Chicken Pesto Pasta is made creamy with Parmesan, mozzarella, and heavy cream. Fresh basil pesto coats this pasta and chicken for the perfect pop of flavor in every bite. This is a quick and easy recipe that everyone will love!
Pasta is always a winner at my house. My kids love it, so I’ve tried about a thousand different pasta recipes over the years. This pesto pasta is one we come back to again and again! It’s creamy, full of flavor, and filling. For more great basil pesto recipes, try this Baked Pesto Chicken, this delicious Pesto Chicken Sandwich, and this Caprese Sandwich with Pesto.
Pesto Chicken Pasta
Don’t you just love a delicious and SIMPLE pasta recipe? I know I do! That’s probably why we eat this chicken pesto pasta so often. It just doesn’t get old! The chicken is seasoned and then you make this incredible creamy pesto sauce that just goes together so well. I prefer to make my own basil pesto, but there are a few great options you can pick up from the grocery store.
Another reason I love a good pasta recipe is you don’t need to worry about making a lot of sides! I like to whip up some roasted root veggies or even better, some delicious air fryer mushrooms to go along with the pasta and you’re done. Of course a salad like a Caprese salad or a spinach salad would also go great! You’ve got a well-rounded meal that is fresh and delicious. I think you are going to love this recipe as much as I do. Let’s get cooking!
These ingredients are so simple and come together to make yummy chicken pesto pasta. I like to add two cheeses, but you could choose just one or the other. You can also switch up the type of meat you use, it’s delicious with turkey or even pork. You can find the measurements below in the recipe card
- Olive Oil: It has the best flavor and makes a great base for the sauce.
- Chicken Breasts: You can use any part of the chicken you like, just cut the chicken up in good bite size pieces.
- Onion: You could add in fresh onion, I like to add onion powder to keep it easy.
- Dried Italian Seasoning: This just goes so well with the pesto!
- Kosher Salt: High-quality salt matters.
- Butter: To saute the garlic.
- Garlic: For fresh flavor that goes perfect with basil.
- Chicken Broth: To make the sauce. You could use reserved pasta water instead.
- Heavy Cream: Lots of cream makes the sauce so thick and creamy!
- Parmesan: I love Parm with this sauce.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Melts into the sauce!
- Basil Pesto: You can use homemade or store bought.
- Penne Pasta: That’s what I prefer, you can choose whatever noodle you want.
- Salt and Pepper: To season the chicken.
Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe
The list of ingredients may look a little long for this chicken pesto pasta recipe, but they are super simple. You can also switch up the ingredients to suit your needs. I like adding new things to this recipe all the time. You will figure out exactly the way that your family likes it best. I share some of my tips below for changing things up.
- Brown Chicken: Add the olive oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the cut chicken, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and salt to the skillet. Stir and cook until the chicken is browned on the outside and cooked through. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Cook Garlic: In the same skillet, add the butter and garlic. Melt the butter and saute the garlic for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Make Sauce: Add the chicken broth, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese to the skillet. Whisk to combine and continue to stir and cook the sauce over medium-high heat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Make Pasta: While the sauce is thickening, boil the pasta in a pot according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Put It All Together: Once the sauce has thickened, add the cooked chicken, cooked pasta, and pesto sauce to the skillet with the sauce. Stir to combine and cook until warmed through.
- Season: Season with additional salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if desired.
- Garnish: Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Tips for Making Chicken Pesto Pasta
This chicken pesto pasta recipe is so simple, you might be tempted to switch things up. You should definitely do that! I love adding things to this recipe all the time, and sometimes I’m just pulling what I have out from the fridge and putting things together.
- Type of Pasta: I prefer penne, but you could really use whatever kind of pasta you have on hand or you like best. I’ve made this with spaghetti noodles and elbows, and it was delicious both ways.
- Added Ingredients: I am always adding new ingredients to this recipe! I especially love adding pine nuts and cherry tomatoes. I have also used sausage instead of chicken, and along with chicken. It was amazing!
- Thicken the Sauce: If you want the sauce a little thicker, you can make a flour and water slurry to add to the sauce. Mix 1 tablespoon of flour with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Add that when you are adding the rest of the sauce ingredients and cook until thickened.
Pasta makes great leftovers, especially this chicken pesto pasta. It makes the perfect lunch the next day. You can even make extra for meal prepping. Here is how to store leftovers.
- In the Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 3/4 cup basil pesto
- 8 ounces penne pasta, cooked and drained
- additional salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
- Add the olive oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the cut chicken, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and salt to the skillet. Stir and cook until the chicken is browned on the outside and cooked through. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add the butter and garlic. Melt the butter and saute the garlic for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the chicken broth, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese to the skillet. Whisk to combine and continue to stir and cook the sauce over medium-high heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken.
- While the sauce is thickening, boil the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Once the sauce has thickened, add the cooked chicken, cooked pasta, and pesto sauce to the skillet with the sauce. Stir to combine and cook until warmed through.
- Season with additional salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if desired.
- Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
Chicken pesto pasta was delish! GrandKids loved it too!