When you need a comforting, delicious meal in a hurry, Creamy Chicken Pasta is ready and waiting. Tender chicken, fresh basil, sweet tomatoes, and a restaurant-worthy luscious cream sauce, all served over your favorite pasta.
Simple and satisfying, there’s a chicken dinner recipe for absolutely everyone. For comfort food at its finest, try this amazing Chicken Pot Pie. Or turn a package of chicken thighs into crispy-skinned Balsamic Chicken and Tomatoes, a rustic Italian recipe you’ll put on repeat. For a soup that’s more interesting with every bite, try Chicken Ramen—you’ll be thrilled you did.
This recipe comes together in minutes. Unlike baked chicken pasta recipes, it only takes 15 minutes on the stove, from start to finish. And it tastes amazing. Far and away better than anything you can get (and pay big money for) in a restaurant.
While you do need to have certain ingredients handy to make this recipe, you’ll be really glad you did. First, pick up a package of fresh pasta, the kind that cooks in just a few minutes. It can be penne, linguini, fettuccine, whatever you want. Then grab a bottle of your favorite dry white wine. Don’t forget the fresh basil, which gives primo results over dried. And finally, look for honest-to-goodness sun dried tomatoes, which are jammy and sweet, perfect with the chicken.
Now, for the secret restaurants have known for ages. A splash of heavy cream and Parmesan cheese create an easy white sauce for any pasta. When the plates are licked clean at the end of the meal, you might be tempted to just put them back in the cupboard. Don’t, though. Just make it again tomorrow.
Making Creamy Chicken Pasta for everyone in the family? Just click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Best cooking wine to buy:
If you enjoy wine, purchase the wine you like to drink! Don’t go overboard, price-wise, but don’t buy anything labeled “cooking wine,” either—it never tastes good.
In general, cook with a crisp white wine that doesn’t have a lot of oaky flavor. Pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc and even sparkling wine are good choices. I like to buy mini packs of white wine at the store--each bottle is only about one cup--to have on hand just for cooking.
If you don't use wine, an excellent wine substitute for cooking is chicken stock.
Where do you find sun-dried tomatoes?
Originally popular in the 1980s, sun-dried tomatoes are poised for a comeback. Ideally, you want the real, dried toms—not the oil-packed ones in a jar. They have a texture similar to dried fruit.
First, check the bulk section of your store, if it has one. If no luck, look in the aisle where dried fruits and nuts are sold. Then check the vegetable aisle, produce section, and if you can’t find them anywhere, maybe break down and ask a clerk.
They’re also easy to find online.
If you must buy a jar of oil-packed tomatoes, you can use them rinse the tomatoes well under cool water and blot dry with paper towels before chopping.
What you need to make this:
- Chicken. Preferably boneless, skinless chicken breasts which are lean, cook quickly, and taste great.
- Sun dried tomatoes. The kind you want are dry, not oil-packed.
- Heavy cream. That’s what makes it creamy.
- White wine.
- Fresh basil. Makes a huge difference in this dish, trust me!
- Parmesan cheese.
- Olive oil.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Fettuccine or linguine. Fresh pasta, from the refrigerated section of the grocery or that little Italian market by your house. That’s what puts dinner on the table so fast.
How to make Creamy Chicken Pasta in about 15 minutes:
- To start, boil a big pot of salted water for cooking the pasta. Fresh pasta usually takes 2-3 minutes to become al dente, but double check the label on the package, just to be sure. Of course, if you’re using dried pasta, plan accordingly. That will take longer.
- Meanwhile, cook the chicken. Heat some olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the chunks of chicken and minced shallot, and sauté until the chicken is almost completely cooked through—about 5 minutes. Make sure the shallots don’t burn, so add extra oil if needed, and stir occasionally.
- Next, turn the heat down to medium and pour in the white wine and cream. Stir the mixture together as it cooks. After 2 to 3 minutes, it will thicken and become a lovely sauce. That's the cream working its magic.
- If you haven’t done so already, you can use this time to drain the pasta and add it to a serving bowl or platter.
- Then add the tomatoes, basil, grated Parmesan, and some salt and pepper. Once everything is heated through, pour the chicken, sauce and all, over the cooked pasta. Garnish with extra basil, if you still have it, and some extra Parmesan.
Making Creamy Tomato Chicken Pasta with dried pasta:
You can absolutely make this without fresh pasta. Grab your preferred pasta shape: penne, fusilli, fettuccine... you name it.
Cook the pasta ahead of time in a big pot of salted, boiling water, and drain when tender. Then you can toss it in a little olive oil (and maybe a tiny bit of Italian Seasoning) to keep it from sticking together while you tackle the cream sauce.
Making creamy pasta without heavy cream:
Here’s a heavy cream substitute that works, involving only two ingredients: milk and butter.
For every cup of heavy cream you need, melt 5 tablespoons butter and let it cool somewhat. Then add it to 3/4 cup milk and stir to combine. Use in place of the cream. And if you made the substitute with low- or no-fat milk, add a tablespoon of flour to thicken the sauce.
For one batch of this recipe, you won’t need the entire amount. Use 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter mixed with 1/4 cup of milk.
Other fun add-ins to consider:
As you make this dish again and again, you can change it up to make it all your own. (Erin and I won't mind!) Let me know what you like to add, but try...
- Spinach. A handful of wilted baby spinach keeps your daily greens quota met.
- Bacon. Chopped bacon adds a delicious smokiness to the dish. Add it to the first step of the recipe, with the shallots.
- Mushrooms. Because they taste great with everything.
- Red pepper flakes. Add some heat.
- Italian sausage. This might be really good.
- Sour cream. A healthy spoonful or two of full-fat sour cream in place of heavy cream could work, as long as you have it. Thin it out with a little extra wine or broth.
Creamy Chicken Pasta Recipe
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (9 ounce) package fresh fettuccine or linguine
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dry, NOT packed in oil)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large shallot finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- Bring four quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil; add pasta and cook according to package directions, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a serving bowl.
- Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add chicken and shallots and cook until the chicken is mostly cooked through and the shallots have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium and stir in wine and cream. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.)
- Pour chicken and cream sauce over pasta in serving bowl. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil and serve.