Cheesy Chicken Pasta with Broccoli and Bacon

Dive into a bowl of comfort with our tantalizing Cheesy Chicken Pasta featuring succulent penne, savory chicken, crispy bacon, and nutritious broccoli, all enveloped in a luscious, cheesy sauce. This recipe brings together the best of flavors and textures for a meal that’s both satisfying and indulgent, perfect for any occasion.


Prepare to tantalize your taste buds with these ingredients:

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small (1-inch) florets
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 12 ounces cooked chicken breast or deli chicken, diced
  • ½ cup chopped crispy-cooked bacon
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives


Follow these simple steps to create your Cheesy Chicken Pasta masterpiece:

  1. Cook Pasta and Broccoli: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the penne pasta until just under al dente, about 7 minutes. Remove the pasta and blanch the broccoli in the same water. Drain and set aside.
  2. Prepare Cheesy Sauce: In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter and sauté minced garlic until fragrant. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually pour in milk, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens. Stir in Gruyere, sour cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
  3. Combine Pasta, Chicken, and Broccoli: Add cooked pasta, diced chicken, and blanched broccoli to the sauce. Cook until the pasta is al dente and the sauce coats everything evenly.
  4. Serve and Garnish: Distribute the cheesy chicken pasta into bowls and top with crispy-cooked bacon and fresh chives for a burst of flavor and color.

Nutritional Information

  • Prep Time: See recipe
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Calories: 600 per serving
  • Servings: 4 servings

Serving and Storage Tips:

Enhance your dining experience and prolong the enjoyment of your Cheesy Chicken Pasta with these handy serving and storage tips:

  1. Serve Fresh and Hot:
    • Enjoy your Cheesy Chicken Pasta immediately after cooking while it’s hot and the cheese is gooey. Serve it straight from the stove to the table for the best flavor and texture.
  2. Garnish Before Serving:
    • For a final touch, garnish each serving with crispy-cooked bacon and fresh chives just before serving. This adds a burst of color and flavor that elevates the dish.
  3. Pair with Side Dishes:
    • Accompany your Cheesy Chicken Pasta with a side salad, garlic bread, or steamed vegetables for a well-rounded meal. The fresh contrast of a salad or the crunch of garlic bread complements the richness of the pasta.
  4. Reheat with Care:
    • If reheating leftovers, do so gently over low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of milk to the pasta to prevent it from drying out. Stir frequently to ensure even heating.
  5. Avoid Overcooking:
    • To prevent the pasta from becoming mushy upon reheating, take care not to overcook it initially. Cook the pasta just under al dente, as it will continue to cook slightly when mixed with the sauce.
  6. Portion for Convenience:
    • Consider portioning the Cheesy Chicken Pasta into individual servings before storing. This makes reheating easier and allows for convenient grab-and-go lunches or dinners.
  7. Store in Airtight Containers:
    • Transfer any leftover Cheesy Chicken Pasta to airtight containers or resealable bags and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Properly sealed containers help retain freshness and prevent odors from permeating the pasta.
  8. Freeze for Future Enjoyment:
    • If you have excess pasta that won’t be consumed within a few days, freeze it in freezer-safe containers or resealable bags for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  9. Refresh with Additions:
    • Add a splash of chicken broth or cream while reheating to refresh the sauce and prevent it from becoming too thick. This helps maintain the creamy texture of the pasta.
  10. Customize with Additional Toppings:
    • Experiment with additional toppings such as grated cheese, toasted breadcrumbs, or chopped herbs for added flavor and texture when serving leftovers.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Cheesy Chicken Pasta with Broccoli and Bacon remains deliciously satisfying whether served fresh or enjoyed as leftovers. Make the most of this flavorful dish by incorporating these suggestions into your meal planning and preparation.


Elevate your Cheesy Chicken Pasta with these creative variations to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs:

  1. Vegetarian Twist:
    • Omit the chicken and bacon to create a vegetarian version of the dish. Add extra vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach for added flavor and nutrients.
  2. Gluten-Free Option:
    • Use gluten-free penne pasta or your favorite gluten-free pasta alternative to make the dish suitable for gluten-free diets. Ensure that all other ingredients, including sauces and seasonings, are also gluten-free.
  3. Creamy Alfredo Sauce:
    • Replace the cheesy sauce with a creamy Alfredo sauce made with butter, cream, garlic, and Parmesan cheese for a luxurious twist on the classic recipe.
  4. Spicy Kick:
    • Add diced jalapeños or crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce for a spicy kick. Garnish with fresh cilantro or sliced green onions for added flavor and color.
  5. Mushroom Medley:
    • Incorporate a variety of mushrooms such as cremini, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms for a earthy and savory flavor profile. Sauté the mushrooms with garlic and butter before adding them to the pasta.
  6. Herbaceous Delight:
    • Enhance the dish with fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, or thyme. Toss the cooked pasta with the herbs just before serving for a burst of freshness.
  7. Greek-Inspired Twist:
    • Replace the Gruyere cheese with feta cheese and add Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and spinach to the pasta for a Mediterranean-inspired variation.
  8. Creamy Pesto Sauce:
    • Mix creamy pesto sauce with the pasta for a flavorful twist. Combine basil pesto with heavy cream or Greek yogurt for a creamy and herbaceous sauce.
  9. Lemon Garlic Infusion:
    • Add lemon zest and minced garlic to the sauce for a bright and zesty flavor. Finish the dish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving.
  10. Protein Swap:
    • Substitute the chicken with cooked shrimp, diced ham, or Italian sausage for a different protein option. Adjust cooking times accordingly based on the protein used.


  1. Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe?
    • Yes, you can use your favorite pasta shape such as fusilli, rigatoni, or farfalle instead of penne. Just adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions.
  2. Is there a substitute for Gruyere cheese if I can’t find it?
    • Yes, you can substitute Gruyere cheese with Swiss cheese, Fontina, or white cheddar for a similar flavor and texture.
  3. Can I make this dish ahead of time and reheat it?
    • While it’s best served fresh, you can make the dish ahead of time and refrigerate it. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of milk to prevent it from drying out.
  4. Is it possible to make this dish without bacon?
    • Absolutely! You can omit the bacon or replace it with cooked sausage, ham, or even mushrooms for a vegetarian option.
  5. How can I make the sauce thicker or thinner?
    • To thicken the sauce, simmer it for a few more minutes until it reaches your desired consistency. If it’s too thick, you can add a splash of milk or pasta water to thin it out.
  6. Can I use frozen broccoli instead of fresh?
    • Yes, you can use frozen broccoli florets if fresh broccoli is not available. Simply thaw and drain them before adding to the dish.
  7. Is it necessary to blanch the broccoli before adding it to the pasta?
    • Blanching the broccoli briefly before adding it to the pasta helps to soften it slightly and preserve its vibrant green color. However, you can skip this step if you prefer your broccoli to be more crunchy.
  8. Can I use rotisserie chicken instead of cooked chicken breast?
    • Yes, rotisserie chicken works well in this recipe. Simply shred the cooked chicken and add it to the pasta along with the sauce.
  9. How do I prevent the sauce from curdling?
    • To prevent the sauce from curdling, make sure to gradually add the milk to the roux (butter and flour mixture) while whisking continuously. Also, avoid boiling the sauce once the cheese has been added.
  10. Can I adjust the spiciness of the dish?
    • Yes, you can adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or less hot sauce according to your preference. You can also omit the hot sauce altogether if you prefer a milder flavor.

With our Cheesy Chicken Pasta with Broccoli and Bacon recipe, you can elevate your dinner table with a dish that’s both comforting and gourmet. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner or entertaining guests, this recipe is sure to impress with its irresistible combination of flavors and textures. So, grab your ingredients and get ready to indulge in a bowl of cheesy goodness!