Chicken Lasagna

This white lasagna with chicken will win over any dinner crowd. Layered with creamy bechamel sauce, shredded chicken, and a ricotta and spinach filling, it’s make-ahead friendly and freezes like a dream.

Slice of Chicken Lasagna in a Bowl with a Bite on a Fork, and in the Background, a Casserole Dish with More and a Glass of Water

Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

Oh, lasagna. Let me count the ways! To add to your repertoire of this beloved make-ahead and feed-a-crowd dish, tomato sauce takes a break in favor of a white bechamel sauce. We wouldn’t dream of leaving the beloved classic lasagna behind, but pasta with a spinach and ricotta filling, shredded chicken from a home-cooked or rotisserie bird, all bound together in a creamy Parmesan sauce may be your next favorite. When company comes, a potluck calls, or you’re having a lasagna-craving moment, this is one fantastic people-pleaser. 

Lasagna is never a last-minute quick supper, but with a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll pull it off without a hitch. Make all the components, line them up on the counter, and assemble the casserole. Keeping things neat and organized is your ticket to success without burn-out!

Cheeseburger Casserole

Simply Recipes / Dude that Cookz

Save Time and Use a Rotisserie Bird

To streamline things, instead of poaching your own chicken, buy already cooked chicken breasts or a rotisserie chicken. All you need to do is shred it. (Note that, if you prefer, poaching your own breasts takes very little hands-on time and can be done while you prepare all the other components. Cooking chicken breasts with the skin and bones ensures that the meat will be tender and juicy.)

Swapping No-Boil Noodles

In my recipe I call for regular lasagna noodles. You can use no-boil noodles for a great effort-savor, but there’s a caveat. They rely on the moisture in the sauce to soften them. Without enough liquid in the sauce, they could end up crunchy rather than soft and toothsome. Since we’re using bechamel in this lasagna, your best bet is to soak the no-boil noodles in boiling water for about 3 minutes. When you assemble the lasagna, be sure the top layer is well-covered with sauce. Cover the dish loosely with foil for the first 30 minutes so the noodles can soften in the sauce. Then remove the foil and let the cheese and sauce brown.

Chicken Lasagna in a Casserole Dish with a Slice Missing

Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

Make Ahead Lasagna Options

  • Make ahead 1: Make the components and refrigerate for up to 3 days. The filling, sauce, chicken, and grated cheese can be made up to two days ahead of time. Store them in the fridge. Reheat the sauce, since it thickens when cold and assemble the lasagna just before you are ready to bake the lasagna. Never mix hot and cold ingredients unless you are putting them straight into the oven.
  • Make-ahead 2: Assemble and refrigerate for up to 24 hours ahead of time. Assemble the whole lasagna and refrigerate it in the baking dish covered with plastic or foil. You may need an additional 10 to 15 minutes to heat it all the way through.
  • Make-ahead 3: Assemble the lasagna and freeze it in the baking dish. Cover the lasagna with plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze for up to 2 months for optimal freshness. Remove the plastic wrap and foil from the baking dish and replace the foil. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until hot. During the last 20 minutes of baking, remove the foil and continue baking until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is browned.
Chicken Lasagna in a Casserole Dish, with a Piece Cut Out

Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

Pans and Pans of Lasagna

Chicken Lasagna

Prep Time 60 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 110 mins
Servings 8 to 12 servings

If you don’t want to cook your own chicken, you can use already cooked chicken breasts or a rotisserie chicken. All you need to do is shred it. You’ll need 2 1/2 to 3 cups total.

To use no-boil noodles, soak them in boiling water for about 3 minutes. When you assemble the lasagna, be sure the top layer is well-covered with sauce. Cover the dish loosely with foil for the first 30 minutes so the noodles can soften in the sauce. Then remove the foil and let the cheese and sauce brown.

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 4 thick slices yellow onion

  • 1 bay leaf

For the filling

  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves

  • 1 pound (2 cups) whole milk ricotta

  • 2 ounces (1 cup) finely grated fresh Parmesan

  • 1 large egg

  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg (or a pinch of ground nutmeg)

For the sauce

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups whole milk, cold from the fridge

  • 2 ounces (1 cup) freshly grated Parmesan

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the pasta

  • 5 to 6 quarts water

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 12 (about 3/4 pound) dry lasagna noodles (not no-boil noodles)

  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella 

Special Equipment

  • 9x13x3-inch baking dish

Method

  1. Cook and shred the chicken:

    In a large saucepan, place the chicken breasts. They should fit snugly in the pan. Add 1 teaspoon salt, plus the sliced onion and bay leaf, and enough water to cover by 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let stand for 25 to 30 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees in the center of a breast. 

    Transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool. Remove the skin and bones and shred the chicken. You should have 2 1/2 to 3 cups.

    Chicken Boiled in a Pot of Water with a Bay Leaf and Onions for Chicken Lasagna Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

  2. Cook and chop the spinach:

    In a large skillet, toss the spinach with 2 tablespoons of water and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, turning the leaves with tongs until they wilt. Let cool. 

    When cool enough to handle, place the spinach on a clean dish towel and roll up the towel. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Place the spinach on a cutting board and finely chop it.

    Baby Spinach Cooked in a Pan for Chicken Lasagna Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Cooked Spinach Chopped into Smaller Pieces for Lasagna with Chicken Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

  3. Make the filling:

    In a large bowl, stir the ricotta and chopped spinach together. Sir in the egg, Parmesan, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg until blended.

    Ricotta Filling Ingredients Mixed Together for Lasagna Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

  4. Make the sauce:

    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. The mixture should be pale golden, not at all browned. Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until well blended. Continue to gradually whisk in the milk, about 1 cup at a time, and bring to a low boil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until there is no raw flour taste in the sauce.

    Add the Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt or pepper, if needed.

    Flour and Melted Mixed Together in a Pot to Make a Roux for Chicken Lasagna Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Spoon Used to Check Consistency of White Sauce for Chicken Lasagna

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

  5. Cook the lasagna noodles:

    In a 6-quart or larger pot, bring 5 to 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions, usually about 8 to 9 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse them under cold running water until cool. Return them to the pot and cover them with cold water until needed.

    Pot of Boiled Pasta for Chicken Lasagna

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

  6. Preheat the oven:

    Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF.

  7. Assemble the lasagna:

    Over the bottom of a 9x13x3-inch baking dish, spread 1/2 cup of the sauce.

    Spread a clean dish towel on a baking sheet or the countertop. Remove several lasagna noodles from the pot and set them on the towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining noodles as you use them.

    Place 4 drained noodles over the sauce in the baking dish. Dollop and spread half the filling over the noodles. Distribute half the chicken on top of the filling and spread with 1 cup of the sauce. Repeat with 4 noodles, the remaining half of the filling, the remaining half of the chicken, and 1 cup of the sauce. Finally, top with the remaining 4 noodles and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella.

    Chicken Lasagna Layering: Sauce Smeared on the Bottom of the Casserole Dish

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Chicken Lasagna Layering: Lasagna Pasta on a Kitchen Towel

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Chicken Lasagna Layering: Next Lasagna Noodles Are Added

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Chicken Lasagna Layering: Then a Layer of Ricotta Filling Smeared on Using an Offset Spatula

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Chicken Lasagna Layering: Layer of Chicken Added on Top of Ricotta Filling

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Chicken Lasagna Layering: Sauce Smeared over Chicken Layer

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Chicken Lasagna Layering: Shredded Mozzarella Added as Last Layer

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

  8. Bake the lasagna:

    Bake the lasagna for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling bubbles and the top is golden brown. 

    Let the lasagna rest and settle for about 10 minutes before slicing into serving pieces. Leftovers will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for at least 4 days.

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    Baked Chicken Lasagna in a Casserole Dish, Resting on a Kitchen Towel

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
439 Calories
24g Fat
22g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 439
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 13g 64%
Cholesterol 123mg 41%
Sodium 1898mg 83%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 33g
Vitamin C 7mg 36%
Calcium 407mg 31%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 490mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.