Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta (One Pot)
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Quick, easy, creamy chicken pesto pasta recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot over stovetop in 30 minutes. Loaded with basil pesto sauce and lots of cheese!
This is one of the creamiest and most flavorful pasta dishes ever and a delicious spin on the classic Basil Pesto Pasta Recipe (One Pot), with the addition of juicy chicken pieces and creamy cheesy pesto sauce.
This recipe is elevated enough to serve to guests, and also quick enough to make for your family on a busy weeknight, similar to this Tomato Basil Pasta (One Pot) or this Basil Pesto Pasta Salad (One Bowl).
How to make chicken pesto pasta?
- Prep pot– Heat oil in a large nonstick pot over medium high heat.
- Cook chicken– Add chicken and saute until no longer pink.
- Add seasonings– Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook for about 1 minute.
- Bring to boil and simmer– Add broth, milk, pesto sauce, uncooked pasta and bring to a boil. Then, lower heat and simmer uncovered until pasta is al dente.
- Turn off heat– Add cheese and cherry tomatoes.
- Enjoy! Mix everything together until cheese is fully melted and dig in.
What sides to serve with creamy chicken pesto pasta recipe?
Roasted vegetables make a great side dish for creamy pasta. Try one of these:
- Oven Roasted Vegetables (One Pan)
- Oven Roasted Green Beans (One Pan)
- Oven Roasted Asparagus (One Pan)
Soup also compliments this pasta perfectly. I suggest one of these:
Salads are always a popular side. Try these:
Bread works really well too such garlic bread, cheese breadsticks, soft dinner rolls.
Variations for Basil pesto chicken pasta
Add vegetables– Such as cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, or peas.
Add other proteins– Such as bacon, shrimp, leftover Thanksgiving turkey (One Pan), or Italian sausage.
Make it healthier– Use Low fat cheese and milk. You can also substitute coconut milk but that will alter the overall flavor of the dish slightly.
Add alfredo sauce– This will make the dish super creamy and cheesy.
Try different cheeses– Add Pecorino Romano, Asiago, ricotta, or goat cheese.
Make it spicy– Add red chili flakes for some heat.
Make a chicken and pesto pasta bake– Spread pasta in a 13 X 9 casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees F until the edges are bubbly and pasta is cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. In the final 5 minutes, sprinkle lots of shredded cheese on top and allow it to melt fully.
Use zoodles– Substitute zucchini noodles for regular pasta for a healthier low-carb option. But remember, zoodles cook much faster than flour-based pasta and only need to be sauted in some onlive oil or butter for a few minutes. The recipe below will have to be modified accordingly.
Tips and Techniques
Use full fat ingredients– The produces maximum creaminess.
Homemade vs. Store bought pesto– Either can be used. If you are using homemade, try my homemade basil pesto sauce in the recipe card below that’s made in a few minutes, using a blender.
What is the best pasta for pesto? I prefer rotini because the spiral shape holds the creamy pesto sauce well. You can use whatever pasta you prefer though. Penne is very popular choice too, along with tortellini.
Make ahead instructions– You can make this whole meal one day in advance. Just store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to reheat on the stove and then, serve.
How to make pasta sauce thicker? Add more cheese and let it cook uncovered until excess liquid is absorbed or evaporated.
How to make pasta thinner? Add more broth or water until you reach the desired consistency.
How mush pesto do you use with pasta? This is entirely up to you. 1/2 cup pesto sauce is a good starting point but if you want a very strong flavor, you can add more.
Use a rotisserie chicken– If you are in a time crunch, use shredded rotisserie chicken and save on cooking time.
Use a non-stick pot– That’s because this prevents the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
Stir frequently– This prevents the pasta from clumping, and will also help keep the pasta from burning.
Fresh vs. dried herbs– As a garnish, it is best to use fresh herbs for flavor and presentation.
Adjust amount of pesto/ cheese– Add more or less based on your personal preference.
More One Pot Pasta Recipes
- Garlic Chicken Pasta (One Pot)
- One Pot Chicken Pasta (Chicken Fajita Pasta)
- Creamy Spinach Pasta (One Pot)
- One Pot Italian Sausage Pasta
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta (One Pot)
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta (One Pot)
One Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 Boneless chicken breasts, Cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cloves Garlic , Finely minced
- Salt , To taste
- Pepper, To taste
- 2 cups Chicken broth, Low sodium
- 2 cups Milk, 2% or whole
- 1/2 cup Basil pesto sauce
- 1 box Rotini pasta, 12 oz. box, Can also use penne pasta
- 1/2 cup Shredded cheese, Combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheese
- 1 cup Cherry tomatoes, Cut in half, Optional
- 1 tbsp Fresh herbs, Parsley or basil, Finely chopped, For garnish
- Heat oil in a large nonstick pot over medium high heat.
- Add chicken and saute until no longer pink (doesn't have to be fully cooked).
- Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook until garlic is fragrant.
- Add broth, milk, pesto, pasta and bring everything to a boil.
- Then, lower heat to medium and simmer uncovered until pasta is tender and al dente and liquid is reduced/absorbed. Be sure to stir often to prevent pasta from clumping together and to avoid pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Turn off heat and add cheese and cherry tomatoes.
- Mix everything together until cheese is melted and enjoy.
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated in the microwave.
Happy cooking everyone!