This garlic chicken pasta recipe is simple to make, uses everyday ingredients, and tastes like restaurant comfort food! It's ready in about 30 minutes.
It's based on my iconic skillet Creamy Garlic Chicken recipe. I elevated it even more to turn it into the best chicken pasta ever!
Creamy garlic chicken pasta
I have a feeling that this might just become your new favorite no-fuss pasta recipe. It's absolutely perfect for a weeknight treat since it's really quick, but it's also something that you can pull out of your back pocket when you've got company or want to make something memorable for date night at home!
I love a simple cream sauce for pasta, and this one is over-the-top delicious with all the garlic, parmesan, and luxurious cream. Brighten it up with a touch of lemon, and you've got a winning dish. It's hard to explain just how decadent this sauce tastes, you guys! When I think of cozy pasta, this is definitely the first thing that comes to mind. I'm so excited to let you know all about it.
Ingredients you'll need
- Pasta - I chose spaghetti because the sauce coated it really well in every bite, but any pasta shape will work just fine
- Chicken - we're cutting chicken breasts in half lengthwise so that it cooks even faster
- Garlic powder - adding it to the chicken cutlets along with salt & pepper immediately gives that garlic essence
- Olive oil and butter - classic combo for sautéing aromatics
- Garlic cloves - the star of the dish. We're using both garlic powder and minced garlic cloves to infuse even more garlicky flavor!
- Flour - to thicken the sauce
- Chicken broth - you could use a dry white wine instead
- Lemon juice - to balance the creamy element and add a vibrant touch
- Cream - a bit of heavy cream pulls the luscious sauce together!
- Parmesan cheese - the crown jewel to top it all off. Always use fresh parm as opposed to the stuff in a bag.
How to make it
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Boil the pasta. Meanwhile, cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise and sprinkle them with the garlic powder and some salt & pepper. In a skillet, cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes/side or until golden and cooked through, then transfer to a plate. You'll make the sauce in the same skillet by doing a quick roux with the butter and flour, then whisk in the chicken broth and lemon juice, followed by the cream.
Once the sauce has thickened a bit, stir in the parmesan cheese. Cut the chicken into strips and add it to the sauce along with the drained pasta, then toss!
Substitutions and variations
- You could throw in a handful of fresh spinach towards the end of the recipe if you want to add some greens.
- If using wine instead of chicken broth, go for something dry like sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, or even chardonnay.
- Try swapping the chicken breasts for chicken thighs if you prefer. I'd cook them a little longer to ensure that they're nice and tender.
- I don't recommend subbing the heavy cream for a lower fat alternative as it can affect the taste and texture of the sauce. It'll likely end up thinner than intended and may even curdle. You could probably get away with using half-and-half, but you may need to add a little more flour.
Tools for this recipe
- Chicken is cooked when an instant read thermometer indicates it's 165F in the thickest part. It's the safest and most reliable way to tell if chicken is done or not, and you're less likely to overcook it this way too!
- I recommend grating your own parmesan cheese for best results. I use my Microplane to easily grate it.
What to serve with it
- Try a side salad. Either make something lighter such as a green salad with homemade creamy balsamic dressing, ranch dressing, or go all out and make a Caesar salad with my 10 minute Caesar dressing!
- Garlic bread or a slice of crusty bread would work great as well.
Leftovers and storage
- Store this pasta in the fridge for 3-4 days after making it in a covered container.
- It's best to reheat it in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring every so often, so the sauce doesn't separate.
- I wouldn't recommend freezing leftovers because of the dairy.
Questions about this garlic parmesan chicken pasta? Let me know in the comments below!
Easy Garlic Chicken Pasta
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 2 chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter divided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Boil a salted pot of water and cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so you have 4 thinner pieces. Sprinkle them with the garlic powder and some salt & pepper.
- Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Let the pan heat up for a few minutes. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes/side or until golden and cooked through (165F). Transfer to a plate.
- To the same skillet, add the remaining butter. Once it melts, stir in the garlic and flour and cook for 30 seconds or so.
- Whisk in the chicken broth and lemon juice (and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet). Let it bubble for about a minute.
- Add in the cream and let it cook for another 4-5 minutes or so until it thickens up a bit (turn down the heat if it starts bubbling like crazy).
- Meanwhile, cut up the cooked chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Stir the parmesan into the sauce.
- Add the chicken and the drained pasta to the skillet and toss until coated (I add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to the sauce prior to draining it, especially if it's become a tad too thick). Serve immediately with extra salt & pepper if needed.
- 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.
Can I use half a cup of parmesan romano blend from the store in place of the grated parmesan? I know it's not ideal but it's what we have, and I'm just wondering if it'll work. I figured it would probably be okay.. Thanks!
You could try, yes!
Such an easy and delicious recipe! A hit for my 5 and 3 year old boys too! Adding it to our weekly gotos!
This was delicious! I had left over rotisserie chicken shredded it and added that to the butter and seasoned it! So quick and yummy!!
Talina Thomas says
Well even though I did this recipe on Sunday…dealing with sick children, lesson planning (I’m a teacher), and doing laundry…I just added extra of everything and adobo to my seasoning. I added broccoli and I didn’t put the Parmesan. It tasted so delicious. After literally having no sleep with all I was dealing with this was a great just to sit and relax meal.
I'm glad you found it comforting, Talina!
Wil Branca says
This was absolutely easy and delicious. We had some roasted garlic mixed in with the butter. My Son said next time add mushrooms🤭Thank you Natasha❣️
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
You're welcome, Wil! We're so happy it was a hit!! 🙂
Definitely will make this again. I omitted the lemon (honestly, I forgot. It was on the counter too, lol). I also accidentally doubled the heavy cream. Don't ask. Long day haha. So I just added extra parmesan and we just had very saucy pasta. It still tasted awesome. My picky 3 year old devoured it too.
Hahhaha well I'm so glad it worked out!! And I totally get it lol.
Loved this! Really simple recipe with lots of flavour. Thank you 😊
You're welcome!! 🙂
so yummy. the best pantry meal. I did not have heavy cream so i added an extra 1/2 tbl of flour. turned out perfectly- it was a hit! going to add it to my must cooks list. thank you
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it!!
This recipe was so delicious! Such a perfect comfort meal, and definitely now one of our go to pasta dishes - thank you so much for sharing!
I'm so happy to hear that, Holly!! Really appreciate your review!
I had some leftover sous-vide chicken breast and decided to use it according to this recipe. I used whole-wheat spaghetti and modified only to throw the chicken pieces in near the end (since it was already cooked). I was amazed by how good it was. We all thought it was seriously yummy. Thanks!
That's great to hear!! Glad you all liked it. Appreciate your 5-star review, Richard! 🙂
Genuinely the best Chicken Alfredo type recipe I have ever made. I'm a pretty decent cook but have never been able to achieve restaurant quality Alfredo at home. This recipe is way better than the restaurant.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Aw that's so nice of you to say, Erin! Thrilled you found the pasta so tasty!
This is delicious. Made it last week for the first time and already onto another round of it. Reheats well for leftovers too.
Wonderful!! 🙂 I'm so pleased to hear that. Thanks for your review, Nina!
Do you think you could make this ahead of time and keep warm in a crock pot?
Hmm... I'm a bit concerned that since it's a cream sauce it could possibly separate, and if you're including the cooked pasta it's likely the pasta will soak some of the sauce up, so it may end up somewhat dry when you go to serve it (and/or make the pasta a bit of a soggy texture). So, for those reasons, I'm somewhat hesitant about saying that will work, but you could always give it a try. I've never made pasta ahead like that, so I am just guessing here. You could possibly make just the sauce ahead and then slowly re-heat it over a low heat. Then boil the pasta and add a splash of the hot pasta water to the sauce.
I added fresh baby bellas to my recipe, and it was delicious! Thank you!
Awesome!! You're very welcome! 🙂
Looking forward to making this dish tonight! What is the green I see in the picture?
Hi Gabriel! It's just some chopped parsley... I add it mostly to give the photos a little "pop" (that's why I don't list it as an ingredient). Feel free to add some if you wish (you really can't go wrong with a bit of parsley to finish most dishes!). Hope you enjoy the pasta!! 🙂
It was sooo delicious! Thanks! The family loved it, definitely a keeper! I debated cutting the chicken into pieces before cooking but very glad I didn’t. The chicken turns out super juicy that way and it created a crust on the chicken that can’t be achieved by cutting it beforehand.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it!! I appreciate your review, Gabriel!
Sara A. says
New family favorite. This is one of the few recipes that I don’t alter. It’s perfect as is.
That's awesome!! So happy it was a hit, Sara! 🙂
Made this for dinner tonight and it was so easy and delicious. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe, my husband already can't wait for me to make it again and I'm excited to try more recipes from your blog!
You're very welcome!! 🙂 That makes me so happy. So glad you found my site - let me know if you make anything else.
Haven’t tried it yet but this is in anticipation of another 5 star dish! Just curious why do you not cut up chicken first to cook the pieces? I’m tempted to do that to save a step 😬
Hi! You could cut it up... it's entirely up to your personal preference. I find sometimes that when I cut the chicken up it's easy for it to crowd in the pan, and then it gets watery vs. well browned. So be sure to use a large enough skillet that it doesn't happen if you do go that route. It's also easier to flip 4 pieces of chicken than a whole bunch of smaller pieces IMO. Also, it takes me only a couple of minutes to slice up cooked chicken... so I actually find that part easier too. And finally, it remains juicy after you take it out of the pan and let it rest for a few minutes prior to slicing. I hope you enjoy this recipe - let me know! 🙂
If I could give it 6 stars I would! Delicious!
Aww thank you so much, Rebecca! I'm thrilled you loved it. 😀
This was so delicious and easy! The only substitution I made was half n half for some of the heavy cream because I only had a half cup left. It still came out beautifully. Thanks for all of the work and helpful hints you put into your recipes!
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Jeanne!! 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!