Rotel Chicken Spaghetti is easy to make and features noodles and tender, juicy chicken in a creamy, cheesy queso sauce. It's topped with more gooey cheese and baked to golden, bubbly perfection.
Rotel Chicken Spaghetti
Rotel Chicken Spaghetti is a creamy, cheesy baked pasta casserole that is easy to make and a total family favorite.
The sauce is basically melty queso with bites of juicy chicken all tossed with spaghetti and topped with more gooey cheese, then baked to bubbly perfection.
Rotel chicken spaghetti makes a perfect weeknight dish because it's so simple to make and can even be made ahead. If you’re in the mood for some classic comfort food with a spicy southwest kick, you’ve found the right recipe.
Rotel Chicken Spaghetti Variations
Whether you're looking for something different or trying to use up what you have here are some tips for changing up this recipe!
- Protein: This is a great recipe for using up leftovers! So if you have leftovers from a holiday or previous meal, use whatever protein you have. Some ideas are turkey, sausage, ground beef, ground pork, or ground turkey.
- Veggies: Feel free to add your favorite veggies or ones you're trying to use up. Cook the firmer vegetables before adding into the sauce. Bell peppers, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchini would all be delicious in this dish.
- Beans: Beans will add a little extra substance, protein, and fiber to the dish. My favorites to add are black beans, red kidney beans, or pinto beans. Simply drain, rinse, and stir into the sauce.
- Cheese: The recipe calls for Velveeta and Monterey Jack. I will often substitute the Velveeta for white American cheese from the deli counter, and it is amazing. You can also use any cheese for the topping, including cheddar, pepper Jack, mozzarella, or even chihuahua cheese.
- Spaghetti: The recipe is called spaghetti, but any noodle will work in this dish. Just follow the package instructions to cook.
- Spice: There are lots of ways to add extra heat to this dish. The simplest way is to get the "hot" Rotel, which actually is pretty hot. You can also add in some fresh jalapenos, red pepper flakes, or your favorite hot sauce.
How to Serve Rotel Chicken Spaghetti
Serve Rotel chicken spaghetti warm with a piece of crusty bread. I like to round out the meal with a fresh green salad.
Can You Freeze Rotel Chicken Spaghetti
Yes, you can freeze it! Prepare the spaghetti and sauce, and top with cheese. Skip the final bake (step 9)! Allow your dish to come to room temperature. Then cover and freeze for up to 3 to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Bake the casserole for an additional 10 minutes (40 minutes total) to account for the cold baking dish at 350°F.
Here are some tips to make the absolute BEST Rotel chicken spaghetti!
- Make it vegetarian: Make this a vegetarian dish by omitting the chicken. You can leave it as is, or add two cans of beans, drained and rinsed, to add some protein back in.
- Pasta: Add some extra fiber and nutrition by choosing a whole wheat or chickpea pasta.
- Cooking the pasta: Cook the pasta until just barely done, a perfect al dente. Then rinse your pasta to prevent further cooking while you assemble the dish. This rinsing step is particularly important if you accidentally overcooked your spaghetti because it will stop if from cooking as it sits, leaving you with mushy pasta.
- Use rotisserie chicken: Probably the best time-saving hack of all time. Skip the chicken-cooking step, and instead throw some rotisserie chicken in.
- Juicy chicken: The recipe calls for breasts, but using 2 pounds of chicken thighs will yield an even juicier, more tender bite of chicken.
Why Should I Rinse My Spaghetti?
I like to rinse my pasta when I'm doing baked pasta dishes because it will stop the cooking process of the noodles by cooling them off. This will help prevent the pasta from getting too mushy and absorbing too much of the sauce during baking, which makes the noodles both too soft (mushy from absorbing too much liquid) and too dry (from absorbing all the sauce INto the noodle so there's none ON the noodles).
More Casserole Recipes You'll Love
- Ham Tetrazzini - ham and spaghetti noodles in a rich and creamy sauce with buttery crispy topping.
- Tuna Noodle Casserole - warm noodles and tuna in a creamy, savory sauce and baked to bubbly perfection to make a classic favorite.
- Ritz Cracker Chicken Casserole - a creamy cheesy chicken casserole topped with crumbled butter crackers. Delicious served over rice or noodles!
- Bruschetta Chicken Bake - bright and flavorful featuring homemade bruschetta tossed in a crumbly topping on top of juicy, tender bites of chicken.
- Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole - a family favorite casserole featuring ground beef in gravy topped with tater tots and gooey cheese.
Rotel Chicken Spaghetti Video
Rotel Chicken Spaghetti
- 8 ounces spaghetti uncooked
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds) cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of chicken soup
- 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel) undrained
- 8 ounces Velveeta cheese cubed
- 1½ cups freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese
- Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water according to package instructions. RESERVE 1 CUP OF COOKING WATER BEFORE DRAINING. Drain. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Set aside spaghetti and ½ cup cooking water.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add butter and cook until melted.
- Add chicken, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cook over medium-high heat until chicken is no longer pink.
- Drain excess liquid and return to skillet over medium heat.
- To the chicken, stir in soup, diced tomatoes and green chiles, and Velveeta cubes. Reduce heat to low, and cook until the cheese melts, stirring constantly.
- Stir in spaghetti and reserved ½ cup of liquid, and stir to incorporate.
- Transfer to a 9"x13" baking dish. Top with shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through.
- Make-ahead instructions: assemble the spaghetti and top with cheese. Cover and refrigerate for up to two days. Bake as instructed but with an added 10 minutes to the baking time.
- Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days. Reheat in individual servings in the microwave.
- Freeze Directions: Prepare the spaghetti and sauce, and top with cheese. Skip the final bake (step 9), and allow your dish to come to room temperature. Then cover and freeze for up to 3 to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. To heat, bake for an additional 10 minutes (40 minutes total) to account for the cold baking dish at 350°F.
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