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Applebee’s Three Cheese Chicken Penne

Applebee’s three cheese chicken penne is a classic menu item loaded with alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, three kinds of cheese, and a fresh bruschetta topping.

Even if you haven’t had the popular dish, this Applebee’s copycat recipe is still a must-try. 

Applebee's Three Cheese Chicken Penne
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It’s wonderfully creamy and cheesy, but because of the added tomato, garlic, and basil combo, it’s not overwhelmingly rich.

It’s like giving already-delicious alfredo pasta to a major makeover. And call me biased, but I think my recipe is so much better than OG! 

It’s also such a cinch to make – you don’t even need to make your own alfredo sauce!

I know you’re already drooling, so enough talk. Let’s get cooking. 

Applebee’s Three Cheese Chicken Penne 

So what makes this Applebee’s three cheese chicken penne pasta dish so good?

Al dente pasta is tossed in a creamy alfredo sauce and topped with grilled chicken, three kinds of cheeses, and bruschetta.

This is the ultimate combination of Italian flavors! 

Applebee’s has been serving this dish since 1983, and to this day, it continues to be a huge hit. It’s not hard to see why.

Three cheese chicken penne is super hearty and bursting with flavor!

Fortunately, this copycat recipe is seriously easy to make. So, if you’re looking for a new recipe to add to your weekly menu, the search is over.

Applebee's Three Cheese Chicken Penne Ingredients: penne pasta, chicken breasts, garlic, Italian salad dressing, olive oil, alfredo sauce, shredded cheese, tomatoes


Here’s what you’ll need to make this incredible chicken dinner:

  • Chicken Breast – chopped into bite-sized pieces and grilled until tender. 
  • Italian Salad Dressing – a simple marinade that’ll transform bland chicken breasts into a flavor-packed protein.
  • Bruschetta – it’s a refreshing appetizer made of tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil spread on top of toasted garlic bread. We’ll skip the garlic bread here and just use the topping.
  • Penne Pasta – cooked to a perfect al dente. 
  • Alfredo Sauce – use your favorite store-bought bottled sauce or make your own alfredo.
  • Shredded Italian Cheese – I use a blend of fresh mozzarella, parmesan, and provolone. I highly recommend grating the cheese yourself for the best flavor and consistency. Blocked cheeses melt more than pre-shredded!
Applebee's Three Cheese Chicken Penne in a baking dish

Tips and Tricks for the Best Chicken Penne

  • You can use any kind of ripe tomato to make the bruschetta topping.
  • The OG Applebee’s offering uses penne, but go ahead and use whatever kind of noodles you have on hand.
  • Also, the OG dish contains Asiago, parmesan, and white cheddar, but my version has mozzarella, parmesan, and provolone. Whether you stick to the original recipe or mine, you’ll still end up with a great-tasting dish. You can, of course, choose your own blend of cheeses, too!
  • Use fresh basil if you have it. Stack the leaves on top of each other and roll them up like a cigar, and slice thinly.
  • Don’t serve undercooked chicken! Test for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the chicken. According to the USDA, cooked chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • This recipe includes directions on how to marinade and grill chicken, but if you have any leftover chicken in the fridge – whether home-cooked or store-bought rotisserie – feel free to use it.
  • Turn the dish into a casserole by assembling the layers in a baking dish and baking it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

More Applebee’s Copycat Recipes You’ll Love

Applebee’s Three Cheese Chicken Penne



Prep time


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Cooking time





Applebee’s three cheese chicken penne is a classic menu item loaded with alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, three kinds of cheese, and bruschetta topping.


  • 2 chicken breasts

  • 1/3 cup Italian salad dressing

  • 4 tomatoes

  • 2-3 garlic cloves

  • 1 teaspoon basil

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 cups penne pasta

  • 15 ounces alfredo sauce

  • 8 ounces shredded Italian cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, provolone mix)


  • Slice the chicken into bite-sized cubes. Pour Italian dressing into a bowl and add the chicken. Marinade for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, finely chop the tomatoes, mince the garlic, and combine them in a bowl. Mix in the basil and the oil to make a bruschetta topping. Set aside.
  • Preheat the grill on high for 10-15 minutes at 425-450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cook the penne according to package instructions. Drain and divide into 2 microwave-safe bowls. Set aside.
  • Grill the chicken for 9-10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Pour alfredo sauce over the pasta. Top with bruschetta, chicken, and Italian cheese.
  • Microwave bowls for 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Serve with garlic bread. Enjoy!
Applebee's Three Cheese Chicken Penne

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

4 thoughts on “Applebee’s Three Cheese Chicken Penne”

  1. I made this twice so far. It is a keeper. I did not have fresh tomatoes, so I used canned diced tomatoes, drained. Also, I did not have alfredo sauce, so I made my own, and added the liquid from the drained diced tomatoes into the alfredo sauce. It changed the hue of the alfredo sauce a bit. I assembled the dish and baked it for about 30 minutes @ 350. The results were perfect! Everyone was happy.

  2. This is my family’s favorite! I make this every week, but I bake it in the oven in a 9 x 13 glass dish. I use either penne or ziti pasta and both work well. The different flavors of the marinated chicken in Italian dressing (cooked on the stove), the bruschetta (tomatoes mixed with garlic, basil and olive oil), alfredo sauce and the three cheeses, makes this is an outstanding dinner! Thank you!

  3. Hi Kim,

    There aren’t many recipes that you post that I don’t like. With that said, surprisingly, my husband liked this one a little better than I did, but I don’t think he will ask for it again. For us, marinating the chicken in the Italian dressing gave it a real twangy taste that kind of took over everything else. The recipe was pretty easy to prepare on a weeknight and I had everything I needed to make it without a trip to the store.

    • Hi Linda, I’m so glad it was an easy weeknight recipe and that you’ve had success with some of my other recipes! I’ll have to remember to go lighter on the Italian dressing.


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