A blend of rich and zesty flavors, this Lemon Garlic Chicken Pasta is ready to serve in just 30 minutes. Tender chunks of chicken breast tossed with hot pasta and a buttery sauce that's brightened with lemon and parsley add up to a dish your entire family will love.
Easy and economical, this simple pasta dish is a great alternative to eating out. Made with everyday ingredients that you may even have on hand, you can make a restaurant worthy meal in mere minutes.
Ingredients You Need to Make Lemon Garlic Chicken Pasta
- Pasta: spaghetti or other long, thin pasta
- Olive Oil: ideally good extra-virgin olive oil
- Butter: salted or unsalted butter
- Garlic: large, fresh garlic cloves
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: omit to reduce spiciness or add more for extra spicy kick
- Chicken Breasts: boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Lemon: fresh lemon juice and zest
- Parsley: fresh flat leaf parsley (also called Italian parsley)
- Parmesan Cheese: or Pecorino Romano cheese
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Creamy, but lighter.
The silky, creamy sauce for this pasta has no heavy cream, just a simple blend of butter, olive oil, and a hefty measure of garlic. Fresh parsley and plenty of lemon juice and zest add brightness, while crushed red pepper flakes add a bit of kick.
Keep your chicken juicy with these 3 tips.
Chicken breast has a reputation for easily drying out and becoming rubbery. The great news is that it's easy to keep it tender and juicy.
- First, take your chicken out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you plan to cook it, so it's closer to room temperature.
- Second, make sure your pan is hot when you add the chicken so it cooks quickly.
- Last, and most importantly, don't overcook it. You want it to be cooked through (hot and no longer pink), but still juicy.
- Parmesan cheese is ideal for this dish, but any hard, Italian cheese like Pecorino Romano or Asiago would also be excellent.
- Add a splash of white wine if you like to break up the richness.
- Make this a meal on it's own with a healthy portion of baby spinach, baby arugula, or stir in quickly steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
Whether you need a quick weeknight meal or a simple main course for a dinner party, make this recipe once and I predict you'll turn to it often.
- Arugula Salad
- Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower or Roasted Broccoli and Carrots (you could also stir these in to your pasta!)
- Little Gem Salad
You Should Also Try
- Lemon Garlic Pasta (A vegetarian version of this dish that everyone loves!)
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta (A shrimp lovers version.)
- Tuna Pasta (with a no-cook sauce!)
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta (With a luscious, creamy sauce that's lighter than it tastes)
- Sausage and Peppers Pasta (Incredible depth of flavor and made in just over half an hour.)
How to Make Lemon Garlic Chicken Pasta
Cook pasta according to package directions until firm to the bite; drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook garlic and red pepper flakes in sizzling hot olive oil and butter until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper; cook and stir 4 to 5 minute, until chicken is just cooked through.
Add drained, cooked pasta and ¼ cup of reserved pasta water to chicken in skillet and toss to coat (add more pasta water as necessary to loosen the sauce). Remove skillet from heat and stir in parsley and fresh lemon juice and zest; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and scatter parmesan cheese over the top; serve.
Lemon Garlic Chicken Pasta
- 12 ounces dried spaghetti or other long, thin pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 large garlic cloves minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or more
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 large lemon juice and zest
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or more
- 2 ounces parmesan cheese freshly grated, optional
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta in boiling water until firm to the bite (al dente), about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper; cook and stir until chicken is just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Once you've drained the pasta, set skillet with chicken mixture over medium heat. Add drained, cooked pasta and ¼ cup of reserved pasta water; toss to coat. Cook and stir until heated through, adding more pasta water if pasta seems too dry.
- Remove pasta from heat and stir in fresh lemon juice and zest, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl or platter; top with grated parmesan cheese and serve.
- Use any long, slender pasta you like for this recipe.