No-boil alfredo? The fettuccine noodles and chicken cook right in the baking dish with the sauce for an easy, all-in-one dinner.
This no-boil, oven-baked Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo is as delicious and creamy as the American alfredo like you might find at Olive Garden, but with the ease of a one-pan, dump-and-go dinner. The dry pasta cooks right in the casserole dish, so there’s no need to boil the noodles ahead of time, and the dreamy sauce (which surprisingly has less cream and butter than most recipes) is wonderfully smooth and cheesy.
You’ll need a deep, 9×13-inch casserole dish for the long fettuccine noodles, not only to accommodate the length without having to break the noodles in half, but also for the depth because they need a lot of liquid while cooking in the oven.
How To Boil Pasta In The Oven
When boiling any kind of pasta on the stovetop, there is usually a high ratio of salted water to pasta, but we never think about just how much liquid the pasta is absorbing before it’s considered “done.” It’s a lot—anywhere from two to three cups.
For this to work in the oven, two things need to happen:
- The pasta has to be fully submerged in enough liquid (4 cups in this case)
- The liquid has to come to a boil in the oven (or it will take a looong time for the pasta to soften)
Using a deep, 9×13-inch casserole dish is key. It’s wide and deep enough to fit enough liquid for submerging the fettuccine, but still shallow enough to allow the liquid to come to a boil when tightly covered with aluminum foil (another crucial step).
Pour four cups of the chicken stock into the casserole dish and stir in one teaspoon of the salt. Add the fettuccine and swish it around so that the liquid can seep between every noodle. Add the chicken tenderloin pieces on top of the fettuccine, cover the dish TIGHTLY with aluminum foil to prevent any evaporation, and bake for 30 minutes. While this is in the oven, grate the Parmesan cheese and combine the ingredients for the sauce.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce For The Oven
In a 4-cup glass measuring cup, like this one, whisk together the remaining chicken stock, remaining salt, the cornstarch, butter, cream, black pepper, and garlic powder until no lumps remain. DO NOT add the cheese to this mixture; it will be added separately.
At first, the Alfredo sauce ingredients will look liquidy, and you’ll probably wonder how it’s going to turn into that decadent, creamy, clingy, cheesy kind of sauce that’s expected for an Alfredo. The magic happens in the oven, thanks to the little bit of cornstarch that was added.
When the fettuccine is ready to come out of the oven, remove the aluminum foil and set it aside (don’t crumple it up yet). The noodles will be just about done, but not quite; the pasta will look cooked in the middle, with some opaque areas on the ends, and might still feel a little stiff in some spots, but pliable. Using a pair of tongs, give the pasta a good toss around the pan to distribute the chicken and separate the noodles.
Pour the cream mixture over the pasta, add the cheese, and toss everything together until well combined. The sauce will begin to thicken, but won’t be thick enough yet. Re-cover the pan using the same aluminum foil, and pop the casserole dish back into the oven for 10 more minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven, uncover, and toss the pasta again; a creamy, cheesy sauce will be clinging to every noodle. Let this stand for five minutes before serving to allow the sauce to fully thicken. This Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo is best when eaten immediately.
The total cook time will give you al-dente fettuccine. If you like a softer noodle, increase the first bake time to 40 minutes, instead of 30.
Can I Use Other Pasta Shapes For Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo?
In theory, you can use this oven technique (and the sauce) with any pasta shape, however different shapes will have different cook times and require different amounts of liquid, as you’ll see in my No-Boil Pasta Bake and my No-Boil Baked Feta Pasta. Tag me in your experiments as you try different pasta shapes, I’d love to see your results and combinations!
Can I Use Chicken Breasts Instead?
Chicken breast can be used instead of chicken tenderloin, however it can sometimes become rubbery from boiling in the liquid. Chicken tenderloins always stay tender throughout the cooking process and are quicker and easier to cut during prep time.
Can I Use Pre-Grated Cheese In Alfredo Sauce?
The pre-grated, packaged Parmesan cheese at the grocery store contains additives to prevent the grated cheese from clumping; these are often called “non-caking or non-clumping agents.” Because of this, the cheese might not fully melt, resulting in a grainy sauce. Invest the few minutes it takes to grate the cheese yourself; it will keep the additives out of your homemade food, and make a better sauce, too.
Vegetarian Fettuccine Alfredo
Simply by removing the chicken or substituting it with vegetables, this recipe can easily convert to a vegetarian version. Try adding spinach, escarole, or chopped broccoli just before adding the cream mixture to the fettuccine.Print
The fettuccine noodles and chicken cook right in the baking dish with the sauce for an easy, all-in-one dinner.
Serve with fresh basil, parsley, and freshly cracked black pepper.
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this pasta, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
- 5 cups chicken stock, divided
- 1 and ½ tsp. salt, divided
- 1 lb. fettuccine noodles
- 8 chicken tenderloins, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 8 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In a 9×13-inch casserole dish, add 4 cups of the chicken stock and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Stir to combine and submerge the pasta into the liquid. Place chicken on top of pasta.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place pan in oven. Bake 30 minutes.*
- In a 4-cup measuring cup or medium bowl whisk together remaining 1 cup of chicken stock, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, the cream, butter, cornstarch, pepper, and garlic powder until no lumps remain. Set aside.
- Remove baking dish from oven, remove foil. Using tongs, toss pasta to separate. Pour cream mixture over pasta. Add cheese, toss to coat.
- Cover baking dish with foil. Place pan in oven. Bake 10 minutes more.
- Remove baking dish from oven, immediately toss pasta to coat in sauce. Let stand 5 minutes before serving, sauce will thicken.
*For softer pasta, increase bake time in step 3 to 40 minutes.