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Tres Quesos Chicken Pasta

Tres Quesos Chicken Pasta

Pasta de Pollo con Tres Quesos

Recipe Yield

8 to 10 servings

Cooking time

30 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.5 from 8 votes


  • 2 garlic cloves minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt plus more for salting the water
  • To taste freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup cubed Oaxaca cheese
  • 1 cup cubed asadero or muenster cheese
  • Fresh cilantro chopped, for serving
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso añejo or cotija for garnish

To Prepare

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
  • In a medium bowl combine the garlic, chili powder, oregano, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add chicken to the bowl and toss until chicken is coated in the rub.
  • Once the water is boiling, cook the spaghetti until al dente, or according to package instructions. Strain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  • In a large casserole set over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil. Once it melts, add the chicken and cook until all sides are browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and continue to brown for another 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the milk and cream, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to remove browned bits. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water – or more if desired. Let the liquids come to a simmer and reduce until they begin to thicken.
  • Add the Oaxaca and muenster cheese, saving the cojita for the topping. Once the cheese is slightly melted, take off the heat and stir in pasta. Stir until the pasta is completely coated and the cheese is melted. Serve hot. Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro and cotija cheese.


44comments inTres Quesos Chicken Pasta

  1. Carlos Ayala

    Aug 26

    My mom and I just watched the episode with this recipe yesterday!! And we plan to make it one of these weekends, too. We were wondering something, though: would a tube pasta, like penne or rigatoni work in this recipe as well?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 18

      Absolutely Carlos, go for it 😉

  2. richard faber

    Nov 27

    I saw your show on this chicken pasta. It looks fantastic. I will be making it in the near future when I get the ingredients.
    Love your show, the food you cook, recipes, and how you present everything with love, and (forgive me) sex appeal. You really know how to turn people on to your food. Sincerely.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 02

      So glad you, got interested in this recipe Richard, yay!

  3. Darlene

    Nov 19

    I will be enjoying this on Saturday for the 3rd time. Oh so good. Thanks Pati. I enjoy all your recipes

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 22

      So glad you like this pasta so much Darlene, enjoy!

  4. Cheryl

    Aug 23

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was great! I will defiantly make this again!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 26

      Awesome Cheryl, thanks for the feedback 😉

  5. Jennifer

    Jul 21

    Could you recommend other cheeses for this dish?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 26

      Of course Jennifer, if you cannot find Oaxaca or Asadero, go for Mozzarella, Quesadilla or Gouda. If you don’t have Cotija, you can sprinkle Feta or Queso Fresco. Enjoy!

  6. Toni

    Nov 20

    I saw this show on PBS this past week and I thought this sounds so easy. I was wondering, do you think I could add some vegetables to this dish? Maybe spaghetti squash? or even broccoli?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 20

      For sure! Go for it, Toni.

  7. Ivonne Salomon

    Apr 30

    Buenas noches Pati y yo hare esta receta pronto y que que saldra deliciosa. Me encantan todas tus recetas y tu programa en Create. It make me miss my amazing country Mexico. I will love if you could do a section on other parts of Mexico, like Monterrey and Chihuahua, they have amazing recipes to and traditions. Dios te bendiga a ti y tu familia y que a Alan se encuentre bien en la Universidad.

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 23

      Mil gracias, Ivonne! I hope to do explore those areas of Mexico soon…and my new season will explore Sinaloa.

  8. Kelli

    Dec 18

    This is the best pasta ever! I love your show, my son and I watch it all the time! He loves to cook in the kitchen with me just like your boys! Thank you for the cook books and the show and for inspiring a Nebraska farm girl to cook real Mexican food! You are the best!

    1. Pati

      Dec 19

      Beyond happy to hear you are inspired to get in the kitchen and have some fun kitchen adventures with your boys, Kelli! I hope you have many more.

  9. Angie

    Sep 28

    Mmmm I just made this. It was so good. I made it exactly as the recipe said to. The whole family loved it. Even the picky ones. Thanks Pati.

    1. Pati

      Oct 03

      So happy to hear the whole fam loved it, Angie.

  10. Shireen

    Sep 28

    Hola Pati,

    I just saw your show for the first time ever accidentally on PBS. I love Mexican food and never managed to find the same food here in the US like I did in Mexico City where I spent a good deal of time in the early 80s!

    Anyways, now I will follow your website and other sources…

    One question, do you think Tres Quesos could be made in advance? What is the best way to re heat it? I find Chicken in the US to be so bland and chicken breasts get hard and tasteless quite easily….

    1. Pati

      Oct 19

      This is best eaten just made…but it can be made in advance and reheated either on the stove top covered or in the oven, Shireen.

  11. Shawn E Hill

    May 23

    This was easy to make, and turned out so well. I used mozzarella, muenster and feta cheese. So satisfying, and plenty of leftovers for the next day!

    1. Pati

      May 23


  12. Pamela

    May 17

    I made this and my family loves it. I will add this to my recipe collection.

    1. Pati

      May 18

      Yay! I’m so glad your family loves it, Pamela.

  13. charlie

    May 10

    what can I substitute for Oaxaca cheese and citija cheese?

    1. Pati

      May 16

      You can use mozzarella for the Oaxaca cheese and parmesan for the Cotija cheese.

  14. Annie

    Jan 27

    Can’t wait to make this dish.

    Thank you Patti.

    1. Pati

      Jan 29

      I hope you enjoy it Annie!

  15. Adan

    Jan 12

    We made this dish for a special New Year’s meal. Everyone loved it. It combined the best of cheese with a bit of heat.
    I was wondering if there are weight measurements for the cheese and the chicken. Our version was great, but the ratio of those ingredients to the noodles seemed a little off. Also, would it be possible to use half and half instead of heavy cream?
    I think we’ll make this plate a tradition every year. ¡Muy rico! Gracias, Pati!

    1. Pati

      Jan 15

      I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it! I don’t have weight measurements…but you can add more or less of the chicken and cheese to meet your tastes (I like it really cheesy) And half and half will work too!

  16. Laura

    Jan 10

    So good! Just made it! My family LOVED it! Thank you Pati.

    1. Pati

      Jan 11

      SO happy to hear that Laura!

  17. Sarita

    Jan 07

    Just made this tonight and it was delicious. Thank you for the recipe. Of course we could enjoy this more often if we had the metabolism and calorie burning make-up of your young boys!

    1. Pati

      Jan 08


  18. Beth

    Dec 30

    It’s good — but way too much heat. I didn’t have ancho chili powder but used chipotle chili powder instead. Is there something I can do to lower the heat?

    1. Pati

      Jan 04

      Oh you can add more cheese! Or next time use less chili powder.

  19. Susan

    Dec 19

    This is delicious! It is not easy to find recipes my whole family likes but everyone loved it! My kids asked me to send the leftovers in their lunches to school the next day. I used muenster for the asadero cheese, but otherwise followed the recipe as written. My husband and I like a little more heat than our kids do, so we sprinkled some red pepper flakes on. But this is definitely becoming a regular in our family.

    1. Pati

      Dec 21

      I’m so glad it is a new family regular!

  20. Rebecca

    Dec 18

    I am having a time finding Asadero cheese for this recipe. Any subsititutes?

    1. Pati

      Dec 18

      You can also use muenster cheese.

  21. Shey

    Dec 13

    Acabo de ver esté episodio y esta pasta se ve riquísima y creo que la voy a tratar, Gracias Pati me encanta tu programa!

    1. Pati

      Dec 14


  22. Tiffany

    Nov 26

    Yum! I would love to try this pasta after watching you and your sweet Sammy cook this. I wonder if I can find Oaxaca cheese where I live…

    1. Pati

      Nov 27


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