Chicken Parmesan Garlic Pasta is a super-satisfying 30-minute meal the entire family will love. Featuring tender chicken pieces smothered in an irresistible creamy sauce. Made with all real food ingredients, lightened up for a healthier twist, and loaded with nutritional goodness. This pasta dish is wholesome comfort food at its best!
If you’re looking for an easy pasta dinner for those busy weeknights we know all too well, you’re in the right place, my friend!
This creamy parmesan garlic chicken pasta is perfect when you’re in a hurry and need a wholesome home-cooked dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
The combination of chicken, mushrooms, herbs, garlic, cheese, and a silky cream sauce makes this recipe out-of-this-world delicious. Who said healthy eating can’t feel indulgent?!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- FAST – This easy chicken pasta recipe is ready in just 30 minutes, including prep, making it the perfect weeknight dinner.
- ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD – This dish is rich, cheesy, garlicky, and simply irresistible. It’s the type of comfort food the whole family will enjoy.
- NUTRITIOUS – It’s loaded with protein and fiber, helping you feel satisfied for longer.
- Pasta: I love how the creamy garlic sauce pools in the spirals of fusilli pasta. Penne pasta, cavatelli, or orecchiette also do this brilliantly. But you could use linguine or spaghetti if you’d prefer.
- Chicken: This recipe uses chicken breasts chopped into small bite-sized pieces, but you can use sliced chicken thighs or chicken tenders if you’d like. To keep the chicken pieces succulent and juicy, they’re sautéd in a pan until just cooked, removed from the heat, and left to rest. They then get added back into the sauce at the end to prevent them from drying out.
- Fresh Garlic: I’m using three fresh cloves, so the sauce is garlicky but not overly so. I would always recommend fresh minced garlic or even roasted garlic over garlic powder for the best garlic flavor in your sauce. You can use more or less based on your personal preference.
- Chicken Stock: I recommend using chicken stock or chicken broth for the most flavorful sauce. If you have homemade chicken stock, then great, definitely add that. A minimally processed, low-sodium shop-bought stock/ stock cube will be fine if not. Vegetable stock will also work in a pinch.
- Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan is the way to go here. Avoid the store-brought ready-grated kind, as it often contains unnecessary fillers, it won’t melt as well, and it doesn’t taste as good!
- Milk and Ricotta: Both add creaminess to the dish without the heaviness of other dairy products like heavy cream (double cream) or mascarpone.
- Lemon Zest: Brightens the pasta.
The following step-by-step instructions show how easy it is to make this garlic parmesan chicken pasta recipe. Remember, exact ingredients and detailed instructions are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. ⇩
Step 1: Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving a cup of pasta water.
Step 2: Sauté and season chicken. Set aside.
Step 3: Sauté the mushrooms. Set aside.
Step 4: Sauté the onions.
Step 5: Add aromatics. Cook for one minute.
Step 6: Add stock. Deglaze the pan.
Step 7: Blend with a hand blender for a smooth sauce. Optional.
Step 8: Stir in the milk and ricotta.
Step 9: Add parmesan. Whisk until it melts.
Step 10: Add lemon zest. Stir.
Step 11: Return the chicken and mushrooms to the pan. Stir.
Step 12: Add the cooked pasta and stir until all the ingredients are well-coated.
Don’t overcook the pasta. For the best texture, you want al dente pasta, which means slightly firm when you bite into it. That way, it won’t turn to mush when you continue to cook it for a short time in the creamy parmesan garlic sauce. Most brands include the timings for al dente on the package instructions. This varies based on the size and shape of the pasta.
Don’t overcook the chicken. Especially if you want to reheat leftovers, as it will become tough and dry.
Reserve pasta water. Remember to keep a cup of the starchy pasta water to help the sauce reach the perfect consistency.
- Fusilli Pasta: You can use any pasta you prefer, such as penne, spaghetti, or fettuccine. Just be mindful of cooking times, as different pasta shapes may require different cooking times.
- Chicken Breasts: Swap chicken breasts with boneless skinless chicken thighs, tenders, or ground chicken. You could even use leftover cooked chicken – add it at the end with the pasta to heat through. Alternatively, go with a different type of meat, like ground turkey, beef, or pork. If you prefer seafood, shrimp, or salmon are delicious in this dish.
- Ricotta Cheese: Light cream cheese or quark are fab alternatives to ricotta.
- Parmesan Cheese: Pecorino Romano cheese or Grana Padano are great alternatives to Parmesan cheese.
- Herbs: You can substitute fresh oregano and thyme with fresh basil, chives, or fresh parsley for a different flavor combo. Alternatively, swap fresh herbs for dried herbs. Dried Italian seasoning works great in this dish.
- Mushrooms: Any type of mushrooms will do! Cremini, chestnut, button, shiitake, or portobello are just some that come to mind. Or, omit them if you dislike them.
- Low Carb Option: To reduce the carb content, replace the pasta with spiralized zucchini (courgette).
- Vegetarian Option: Omit the chicken and replace it with crispy tofu or extra vegetables like diced bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, or artichoke hearts.
Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein, which supports muscle growth and helps you feel full, all while being low in fat. Additionally, chicken helps the body absorb essential minerals like iron, zinc, copper, and B vitamins. [Source]
Mushrooms contain a combination of important nutrients like vitamin D, selenium, potassium, niacin, proteins, fiber, and antioxidants. As such, they may help boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. [Source]
Wholegrain pasta, compared to regular pasta, can help you feel full, making it a good choice for long-lasting energy and weight loss. [Source]
Serve your delicious pasta with a simple chopped salad and some extra virgin olive oil garlic bread to mop up the creamy sauce. Or, add a side of beautiful greens, like broccolini, sautéd fresh spinach, or asparagus.
Storage and Reheating
Refrigerate: Cool your leftover Chicken Parmesan Garlic Pasta to room temperature, and then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Always check for freshness!
Reheating: For best results, reheat in single-serving portions in the microwave. First, transfer the food to a microwave-safe dish. Add a splash of milk, water, or chicken stock to bring the creaminess back to the sauce and prevent the pasta from drying out. Then, heat in 1-minute intervals until heated through.
Freezing: For longer storage, cool to room temperature, transfer to freezer-safe airtight containers, and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, and reheat as per the above instructions.
Chicken is cooked through when its internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read meat thermometer. Additionally, the juices should run clear, and there should be no pink in the center.
Yes, you can make this parmesan pasta recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta or spiralized vegetables and ensuring that all other ingredients, including chicken broth and seasonings, are certified gluten-free.
Yes! Pre-cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken is a great time saver. Simply shred or dice the pre-cooked chicken and add it to the sauce at the end to heat through.
More Pasta Recipes
Looking for your next delicious dish? Try these pasta recipes next time…
Did you enjoy this Creamy Chicken Parmesan Garlic Pasta? I’d love to know! Be sure to leave a comment and a star rating. Love and health, Cheryl xo!
Creamy Chicken Parmesan Garlic Pasta with Mushrooms
If you love this recipe, rate it with 5 stars below!PRINT PIN RATE
- 10½ ounces (300 grams) wholegrain fusilli
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes, plus extra for pasta water
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces (225 grams) mushrooms, roughly sliced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ teaspoon red pepper flakes (red chilli flakes)
- 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup (235 milliliters) chicken stock, low-sodium (or broth)
- ½ cup (120 milliliters) milk, whole milk or semi-skimmed
- 4 ounces (115 grams) ricotta cheese
- ½ cup (50 grams) grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Prepare: Gather and prepare ingredients.
- Cook Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente (firm to the bite). Drain, reserving 1 cup of starchy pasta water, and set aside.
- Sauté the Chicken: As the pasta cooks, put a large skillet on a medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil. Add the chicken pieces and season with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Let the chicken cook until there's no pink remaining in the center – about 4-5 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Remove the chicken from the skillet onto a plate, loosely cover with foil, and set aside.
- Sauté the Mushrooms: In the same skillet, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until they're tender and golden brown – about 3-5 minutes. There should still be some oil from cooking the chicken. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and put them on the plate with the chicken. Set aside.
- Prepare the Sauce: Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and thyme, and cook for one minute more. Add the chicken stock and scrape any stuck-on brown bits with a spatula. This "deglazing" will add so much extra flavor to the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and then gently simmer for a couple of minutes to thicken. Blend the liquid with a hand blender or a mini food processor if you'd like a smooth sauce. Optional.
- Milk and Cheese: Lower to a medium heat and stir the milk into the sauce, followed by the ricotta and parmesan cheese. Add the lemon zest and remaining salt and pepper before whisking to melt the cheese.
- Assemble: Stir the cooked chicken and mushrooms into the sauce. Now add the cooked pasta and stir until everything is well coated. If you'd like the pasta sauce looser, add the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
- Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Nutrition Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimated using an online nutrition calculator. For accuracy, we recommend you calculate using the exact ingredients and brands you used.