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Chicken Pesto Pasta

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 24 mins
Servings 4 servings

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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.

overhead image of chicken pesto pasta in skillet with wooden spoon
Table of Contents
  1. How to make Chicken Pesto Pasta:
  2. Variations on this Chicken Pesto Pasta:
  3. How to make this pasta ahead:
  4. More one pot pasta recipes:
  5. Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe

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!

This Skillet Lasagna, One Pot Mac and Cheese, and Chicken Fajita Pasta are more we love.

close up image of chicken pesto pasta

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 Pesto Pasta is an easy one pot pasta 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Dump in your other ingredients, except for the cheese. It’s really that easy!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

chicken pesto pasta in grey bowl with fork stuck in

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:

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Chicken Pesto Pasta

5 from 8 votes
This Chicken Pesto pasta is made in one pot and ready in 30 minutes! It’s an easy dinner idea that makes great lunches the next day! 
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 14 mins
Total Time 24 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings
Calories 490cal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2" cubes (about ¾ lb)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups low fat milk (or whole)
  • cup basil pesto
  • 3 cups penne pasta (about 300 grams)
  • ½ cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch (optional)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

*This is an easy recipe to halve if you want smaller portions — simply hover over the serving number and toggle to adjust.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 656grams | Calories: 490cal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 830mg | Potassium: 477mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1059IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 320mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords chicken pesto pasta, one pot 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. Julie M Barbeau says

    Just made this tonight.. DELICIOUS !! Cut the recipe in half for 2, except the chicken and heavy cream I followed recipe.
    So quick and easy, Oh and i used left over chicken

  2. Danielle says

    Just wanted to verify, the pasta does not need to be cooked prior to adding it. Can’t wait to try this week.

  3. Kyle says

    Tried this recipe tonight and can’t believe how delicious it is! I have been cooking a lot of your recipes over the last 2 weeks, and I haven’t been disappointed yet! Thanks for all the delicious meals!

  4. Sara says

    This is so yummy and easy to make! I love one pot recipes and pesto. This is definitely going to be part of my weeknight round up.

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