Our chicken lasagna recipe features layers of cubed cooked chicken and tender spinach swimming in a homemade cheese sauce. It pairs perfectly with a simple salad and garlic bread for an easy weeknight dinner. It would also be a great make-ahead pick for your next potluck event.
The homemade white sauce is what takes this lasagna to the next level. This sauce is a riff of a classic bechamel sauce, one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine. To it, we add savory chicken stock and two types of cheese for a serious flavor boost.
You could certainly cook up some chicken to use in this recipe, but we're always looking for ways to turn rotisserie chicken into dinner, and here's one perfect place for that. You could also use canned chicken in a pinch. Just make sure to drain it well so the lasagna doesn’t turn out watery.
Ingredients for Chicken Lasagna
- Cooked chicken: Use precooked chicken, or cook the chicken fresh. Wondering how to cook chicken for this recipe? Use your favorite method: Grill the chicken to infuse it with a smoky vibe, or make it quickly in the air fryer or Instant Pot.
- Frozen spinach: After thawing, squeeze the spinach well to remove excess moisture. Otherwise, the lasagna can become watery. If you prefer to start with fresh spinach, cook it first using an easy sauteed spinach recipe. One 10-ounce package of frozen spinach will yield about 1-1/2 cups. To use fresh spinach, substitute 1-1/2 pounds per package.
- Lasagna noodles: We use cooked lasagna noodles for this recipe, but you could easily swap in no-cook lasagna noodles without needing to adjust the liquid or cooking time.
- Cheese sauce: We make a roux with flour and butter, which thickens the chicken broth and milk into a creamy concoction. Then, we add shredded mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and a few dried herbs to give it a stellar finish.
- Ricotta cheese: We like ricotta cheese here because it’s richer and smoother than cottage cheese. If you’re a bigger fan of the latter, feel free to use it instead; we recommend first straining it through a mesh strainer to remove the extra moisture.
Step 1: Start the cheese sauce
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large saucepan, saute the onion in butter until tender. Add the garlic, and cook for one minute. Stir in the flour and salt until well incorporated. Cook until bubbly. Gradually stir in the broth and milk. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring, for one minute or until thickened.
Step 2: Finish the cheese sauce
Stir 2 cups of the mozzarella, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano and pepper into the milk mixture in pan. Set aside.
Editor’s Tip: Remove the pan from heat before adding the cheese, and add the cheese one handful at a time, stirring to melt it before adding the next handful. You want to avoid overheating the sauce at this stage, or else it might break. When a sauce breaks, it separates and curdles, which looks rather unappetizing. (If the sauce does break, don’t worry. Here’s how to save a broken sauce.)
Step 3: Prepare the ricotta mixture
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parsley and remaining mozzarella.
Editor’s Tip: Everything up to this point can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to three days. Store the cheese sauce and ricotta mixture in separate containers.
Step 4: Layer the lasagna
Spread one-quarter of the cheese sauce into a greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Start the layers by placing three lasagna noodles in the dish. Layer with half of the ricotta mixture, half of the spinach, half of the cubed cooked chicken and one-quarter of the cheese sauce.
Repeat the layers, adding noodles, ricotta mixture, spinach, cooked chicken and cheese sauce. Finish the lasagna with a layer of the remaining noodles and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top.
Step 5: Bake the lasagna
Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the lasagna is heated through. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before slicing.
- Make it meaty: Give the dish a decadent, savory spin, and use cooked bulk Italian sausage instead of chicken. Or, for a crispy finish, top the dish with cooked bacon bits during the final five minutes cook time.
- Go vegetarian: You don’t have to put meat in lasagna! Use vegetable broth in the sauce, and skip the chicken to transform this dish into a delightful vegetarian white spinach lasagna.
- Turn it into filled pasta: Combine the ricotta mixture, chicken and spinach, and you have a delicious filling for manicotti shells. Spoon the sauce over the stuffed shells to make spinach chicken manicotti.
How to Store Chicken Lasagna
After baking, let the lasagna cool. Then, cover the whole lasagna, and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat it, covered, in a 375° oven until the center reaches an internal temperature of 165°, 20 to 30 minutes. For individual slices, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat the pieces in the microwave.
How to Freeze Chicken Lasagna
If you plan to reheat the lasagna whole, wrap the cooled baking dish with a layer of plastic wrap. Then, cover the top with aluminum foil. For individual slices, wrap each in foil, and store them in a freeze-safe resealable bag. Let the lasagna thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Get all the details with our complete guide on how to freeze lasagna.
How long does chicken lasagna last?
If you’re using freshly cooked chicken, chicken lasagna lasts up to five days in the refrigerator. Frozen lasagna will keep for up to three months.
Chicken Lasagna Tips
What is chicken lasagna made of?
We make our chicken lasagna with cooked chicken, frozen spinach, ricotta cheese and a homemade white sauce. The creamy sauce is infused with onion, garlic, and herbs. We finish it with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses for maximum cheesiness.
What do you serve with chicken lasagna?
How do you avoid a runny lasagna?
Draining the noodles properly is the best way to avoid a runny lasagna. Another way to prevent a watery lasagna is to cook the lasagna uncovered. This lets the excess moisture evaporate as it cooks.
Also, one of our top tips for cooking pasta: Don't rinse your noodles after you cook them (doing so removes the starches that help the sauce cling to the noodles). Instead, lay them in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
How do you assemble chicken lasagna?
We recommend spreading a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking pan. The sauce prevents the noodles from sticking. Then, add layers of lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese, spinach, chicken and cheese sauce. The final layer features the remaining cheese sauce and Parmesan cheese, giving the dish a gorgeous, golden-brown appearance.