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Chicken Pesto Pasta

Cara is a web writer and website owner with over 15 years of experience. She enjoys writing about food and cooking, among other topics.


Quick One-Pot Pasta

Chicken pesto pasta is one of the simplest, creamiest, one-pot pastas that you’ll ever have. It includes perfect penne noodles and chicken covered with a simple, delicious garlic pesto cream sauce. This is an unforgettable dinner that your family will ask for over and over again.

There are several changes you can make to this recipe to suit your personal needs, and there is even a tip included in this article about how and when to freeze this recipe for later.

This is a super-fast dinner you can make in one pan in about 30 minutes. Perfect al dente pasta and juicy chicken tossed in a pesto cream sauce and dusted with cheese. What else could you want with dinner? Maybe a vegetable, but I have a recommendation for that too.

Chef's Tips

These tips will help you make the perfect chicken pesto pasta every time. They also provide directions for refrigeration, freezing, and substitution.

  • This recipe is easy to make using a 12-inch skillet that has a lid. You can use a larger skillet if you need to. You can also use a deep heavy pot or a Dutch oven to make this recipe.
  • You will dice your chicken breasts into small, bite-sized pieces and cook them in olive oil and seasonings. The goal of this is to cook the chicken until it is just browned on all sides. It will finish cooking in the sauce.
  • Add cherry tomatoes if you would like. However, if you don’t like tomatoes, you can leave them out or replace them with a similar vegetable.
  • At this point you will also add your broth and penne, cover, and simmer the dish for 12 to 15 minutes, or until your pasta is tender. You can leave the lid off the skillet if you would like and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring every minute or so. You can add more chicken broth if needed to achieve the desired consistency. The goal is to make sure your noodles are completely covered in the broth and that your dish simmers gently.
  • After your pasta is done cooking, add in your pesto and cream cheese. Your pasta will be deliciously creamy. Add in Parmesan to give this dish an awesome kick.
  • You can also leave out the cream cheese if you prefer your pesto pasta to not be creamy.
  • This pasta reheats well and holds up well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this dish because the pasta after you add the cream cheese because it does some really strange, undesirable things in the freezer.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

15 min

20 min

Serves 6


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven.
  2. Add cut chicken, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken is browned on all sides.
  3. Add tomatoes, penne, and broth to the skillet and simmer until pasta is tender and the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in pesto, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Serve warm.

Serving Suggestions

© 2022 Cara Garrison