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This chicken pesto pasta recipe has tender pan-fried chicken with a delicious creamy sun-dried tomato and spinach pesto sauce. It comes together in about 30 minutes!

Love pesto? Try my Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad, this Creamy Pesto Gnocchi recipe, or my Easy Pesto Pasta next.

chicken pesto pasta in a white bowl

Why you’ll love it

Pesto is one of those ingredients that never goes out of style, and it’s so delicious when paired with juicy chicken, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes in this easy pasta recipe. You’ll also appreciate how it’s on the table really fast on those busy weeknights.

You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already for this chicken pesto pasta recipe! With a hint of cream, some fresh lemon and parmesan cheese, this pesto pasta with sun-dried tomatoes will go on repeat in your home for sure.

What you’ll need

  • Pasta – I chose rotini, but use your favorite shape
  • Chicken – we’re using chicken breasts cut into four cutlets
  • Garlic powder – along with salt & pepper, this infuses tons of flavor right into the chicken
  • Olive oil and butter – for pan frying
  • Flour – to thicken the sauce
  • Chicken broth – another savory dimension
  • Heavy cream – it’s what makes the sauce next-level tasty
  • Pesto – I recommend making pesto at home if you can (here’s my Homemade Pesto Recipe) because the flavors will be bolder, brighter, and fresher. That said, DeLallo pesto is my favorite out of the jarred kinds I’ve tried!
  • Lemon juice – a pop of acidity
  • Sun-dried tomatoes and fresh spinach – this duo brings so much bright flavor

Recipe Tip

For my readers in search of the old version of this recipe (like, pre-2018!) without spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, we have actually published that as a post of its very own as this simple Chicken Pesto Pasta.

How to make chicken spinach pesto pasta

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

pan frying chicken in a skillet and making creamy pesto sauce with spinach

Boil the pasta. Cut the chicken in half lengthwise so you’ve got four thinner pieces, season them, and sear until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate, and then add flour to the skillet. Whisk in the liquids (cream, chicken broth, pesto, and lemon juice) and sun-dried tomatoes, and then cook the sauce until it reduces. Add in the spinach and let it wilt. Toss with the cooked pasta, and then top with the chicken.

Tools for this recipe

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

  • 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).
  • I use this skillet for this recipe.
  • A pair of cooking tongs is an easy way to toss the pasta.

Substitutions and variations

  • 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.
  • I don’t recommend using something other than heavy cream, e.g. half-and-half or milk. The sauce is liable to curdle or be watery, and it won’t taste as intended.

What to serve with chicken sun-dried tomato pesto pasta

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftovers of this spinach pesto chicken pasta will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Reheat over a low heat slowly in a saucepan.
  • I don’t recommend freezing this one.
close-up of creamy chicken pesto pasta in a skillet

If you made this easy chicken pesto pasta, please leave a star rating and comment below! Feel free to ask me any questions. You can also find me on Instagram.

chicken pesto pasta in a white bowl
5 from 2 votes

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta with Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

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!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 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)

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 640kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 142mg, Sodium: 458mg, Potassium: 921mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 2556IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 94mg, Iron: 2mg

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

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! Iā€™m Natasha.

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    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 šŸ˜€

    1. Wonderful!! I’m so happy you enjoy my blog. Thank you so much!! And enjoy the macaroni soup. Appreciate you commenting! šŸ˜€

  2. Hi! I will email it to you. šŸ™‚ 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!

  3. Made this the other day, minus the pasta, we had it with quinoa. Came out fantastic, very flavorful. I made my own pistachio pesto.

  4. 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!!

  5. 5 stars
    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.

    Thank you!!!