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This lemon chicken pasta is creamy, flavorful, and has just the right bright/tart lemon taste. It's an easy, 35-minute dinner recipe you don't want to miss!
Table of contents
Lemon chicken pasta
If comfort food is the name of the game tonight, then this is your recipe. The creamy lemon sauce wraps around the noodles and the tender chicken pieces and the whole thing becomes big-time cozy.
Being lemony, but not TOO lemony (cause too much of a good thing is a thing), the sauce balances all its roles to be perfectly creamy, gently flavored, and all-around delicious enough that you'll be tempted to eat it straight from the spoon.
You can use whole wheat pasta, gluten-free (like we do), or regular white pasta, either way, this lemon chicken pasta will make your heart sing.
- Pasta – we like to use penne pasta, but any short-shaped pasta cooked al dente will work. Use gluten-free if needed!
- Chicken – we prefer to make this recipe using chicken breasts. But you can easily use boneless chicken thighs instead!
- Salt, pepper, and olive oil – we keep the seasonings simple as the major flavor is in the sauce.
To make the lemon cream sauce, you'll need
- Onion and garlic – sauteed in olive oil
- Chicken stock – we love using our homemade chicken stock, but store-bought will work fine in this recipe. Another option is to use white wine.
- Parmesan cheese – freshly grated has the best flavor.
- Heavy cream – this is the ingredient that really makes this recipe indulgent. It adds a rich flavor and creamy texture.
- Lemon – you'll want to use a fresh lemon for the best flavor.
How to make lemon chicken pasta
There are three parts to making lemon chicken pasta and all are very simple.
- Cook the pasta. It doesn't get easier than that! Make sure to toss the cooked pasta in a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.
- Pound the chicken breasts a little, so they are even in size, season them with salt and pepper, and pan-fry them until they're cooked through.
- Make the sauce. This is simply some sauteed onions and garlic with chicken stock, parmesan, a little cream, and some lemon juice. Easy!
Once you have your three parts ready, all you have to do is mix them together!
Full recipe in the recipe card below.
Use fresh lemon juice – bottled lemon juice will work in a pinch, but it has a different flavor than fresh lemon juice. If you can, use fresh lemon juice.
Add the lemon juice off the heat – Before you add the lemon juice, take the pan off the heat. The flavor loses its potency if it's allowed to cook.
Use freshly grated parmesan – The flavor is SO MUCH better than pre-grated parmesan. You won't regret it!
Use fresh garlic – the stuff in jars loses its flavor very quickly. Fresh garlic will make this pasta taste the best.
How long does lemon chicken pasta keep?
Lemon chicken pasta will keep well for 2-3 days in your fridge. You may want to add a small splash of water, stock, or cream when you reheat it if the pasta sauce is too thick.
What to serve with lemon chicken pasta
A simple green salad tossed in some lifesaving lemony dressing is all this lemon chicken pasta needs to make it a healthy meal. But it also goes well with other veggies. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Best Roasted Broccoli
- Easy Roasted Italian Cauliflower
- Garlic Butter Asparagus
- Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic
Can I add some veggies to this pasta?
Yes! Rather than serving veggies on the side, you can put them right into the lemon chicken pasta.
- Spinach – added to the cooked pasta before you pour the sauce over top.
- Broccoli – cut small and added with the onions.
- Bell peppers – cooked with the onions.
- Asparagus – cut into 1″ pieces and added with the onions.
Popular easy pasta recipes
- Healthy Chicken Alfredo
- Smoked Salmon Pasta
- One-Pot Pasta with Peas and Bacon
- Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Chicken and Pasta
- 12 ounces pasta (Pictured is penne, but any pasta will work. Gluten-free, if needed)
- 2 chicken breasts
- ½ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Minced parsley (to serve)
Lemon Cream Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion (finely minced)
- 4 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain then return the pasta to the pot and toss with a little splash of olive oil.12 ounces pasta
- While the pasta water is heating, pound the chicken breasts with a mallet or rolling pin so that they are ½ inch thick. (See notes) Season both sides with salt and pepper.2 chicken breasts, ½ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken breasts for 5 minutes per side, reducing the heat if needed, until they are cooked through. Remove them from the pan and slice them into bite-sized pieces once cool enough to handle then add them to the pot with the cooked pasta.1 tablespoon olive oil
- Make the lemon cream sauce in the same pan as you used for the chicken. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, until the onion is soft and transparent. Add the chicken stock and scrape the pan of any stuck-on bits. Add the parmesan, heavy cream, salt, and pepper and bring the pan to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until it thickens slightly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice.1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ medium yellow onion, 4 cloves garlic, ½ cup chicken stock, ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, ½ cup heavy cream, ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper, Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- Pour the lemon cream sauce over the pasta and cooked chicken and toss to combine. Serve with a little parsley sprinkled over the top for color.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.
For more inspiration, check out all of our pasta recipes!