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This ridiculously simple chicken pesto pasta recipe has just 5 ingredients! The chicken is so tender and juicy, and the creamy pesto sauce is silky and irresistible.

You may also enjoy my Creamy Pesto Dressing or Pesto Pan-fried Sausage and Potatoes recipes next.

a bowl of creamy chicken pesto pasta

Why you’ll love it

When you’re don’t really feel like cooking but are craving easy comfort food, this pesto pasta with pan-fried chicken is a clear winner! It’s a 25-minute meal with no fancy ingredients, and the bright, herby pesto cream sauce will be one you crave often.

This pesto pasta is basically a simplified version of my Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta with Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes. In fact, I came up with this creamy pesto chicken pasta recipe waaay before that one, but I decided it needs to be featured in all its glory now!

What you’ll need

  • Pasta – I like using a sturdy shape like penne to complement all that creamy sauce
  • Olive oil – for pan frying
  • Chicken – we’re using chicken breasts cut into strips
  • Pesto – be sure to choose a basil pesto that you love the flavor of as it’s the star of the dish. Not all jarred pesto is created equal! I highly recommend DeLallo, or make my Homemade Pesto.
  • Heavy cream – it takes the sauce to the next level. So luxurious.
ingredients for chicken pesto pasta in prep bowls and measuring cups

Helpful tip

The chicken is cooked very quickly, and it’s fine if it doesn’t brown in this recipe! It’ll be coated in sauce and nice and tender.

How to make chicken pesto pasta

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

sauteing chicken in a skillet and making pesto cream sauce

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a skillet, add the oil and chicken. Toss to coat, and cook until no longer pink. Stir in the pesto sauce and cream, then simmer for about five minutes.

adding penne to a skillet and tossing with chicken and creamy pesto sauce

Add in the drained pasta, then toss with the sauce and chicken. Give it a taste, and season with salt & pepper if needed. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.

Tools for this recipe

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

Substitutions and variations

  • Try swapping the chicken for shrimp!
  • Feel free to use any kind of pasta you have on hand. Rigatoni or rotini would be good options as well.
  • You could add in a handful of fresh spinach towards the end of cooking time for a pop of freshness.

What to serve with chicken pesto pasta

Leftovers and storage

  • Store leftover pesto chicken pasta for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Reheat slowly over a low heat in a saucepan.
  • I don’t recommend freezing leftovers. The texture of sauce may change, and the chicken might dry out.
a skillet with creamy chicken pesto pasta and a serving spoon

If you made this creamy pesto pasta with chicken, please leave a star rating and review below! I’d love to hear from you. You can also find me on Instagram.

a bowl of creamy chicken pesto pasta
5 from 7 votes

Super Easy Chicken Pesto Pasta

This ridiculously simple chicken pesto pasta recipe has just 5 ingredients! The chicken is so tender and juicy, and the creamy pesto sauce is silky and irresistible.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta I used penne
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into bite-size strips
  • 1 cup pesto click for my recipe or use your favorite store bought
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese optional, to taste

Instructions 

  • Boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, add the olive oil and chicken to a skillet and stir until coated. Sauté over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until no longer pink on the outside but not fully cooked inside. It's ok if it doesn't brown.
  • Add the pesto and cream to the pan, give it a good stir, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet and toss with the sauce. Season with salt & pepper as needed and top with parmesan if using.

Notes

  • DeLallo’s pesto is my personal favorite. 

Nutrition

Calories: 797kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 50g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 145mg, Sodium: 730mg, Potassium: 601mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 2158IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 157mg, Iron: 2mg

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

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease and she’s been missing pasta. Some of the gf pasta doesn’t taste that great, but with this sauce she devoured every bite! The entire family loved this recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Amazing! Quick, simple, and a huge hit with everyone! We used whole wheat penne to boost the fiber content and it blended right in. Will keep this one in rotation!