This one-pot chicken pesto pasta is a weeknight dinner dream! Made with a few simple ingredients you probably already have on hand, it’s loaded with delicious pesto-y flavor and only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. It’s a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken and is one of our favorite meals made with fridge and pantry staples.
Why This Pasta Is So Good
- Dinner has never been this easy! Penne pasta, creamy half and half, and flavorful pesto make the simplest, yet still incredibly delicious dinner.
- Not only is cooking a breeze but so is clean-up. This pesto pasta with chicken cooks in just one pot, leaving less time for dishes and more time for sitting down with the family.
- This recipe is the perfect dish when you have minimal ingredients, leftover chicken, and under 30 minutes. Just cook your pasta, throw in the rest of the ingredients, and you have dinner ready in no time.
How To Make It
- Boil a pot of water, adding 2 tablespoons of salt to the water. Cook pasta and drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water to the side.
- Add half and half to pasta and toss. Add a little water from the pasta as needed to make the sauce creamy. You may not use the entire 1/2 cup.
- Add the chicken, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese to the pasta and toss.
- If you do not have precooked chicken, you can cook raw chicken by cutting it into bite-sized pieces and cooking in oil on a skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt and stir. Cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes.
- If you are vegetarian, or just don’t have chicken available, you can omit it.
- For those on a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free pasta.
More Easy Recipes
- Chickpea Gyros
- Baked Feta Pasta
- Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Tater Tots
- Garlic Butter Shrimp
- Dreamy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- 1 cup cooked chicken diced or shredded
- 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta about 2 cups
- 2 tablespoons salt plus 1/4 teaspoon
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream or milk
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Boil pot of water, adding 2 tablespoons of salt. Cook pasta and drain. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and place to side.
- Add half and half to pasta and toss. Add some pasta water gradually until sauce is creamy. (You do not have to use entire 1/2 cup.) Add the rest of the ingredients and toss.
- Raw chicken: Cut into bite-sized pieces and cook in oil on a skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt and stir. Cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes.
- For vegetarian: Omit chicken.
- For gluten-free: Use gluten-free pasta.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.