This Chicken Pesto pasta is made in one pot and ready in 30 minutes! It’s an easy dinner idea that is full of flavor!
See step by step recipe video down in the recipe card.
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Chicken Pesto Pasta is a classic for good reason!
The herby flavor of the basil pesto adds so much flavor to the sauce that there really isn’t much else needed — just some pasta, some chicken breasts, and one large skillet.
One pot pastas are one of our favorite easy meals, and this is just one of our favorites!
Skillet meals are great for summer when you don’t want to turn on the oven, but they are also perfect for busy school days when there’s not a lot of time left to make dinner.
The dumping of backpacks, cleaning out lunches, sorting through papers and homework, reading practice, and taking in everything that happened in their days.
This chicken pasta is an easy one pot meal for us to whip up when we’re short on time, and it’s just as great cold as a pasta salad for lunches the next day.
How to make Chicken Pesto Pasta:
- Give your chicken a head start in a little bit of oil — I don’t worry about browning my chicken here because I find it can get tough if you let it go too long. If you want browned chicken, pat your chicken dry with a paper towel before adding to the pan, and cook briefly on high heat.
- Dump in your other ingredients, except for the cheese. It’s really that easy!
- Simmer and stir — if you want, you can cover the pasta and reduce the heat and this way you don’t have to stir quite so much.
- Add a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and serve.
Variations on this Chicken Pesto Pasta:
- Any variety of short pasta will work in this recipe, but we love white pasta with extra fibre — no one ever notices the difference!
- Feel free to add in some extra veggies! My kids actually (surprisingly!) love their veggies raw, so we eat them on the side, but you could add broccoli, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, green beans, or a variety of other veggies to this recipe.
- Swap out the protein: don’t have chicken on hand? Swap the chicken for white beans for a meatless twist, or use frozen meatballs or chicken sausage for a fun twist.
- Grab a jar of sundried tomato pesto instead of basil for an entirely unique recipe with just one swap.
How to make this pasta ahead:
Store in the refrigerator:
You can easily meal prep this recipe on the weekend or a day you have your hands free, then store it in a casserole dish in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (ensuring all your ingredients were fresh when prepared).
Then, you can simply cover with a lid or foil and bake until reheated — I always recommend adding a splash of water or chicken broth when reheating pasta as it tends to soak up any sauce as it sits.
Store in the freezer:
You can also make this a freezer meal.
Simply prepare completely, ensuring your pasta is only cooked to al dente. Then spread into a lightly greased baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and foil (my Grandma always doubled up to prevent freezer burn, so I do too!), label it and freeze for 3-6 months.
You can thaw before baking, or throw it into the oven frozen provided your baking dish is freezer-to-oven safe.
If baking from frozen, place the baking dish in the oven as the oven preheats to avoid a temperature shock.
Remove the plastic wrap and replace the foil or lid, then bake at 350 degrees F just until heated through — the exact cook time will depend on a lot of different factors, including if it is frozen or thawed or somewhere in the middle, what type and size of baking dish used, and the exact oven temperature.
More one pot pasta recipes:
- Healthy One Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- One Pot Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage Recipe
- One Pot Chicken Chow Mein Recipe
- One Pot BBQ Chicken Chili Mac
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Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2" cubes (about ¾ lb)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups low fat milk (or whole)
- ⅓ cup basil pesto
- 3 cups penne pasta (about 300 grams)
- ½ cup heavy cream (optional)
- 1 teaspoon corn starch (optional)
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- In a large pan over medium high heat, heat oil on medium high heat until hot. Add the chicken, and cook until the chicken is just cooked on the outside, about 3-4 minutes. (If you prefer, you can cook longer until browned)
- Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in the broth, milk, pesto and pasta. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium, and cook, stirring often. Cover with a lid once most of the liquid has been absorbed and continue cooking until pasta is al dente or desired tenderness, about 10 minutes total.
- If desired, whisk together the cream and corn starch (optional, but makes for a creamier sauce). Stir into pasta and cook until thickened slightly, 1-2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve.
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