Chicken pasta in a flavorful, creamy sauce, and you can enjoy it within 30 minutes! I promise that the quality of this dish is compared to five-star dishes in popular restaurants. Your family will love it, and with the video guide included in this post, your first attempt will be a huge win!
I have used chicken breast in this chicken pasta recipe, and in this post, I explain how to perfectly cook it and keep it tender. You can use chicken thighs if you wish, but the chicken breast absorbs the flavors from the garlic, onion, and spices much better than chicken thigs in this recipe.
You can use any pasta you have in your kitchen although, the sauce is so good, you’ll like it on plain rice.
What you need to make Creamy Chicken Pasta
Pasta – As mentioned above, you can use any pasta you wish, but I like to use penne and rigatoni.
Chicken – Chicken breast is the best cut for this recipe, especially when cooked right. In the recipe card below, I will teach you how to cook chicken breast to keep it tender and juicy.
Chicken broth – Go for low sodium chicken stock; if possible, you will have more control over the amount of salt in the recipe. If you don’t have chicken stock in liquid form, dissolve one chicken bouillon in a cup of hot water and use it in the recipe.
Spices – We didn’t use many, just black pepper, paprika, and salt. These spices and seasonings are enough because you want other ingredients' flavors to burst and bloom while cooking.
Garlic – I know it’s convenient to use store-bought minced garlic, but you will have more flavor if you mince fresh garlic.
Onion – Use white or red onion. You might have noticed that I only use red onions and hardly use white. I mainly cook Arabic and Indian food, and it all calls for red onions; hence, that’s mostly what I’ll have in my kitchen!
Milk and heavy cream – I have added both instead of just using cream to make the chicken pasta lighter and lower in calories. You can substitute the milk with half and a half or use one cup of heavy cream and omit the milk.
Parmesan cheese – We are using ⅓ cup only, but it made a lot of difference. Please do not skip it.
Tuscan Chicken Pasta Vs Creamy Chicken Pasta
Many get mixed up between these two recipes, however, Tuscan chicken pasta has vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, dried tomatoes, or bell pepper. In some versions, they also add white wine and lemon juice. The sauce is thickened by flour through making a roux.
The creamy chicken pasta depends on the flavor of the chicken and a few spices. Although you could use Cajun seasoning for the chicken if you wish the whole idea here is to have a flavorful dish with mild spices.
How to make Creamy Chicken Pasta
- Cut the chicken breast into a thinner fillet (Read the notes in the recipe card). Season the chicken breast with salt, black pepper, and paprika. Make sure that the chicken is pat dry before seasoning.
- It’s best to cover the chicken and place it in the fridge for a few minutes, so the seasoning enhances the flavor of the chicken, but you can skip this step and grill or shallow fry the chicken after seasoning. Make sure to cook both sides until completely cooked.
- Cover the chicken and keep it aside. The chicken will continue cooking and will get more tender.
- In a large deep pan, add oil and butter and fry the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and spices, then pour the chicken broth and cook until it comes to a boil.
- Pour the milk and heavy cream, and when it comes to a boil, add the chicken. Make sure to cut the chicken breast into thick slices before adding them and the juices to the sauce.
- Let the mixture come to a simmer, then add the Parmesan and the cooked pasta, mix well.
- Serve while hot.
How to store chicken pasta
I’m not sure if there will be any leftovers since this dish is so delicious, but if there are some leftovers, do not worry; storing chicken pasta is easy, and the flavor won’t change when you heat it. To store, place the cool leftover in an airtight container for better storing or in a Tupperware, then refrigerate for up to three days.
To reheat it, microwave for a minute and 30 seconds (depending on your microwave).
Tips and substitutes to this dish
- You can use chicken thighs instead of breasts. Make sure to remove the skin and bones.
- If you don’t have cream, use milk and a half and half. The milk should be ¼ cup and the half and half ¾ cup to get a creamy sauce.
- If you don’t have half and half or cream, use evaporated milk and regular milk. Keep the ratio ½ cup of each.
- Wish to add Italian seasoning or Oregano? Then add it a minute before turning off the heat. Cooking these herbs for a longer time will make the sauce taste bitter.
- If you are using a thermometer, the internal temperature of the chicken breast after grilling/cooking should reach 165F.
- Want to add some spiciness? Add half a teaspoon of re-pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
Other pasta dishes you will enjoy:
The Best Creamy Chicken Pasta
- 250 gm or three cups pasta
FOR THE CHICKEN SEASONING
- 1 pound or 500gm boneless skinless chicken breast
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chicken broth should be hot
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta as per the instruction on the box; some readers suggest cooking the pasta for three more minutes when adding it to a sauce. I find this tip to help the pasta absorb more flavor from the sauce, but it’s up to you! (Read notes below).
- It is better to cut the chicken breast, into a thinner filet. (How to, in the notes below).
- Season the chicken with salt, black pepper, paprika, and drizzle with olive oil. Mix the seasoning with the chicken until it covers the chicken breast properly. Cover and place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Spray a hot large skillet with oil. When hot, add the chicken breast and cook on medium heat for four minutes on each side. Cover the chicken with foil and keep aside; the chicken will continue cooking and get more tender.
- In a large pan, add olive oil and butter. When the butter melts, add the onion, and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add the paprika, black pepper, and salt. Mix for a minute.
- Pour in the hot chicken broth and let it come to a boil. Add the milk and heavy cream and stir. Let the mixture come to aboil. Cut the chicken into thick strips, then add it to the sauce. When the sauce comes to a simmer, add the parmesan cheese, and mix for a minute.
- Now add the cooked pasta and mix well for a few seconds. Cover the pan for 7 minutes allowing the flavors to come together, and then serve.
- Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the package to get al dente texture.
- But if you want the pasta to pick up more flavor from the sauce, cook it for three more minutes. This tip will not work with spaghetti and Linguine. Since both are thin and will turn sticky and starchy.
- You can use gluten-free pasta for this recipe.
- To cut the chicken breast into a thinner fillet:
• Place the chicken breast over a clean surface.
• Put your hand gently over the chicken breast and hold a long knife along the long side of the chicken breast.
• With a sawing motion cut the chicken breast through to the end. You will get two chicken fillets, and they will cook faster.
- Another method to even the chicken breast is by pounding it. For this, you will need a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
- Make this dish vegetarian, replace the chicken with mushroom, potato, carrot, or a mixture of vegetables. Replace chicken stock with vegetable stock.
- Use any pasta you wish for this dish.
- Always use fresh garlic. Store-bought garlic paste will not give the same taste.
- Use chicken thigs instead of breast.
- For this recipe, you can also use leftover chicken or Rotisserie Chicken.