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Cheesy chicken pesto pasta is a quick and easy family favorite that can be on the table in under 30 minutes!

This is similar to our favorite Chicken Penne Pasta and Triple Cheddar Chicken Pasta.

A plate filled with chicken pesto pasta.

We Love a 30 Minute Meal!

Pasta is a go-to dinner at our house when we want a quick dinner idea that is both tasty and filling. Add chicken and it’s even better!

This chicken pesto pasta is a favorite flavorful penne pasta recipe that the entire family loves. It’s flavorful, easy, and so cheesy!

More reasons why we love it:

  • So quick! This tasty dish is on the table in under 30 minutes.
  • A popular favorite. Everyone loves a cheesy Chicken Penne Pasta! It’s perfect for a dinner at home or to take to a potluck.
  • Simple ingredients. Make your own Basil Pesto or use store-bought with your other straightforward ingredients.
  • Family approved. There aren’t any crazy ingredients in this making it a great dinner idea for kids.
A small jar of pesto sauce on a kitchen counter.

Ingredients

  • penne pasta – or use rigatoni, rotini, or bowties; boil to al dente.
  • butter
  • minced garlic
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts chicken thighs also work as does pan-seared shrimp. Use leftover or rotisserie chicken. Add it to the pan and cook just long enough to heat it before proceeding with the recipe.
  • all-purpose flour
  • chicken broth – or vegetable broth.
  • half and half – or heavy cream.
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • basil pesto – use store-bought pesto or Homemade Pesto.
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper
  • garnish with fresh basil leaves.
A colander filled with cooked and cooled pasta.

Made In Under 30 Minutes!

  1. PASTA. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. CHICKEN. Melt butter in a medium skillet, add chicken, and cook until cooked through.
  3. SAUCE. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute over medium heat. Add flour and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.
    • Add milk and broth, stirring constantly. Cook until sauce boils and thickens.
    • Add parmesan cheese and pesto sauce (add more or less based on what you like). Continue stirring until the cheese has melted.
  4. SERVE. Add pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and serve immediately.

Recipe Tips

  • Vegetarian option. Replace the chicken with a veggie sausage and use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.
  • Add flavor. Infuse the pasta with extra flavor add 1 tablespoon of salt to the boiling water then add in the pasta to cook.
  • Additions. Add some of your favorite ingredients to the dish such as halved cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, red pepper flakes, peas, or fresh spinach.
Chicken pieces cooking in a pan on the stove.

Storing Info

  • Make ahead of time. Make the pesto chicken pasta recipe the day before and keep it stored in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat and serve.
  • Freezer meal. Cool the pasta then spoon it into a freezer storage bag. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • STORE. Transfer the leftover pasta to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days or freezer for 2-3 months.
  • Reheating. Thaw if applicable, reheat in a pot on the stove, and add a little extra milk or broth to smooth out the sauce. Stir until creamy and warm throughout. Use the microwave in a pinch.
A plate filled with chicken pesto pasta topped with fresh basil.

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5 from 3 votes

Chicken Pesto Pasta

By: Lil’ Luna
Cheesy chicken pesto pasta is a quick and easy family favorite that can be on the table in under 30 minutes!
Servings: 8
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ – ¾ cup pesto
  • garlic salt and pepper to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Save This Recipe!
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Instructions 

  • Cook pasta according to packaged directions. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan, add chicken and cook until cooked through.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute over medium heat. Add flour and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add milk and broth, stirring constantly. Cook until sauce boils and thickens.
  • Add parmesan cheese and pesto (add more or less based on what you like). Continue stirring until cheese has melted.
  • Add pasta to sauce and stir to combine.
  • Season with salt and pepper, if desired and serve immediately.

Notes

Make ahead of time. Make the pasta the day before and keep it stored in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat and serve.
Freezer meal. Cool the pasta then spoon it into a freezer storage bag. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
STORE. Transfer the leftover pasta to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days or freezer for 2-3 months.
Reheating. Thaw if applicable, reheat in a pot on the stove, and add a little extra milk or broth to smooth out the sauce. Stir until creamy and warm throughout. Use the microwave in a pinch.

Nutrition

Calories: 542kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 616mg, Potassium: 615mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 710IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 162mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. Natasha says:

    5 stars
    We loved this chicken pesto pasta recipe! So cheesy, creamy and delicious. I love the fact that’s it’s so easy to make and the ingredients aren’t hard to find!

  2. Mel says:

    5 stars
    The yummiest pasta dinner ever! I can’t wait to add this to my dinner rotation!

  3. Tina says:

    So quick, easy and delicious. My kids love it. A new go to meal when you dont know what to make for dinner!

  4. Joyce Williams says:

    5 stars
    Very delicious

  5. Cheryl Newton says:

    Hi, Kristyn! Thank you for all of your yummy (and easy) recipes. I have a question about this one: is it “garlic salt and pepper” or just plain salt and pepper? Thanks, Cheryl