Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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Chicken broccoli ziti is a really easy pasta dish the entire family will love. Creamy cheesy ziti tossed with tender broccoli and thinly sliced chicken. It’s a full meal with veggies, protein, and carbs all in one bowl and only takes 25 minutes from start to finish.

A close up of chicken broccoli ziti in a cast iron skillet.

My chicken broccoli is definitely on the creamier side. I use chicken broth, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. Some recipes opt for milk, but the cream enhances the texture. The secret ingredient is all-purpose flour, which helps to thicken the sauce to a texture similar to that of a roux.

I love chicken broccoli ziti because it only takes about 25 minutes from start to finish and it’s a true crowdpleaser. We make this recipe for family gatherings and parties all the time because it’s easy to double or triple the recipe and keep warm in a warming tray.

If you enjoy this recipe, also try my baked ziti recipe and my creamy mushroom pasta. For more chicken pasta recipes, prepare my creamy Tuscan chicken and pasta or my creamy chicken carbonara!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and easy: this recipe takes about 25 minutes to pull together and is very simple. My favorite hack is par-cooking the broccoli in the pasta water just before the pasta is al dente. This makes cleanup a snap and speeds up the process.
  • Creamy and delicious: the creamy sauce coats everything, creating a cohesive blend of flavors that’s rich without feeling too heavy.

Ingredients

Ingredients for chicken broccoli ziti laid out on a cutting board.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: thinly sliced chicken is so important for pasta dishes! Thin chicken is ultra-tender and eliminates any chewiness. Don’t cut the chicken into chunks or it just won’t jive with the pasta.
  • Broccoli: fresh is best but you can also use frozen. Cut into small florets to avoid overly large heads.
  • Ziti: ziti is best but you can also substitute penne, rigatoni or mezi rigatoni.
  • Reduced-sodium chicken broth:
  • Heavy cream: while you can use light cream or half and half, heavy cream is so much richer and flavorful! Trust me.
  • White or yellow onion: this is a matter of preference. You can also substitute two super flavorful shallots.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: always buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself. Pre-grated cheese uses preservatives that prevent it from melting as well.
  • All-purpose flour: flour helps to thicken the sauce similarly to a roux. Corn starch behaves similarly and can also work as a substitute.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

How to Make Chicken Broccoli Ziti

Step 1.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil (salty like the sea). Add ziti and cook al dente. In the last 3 minutes, add broccoli and boil for 2-3 minutes. Strain together and set aside.

Adding uncooked broccoli florets into boiling pasta water.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a large pan or cast-iron skillet. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and fully cook. About 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken and transfer to a bowl, leaving juices behind in the pan. Cover chicken with foil to keep warm.

Cooking sliced chicken in a cast iron skillet.
Fully cooked chicken strips in a cast iron skillet.

Step 3.

Melt the remaining butter and add onion to the skillet. Simmer until onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes (keep them moving to prevent burning. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (1 minute). Add chicken broth, flour, cream, and red pepper flakes. Whisk and bring to a boil and simmer for about 7 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened (whisk occasionally).

Golden diced onions sizzling in a cast iron skillet with oil.
Simmering a cream-based sauce in a cast iron skillet for chicken broccoli ziti.

Step 4.

Add parmesan cheese and stir/whisk until incorporated. If the sauce is still too thin, whisk in an additional tablespoon of flour, it should thicken in less than one minute.

A simmering creamy sauce in a cast iron skillet with grated parmesan cheese in the center.

Step 5.

Return pasta and broccoli to the skillet and toss in the creamy sauce. Add chicken and continue to toss until everything is well-coated.

Adding cooked pasta and broccoli to a creamy sauce in a cast iron skillet.

Step 6.

Serve with crushed red pepper flakes and additional parmesan cheese!

Finished close up shot of a spoonful of creamy noodles, chicken and broccoli.

Expert Tips

  • If the sauce gets too thick, you can easily thin it back out with extra cream.
  • Heavy cream works best in this recipe because it can be simmered/boiled without separating or breaking due to its fat content.
  • Corn starch can be used to thicken the sauce if you don’t have flour. It works very similarly. Make a tincture of 1 tablespoon cold water and 1 tablespoon corn starch and stir it into the sauce.
  • If you don’t have enough chicken broth, you can also supplement it with white wine. It adds fantastic flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you reheat chicken broccoli ziti?

Reheat covered in the oven at 350°F with a little extra cream to help restore the texture. Heat until warm (about 10 minutes) and then stir.

Can I use other cuts of chicken?

Chicken thighs are very popular because they’re ultra tender. You can also use precooked or leftover rotisserie chicken to save a little time.

Can I use frozen broccoli?

Yes, cook as directed in the recipe. There is no need to thaw but it may take longer to cook if frozen.

More Pasta Recipes

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5 from 1 vote

Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe

Servings: 6
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Creamy pasta tossed with tender broccoli and thinly sliced chicken. It's a full meal with everything you need. That's what I love about it. Veggies, protein, carbs all in one bowl.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips
  • 1 bunch, 12 ounces broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 12 ounces ziti
  • 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil (salty like the sea). Add ziti and cook al dente. In the last 3 minutes, add broccoli and boil for 2-3 minutes. Strain together and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a large pan or cast-iron skillet. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and fully cook. About 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken and transfer to a bowl, leaving juices behind in the pan. Cover chicken with foil to keep warm.
  • Melt the remaining butter and add onion to the skillet. Simmer until onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes (keep them moving to prevent burning). Add garlic and cook until fragrant (1 minute). Add chicken broth, flour, cream, and red pepper flakes. Whisk and bring to a boil and simmer for about 7 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened (whisk occasionally).
  • Add parmesan cheese and stir/whisk until incorporated. If the sauce is still too thin, whisk in an additional tablespoon of flour, it should thicken in less than one minute.
  • Return pasta and broccoli to the skillet and toss in the creamy sauce. Add chicken and continue to toss until everything is well-coated.
  • Serve with crushed red pepper flakes and additional parmesan cheese!

Notes

If the sauce gets too thick, you can easily thin it back out with extra cream.
Heavy cream works best in this recipe because it can be simmered/boiled without separating or breaking due to its fat content.
Corn starch can be used to thicken the sauce if you don't have flour. It works very similarly. Make a tincture of 1 tablespoon cold water and 1 tablespoon corn starch and stir it into the sauce.
If you don't have enough chicken broth, you can also supplement it with white wine. It adds fantastic flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6Calories: 466kcalCarbohydrates: 47.9gProtein: 34.8gFat: 15.8gSaturated Fat: 7.2gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 465mgFiber: 3.7gSugar: 3.7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenswagger or tag #kitchenswagger!

About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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