Enjoy this homemade Healthy Chicken Alfredo in under 30 minutes – it’s creamy, rich, and cheesy with just a fraction of the calories and fat in restaurant versions! Serve up the healthy alfredo sauce with whole wheat noodles and veggies for an instant family favorite!
Table of contents
- Healthy Chicken Alfredo
- Why This Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe Works?
- Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Alfredo
- How to Make Healthy Chicken Alfredo
- Optional Add-In’s and Variations
- Tips for Best Homemade Alfredo Sauce with Pasta Results
- Serving Recommendations
- Making Chicken Alfredo in Advance
- More Healthy Pasta Recipes
Healthy Chicken Alfredo
After posting my Instant Pot chicken alfredo, I received so many requests to publish a stovetop version. So, I present you with this healthy chicken alfredo! As part of my healthy pasta dishes it’s creamy, cheesy, and flavorful – all without any heavy cream, butter, or cream cheese!
Instead, this healthy alfredo sauce relies on milk, stock, garlic, cornstarch, and just enough parmesan cheese for a thick, creamy surprise. I mean, did you know that when you order chicken alfredo in a restaurant, it can be as high as 1600 calories with almost 100g fat?! In comparison, this homemade version hovers around 500 calories and 13g fat – now that’s a dish I can get behind (and the entire family will love)!
But you know I love making healthy versions of restaurant favorites here – it’s why I’ve already shared recipes for healthier Tuscan chicken pasta, baked chicken parmesan and healthy lemon chicken recipe. Now, this homemade chicken alfredo joins the ranks – and you won’t regret trying it.
Not only is this recipe simple to prepare with just 10 ingredients, but it takes just 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish – for a restaurant-quality meal! Because there’s no reason, you can’t enjoy creamy, hearty dishes even as a healthy eater! Looking for more ways to enjoy chicken and noodles? You might enjoy parmesan chicken pasta, chicken whole wheat spaghetti, crockpot chicken spaghetti, slow cooker whole chicken and pasta, or even chicken lasagna roll-ups.
Why This Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe Works?
- This healthy chicken alfredo is quick and simple to prepare in under 30 minutes!
- This healthy chicken alfredo recipe requires just 10 simple ingredients – most of which are likely already in your kitchen!
- Swap out the heavy cream, butter, and cream cheese for lighter options, while remaining super creamy!
- With just a few simple ingredient swaps, this healthy alfredo sauce contains just a fraction of the calories and fat found in restaurant versions of this dish!
- The dish is creamy, cheesy, and a hearty meal – yet it hovers at only around 500 calories per serving!
Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Alfredo
- Chicken: You can use raw or even leftover boneless baked chicken breast, baked chicken thighs or Instant Pot chicken breast. Cubed is best.
- Pasta: I recommend using fettuccine (chicken fettuccine alfredo is a classic!), linguine, or spaghetti – though any pasta with work. Use gluten-free pasta if needed.
- Broth: Use low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth.
- Milk: Use milk that is 2%+ for the best results. Anything lower, and the healthy alfredo sauce will fall ‘flat.’ You can even use dairy-free milk, just make sure it’s not skimmed.
- Cornstarch: A starch is needed to thicken the sauce. You can substitute the cornstarch for another starch or even flour (check FAQs for conversion amounts).
- Oil: You can use any neutral cooking oil like olive oil or avocado oil.
- Vegetables: For this homemade chicken alfredo, you only need one vegetable. I like to use peas, though broccoli (fresh or frozen -not thawed) or chopped spinach would also work.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is best. However, you could use garlic powder in a pinch.
- Parmesan cheese: Make sure to freshly grate it for the best results (not use pre-grated).
- Herbs & Spices: I used a combination of salt and pepper with fresh parsley to garnish the chicken fettuccine alfredo.
How to Make Healthy Chicken Alfredo
This healthy chicken alfredo recipe is simple, starting by preparing the pasta and chicken (separately).
- Prepare the pans: First, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. At the same time, preheat a large, deep ceramic non-stick skillet over medium heat with a little oil to coat.
- Add the ingredients: Sprinkle the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper, then add it to the skillet to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. At the same time, add 1tsp of salt and the pasta of your choice to the pot of boiling water and cook until al dente (for me, this takes 7 minutes with dried pasta). Stir a few times so the pasta doesn’t stick.
- Prepare the cornstarch slurry: While the above cook, combine the cold stock, milk, cornstarch, and ½ tsp salt into a medium bowl and whisk until there are no lumps.
It may be easiest to create a cornstarch slurry with the starch and just a few tbsp of the milk, then pour that into the larger bowl.
- Add the sauce: After the 10 minutes cooking time, add the cornstarch mixture to the skillet, bring to a boil, and then cook for two minutes while it thickens. Then, add the parmesan cheese and garlic, and stir until the cheese has melted.
- Add the pasta: Using tongs, transfer the noodles to the skillet. There’s no need to drain them in a colander first; just allow excess water to drip back into the pan for a few seconds before adding it to the skillet.
Pasta water is incredibly starchy, meaning it can help the healthy alfredo sauce cling to the noodles. For that reason, it’s not important to ‘carefully’ drain all the noodles. You could even add a little extra cooking liquid into the skillet.
- Add the vegetables: Add the peas (or veg of your choice) to the skillet and allow the chicken fettuccine alfredo to fully warm through for a minute, stirring often to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick. Then turn off the heat and serve the healthy chicken alfredo garnished with some black pepper and parsley.
Optional Add-In’s and Variations
Below are a few optional ‘add-ins’ and seasoning variations for this healthy chicken and rice casserole.
- Cream cheese: For a creamier sauce, you can add just a little light cream cheese. I recommend 3-4tbsp light (not fat-free) cream cheese.
- Other vegetables: There are several other vegetables you could add to this healthy chicken alfredo recipe. I particularly like adding mushrooms (sauté first, to release excess liquid), green beans, asparagus, snow peas, corn, kale, etc. During fall/winter, squash and pumpkin pieces will also taste delicious served up with this healthy alfredo sauce.
- Spice: I sometimes like to add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the top of this healthy chicken alfredo when serving for a little kick.
- White wine: While not ‘classic,’ adding a large splash of white wine to the healthy alfredo sauce and allowing it to cook off adds an extra dimension of flavor to love.
- Dairy–free: It’s easy to prepare this homemade chicken alfredo with no dairy by swapping out the milk for your favorite whole dairy-free option (like oat milk) and a vegan parmesan (boosted with nutritional yeast) for dairy-free chicken fettuccine alfredo.
- Shrimp: Large shrimp taste equally delicious when combined with this healthy alfredo sauce.
- Lower carb: Swap out the pasta entirely for zoodles, spaghetti squash noodles or butternut squash noodles! Alternatively, why not make this spaghetti squash chicken alfredo?!
Tips for Best Homemade Alfredo Sauce with Pasta Results
- Save time with leftover chicken: Rotisserie, baked chicken, or Instant Pot chicken breast would work great. Cube it and add to the skillet at the same time as the cornstarch mixture. You could also heat it and serve it, sliced, over the top of the pasta.
- Cook the pasta al dente: Otherwise, it can become mushy. Remember that it will take less time if using gluten-free pasta.
- To avoid the pasta sticking: Ensure you salt the cooking water and stir the pasta particularly in the first two minutes.
- If the sauce is too thick/thin: If your sauce is too thick, then thinning it out with a bit of pasta water (or milk) is ideal. If it’s too thin, even after adding the parmesan and boiling the sauce to activate the starch, you’ll need a little more starch. Make sure to mix it with a little milk into a slurry before adding it to the pan and then stir until thickened.
While chicken fettuccine alfredo is the classic, the pasta you use is very versatile. You can use white, whole wheat or gluten-free noodles.
Yes. You can substitute cornstarch with arrowroot powder in a 1:1 ratio. If you would like to use flour, you’ll need to double the amount which would be 4 tbsp.
I wouldn’t recommend it as the sauce dries up and it just doesn’t taste the same.
While the two are similar, they aren’t the same. Whereas alfredo is classically made with butter, cream, parmesan, and garlic, white sauce is more of a ‘gravy’ made with a flour roux with milk.
As long as you use full-fat or 2%+ milk, you can use any milk; almond, oat, lactose-free, etc. A reader has even used evaporated milk.
It should be thick enough if you’ve added all the parmesan and properly thickened the sauce by boiling it to activate the starch and simmering until thickened.
Enjoy this homemade chicken alfredo alone or with some garlic bread or a side salad. I recommend lemon garlic kale salad.
Making Chicken Alfredo in Advance
Make-ahead: I recommend preparing the healthy alfredo sauce separately from the pasta if you want to prep it in advance. That way, you don’t have to worry about all the sauce being absorbed by the noodles.
You can prepare the sauce 2-3 days in advance, though, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also use pre-cooked chicken for the recipe. Just cook your pasta from scratch, then stir in the sauce, chicken, and veggies until hot.
Storing: I always prefer enjoying creamy pasta dishes fresh, before the pasta soaks up lots of the saucy deliciousness. For that reason, I recommend storing leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for only one day.
Freeze: I don’t recommend freezing this chicken fettuccine alfredo. So, it’s a great thing it only takes 30 minutes, making it great to enjoy fresh every time!
Reheat: You can warm the homemade chicken alfredo in a pan on the stovetop with a splash of milk or broth (or more!) to bring back the saucy consistency (and make it taste like fresh!). Heat until piping hot. Add more parsley for extra flavor.
More Healthy Pasta Recipes
- Healthy pasta with pesto and broccoli
- Broccoli and penne pasta
- Ground turkey and broccoli pasta
- Ground turkey pasta bake
- Lemon garlic chicken pasta
- Cottage cheese pasta
- Browse all healthy pasta recipes.
I hope you enjoy this lightened-up version of your favorite Italian dish. And please let me know in the comments below what you think. Cheers!
Healthy Chicken Alfredo
- 1.5 lbs chicken breasts or thighs cubed
- 11 oz whole wheat or gluten free fettuccine linguine or spaghetti
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 cup stock low sodium
- 2 cups cold 2% or 3.25% milk
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 3 cups frozen peas broccoli or chopped spinach
- 2 tbsp parsley for garnish
- Fill large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
- In a medium bowl, add cold stock, milk, cornstarch, 1/2 tsp salt and whisk with a fork. Set aside.
- In the meanwhile, preheat large deep ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl oil to coat.
- Sprinkle chicken with a bit of salt and pepper, add to a skillet and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While chicken is cooking, add 1 tsp of salt and pasta to boiling water. Cook for 7 minutes until pasta is al dente, stirring a few times to make sure noodles do not stick.
- Give cornstarch mixture a whisk and add it to the skillet. Stir, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes or until bubbly and thickened.
- Add Parmesan cheese, garlic and stir until cheese has melted.
- Using tongs, transfer noodles directly from the pot to the skillet. No need to drain in a colander. Grab a bunch at a time, hold right above the pot for a few seconds and add to the skillet.
- Stir and add peas, broccoli or spinach. Let chicken alfredo warm through for a minute.
- Turn off the heat and garnish with parsley and black pepper. Serve hot.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 day. To “rehydrate” the noodles, add a splash of milk while simmering on the stove. Add as much milk as you need until desired consistency. It will taste like fresh.
- Freeze: Do not!
- Cooked chicken leftovers: You can use cooked chicken and skip step 4 to save time. Rotisserie, baked chicken or Instant Pot chicken breast would work great.
- Vegetable substitution: If you are not a fan of peas, you can also use frozen or cooked broccoli or fresh chopped spinach. Frozen broccoli are pre-cooked and do not need to be thawed. Just give them a few minutes to thaw in the sauce and sauce to heat up after. Chopped spinach wilts right away from heat pretty much.
- Thickener: You can substitute cornstarch with arrowroot powder 1:1. If you would like to use flour, you would need to double the cornstarch amount which would be 4 tbsp.