This creamy chicken pesto pasta recipe has tender pan-fried chicken with a delicious sun-dried tomato and spinach pesto sauce. It comes together in about 30 minutes!
This recipe was originally published on June 28, 2018. I've updated the post with new photos and an improved recipe.
Love pesto? Try my Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad, this Creamy Pesto Gnocchi recipe, or my Salmon Pesto Pasta.
How to make chicken pesto pasta
Start by cutting the chicken in half lengthwise (so you've got 4 thinner pieces) and searing it in a skillet for 5-6 minutes/side or until it's golden and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and then add some flour to the skillet (this'll help thicken the sauce faster). Whisk in the liquids (cream, chicken broth, pesto, and lemon juice) and sun-dried tomatoes, and then cook the sauce until it reduces a bit. Add in the spinach and let it wilt. Toss with cooked pasta and then top with the cooked chicken. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes & tips:
- I recommend making pesto at home if you can (here's my homemade pesto recipe) because the flavors will be bolder, brighter, and fresher than if you buy the kind in the jar, but with that said, DeLallo's pesto is my favorite out of the jarred kinds I've tried. Sounds obvious, but for this recipe it really makes a difference what kind of pesto you use, so be sure that you actually like the brand.
- If you don't like sun-dried tomatoes, feel free to leave them out or add a handful of cherry/grape tomatoes if you wish.
- It's easy to overcook chicken, so I recommend getting an instant read meat thermometer so your chicken is perfectly cooked every time (chicken is safe to eat at 165F).
Other delicious chicken pastas to try:
- Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta Recipe
- Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta
- Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Pasta
Will you make this easy chicken pesto pasta? Questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments below.
Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 2 chicken breasts cut into half lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or more to taste
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
- Freshly grated parmesan for serving (optional)
- Boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, cut the chicken lengthwise so you've got 4 thinner pieces. Season them with the garlic powder and salt & pepper.
- Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes/side or until it's cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let it rest for a few minutes and then slice it into bite-size pieces.
- Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook for about 1 minute (there should still be some butter/oil in there, but if the pan is dry, add 1 tablespoon butter first).
- Add in the chicken broth, cream, pesto, lemon juice, and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Let it gently simmer for a few minutes until it's thickened up a bit.
- Stir in the spinach and let it wilt. Add in the drained pasta (add some of the hot pasta water prior to draining it if the sauce appears a bit thick) and toss.
- Season with extra salt & pepper if needed, and serve with the sliced chicken on top and extra parmesan cheese if desired.
- Some brands of pesto have more lemon juice than others, so I recommend tasting and adjusting the lemon juice as needed.
- I use sun-dried tomatoes that are packed in oil and drain the oil before adding them to the sauce.
- If you're looking for the original version of the recipe that was published in 2018, you can view the PDF here.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Made this for dinner last night and it was sooo YUMMY! I check out your blog everyday for the next dinner recipe I am going to try :). Your recipes are easy and always delicious. So awesome! Thanks again.
P.S. I am making your Macaroni Soup tonight 😀
Wonderful!! I'm so happy you enjoy my blog. Thank you so much!! And enjoy the macaroni soup. Appreciate you commenting! 😀
Loved the old recipe and made it often. Haven’t had it in a few months. Went to get the recipe to order the right ingredients and it’s changed!
Will try the new, but would love the recipe for the old if you have it
Hi! I will email it to you. 🙂 I will probably put a PDF of the old version on here since you're not the only person who has asked me about it. It really helps us bloggers out when people leave comments... I may not have changed the recipe if I knew there were people who loved it (the comments section was super quiet and there wasn't much traffic to the old version of the recipe). In any case, I think both versions were pretty tasty haha. I hope you like the new one as well!
Mary Ann says
Made this the other day, minus the pasta, we had it with quinoa. Came out fantastic, very flavorful. I made my own pistachio pesto.
Brett Geertsma says
Hi Natasha! We love this meal! Could you please let me know what the differences are in the recipe since you made the updates? We would love to have access to both since love them both.
Hi Brett! I will send you an email with the old version if I can find it. No one seemed to be making the old version (low traffic and crickets in the comments section), so that's why I gave it a revamp. In any case, I'm glad you enjoyed both!!
Hi Natasha! I made this last night for dinner and my husband and I loved it! So delicious.
I don't like sun-dried tomatoes and forgot to buy the fresh ones. Will definitely add it next time, but it was so tasty even without them. I always sub light cream for the heavy and added the full 5 oz bag of spinach. Another great addition to the rotation.
That's great to hear!! So glad you were able to adapt it. Thank you! 🙂