Eyed Peas, and Sweet Potato Casserole you might find it difficult to pick only three or four for one meal.
  • Covered Dish Classicsone-dish favorites for family dinners and potlucks” – Chicken Divan, Chicken-Wild Rice Casserole, King Ranch Chicken, Beef Stroganoff, Shepherd’s Pie, Italian Sausage Lasagna, and Jambalaya are just a few of the hearty dishes in this section.
Picture of stew in a cookbook.
Smoky Mountain Brunswick Stew
  • Blue-Ribbon Dessertsno Southern sit-down is ever complete without something sweet to eat” – This is probably my favorite chapter because I have a sweet tooth, and because of recipes like Perfect Chocolate Cake, Million Dollar Pound Cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Lemon Bars, Congo Squares (I remember my sister making those), Chocolate Cream Pie, and too many more to mention.
Coconut Pie picture and recipe.
South Carolina Coconut Cream Pie
  • Holiday Traditionsrecipes that become food memories of family celebrations” –  This chapter has all the recipes you will need to make your holidays special. Recipes include Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing, Giblet Gravy, Perfect Prime Rib, Roast Leg of Lamb, Sausage-Cornbread Dressing, Holiday Cranberry Salad, Green Bean Casserole, Classic Cheese Soufflé, Favorite Pecan Pie, Chocolate Yule Log, Classic Eggnog,  and Divinity.
  • The Larderfrom pickles to jam, preserving garden goodness is a Southern tradition” – This chapter has recipes for Bread-and-Butter Pickles, Watermelon Rind Pickles, Okra Pickles, Nannie’s Chowchow, Freezer Strawberry Jam, Muscadine Jam, and several others to help you preserve your garden goodies.

The Southern Living Heirloom Recipe Cookbook: The Food We Love From The Times We Treasure would be a nice gift for someone starting out or for someone who wants to add to his or her collection of fine Southern recipes. It is available at your favorite bookstore or Amazon.com.

Be sure to come back and tell us how your chicken tetrazzini turned out!

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  1. This does look good ~ especially since I’m on a very very very low carb lifestyle change!! ;))
    Brunswick Stew as someone else mentioned is one of my favorites, along with Shrimp and Grits but hands down it would have to be Dressing! Thank goodness I only make it once or twice a year but, Lawd have mercy! it’s good!!!!

    1. I am going to try to post more Paleo/Gluten-Free recipes in the future. That should help with the very very very low carb lifestyle. 🙂

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