This Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta recipe is a delicious and comforting dish that combines tender pieces of chicken, al dente pasta, a creamy garlic Parmesan sauce, and a variety of savory flavors. It's the perfect comfort food the whole family will enjoy — and it's all cooked in one large skillet!
If you're looking for more pasta dish inspiration or other one pot meals we have a full library of both. We love pasta, and the one pot meals are always a hit because they're because they're easy, healthy, and require less cleanup!
Why this Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta Recipe Works
Besides being delicious, we have a few reasons you'll love this parmesan garlic chicken pasta:
- The entire family will enjoy it. Everyone around the dinner table will want more once they've had a bite of this chicken pasta with creamy parmesan garlic sauce.
- It makes for an easy dinner recipe. This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights because it's all cooked in one pot.
- It's a filling comfort dish that's full of flavor.
- The ingredients are easy to customize. Easily make this a gluten-free or dairy-free dish if that's important to you.
Need a side dish? Serve this al dente pasta in a creamy sauce with garlic bread, green beans, or an Italian-themed salad like this La Scala chopped salad.
How to Make Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
The full printable recipe is at the end of this post, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This garlic parmesan chicken pasta is easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure they turn out every time.
Cook Chicken: While the pasta cooks, toss the chicken breast with olive oil, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, dried sage, and red pepper flakes. You could also use Italian seasoning. Sear the chicken for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the internal temperature reaches just before 165°F. Cooking time will vary based on the size of the chicken. Remove the cooked chicken to a clean plate or cutting board.
Pro tip: if the outside of the chicken is burning before the inside is done, add a Tablespoon of water to the pan at a time.
Make the creamy pasta sauce: Melt butter over medium heat in the same pan, add the fresh garlic, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Whisk in the flour to create a thick paste then slowly pour in the chicken, scraping off any brown bits to deglaze the pan. Turn the heat down and pour in the milk and heavy cream, whisking consistently. Add the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and stir until the cheese melts.
Combine: Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Pour in a splash of the reserved pasta water a few tablespoons at a time as needed to thin the sauce.
Serve: Slice the chicken thinly or cut it into small pieces and serve on top of the garlic parmesan pasta. Garnish with shaved parmesan, fresh chopped parsley, or red pepper flakes for a little heat.
Substitutions and Variations
- Chicken breasts: chicken thighs or skip the steps to sear the chicken and go right to making the cream sauce, then stir in shredded rotisserie chicken with the spinach and tomatoes.
- More veggies: fresh spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and baby bella mushrooms would make great additions to the creamy garlic pasta sauce. Add them shortly before adding the cooked pasta back to the skillet.
- No heavy cream: swap this for cream cheese or whole milk (won't be quite as creamy).
- Dairy-free: use vegan butter, nut milk, and coconut cream.
- Gluten-free: find a gluten-free pasta. (We like Delallo.)
Expert Recipe Tips for Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
- Slice the chicken in half lengthwise if your chicken breasts are especially large (6 ounces or more) to help them cook quickly and evenly.
- Pound chicken breasts into an even thickness so they cook evenly.
- Add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet with the chicken if it's starting to burn or overheat before the chicken is cooked through all the way.
- Use an instant-read thermometer and pull the chicken out around 160°F, or just before, to allow for carryover cooking.
- Tent the chicken with foil and bring it to room temperature for 20 ish minutes before searing.
- Use high-quality chicken stock or broth. The better the quality, the richer and more flavorful the sauce.
There are three reasons why your chicken may be rubbery. It's usually because you got woody chicken (when it's too large), you didn't pound it to tenderize, or you overcook it.
If you'd rather bake your chicken breasts than cook them on the stovetop, bake it at a high temperature in the oven for 18-20 minutes. It's the secret to gorgeous caramelization on the outside while giving you juicy chicken breast on the inside. Follow our tips for how long to bake chicken at 425 degrees F.
The Buffalo Wild Wing's Garlic Parmesan sauce is a mixture of roasted garlic, parmesan cheese, and herbs.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I don't recommend freezing leftovers because the texture of the sauce will change as it defrosts because of the dairy. Reheat in a saute pan over medium-low heat, adding additional chicken broth or cream to thin out the sauce as needed.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More One-Pot Recipes
We have an entire category dedicated to our one-pot recipes, but a few of our (and our readers') favorites are one pot taco pasta and creamy one pot buffalo chicken pasta. You'll literally be licking the bottom of the pot!
Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
- 1 lb shortcut pasta (we used Rigatoni) gluten-free if needed
- 1 lb chicken breast pounded to even thickness (Note 1)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter vegan butter if needed
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 3 Tablespoons flour gluten-free if needed
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 2 cups milk any kind
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Parsley, parmesan, and/or red pepper flakes to garnish
- Deep skillet like a cast-iron skillet
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water then drain the pasta. Do not rinse the pasta it under water.
- While the pasta is cooking, toss the chicken breast together with olive oil, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, dried sage, and red pepper flakes.
- Heat a deep, heavy-bottomed skillet, like a cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot and shimmering, add the chicken and pan sear for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. If the outside begins to burn before the inside of the chicken is done, add a splash of water to the pan a Tablespoon at a time. The chicken should reach 160-165 degrees f with a target temp of 165 as it rests. Remove the cooked chicken to a clean plate or cutting board.
- Melt the butter over medium heat in the same pan then add the fresh garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Whisk in the flour to create a thick paste. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the chicken broth until no lumps remain, scraping off any brown bits from the cooked chicken to deglaze the pan.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and pour in the milk and heavy cream, whisking consistently. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes to thicken the sauce. The sauce should begin to bubble slightly around the edges. If it doesn’t, turn the heat up slightly so it bubbles and thickens. It should be really smooth and creamy. Add the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and stir until the cheese melts. Taste and add more salt as needed.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Add the reserved pasta water a few tablespoons at a time as needed to thin the sauce.
- Slice the chicken thinly and serve on top of the garlic parmesan pasta. Garnish with red pepper flakes, shaved parmesan, or fresh chopped parsley.