Just 20 minutes of cooking time is all that is needed to make this Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta for an easy family-friendly dinner recipe!
When you’re wondering what to make for dinner tonight that everyone will enjoy can be challenging sometimes, and today’s recipe is one I am sure you’ll keep making time and time again.
Easy Garlic Chicken Pasta Skillet
If chicken is your go-to for making a protein-rich meal, you’re in good company! It pairs great with this creamy garlic sauce, and when you add pasta to the skillet, you’ve got an epic meal ready to be served in 20 minutes.
I love using penne pasta for this recipe because the sauce gets inside of all the nooks and crannies, so every bite tastes delicious.
This post shows you how to do it step by step, and with a printable recipe at the bottom, you’ll have an easy skillet meal for any night of the week.
Before you make substitutions or skip an ingredient, let me share what you’ll need and why for this simple chicken pasta recipe:
- Penne pasta: this is my pasta of choice, but you can always use other pasta as well.
- Chicken breasts: boneless skinless chicken breasts are the best and easiest to use and butterfly.
- Salt and pepper: for seasoning.
- Olive oil: for cooking, avocado oil can also be used.
- Butter: You can use salted or unsalted butter for this dish.
- Garlic cloves: Minced garlic is great for flavor, but garlic powder can be used in a pinch, too.
- Fresh rosemary: fresh is always best when it comes to herbs, but if you don’t have any, use Italian seasoning or dried.
- Chicken broth: You can also use stock or even bone broth for extra health benefits.
- Half and half or heavy cream: both are great for adding richness and flavor.
- Parmesan cheese: a little or a lot, you decide!
Remember to grab the ingredient measurements in the printable recipe card below.
How to Make Garlic Chicken Pasta
Simple prep work and easy cooking are what sets this apart from other pasta and chicken recipes. This is what you’ll be doing:
- Cook the pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook penne pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, reserve ½ cup pasta water, drain, and set aside.
- Prep and season the chicken
If using 2 chicken breasts, first butterfly the chicken breasts and cut them into four pieces. Pat them dry with a paper towel and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Cook the chicken
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is melted, place the chicken pieces on the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on the first side without disturbing them, flip, and cook for 3 to 4 additional minutes on the other side, until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Remove from pan onto a board or plate and set aside.
- Saute the garlic
Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of butter onto the pan. Add the whole garlic cloves and sauté them for about 2 to 3 minutes, moving them around to make sure they toast to a golden color but they don’t burn.
- Make the sauce
Add the rosemary to the garlic and toast it for about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth or stock and let it simmer to begin to lift the toasty chicken tidbits from the pan. Add the cream, bring it to a simmer and let the sauce cook down for 3 to 4 minutes until it’s visibly reduced.
Slice chicken breasts diagonally and add them to the sauce. Add the chicken breasts back into the pan and let it simmer for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta
Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss the chicken with the pasta and sauce. Add ¼ cup of reserved pasta water to the mixture. For more sauce, add more until it has the desired consistency you enjoy.
Serve topped with parmesan cheese.
Make next: More Pasta Dinner Ideas
Swaps and Add-Ons
While this recipe is delicious as is, there is always room to add other ingredients or make substitutions.
Veggies to add:
Adding mushrooms, onions, and even diced celery are great options to kick up the healthy factor even more.
Substitute the half and half or heavy cream for canned coconut cream. Omit the butter and use a little extra oil.
Chicken breasts or thighs
Boneless skinless chicken thighs are an affordable swap for breasts. Use the same amount, about 1 to 1.5 pounds.
Creamy garlic chicken and pasta leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, once cooled down to room temperature, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To heat up, simply add a tablespoon or two of milk or half and half and microwave for one minute, stir, and heat for additional time until it’s warm enough for you.