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.
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!
Although calling this ‘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 this 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.
This delicious pasta dish requires only simple, straight-forward ingredients:
- Linguine pasta – or other types of pasta! I like long pasta for this dish 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 it!
Start by boiling water and cooking pasta in a pot. I like to get that going first and then work on the chicken and 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…
Once chicken is fully cooked, remove from skillet and make the 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 sauce ingredients: lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, half and half, parmesan, salt and black pepper, and bring to a boil.
Once sauce is boiled and thickened slightly, bring linguini pasta and chicken to the skillet.
Using a pair of tongs to toss 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.
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 this easy Lemon Chicken Pasta dish:
- 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.
How to heat leftovers
When it comes to heating anything with cream sauce, I recommend adding a dollop of butter to pasta before heating in microwave. Stir halfway through microwave time to spread the butter around.
More Pasta Recipe!
Oh yes. I heart pasta with all my heart. 💛
Here are a few other yummy pasta dishes that you need in your life!
- Roasted Tomato Pasta with Basil and Parmesan
- Creamy Tomato Pasta with Italian Sausage
- Lemon Garlic Parmesan Pasta
- Blacken Shrimp Pasta
- Brooklyn Chicken Penne Pasta (by Norine’s Nest)
If you make this recipe, comment below and let me know what you think! Also, don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram, because I WANNA SEE!!
- 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 add half and half 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!