Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Penne


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This Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Penne has features of mac and cheese but with chicken added too! A great meal to come home to that the entire family will enjoy.

Close up of cheesy chicken penne in slow cooker.
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Why This Recipe Works

I was on Pinterest and saw this Chicken-Macaroni Casserole recipe and knew I could make something just as good in my slow cooker. I didn’t realize I would make the easiest, most delicious, kid-friendly pasta ever! I made this recipe again a week later for a girl scout potluck, and there wasn’t any left!

Anytime you can prepare a “one-pot” meal that takes minimal ingredients and still yields a delicious flavor is a winner in my book. This is one of those busy night meals because the prep time is short, and the cooking time is reasonable.

You can start it, continue your day and finish up minutes before serving. This cheesy chicken penne is an excellent idea for any time of year and is sure to become a new family favorite.


Ingredients for cheesy chicken penne on a table.
  • Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breasts are the perfect size and yield quite a bit when shredded at the time.
  • Cream of chicken soup: You’ll use two cans without adding water; you can use mushroom soup if that is what you have on hand.
  • Chicken broth: Or chicken stock helps create the cream sauce texture.
  • Seasonings: Pepper and dried leaf tarragon; you can substitute oregano or Italian seasoning.
  • Mushrooms: These will be sliced. I know many kids (and adults) don’t like mushrooms; you can leave them out and add additional broth, for they do add moisture to the recipe.
  • Onion: Sweet yellow onion is diced and aads a nice flavor.
  • Sour cream: Added toward the end to help provide a creamy texture.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: You sharp cheddar or medium cheddar, depending on your preferences.
  • Penne pasta: You’ll cook this according to the package directions on the stove. I also use penne pasta in my Slow Cooker Chicken Alfredo Recipe

Step-by-Step Directions

How to add ingredients for cheesy chicken penne to slow cooker.

Step One – Add the cream of chicken soup to the slow cooker with the chicken broth.

Step Two – Mix until smooth.

Step Three: Add the mushrooms, diced onion, tarragon, and pepper and mix again.

Step Four – Place the chicken breast on top of that. Cook on LOW for 6 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time.

6 images about how to shred chicken, add sour cream, cheese and pasta to slow cooker. Top with more cheese.

Step Five – Just before the cooking time is up, boil your water, then cook the pasta to Al Dente.

Step Six – Shred the chicken with two forks right in the slow cooker.

Step Seven: Add the sour cream, half the cheese, and the cooked and drained pasta.

Step Eight – Stir.

Step Nine – Sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

Step Ten – Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

overhead image of cooked chicken penne with cheese.

How to Serve

  • This slow cooker meal can be served as-is because it provides plenty of heartiness with the pasta, chicken, and cheese.
  • You can also serve it with garlic bread or another bread of your choice.
  • This pasta also pairs well with a small side salad or another green vegetable, such as steamed broccoli.
  • As for toppings, you can’t go wrong with adding extra shredded cheese or going for some shredded parmesan cheese.
Plate with cheesy chicken penne and broccoli.

Recipe FAQs

What other type of pasta could I use in this crock pot chicken penne?

Rotini pasta is another go-to pasta that can be used to substitute the penne pasta. If anything, use whatever you have in your pantry. Egg noodles can be used, though you have to be EXTRA careful not to overcook.

Is this recipe freeze-friendly (make ahead freezer meal)?

Since sour cream doesn’t freeze very well, this is a recipe that you’ll want to freeze in parts and then cook it according to the directions. You can combine everything up until the sour cream, freeze, and then defrost and cook according to the directions.

How do I store leftovers?

Any leftover pasta can be put into an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days.

How can I make this recipe more hearty?

You could always add more vegetables such as peas, corn, broccoli, bell peppers, green chiles, and the like.

Can I add additional seasonings?

You can use Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, or even dried basil! Make the dish your own with your favorite spices.

Heaven on a plate! Plenty of sauce to coat all the noodles. I highly recommend this meal for an easy weeknight meal.

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overhead image of cooked chicken penne with cheese.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Penne

4.75 from 51 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Family friendly and perfect for a busy weeknight, this hearty Cheesy Chicken Penne will be a crowd pleaser.


  • 1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 21 oz cream of chicken soup , (two-10.5 oz cans) Don't add water
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried leaf tarragon, can substitute oregano, thyme or Italian seasoning here.
  • 1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small sweet yellow onion, diced

Add at the end

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 lb. penne pasta, cooked according to package directions on the stove-top


  • Add the cream of chicken soup and chicken broth to the slow cooker, stir until smooth.
  • Add the tarragon, pepper, mushrooms and onions, stir.
  • Add the chicken breasts.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time.
  • After the cooking time is up, start cooking the pasta according to the package directions to Al dente on the stove-top, do not over cook!
  • Shred the chicken with 2 forks.
  • Add sour cream and half of the cheese, stir.
  • Add the cooked and drained pasta and stir again.
  • Sprinkle over remaining cheese. Cover the slow cooker and cook for an additional 20 minutes on low.
  • Serve and enjoy!

How to Video

Sarah’s Notes

  • If you have extra picky eaters and want to omit the mushrooms and onions add an additional 1/2 cup of broth. This will replace the moisture from the mushrooms and onions.
  • You could always add more vegetables such as peas, corn, broccoli, bell peppers, green chiles and the like.
  • Any pasta can be used. Though if you use egg noodles, be extra careful not to overcook, they tend to break apart easily.


Calories: 563kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 881mg | Potassium: 673mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 636IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 274mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Anonymous says:

    How much is one serving? Trying to use the nutrition information but it does not quantify 1 serving size.

    1. Sarah Olson says:

      I do not measure serving sizes, I apologize.

    2. Sarah Olson says:

      The full recipe is in the recipe card. It is 8 ounces 🙂

  2. Sam Hamilton says:

    I use cream cheese instead of sour cream. The family lives it.

  3. Shawn says:

    Is there any low sodium alternative for the cream of chicken/mushroom soup?

    1. Sarah Olson says:

      You could find the lower sodium soup. Without testing the recipe, I can’t think of an alternative off the top of my head. I apologize.

      1. Shawn says:

        5 stars
        I tried with the unsalted cream of chicken and reduced sodium chicken broth and it still turned out great!

      2. Sarah Olson says:

        Glad that worked well!

  4. Chase says:

    How long if you use chicken thighs

    1. Sarah Olson says:

      Yes, chicken thighs work well in this recipe.