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Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta is the epitome of comfort with a touch of elegance. In just 30 minutes, you can create a dish that’s comforting on a casual evening, yet elegant enough for a special dinner. It’s the kind of meal you’ll want to share with your loved ones, whether it’s a weeknight dinner or a romantic date night at home.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta served in a white ceramic bowl photographed from the top.

With a simple blend of rich flavors and easily accessible ingredients, this dish manages to capture the essence of gourmet cooking without needless complexity. Succulent chicken and tender pasta twirled into a creamy parmesan garlic sauce creates a dish that’s satisfying and easy to prepare, no matter the occasion.

Ingredients for Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta Ingredients on a speckled board.
  • Fettuccini: Or other long, slender pasta.
  • Olive Oil: Use a quality extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: Look for fresh, well-trimmed pieces that are plump and have a nice pink color. 
  • Butter: Use salted butter or unsalted butter and adjust salt to taste.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are a star of this dish and provide robust flavor to the creamy sauce.
  • Heavy Cream: Full-fat version for the creamiest texture.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Grated fresh from a block for the best taste and consistency.
  • Fresh Parsley: Optional for garnish but adds a bright, fresh touch to the finished dish.
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Two bowls of Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta served in a white ceramic bowl photographed from the top.

Recipe Options

  • Pasta Choice: While fettuccini is called for in this recipe, you can use any long pasta, like: spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle. Or use fresh pasta, but increase the amount to 12 ounces.
  • Chicken Variation: If you prefer a juicier and more flavorful cut of meat, you can substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs.
  • Lighten it Up: For a lighter version of the dish swap in half and half or chicken broth for some of the heavy cream.
  • Herb Variations: Instead of or along with fresh parsley, add some chopped fresh basil or thyme, or even a dried herb blend like Italian seasoning for an herbaceous twist. 
  • Vegetable Add-Ins: Add sautéed spinach, zucchini or mushrooms, or leftover cooked vegetables (like broccoli or cauliflower) to make this pasta dish a meal on its own.
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Stir in a handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes to add a rich, tangy flavor to the creamy sauce.
  • Spice it Up: Stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a touch of spicy kick.

Recipe Tips

  • Pasta Cooking: Cook the pasta to al dente (firm to the bite) according to package instructions so it won’t fall apart when mixed with the sauce.
  • Chicken Cooking: For evenly cooked chicken, cut the pieces into a uniform size and avoid overcrowding the pan while cooking to help cook the chicken evenly without steaming.
  • Sauce Thickness: If the sauce is too thick, you can add reserved pasta water a tablespoon at a time, to reach the desired consistency. Conversely, if the sauce is too thin, allow it to simmer a bit longer to thicken up.
Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta served in a white ceramic bowl photographed atan angle.

How to Store and Reheat

Store leftover pasta refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a covered saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat with a generous splash of leftover pasta water (or a splash of cream, half and half, milk or water), gently stirring occasionally until heated through. Adjust seasoning as needed and serve topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Serve With

How to Make Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta

Boil pasta in salted water until al dente, then drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

drained pasta and cooking water

In a skillet, heat olive oil and cook seasoned chicken until just cooked through, then remove.

In the same skillet, melt butter, sauté garlic, and simmer with heavy cream until slightly thickened. Stir in parmesan cheese and return chicken to pan.

Add cooked pasta to the skillet, heating and loosening sauce with reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper, and serve in a bowl or platter, garnished with additional parmesan and parsley if you like.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 723
Servings: 4 people
A 30-minute Italian-inspired meal that brings together tender chicken, buttery garlic, and nutty Parmesan cheese in a rich and creamy sauce.

Ingredients  

  • 8 ounces fettuccini or other long pasta, like linguine or spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces (about 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until firm to the bite (al dente). Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper; cook and stir until chicken is just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a clean plate and cover to keep warm.
  • To the same skillet, add butter and stir until sizzling. Add minced garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add heavy cream and bring to simmer; cook and stir until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Add parmesan cheese; cook and stir until cheese has melted. Return chicken to pan and stir to coat.
  • Add cooked pasta to chicken mixture in skillet; cook and stir until heated through, adding pasta water a tablespoon at a time as needed to loosen the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese and parsley if desired; serve.

Notes

  1. If using fresh pasta (not dried), use 12 ounces.

Nutrition

Calories: 723kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 203mg | Sodium: 544mg | Potassium: 562mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1294IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 259mg | Iron: 2mg

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

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4 Comments

  1. Mimi Rippee says:

    This is one of those recipes that I feel like diving in to! Yum.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I love to hear that, Mimi!

  2. David @ Spiced says:

    5 stars
    You’re talking my kinda language with this recipe, Marissa! I do love creamy pasta, and this looks fantastic – it’s only 7:45am, and I’m wondering if I can make this for breakfast! 🙂

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I love it! Thanks, David.