Easy Pesto Pasta with Chicken – One Pot Dinner

What’s for dinner, mom? How about delicious pesto pasta with chicken? Made in one pot, it will take you 40 minutes from start to finish. This is the first recipe in my new series “Simple Dinners To Make When Coming Home From Work.”

The post has extra tips to make sure the recipe comes out amazing on your first try. If you're in a rush, use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end! 👩‍🍳🔝
creamy looking pesto penne pasta with chicken on a grey plate.
Baked chicken skewers

What’s for dinner, Mom?” I hear this question every night, and it used to make me feel stressed. Especially because, most of the time, my younger son wouldn’t even eat what I cooked. Since I started meal planning, it has become much better. I also now ask my kids what they would like to have for dinner before I plan, and it works wonders!

This pesto pasta recipe is one of their favorites, along with bang bang salmon and sweet soy chicken. I love this simple pasta dish too because, with a little planning ahead of time, you can have a perfect family dinner without stress and sad faces at the table. Let’s begin!

3 Reasons to Make This Pesto Pasta Your New Go-To Dinner:

One-Pot Dinner: It is all cooked in a single pot, minimizing cleanup and simplifying your weeknight routine. I love how quickly this comes together on busy nights.
Healthy and Delicious: Pesto is packed with nutrients, adding a healthy dose of greens to your meal.
Kid-Approved: Most kids love the taste of pesto, making this a meal the whole family can enjoy.


Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious creamy pesto pasta with chicken.

Ingredients needed to make one pot pesto pasta with chicken.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Chicken: I used chicken breast to make this chicken pesto pasta.
  • Pesto Sauce: I usually make my own creamy pesto sauce, but store-bought pesto works too for an even quicker meal.
  • Pasta: Any pasta shape will work! My kids love penne and bow ties, so that’s what we usually use. 

See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients 👇

Substitutions & Variations

  • Make it gluten-free: You can easily make this peso pasta gluten-free. Simply use your favorite pasta and follow the recipe. You might need a little more liquid to cook it.

Savings Tips:

Use chicken thighs instead of breasts: Chicken thighs are typically less expensive than chicken breasts and taste really good too.
Make your own pesto: Homemade pesto can be more affordable than store-bought and allows you to customize the flavor to your liking. 

How to Make Pesto Pasta with Chicken in One Pot

Butter and garlic in a Dutch oven.

Step 1: Melt the butter in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), being careful not to burn it.

Chicken cubes frying in a Dutch oven.

Step 2: Add chicken cubes to the skillet and season with pepper. Cook until chicken is sealed, about 3-5 minutes. It doesn’t need to be cooked through at this point.

Dry pasta added to Dutch oven.

Step 3: Add dry pasta to the pot along with chicken stock and half of the pure cream. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente (cooked but still firm to the bite), about 10-12 minutes.

Pesto sauce and cream added to Dutch oven.

Step 4: Stir in the pesto sauce, remaining heavy cream, and half of the grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well to combine.

Creamy pesto pasta with chicken in a pan.

Step 5: Warm the pasta for 1-2 minutes, stirring gently. Don’t let the sauce boil.

creamy pesto pasta with chicken in a plate.

Step 6: Serve immediately, topped with remaining Parmesan cheese and any additional toppings you desire 

Expert Tips:

Cut the chicken right after you buy it and label it “Chicken for Pesto Pasta” before storing it in the fridge or freezer. It will make the cooking process much faster

chicken pesto pasta, served ready to eat. A fork with two penne noodles.

❄️ How to Store Pesto Pasta

  • Refrigerate: Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: Portion individual servings into freezer-safe containers or bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Reheat: Gently reheat on the stovetop over low heat, adding a splash of water or milk to loosen the sauce if needed. Alternatively, reheat individual portions in the microwave.
Have you tried this recipe? If so, I'd greatly appreciate it if you could leave a star rating and share your thoughts in a comment. Your feedback means a lot to me, and it can also help others who are interested in trying it out. Thank you! 🌟👩‍🍳

📜Recipe

creamy looking penne in pesto sauce with chicken, served ready to eat.

Easy Pesto Pasta with Chicken – One Pot Dinner

Elena Elliott
This quick and easy one-pot pesto pasta with chicken is perfect for busy weeknights. Creamy pesto sauce coats tender chicken and your favorite pasta for a satisfying meal the whole family will love. Make it with homemade or store-bought pesto to save even more time!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 350 grams dry pasta I used penne
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup pure cream also known as whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto store-bought or homemade. If homemade refer to my recipe in the blog post above or in the recipe notes below👇
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to season (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Sauté the Garlic: Melt the butter in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), being careful not to burn it.
  • Brown the Chicken: Add chicken cubes to the skillet and season with pepper. Cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 3-5 minutes. It doesn't need to be cooked through at this point.
  • Simmer with Pasta: Add dry pasta to the pot along with chicken stock and half of the pure cream. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente (cooked but still firm to the bite), about 10-12 minutes.
  • Stir in Pesto and Cream: Stir in the pesto sauce, remaining heavy cream, and half of the grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well to combine.
  • Warm and Serve: Warm the pasta for 1-2 minutes, stirring gently. Don't let the sauce boil.
  • Garnish and Enjoy: Serve immediately, topped with remaining Parmesan cheese and any additional toppings you desire.

Notes

  1. Don’t Overcook the Chicken: Brown the chicken quickly, it doesn’t need to be cooked through at that stage. It will finish cooking with the pasta, ensuring it stays tender and juicy.
  2. Adjust the Consistency: If the sauce seems too thick, add a splash of pasta water while stirring. This will create a smoother, creamier texture.
  3. Pesto Sauce: If you would like to make your one basil pesto, head over to my creamy pesto recipe.

Nutrition:

calories 888
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 36 g 56 %
Saturated Fat 11 g 57 %
Monounsaturated Fat 7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 131 mg 44 %
Sodium 720 mg 30 %
Potassium 681 mg 19 %
Total Carbohydrate 93 g 31 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g 8 %
Sugars 8 g  
Protein 51 g 101 %
Vitamin A 11 %
Vitamin C 36 %
Calcium 25 %
Iron 15 %
 
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
Keyword chicken pesto pasta
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