This Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta is made in just ONE pot with 9 ingredients and ready – from prep to finish – in 30 minutes or less! This easy pasta is fast, fabulous, creamy, rich and bursting with zippy lemon flavor! It’s overflowing with tender chicken, fresh basil, sweet peas, and always a hit with even the pickiest of eaters!!
Continue to read on for simple tips and tricks for preparing the best lemon chicken pasta in your very own kitchen! And, don’t miss the recipe video and comprehensive step-by-step photographs showing you exactly how easy this pasta is to make at home!
Update: This post was originally published in April 2017. I made updates to the post below to include more information about lemon pasta. Plus, I added step by step photos and a recipe video to show you how quick and easy the best creamy lemon chicken pasta is to make at home!
Hi, friends! I don’t know about you, but I feel like Mondays are made for pasta. Call me crazy, but there’s just something about oodles of deliciously creamy noodles that just make Mondays feel less, well, like a Monday.
In honor of making Mondays as quick and painless as possible, we are also going to keep today’s pasta dish super fast! And, fantastically flavorful! And, made in just one pot! Hooray! So, what do you say – how about we punch manic Monday right in the metaphorical face and WIN at life… or at least at dinner!?
Creamy lemon chicken pasta with basil and peas: overview
Also known as: easy-PEAsy pasta! See what I just did there?
This recipe features tender, succulent slices of chicken and silky strands of al-dente linguine tossed in a rich, creamy sauce with notes of lemon, pops of herbaceous basil and a generous sprinkling of vibrant sweet peas. This creamy pasta is kind of like Chicken Alfredo meets bright spring and summer vibes all in one pot!
This dish is everything you want in a pasta and more! It’s ludicrously creamy. And, it’s outrageously dreamy. But, it’s also lightened up since we are using half-and-half mixed with broth, instead of just straight heavy cream!
Oh, and did I already mention that all this heavenly, healthier deliciousness is all made in just one pot!? JUST.ONE.POT! And, if all that jazz wasn’t enough to make your skirt fly up, this pasta can be ready, from prep to finish, in 30 minutes or less!
Basically, this pasta is insane in the very best way! Trust and believe, you absolutely need this easy, breezy one pot pasta recipe in your life!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Nine ingredients: This one pot creamy pasta with chicken requires just 9 easy-to-find ingredients (not counting pantry staples such as oil, salt and pepper).
- Fast recipe: With just a few easy steps you can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less!
- One pot recipe: Everything comes together in just one pot!
- So much flavor: This pasta is undeniably rich and creamy with the most delicious zippy lemon and herbaceous flavors!
- Even picky eaters enjoy this recipe: Everyone loves this creamy pasta, even the pickiest of eaters!
- Easy to customize: You can easily get creative with this flexible recipe – try adding spinach or mushrooms to sneak in more vegetables! Or add bacon for the meat lovers in your family!
What is one pot pasta?
“One-pot” or “one-pan” pasta refers to any pasta dish prepared entirely in one pot or pan. Essentially, this means that the pasta, sauce, meat and vegetables are all cooked in the same pot.
A simple internet search will return a ton of variations on one pot pastas (everything from vegetarian to meat lover’s pasta) but they will all share the same trait – cooking the pasta always happens right in the sauce. This means, no more boiling water and cooking pasta in one pot, while making the sauce in another. Read: less fuss and less dishes to clean!
In a nutshell, one pot pasta is a genius pasta cooking method that saves you tons of time (and effort) and helps you get dinner on the table in a fraction of the time! And, with a fraction of the mess!
What’s in creamy lemon chicken pasta?
You only need 9 simple ingredients to create the most luscious, drool-worthy pasta!
- Chicken: You need 1 pound of raw chicken breast for this recipe. I recommend cutting the chicken into strips about 3/4-inch wide; however, you can also dice the chicken if you would like!
- Butter: This recipe uses unsalted butter for sautéing which provides a base of rich flavor!
- Shallots: One large shallots add a touch of delicate, slightly sweet onion flavor!
- Garlic: Two cloves of fresh garlic provide a distinctive, punchy taste. Make sure you use fresh garlic, not the minced variety sold in a jar.
- Flour: 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour helps thicken the creamy sauce.
- Broth: Reduced sodium or unsalted chicken broth helps to create the pasta sauce. You can substitute chicken stock or vegetable broth if you prefer.
- Cream: 1 1/2 cups of half-and-half give the pasta sauce a creamy, luxurious mouthfeel!
- Pasta: This recipe calls for linguine pasta. However, you can use any variety of long dry pasta you love – just keep in mind you will need to adjust the cook time accordingly. I recommend breaking the pasta in half as it makes the pasta much easier to stir and serve once fully cooked.
- Peas: Sweet baby peas or petite peas will provide the best subtly sweet tasting flavor! This recipe uses frozen peas, so make sure you thaw the peas under cool running water and drain them well before using!
- Basil: Aromatic fresh basil adds the perfect hint of herbaceous sweetness to this dish!
- Lemon: You need fresh lemon juice and zest for this recipe. The lemon flavor isn’t overpowering, it provides the perfect touch of zippy, tart flavor. If you prefer a stronger lemon flavor, please feel free to add more lemon!
- Cheese: I like to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, however you can also use Pecorino Romano. Both will add a delicious saltiness to the dish. Pecorino will lend a nuttier flavor.
Substitutions and variations
Do you want to customize this pasta recipe and make a few changes? No problem what-so-ever! I encourage you to make this one pot pasta your own! Get creative in the kitchen and add your family’s favorite ingredients! Below are a few ideas to help get you started!
This pasta is totally flexible! You can easily eliminate any ingredients you don’t like and substitute them for ones you love!
- Chicken: You can use chicken thighs instead of breasts if you prefer their juicier, meatier taste! Just make sure you drain or blot the excess fat from the pan or you can omit the tablespoon of butter in step 2 and use the fat instead!
- Onion: If you prefer an even milder, slightly sweeter flavor, you can substitute thinly sliced leeks (the green part only) for the shallots!
- Broth: My favorite swap in this recipe involves white wine! If you prefer a more complex flavor, feel free to swap some (1/2 to 3/4 cup) of the broth for dry white wine!
- Peas: You can swap out the peas for your favorite vegetable! The easiest swap is baby spinach or kale, you can stir the greens in during the last minute of cooking (replacing the peas in the recipe). (See below for more vegetable options!)
This lemony chicken pasta recipe is incredibly easy to customize! Feel free to add whatever vegetables or herbs your family loves!
- Artichokes: Earthy, herbaceous artichoke hearts are a wonderful addition to this pasta! Make sure you just canned artichoke hearts (versus the marinated ones) as the type in a jar tend to add too harsh a flavor. Also, make sure you thoroughly rinse and drain the artichoke hearts before adding them to the pasta in step 4 of the recipe. (Please note you will need to cook the dish a couple minutes longer, or until the artichokes are just warm throughout).
- Mushrooms: My family often request adding mushrooms to this pasta! To add mushrooms, you will need to slice and saute fresh mushrooms (you can do this before you cook the chicken). Then add the mushrooms to the pot along with the lemon juice and zest in step 4 of the recipe.
- Diced tomatoes: If you love tomatoes and they are in season, they make a great swap or addition to this pasta! You can add halved cherry or grape tomatoes along with the lemon in step 4 of the recipe.
- Bacon: Crispy bacon is another favorite addition around here! For the best taste and texture, use freshly cooked, crispy bacon cut or crumbled into large pieces. (I recommend you stay away from those teeny-tiny bacon bits as they tend to get totally lost in this creamy pasta dish!)
- Cheese: If you are looking for an over-the-top creamy pasta, try stirring in a bit of crumbled goat cheese before serving!
How to make lemon chicken pasta at home?
This creamy chicken pasta with lemon and peas is incredibly simple to make! This recipe can be prepped, ready and on the table in 30 minutes or less!
- Cook Chicken: Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large skillet. Add the chicken and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown on all sides, about 4-6 minutes total. Remove the chicken from the skillet and transfer it to a plate.
- Saute aromatics, then add flour: Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add in the shallot and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Sprinkle the flour over the shallots and cook, stirring, for another minute.
- Add liquids, then chicken + pasta: Add in the chicken broth and half-and-half. Whisk to combine. Add the chicken back into the pan, along with the pasta and a large sprig of basil. Stir the contents to combine. Bring the liquid to a very slow boil, and then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Uncover the skillet, remove the sprig of basil and discard.
Add in the peas, lemon juice and zest. Cook for an additional minute. Stir in the parmesan and basil. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Garnish & Serve: Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes and more parmesan cheese (because cheese is life!)! Top with a few slices of lemon if you are feeling fancy. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Expert tips for the best creamy lemon chicken pasta
- Peas: If you’re using frozen peas, make sure to thaw them before using. To quickly thaw frozen peas, simply place them in a colander and run them under cold water for a couple minutes.
- Cheese: I highly recommend you freshly grate your parmesan for this (and any) recipe. That stuff in a green can might be convenient, but it does not seamlessly melt into the pasta and become silky smooth like fresh grated parmesan does. I like to use my food processor to make quick work out of grating parmesan! (Plus, the consistency looks exactly like the stuff in the can!)
- Spicy: If you like your pasta with a little heat add ½ – 1 teaspoon (or more!) of crushed red pepper flakes to the pan with the garlic.
- Lemon: If you want a strong lemon flavor in this dish, you can increase the lemon zest, juice or both! Word to the wise, the zest yields a stronger lemon flavor then the juice.
- Seasoning: Make sure you are seasoning this dish with salt and pepper as you go! Meaning, season the chicken, then season the shallot, the half-and-half mixture, etc.! Pasta with creamy based sauces require a good amount of salt to really make all the flavors sing.
- Cooking vessel: Use a large, straight sided skillet or a Dutch oven for one pot pastas! You need to have enough room to fit all the ingredients!
How to make one pot lemon chicken pasta step by step photos
(Scroll down for the detailed measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.)
Are you looking for new and exciting ways to serve your one pot pasta? Below are a few of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy this recipe!
What to serve with creamy chicken pasta?
10 delicious side dishes to serve with chicken pasta
- Bread: Creamy pasta begs for some sort of bread for sopping! My family loves garlic knots, cheesy breadsticks, crusty artisan bread and fluffy dinner rolls!
- Soup: Any lighter, broth-based soup such as minestrone or vegetable soup is a wonderful option!
- Green Salad: A light green salad is a great way to balance out creamy pasta!
- Italian Salad: A hearty chopped Italian salad is a great option if you are looking for a heartier salad option!
- Tomato Salad: A fresh, juicy tomato salad is a great way to use up fresh tomatoes in the summer season!
- Bruschetta: Fresh and flavorful bruschetta is a classic Italian starter or side that works beautifully with lemon chicken pasta!
- Artichokes: Simple artichoke hearts with a touch of lemon are always a fan favorite!
- Mushrooms: Saute your favorite variety of mushrooms for an easy side that will add a touch of meaty flavor to your dinner spread!
- Asparagus: Tender-crisp asparagus is so easy to prepare and it’s mild, earthy flavor contrasts the richness of the pasta beautifully!
- Cauliflower: Roasted or steamed cauliflower dusted with parmesan is always a winning side dish in this house!
Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to storing leftovers! Make sure you follow the simple tips below for properly storing and reheating your pasta!
How to store creamy pasta?
This creamy pasta stores beautifully, making it perfect to have on hand for easy heat-and-eat lunches!
To store this dish, first allow the pasta to cool completely to room temperature –do not leave the pasta out on the counter for more than 1 hour to ensure safety and prevent growth of bacteria! Once cool, transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
How to reheat creamy chicken pasta?
Like most things, creamy pasta with chicken is best when eaten fresh; however, you can reheat it as long as you do so gently!
- Stovetop: Transfer the pasta medium skillet or sauce pot. Place the skillet over medium-low to low heat and reheat, stirring occasionally, until warm throughout. Note: You may want to add a splash or broth, stock or cream at the beginning of reheating to keep the pasta moist and the sauce fresh!
- Microwave: Add an individual portion of leftover pasta to a microwave-safe container. Add a splash of broth, stock or cream to keep the pasta moist and the sauce fresh! Place a lid on the container, leaving the lid slightly cracked at the side to form a vent. Reheat for 45-second intervals stirring in between, until the pasta is warm throughout.
Recipe testimonials – What people are saying about this recipe
Here’s what readers are saying about this ultra-creamy lemon pasta with chicken!
- “I made this tonight and definitely wasn’t disappointed!!! One of my new favorite dishes!!! Thank you!!!” –Jennifer
- “Really tasty! I used a rotisserie chicken and it was really easy and delicious!” –Bloomingmama
- “Turned out amazing!” –Teri
- “Really good recipe. I made a few changes, added spinach and basil, but mostly kept to the recipe. My whole family ate it, even the picky ones.” –Amy
- “[I] loved it! I replaced 1 cup of chicken broth with 1 cup of white wine. Gives it more flavor.” –Veronica
Looking for more easy pasta recipes?
If you love this dish, try one of these delicious recipes next:
The best Creamy Lemon Pasta Recipe 👇
Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta (One Pot Recipe)
- Large Straight-Sided Skillet or Dutch Oven
- 1 Pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts - sliced into 3/4-1'' wide strips
- 2 TBS Unsalted Butter - DIVIDED
- 1 large Shallot - finely diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic - minced
- 1 TBS All Purpose Flour
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1 ½ Cups Half-and-Half
- 8 ounces Linguine - broken in half
- 1 ¼ Cup Peas - (thawed if frozen) (SEE NOTES)
- 1 bunch fresh Basil - 1 large sprig left whole, the rest chiffonade (thinly sliced)
- 1 Lemon - zest and juice
- ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese - grated, plus more for serving
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper - to taste
- Optional Garnishes: Lemon Slices, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Cook Chicken: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a Dutch oven, or large straight sided skillet, over medium high heat. Add the chicken and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown on all sides, but not cooked through, about 4-6 minutes total. Remove chicken to a plate.
- Saute Aromatics, then add flour: Add in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Once melted, add in the shallot and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic* and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the flour and cook, stirring, for another minute.
- Add liquids, then chicken + pasta: Add in the chicken broth and half-and-half. Whisk to combine. Add back in the chicken along with the pasta and a large sprig of basil. Bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Remove the sprig of basil and discard.
- Add in the peas, lemon juice and zest. Cook for an additional minute. Stir in the parmesan and chopped basil. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Garnish & Serve: Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes, more parmesan cheese, and slices of lemon if using. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Peas: If you're using frozen peas, make sure they are thawed. To quickly thaw frozen peas, simply place them in a colander and run them under cold water for a couple minutes.
- Parmesan: I highly recommend fresh grated parmesan for this (and any) recipe. That stuff in a green can not only tastes weird, but it also does not seamlessly melt into the pasta and become silky smooth like fresh grated parmesan does. Just make sure you use the smallest holes on your box grater for this.
- Red Pepper Flakes: If you like your pasta with a little heat, add ½ - 1 teaspoon (or more!) of crushed red pepper flakes to the pan with the garlic.
- Lemon: If you want a strong lemon flavor in this dish, use the zest and/or just of 2 lemons instead of one. Just a warning, the zest will yield a stronger lemon flavor than the juice.
- Seasoning: I strongly recommend you continue to lightly season this dish with salt and pepper as you go. (i.e. season the chicken, then season the shallot, the half-and-half mixture, etc.) Pasta with creamy based sauces require a good amount of salt to really make all the flavors sing.
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