Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta Recipe with tender, juicy chicken breast, pasta and light, flavorful lemon garlic sauce. This elegant dish is an easy 30 minute meal perfect for any night of the week.

Other weeknight favorites are this one pot lemon chicken orzo, Tuscan chicken pasta and chicken spinach pasta.

Lemon chicken pasta garnished with Parmesan cheese and parsley in a skillet.

I am so excited to share this easy lemon chicken pasta recipe! We love lemon pepper chicken and my crispy healthy lemon chicken, so naturally this mouthwatering pasta recipe was next.

It is simply a variation of creamy garlic lemon chicken with pasta.

Al dente pasta is cooked in a rich garlic parmesan sauce with a dash of lemon and sliced tender chicken. This restaurant quality chicken lemon pasta makes the perfect summer meal or comforting winter pasta dish!

Ingredients and Notes

Using the best combination of your favorite ingredients, this lemon chicken pasta recipe is full of zesty flavor.

Chicken breasts, chicken broth, onion, oil, milk, parsley, pasta, heavy cream, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon and parmesan cheese.
  • Pasta: 12 ounces of your favorite pasta that can hold the sauce like penne, fusilli, bow ties, rigatoni etc. You can also use gluten-free pasta or whole wheat pasta options and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Chicken breasts: I like thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts. They cook more quickly and evenly in the skillet. You can also use leftover chicken like slow cooker chicken.
  • Onion: Sautéed onions build flavor as a base for the sauce, yellow onion is best but white onion can also be used.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves that are peeled and grated.
  • Olive oil: I recommend extra-virgin olive oil, it is both healthy and popular in Italian recipes. You can use any oil of your choice.
  • Chicken broth: Low sodium chicken broth or chicken stock create the best sauce.
  • Milk: Whole milk adds to the rich creaminess of the pasta sauce.
  • Heavy cream: Is optional but adds thickness and a luxurious quality to lemon chicken pasta.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese creates better flavor and texture, and melts down smoothly. Grated Asiago cheese also pairs well with lemon, you can use it instead or do half and half with the Parmesan.
  • Spices: All you need is salt and ground black pepper. You can always add a bit of homemade Italian seasoning.
  • Lemon juice and zest: Use fresh lemons if you can, this is the leading flavor in lemon sauce.
  • Fresh herbs for garnish: Fresh parsley, fresh thyme, fresh oregano, or fresh basil are all delicious options.

How to Make Lemon Chicken Pasta Recipe

Here are step-by-step photos on how to make lemon chicken pasta recipe with easy prep, 6 simple steps, and minimal cleanup.

How to cook pasta, sear chicken and make sauce for lemon chicken pasta.
  • Cook pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with a bit of olive oil and set aside.
  • Pan fry chicken: While the pasta cooks, preheat your skillet and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and pan fry for about 6 minutes per side until golden brown. Place on a separate plate and set aside.
  • Sauté onion and garlic: In the same skillet, add more olive oil then your onion, stir occasionally and cook until softened. Then add in garlic and sauté until fragrant, be careful not to burn.
  • Finish the sauce: Stir in the chicken broth, milk, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Let it boil then reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes to thicken. Add lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, stir and remove from heat.
Sliced cooked chicken breasts on a cutting board and finished lemon chicken pasta dish in a skillet.
  • Combine: Slice chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Using the pan or the large pot, combine chicken, pasta, and sauce. Toss creamy lemon chicken pasta gently until evenly coated.
  • Thicken, garnish and serve: Let everything rest to allow the sauce to thicken. Stir once more, garnish with parsley, parmesan cheese, and optional lemon wedges. Serve hot and enjoy!

Variations of Lemon Chicken Pasta to Try

This lemon chicken with pasta recipe is sure to be a new family favorite, and it is easily customizable!

  • Make it lighter: Omit the heavy cream and use a lighter milk for a lighter sauce.
  • Make it gluten free: Use your favorite gluten free pasta, just be sure to adjust the cook time.
  • Use chicken thighs: You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Trim any excess fat so this pasta dish is not greasy.
  • Add vegetables: Add some vegetables in with the lemon chicken pasta. Baby spinach or frozen veggies can be added to the cooked pasta before mixing with the sauce. Broccoli florets, bell peppers, asparagus, or zucchini can be sautéed with the onions.
  • Other additions and variations: Capers add a salty, savory flavor. You can make lemon pepper chicken and add this sauce and pasta for a lemony zing.
Sliced lemon chicken breast with pasta and lemons garnished with Parmesan and parsley.

Tips for Best Results

Here are my tried and true tips for the best lemon chicken pasta recipe.

  • Cook pasta al dente: Al dente pasta has a firm texture that’s tender, not hard or mushy. You will be tossing the pasta with the warm sauce and overcooked pasta will get soggy.
  • Don’t overcook chicken breasts: Milk and lemon juice help tenderize the chicken, overcooked chicken breasts will be dry and rubbery.
  • Pat dry chicken: If you washed your chicken breasts, use paper towel to remove extra moisture before seasoning. The chicken fries much nicer with a golden crispy exterior.
  • Chicken is ready when: A meat thermometer is your best friend. The chicken is fully cooked when the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees F and the juices run clear.

What to Serve with Lemon Chicken Pasta?

This garlic lemon pasta with chicken is creamy, lemony, and protein-packed with a wonderful vibrant flavor everyone will enjoy!

Some family favorite side dishes that add layers of flavor are asparagus in the ovengarlic green beanssauteed broccoli, or lemon kale salad.

How to Store and Reheat

Store: Place any lemon chicken pasta leftovers in an airtight container and set in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Reheating is simple, add leftovers to a pot with a splash of broth, milk or water and simmer on low while covered.

Freeze: I do not recommend freezing because pasta generally does not freeze well. Although it can be done, allow it to cool then transfer to a plastic or glass airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

FAQs

How can I make lemon chicken pasta more saucy?

Use 8 ounces of pasta. Or add about 1/2 cup more milk and seasonings to the sauce to taste.

Can I omit heavy cream?

Yes. You can use more milk or chicken stock instead for a healthier, lighter sauce in this lemon chicken pasta recipe.

What can I add to pasta sauce to add more flavor?

Add 1/4 cup of white wine after the onion and garlic are sautéed and fragrant. Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze, all those brown bits are incredibly flavorful!

How do I get golden crust on chicken breasts?

Two simple tips for a crispy golden crust are patting the chicken breasts dry to remove excess moisture. Secondly, make sure your skillet and oil are hot before adding the chicken. This helps them sear quickly for that perfect golden crust.

More Pasta Recipes to Try

Close up of lemon chicken pasta dish.
Lemon chicken pasta garnished with Parmesan cheese and parsley in a skillet.

Lemon Chicken Pasta Recipe

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta Recipe with tender, juicy chicken breast, pasta and light, flavorful lemon garlic sauce.
5 from 4 votes
Servings 6
Calories 488
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain, toss with a bit of olive oil and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, preheat large skillet on medium heat and swirl 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat. Season chicken breasts with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and pan fry until golden brown or for about 6 minutes per side. Transfer onto a plate and set aside.
  • Return skillet to medium heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds, stirring a few more times.
  • Add chicken broth, milk, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 3-4 minutes, or until thickened a bit. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and give sauce another quick stir. Turn off heat.
  • Slice chicken into bite sized pieces and add to the skillet along with previously cooked pasta. Give it a gentle toss until lemon chicken pasta is well mixed. If your skillet isn't large enough, mix everything in a pot you cooked pasta in.
  • Let pasta stand for a few minutes for sauce to thicken and give another gentle toss. Garnish with parsley and parmesan cheese, and serve hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 690mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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