Chicken Penne Pasta

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 5 servings

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Chicken Penne Pasta is a one pan dinner recipe that always satisfies! Tender bites of penne are tossed with chicken, spinach and tomatoes in the best creamy sauce. It’s an easy dinner recipe that’s loaded with protein, nutrients and tons of flavor.

Enjoy more of my favorite penne recipes like Cajun Chicken Pasta, Chicken Pesto Pasta and Chicken Fajita Pasta.

overhead view of a black pan filled with chicken penne pasta with parmesan and parsley beside.

Chicken Penne Pasta is one of my favorite easy dinner recipes! It’s got all of my favorite ingredients – chicken, cream, garlic and lots of seasonings.

On crazy busy weeknights, this is a tried and true one pot pasta recipe I can always count on to hit the spot. Plus, it’s a great way to sneak veggies and protein onto the plates of picky eaters! It’s such a family favorite.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a favorite pasta recipe of mine if it didn’t have that one thing we love the most… a creamy sauce! Cream is thickened with cornstarch to really give it the best consistency. You’ll love the way it really clings to that penne pasta!

Why we love this Chicken Penne Pasta Recipe:

  • One Pan: I love cooking dinner all in one pan! It’s less to clean up afterwards and always hassle-free to toss together.
  • Filling: The chicken, pasta and veggies really hit the spot. You may not need a side dish with this filling dinner recipe.
  • Creamy: I love a good creamy sauce to coat my pasta! The parmesan mixed in right at the end compliments it all in the very best way.
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Chicken Penne Pasta Ingredients Needed:

ingredients needed for chicken penne pasta in bowls and plate.
  • Chicken – Chicken breasts are my go-to here, but really any other cut of boneless, skinless chicken will get the job done. Omit the meat entirely for a vegetarian pasta.
  • Broth – Low sodium broth is always what I recommend using! That way, you can control the exact amount of salt in your recipe.
  • Diced Tomatoes – The pasta needs the juice from the tomatoes to cook. You can omit the tomatoes if you’d like, but you’ll need to supplement the missing juice with more liquid to cook the pasta.
  • Penne – You can use any variety of short pasta. Macaroni and rotini are both great because they’ll take about the same amount of time as penne to cook.
  • Cream – Heavy cream is the way to go because it creates the thickest, richest sauce. You can swap for a lighter cream if needed.
  • Spinach – Feel free to swap with kale if you’d like.
  • Parmesan – I recommend using freshly grated parmesan right off the block for the best flavor and consistency.
  • Garlic – You can always add more if you’d like to really enhance that garlicky flavor.
  • Seasonings – Crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, thyme, seasoning salt, and salt are all you need. Adjust to taste.

How to make Chicken Penne Pasta

Take a quick look at how easy it is to make this one pan chicken penne pasta recipe! For more details about ingredients and step by step instructions, scroll to the bottom of this page.

  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Sprinkle chicken with seasoning salt and sear on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, basil, oregano, salt, thyme, and chili flakes and and cook for just 1 minute.
  • Pour in the broth, tomatoes, and penne pasta.
  • Bring to a simmer over high heat. Then, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until pasta is al dente (about 9-10 minutes).
  • Remove cooked chicken breasts from the pan and slice.
  • Whisk together cream and cornstarch.
  • Stir the cream mixture into the pasta to thicken it.
  • Stir in the sliced chicken, spinach and parmesan.

Variations and Substitutions

  • You can use chicken thighs: They should take about the same amount of time to cook! Just note that for the best results you’ll want them to be boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • Swap the spinach: If you happen to have kale in your fridge right now you can easily use that instead of the spinach.
  • Make it spicy: Double or triple the amount of crushed red pepper flakes, or add a teaspoon of Cajun seasoning to heat things up. Just be careful because a little bit goes a long way!

How to store Chicken Penne Pasta

Keep leftover chicken penne pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, add a splash of broth or water to each dish and microwave individual portions in 45 second increments and stir each time it stops.

a large pan of chicken penne pasta topped with parmesan.

Can I freeze chicken penne pasta?

Sure thing! Once cooled to room temperature, you can store chicken penne pasta in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Don’t forget to date and label!

To reheat, I recommend thawing completely in the fridge overnight before reheating for the best results.

Serving suggestions:

It’s got protein, veggies and carbs – this is a one pan meal that offers it all! While you can enjoy this well rounded meal all by itself, you can always spruce up your plate with even more veggies like Broccoli Salad, Roasted Green Beans or Roasted Vegetables.

Want something to wipe your plate clean with afterward? Make a batch of my Homemade Dinner Rolls Recipe or Mom’s Homemade Buns.

a plate filled with chicken penne pasta and topped with parmesan.

More Chicken Pasta Recipes You’ll Love:

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Chicken Penne Pasta

4.75 from 4 votes
Chicken Penne Pasta is a one pan dinner recipe that always satisfies! Tender bites of penne are tossed with chicken, spinach and tomatoes in the best creamy sauce. It's an easy dinner recipe that's loaded with protein, nutrients and tons of flavor.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 5 servings
Calories 416cal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • teaspoon red chili flakes
  • cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 398 ml canned diced tomatoes (with liquid) (14 oz)
  • 375 grams penne pasta (about ¾ lb)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 cups spinach (loosely chopped)
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with seasoning salt and sear each side for about 2-3 minutes until golden.
  • Add garlic, basil, oregano, salt, thyme, and chili flakes and and cook 1 minute.
  • Add broth, tomatoes, and penne pasta. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until pasta is al dente (about 9-10 minutes).
  • Remove cooked chicken breasts from the pan and slice.
  • Whisk together cream and corn starch and stir into the pasta to thicken. Add in sliced chicken, spinach and Parmesan.
  • Taste and serve.

Notes

Ingredients and Substitutions:
  • Chicken: any kind of boneless, skinless chicken will work here, and thighs should cook in about the same amount of time. You can also swap for cooked, crumbled sausage or omit and add in white beans for a meatless meal.
  • Broth: I like to start with low sodium broth and add salt as needed. If you are starting with salted broth, you may want to omit the added salt and adjust as needed before serving,
  • Diced tomatoes: I have not tested this recipe without the tomatoes, and the pasta does need the juice from the tomatoes to cook. If you want to omit them, I would start by adding an additional ½ cup broth and adding more liquid to cook the pasta as needed.
  • Pasta: any variety of short pasta will work here, but ideally choose something with roughly the same cook time. Macaroni, rotini, etc., would all work well.
  • Cream: heavy cream gives the thickest and richest sauce, but you can swap for a lighter cream if need be. 
  • Spinach: spinach adds a pop of color and nutrients, but you can omit if necessary or swap for fresh herbs or chopped kale.
  • Parmesan: Parmesan adds a great, salty kick, but you can swap for another cheese if desired.
 

Nutrition Information

Serving: 345grams | Calories: 416cal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 936mg | Potassium: 720mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1667IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 3mg
Keywords Chicken Penne Pasta

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Stewball says

    You can buy gluten free pasta. I don’t think anything else has gluten oobut read the contents.

    Have a lovely summer.

  2. Beverly says

    Hello – my son and daughter-in-law are coming to visit in August. She has a condition that gluten irritates. Is this recipe considered to be gluten free, if I find and substitute the 375 grams penne pasta (about ¾ lb), for gluten free penne pasta?

    Thank you!

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