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Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta is the epitome of Spring time food – light, zesty, and a burst of freshness in every bite!

What you are looking at: al-dente linguini noodles tossed in buttery lemon garlic cream sauce that happens to also be light and not overly heavy, combined with juicy chicken and loads of fresh parmesan.

Two bowls of spaghetti pasta tossed with chicken pieces n creamy lemon sauce, topped with parmesan cheese

Easy and Yummy Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

We are loving this delicious new concoction and has definitely eaten more than our fair share of creamy lemon chicken pasta

And yet we are still not tired of it!

Why we love creamy lemon chicken pasta

Although calling creamy lemon chicken pasta ‘new’ might be slightly misleading (after all, according to these wise words: there is nothing completely new under the sun). If you have been around here a lot, you might be reminded of this Lemon Garlic Parmesan Pasta.

Think of creamy lemon chicken pasta as the creamier, more hearty version of the previous lemon pasta dish. It has the added touch of cream (half and half, to be exact) and juicy seasoned chicken pieces tossed along with it.

Since we used half and half, and incorporated bursts of lemon flavors into it, it is considered a lighter cream version than a traditional Alfredo sauce or creamy sauce.

I can go on and on about why we are loving this, but to keep it short and sweet, here are all the other amazing things you need to know about this creamy lemon chicken pasta goodness.

  • Amazing combination of creamy, savory and tangy flavors, along with the beautiful combination of juicy seasoned chicken (yes, there is actually flavor in the chicken!) and al dente pasta.
  • Require only a few pantry-friendly ingredients. In other words, easy peasy!
  • Ready under 30 minutes. Again…easy peasy!
  • Can be made ahead and heat as leftovers for a quick meal
  • Perfect for meal prep
  • Did I say delicious? ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.
Two bowls of Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta topped with parmesan and chopped parsley


This delicious creamy lemon chicken pasta dish requires only simple, straight-forward ingredients:

  • Linguine pasta – or other types of pasta! I like long pasta for my creamy lemon chicken pasta but that is a personal preference.
  • Lemons – using both the juice and the zest for the ultimate lemon-y experience!
  • Unsalted butter – I don’t use salted butter in this because I like to adjust the salt level by adding salt later. So unsalted butter it is!
  • Garlic cloves – high recommend using fresh! Avoid substituting with garlic powder. It tastes completely different!
  • Half and half – I opted for half and half instead of heavy cream to get a lighter cream texture. Milk was too watery for me for this.
  • Parmesan – highly recommend buying a parmesan block and grating it yourself. Fresh and good quality parmesan will make a big difference to the flavors of this dish.
  • Salt and black pepper to taste – added to both the chicken before searing and also to the pasta dish as a whole. Salt especially will open up the flavors and bring the dish alive. So add more salt if needed!
  • Chicken tenderloins – I prefer tenderloins to chicken breast because they are more tender and remains juicier after searing.

How to Make It

And here comes to fun part…let’s make some creamy lemon chicken pasta!

Start by boiling water and cooking pasta in a pot. I like to get that going first and then work on the chicken and creamy lemon sauce.

For the chicken, coat cubed chicken tenderloins with salt and black pepper, then sear it on a skillet with 1 tbsp of butter.

Yes butter. If you really want to use cooking oil, you can, but let me just say, butter brings about pretty incredible flavors…

Sear chicken pieces in frying pan

Once chicken is fully cooked, remove from skillet and make the creamy lemon sauce in that skillet.

See those brown bits at the bottom of the skillet?

I get excited when I see that because that’s where the yummy flavors are at.

Leave the brown bits where they are on the skillet and add butter onto the skillet. Scrap the bottom of the skillet so the brown bits will be incorporated into the butter, and eventually the sauce.

Add the rest of the creamy lemon sauce ingredients: lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, half and half, parmesan, salt and black pepper, and bring to a boil.

Cooking creamy lemon garlic sauce in skillet

Once sauce is boiled and thickened slightly, bring linguini pasta and chicken to the skillet.

Skillet with linguini pasta and chicken pieces

Using a pair of tongs to toss creamy lemon pasta and chicken until they are all coated with some of that creamy, velvety sauce.

Because the parmesan lover that I am, I like to sprinkle with more parmesan on top of my creamy lemon chicken pasta.


You can add some chopped fresh parsley to get a pop of color, but it is not necessary as it will not add much to the flavor of the dish.

All that should take about 30 minutes and before you know it, you will be slurping away at the Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta.


Tips and Tricks

A few other things to keep in mind as you make creamy lemon chicken pasta:

  • Make sure to defrost and pat dry chicken before coating them with spices and searing them. Chicken that is wet will generate a pool of water in the skillet and that is kinda like ‘boiling’ the chicken instead of searing it, which will produce a less desirable texture and taste.
  • If noodles are done before sauce is done, drain water from noodles and toss with some olive oil so noodles aren’t stuck together. Avoid rinsing noodles in cold water because that would wash away the starch on the surface of the pasta and the cream sauce will not coat onto pasta as well.leftovers

Reheating Instructions

When it comes to heating anything with cream sauce, I recommend adding a dollop of butter to pasta before heating in microwave. And the same rules apply to this creamy lemon chicken pasta.

Add butter before microwaving, and stir halfway through microwave time to spread the butter around, and send it back to the microwave to finish heating it.

Fork tangled in linguini in Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta dish.

More Pasta Recipes!

Oh yes. I heart pasta with all my heart. 💛

If you love this creamy lemon chicken pasta, here are a few other yummy pasta dishes that you need in your life!

DID YOU ENJOY THIS RECIPE? Please comment below and give us a 5-star rating! This will help others find this recipe on Google and Pinterest. We very much appreciate your help! 🤍

A bowl of creamy pasta with a fork in it

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

Linguini pasta tossed in creamy lemon sauce, combined with juicy flavorful chicken. Creamy lemon chicken pasta is a quick and easy pasta dinner that is yummy and satisfying!
4.91 from 55 votes
Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 677kcal
Author: MinShien


  • 8 oz linguini pasta
  • 0.5 lbs chicken tenderloins cubed
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup half and half room temperature or slightly warm
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated, more if needed
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp parsley chopped, optional


  • Bring water to boil in a pot and cook linguini noodles according to package instructions. Drain when noodles are done and set aside (see Note 1).
  • Cube chicken tenderloins. Coat chicken pieces with a few pinches of salt and black pepper.
  • Heat skillet with 1 tbsp of unsalted butter. Once butter is melted (before it turns brown), add chicken tenderloins.
  • Sear chicken under medium high heat until they are slightly brown on the outside and cooked on the insides. Remove chicken and set aside.
  • Add the rest of the butter to skillet, and scrap the bottom of the skillet to remove any brown bits so it is incorporated into the butter. Add garlic, and stir for 10-20 seconds or until fragrant (before they turn brown).
  • Add lemon juice and lemon zest, stir. Then slowly add half and half (make sure it is in room temperature or warm, see Note 2) while stirring constantly. Bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat to medium and add parmesan cheese. Stir to incorporate parmesan into the sauce.
  • Turn heat off. Bring linguini and chicken pieces back to skillet. Toss to coat pasta and chicken in sauce. Taste and add salt and black pepper to taste to open up the flavors even more.
  • Serve with more parmesan cheese and chopped parsley if desire. Enjoy!


Note 1: If setting aside noodles for a while, toss in olive oil to prevent noodles from sticking together.
Note 2: Warm half and half in the microwave before adding to the skillet to avoid curdling. Whisking the liquid in the skillet constantly while pouring will also be help in preventing curdling. 


Calories: 677kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 783mg | Potassium: 598mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 911IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 313mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Take a pic and tag me at @joyous.apron, or hashtag #joyousapron on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    The flavors in this were great but sadly, my sauce curdled when I added in the half & half. It would be helpful to add in some notes on how to prevent curdling (reduce the lemon mixture more before adding the half & half? Use room temp half & half?) so we get a nice, silky sauce.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Hey Michela, I’m glad you enjoyed the flavors! To prevent curdling, warm the half & half in the microwave briefly (20-30 seconds) and stir continuously when pouring half and half into the mixture. Thanks for pointing this out – I will add it to the recipe notes!

    2. I warmed mine… still curdled.

    3. Joyous Apron says:

      Thanks for the feedback! Make sure to also pour it slowly and whisk while you add it. The whisking/stirring part is super important! Hope that helps!

  2. 5 stars
    Another Joyous Apron win! The teenager even asked that we make it again sometime! Thanks for another easy and yummy dinner option!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thanks so much, Allison! Glad you all enjoyed it! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    We really enjoyed this dish! It comes together very quickly at the end. I had room temperature half and half by setting it out about 90 minutes early and managed to avoid curdling by stirring continuously while pouring and until it came to a boil. This is an excellent dish I will definitely make again. Thank you!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Lea! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  4. 4 stars
    This was too lemony for me (and I’m a big fan of lemon.). That’s an easy fix, though, and besides that it was a great dish. We’ll have it again.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thank you for sharing! Glad you liked it!

  5. 5 stars
    We love lemons and this is the perfect amount of lemon for us. Use shredded rotisserie chicken because I had leftovers. Such a tasty easy meal. Definitely making it again!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Great idea to use rotisserie chicken!

  6. 5 stars
    Love how simple and flavorful this pasta is! My kids go crazy for it every time I make it. So good!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad everyone loved it Angela!

  7. 5 stars
    I love recipes like this! Simple and flavorful is always the best. There’s no need for a zillion ingredients, just a few perfect ones.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thank you so much!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this pasta for dinner last night and it was incredible! My whole family loved it and I will definitely be making it again!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      I’m so glad to hear! Thanks Tayler!

  9. 5 stars
    This comforting pasta dish sounds light and refreshing. Love the creamy lemon sauce. I want to eat with a spoon.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Totally acceptable 🙂 I love that sauce!!!

  10. Sara Welch says:

    5 stars
    Enjoyed this for dinner last night and it was a hit all around the table! Quick, easy and delicious; the perfect meal for a busy weeknight!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      So glad to hear, Sara! Thank you for sharing!

  11. 5 stars
    My husband and I love this recipe, and especially love the lemony flavor! I used heavy cream instead of half and half. But even when I’ve used half and half and had some curdling, it just wasn’t an issue for us because it still tasted great. The last time I made it, I was out of fresh garlic and had to use garlic powder, and it still turned out good. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thanks for sharing how it went for you! So glad to hear you and your husband are loving this recipe!