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This creamy chicken penne pasta recipe is easy to make and has bacon, tender chicken, and an irresistible fresh tomato, garlic, and parmesan sauce. It’s ready in just 30 minutes!

You may also enjoy my Chicken Pesto Pasta or this Creamy Fresh Tomato Salmon Pasta next.

creamy chicken penne with fresh tomatoes and bacon in a white bowl

Why you’ll love it

I’m excited about this easy chicken pasta recipe! It uses a handful of everyday ingredients and tastes like it came from a restaurant. We’ve got crispy bacon, melt-in-your-mouth chicken, and a fancy-tasting sauce that couldn’t be simpler to make at home.

Let’s talk about that irresistible sauce that has very few ingredients. This creamy garlic pasta sauce is brightened up with fresh tomatoes, and melting in parmesan makes it ultra decadent. It perfectly coats the penne for a lot of delicious savory flavor in every bite.

What you’ll need

  • Pasta – I use penne since it captures the sauce really well
  • Bacon – it adds so much flavor, and cooking the chicken in the leftover grease makes it so delicious
  • Chicken breasts – we’re using boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • Garlic powder – along with salt & pepper, it infuses flavor right into the chicken
  • Flour – to get that golden crust on the chicken and thicken up the sauce
  • Garlic – for even more garlicky flavor
  • Chicken broth – the base of the sauce
  • Heavy cream – to make the sauce decadent, silky, and get the best texture
  • Tomatoes – Roma tomatoes add a pop of freshness
  • Parmesan – for a delicate cheesy finish
ingredients for chicken penne pasta in prep bowls

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

How to make chicken penne pasta

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

sauteing bacon in a skillet and then cooking chicken bites

Cook the pasta. Meanwhile, in a skillet, fry the cut-up bacon until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Season the chicken pieces with garlic powder and salt & pepper, then coat in flour.

making creamy garlic sauce with tomatoes for chicken pasta in a skillet

Sauté the chicken in the bacon fat until golden. Transfer to a plate. To the skillet, stir in the garlic and chicken broth. Scrape up the browned bits, and cook for a minute. Add the cream and tomatoes.

tossing penne pasta in a skillet with creamy bacon chicken

Cook until the tomatoes are softened. Return the bacon and chicken to the skillet, and warm through while the sauce thickens up. Stir in the parmesan, toss with the drained pasta, and season with salt & pepper.

Substitutions and variations

  • I don’t recommend substituting the heavy cream for something else. The acid from the tomatoes is likely to curdle something like milk or half-and-half, and it won’t taste as intended either.
  • If necessary, you can replace the fresh tomato with the equivalent ounces of canned tomatoes (try petite diced ones).
  • You don’t have to use penne for this recipe, but I do like the way the sauce clings to those little tubes!
close-up of creamy chicken penne pasta

What to serve with chicken penne pasta

Leftovers and storage

  • This penne with chicken pasta will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Reheat slowly over a low heat until warmed through, adding in a splash of cream or broth if needed to revive leftovers.
  • I don’t recommend freezing creamy sauces.
creamy chicken penne pasta in two bowls

Let me know in the comments below if you made this creamy chicken penne recipe! Tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram so I can see your creations. Questions? Ask away.

creamy chicken penne with fresh tomatoes and bacon in a white bowl
4.75 from 36 votes

Chicken Penne Pasta

This creamy chicken penne pasta recipe is easy to make and has bacon, tender chicken, and an irresistible fresh tomato, garlic, and parmesan sauce. It's ready in just 30 minutes!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Flour for dredging
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 5 ounces tomatoes chopped small, see note
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions 

  • Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook it al dente according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, cut the bacon into small pieces (I use kitchen shears to make this job easy) and fry it in a skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Once it's done, transfer it to a paper towel lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pan.
  • Meanwhile, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and sprinkle it with the garlic powder and salt & pepper. Coat each piece in flour.
  • In the same skillet, cook the chicken over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes/side or until golden. You may need to work in two batches so as not to crowd the pan. If needed, add a splash of olive oil to the second batch. Turn the heat down a little if needed (like if it's splattering a lot). Take the chicken out of the pan and transfer it to a plate.
  • Stir in the garlic and chicken broth. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let it cook for about a minute or so.
  • Add the cream and tomatoes to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes start to lose their shape.
  • Add the chicken and bacon back into the pan and let it warm through for a few minutes (let the sauce thicken a bit). Be careful not to overcook the chicken.
  • Stir in the parmesan and toss with the drained pasta. Season with extra salt & pepper if needed.

Notes

  • I used a Roma tomato that weighed around 5 oz. You can use grape/cherry tomatoes and cut them up if you prefer.
  • I don’t recommend subbing the cream for anything else because the acid from the tomato is likely to curdle something like milk or half-and-half.

Nutrition

Calories: 703kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 165mg, Sodium: 572mg, Potassium: 767mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1320IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 176mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! Iā€™m Natasha.

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116 Comments

  1. My first time cooking creamy chicken pasta, used spiral pasta instead of penne, made minor adjustments with the ingredients but still turned out sooo delicious! Thank you Tash!

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious recipe, only change was we swapped the parmesan (personal taste) for a little low fat strong cheddar and was a hit with the family x

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe Tasha. I like the tanginess that the tomatoes brought and I added some hillshire smoked beef sausage. Blessings

  4. 5 stars
    Doubled the recipe cause we like sauce, and fed 7 people! We loved it! It is now going on the fall/winter food rotation.