This Garlic Chicken Pasta is big on flavor, packed with protein, and super-satisfying. Is it a chicken dinner with pasta? Is it a pasta dinner with chicken? It’s both! Lightly sauced, tossed with cheese, and seasoned with garlic, onion, and spices. You’ll feel full without feeling stuffed.
Some of my favorite pasta meals are the ones where the sauce flavors the pasta instead of drowning it. This is definitely one of those recipes.
This chicken garlic pasta has quite a few “type A” flavor personalities, like tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cheese. What makes this recipe so amazing is the way those ingredients are treated. Rather than beating & blending everything together for the common good, this dish lets each individual flavor sing!
While this garlic chicken pasta is hearty enough to serve year-round, it makes an especially wonderful spring or summer meal that doesn’t weigh you down with thick cream sauce.
I will do anything to make sure my family gets a wholesome, homemade meal. But if I can do it in just one skillet, even better! This is an easy recipe – with an even easier cleanup.
This easy to make garlic chicken pasta recipe is made with fresh chicken breast, a little olive oil and butter, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Onion, garlic, and tomatoes provide the base of the flavor profile, which seasons the pasta as it cooks. Red pepper flakes add a touch of spice, and the half & half and mozzarella cheese and some richness to the sauce.
HOW TO MAKE GARLIC CHICKEN PASTA
Preheat large skillet to medium high heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and butter.
Once butter has melted add chicken pieces, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.
Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add the rest of the olive oil and onions and cook until translucent, about 5 or 6 minutes.
Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute.
Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, uncooked pasta, crushed red pepper flakes and cooked chicken pieces.
Stir and bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Stir in half & half and mozzarella cheese.
Remove from heat and let stand about 10 minutes for sauce to thicken. Enjoy!
Let cool completely. Pour into disposable pan, cover with foil and place in the freezer.
To heat: Preheat oven to 350˚ and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until heated through.
CAN YOU FREEZE GARLIC CHICKEN PASTA?
Freezing this Garlic Chicken Pasta Recipe is super easy! Just let it cool completely, pour it into the disposable pan, cover with foil, and place in the freezer…that’s it! Now you are ready to tackle any busy weeknight with ease!
To heat, preheat your oven to 350˚ and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until heated through.
CAN I USE MILK INSTEAD OF HALF & HALF?
With so many wonderful dairy and non-dairy options available, I get lots of questions about dairy substitutions for recipes. As a general rule, the higher the fat content, the richer and thicker the sauce. Cream is richer than whole milk, 2% is richer than skim, etc.
I encourage everyone to experiment with ingredients that best suits each person’s dietary preferences. Final results may vary, of course. If you happen to use an ingredient such as almond milk, oat milk, etc., please share your results in the comments section below so that your fellow chefs can learn from your experiences.
CAN I MAKE THIS AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes, and it goes straight from the freezer to the oven. How easy is that? To freeze this meal, let it cool completely, then pour it into the disposable pan, cover tightly with foil, and place in the freezer…that’s it! Don’t forget to label and date your meal. Freeze up to 5 months.
To heat from frozen, preheat your oven to 350˚ and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes or until heated through.
IS THIS RECIPE SUPER-GARLICKY?
After tasting and testing this recipe personally, I would say the garlic content is just the right balance of flavor without being overpowering. Taste is subjective, however. Go ahead and adjust the flavors to your liking. Just be careful when improvising with garlic – a little goes a long way!
Some other great recipes with garlic include Garlic Lime Chicken Kabobs and Chicken Scampi.
WHAT VEGGIE SIDE GOES WITH CREAMY GARLIC CHICKEN PASTA?
I love thoughtfully planned meals, especially when side dishes complement or contrast with the main course. Parmesan-roasted asparagus is in the same flavor profile, and complements the entrée. A crisp, Italian salad provides a nice contrast to the textures of the garlic chicken pasta. Other great sides include cucumber salad or grilled veggies.
PRO TIPS/RECIPE NOTES
For this or any freezer meal, I recommend using a disposable aluminum foil baking pan. It allows you to fill your freezer with delicious meals without holding your favorite baking pans hostage.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and sub-in your favorite pasta. Over the years I’ve served everything from wagon wheels to Halloween shapes to dinosaur-shaped pasta – and my kiddos love it. As my kids (and their appetites) have grown over the years, we’ve found penne to be a good, hearty, and filling pasta that holds sauce extremely well.
This meal is great served cold, too. I discovered this in my “test kitchen” as I watched my kids (and hubby) return to the fridge throughout the evening armed with a fork for a couple of quick bites of garlic chicken pasta. Make it for your next church picnic or summer potluck.
WHAT OTHER RECIPES CAN YOU MAKE WITH CHICKEN?
- Make this delicious Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas
- Bake this Pressure Cooker Cajun Chicken Sausage
- Prepare this Creamy Hazelnut Chicken Penne Pasta
- Make this Instant Pot Chicken Teriyaki
- Prepare this Seriously Easy Chicken Pot Pie
The next time you make this garlic chicken pasta recipe, I would love to see it! Snap a picture and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #happymoneysaver and tagging me @happymoneysaver!
Chicken Garlic Pasta
- 3 tbsps olive oil divided
- 1 tbsp salted butter
- 1 lb raw boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup onion chopped (white or yellow)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat large skillet to medium high heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and butter.
- Once butter has melted add chicken pieces, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the rest of the olive oil and onions and cook until translucent, about 5 or 6 minutes.
- Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, uncooked pasta, crushed red pepper flakes and cooked chicken pieces. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.
- Stir in half & half and mozzarella cheese.
- Remove from heat and let stand about 10 minutes for sauce to thicken. Enjoy!
- Let cool completely. Pour into disposable pan, cover with foil and place in the freezer.
- Preheat oven to 350˚ and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until heated through.
- Use a disposable aluminum foil baking pan to freeze this recipe. It allows you to fill your freezer with delicious meals without holding your favorite baking pans hostage.
- Don’t be afraid to get creative and sub-in your favorite pasta.
- If you like more heat in your meals, don’t add more pepper flakes. Add some cayenne pepper as the chicken broth is heating up.
Loved this recipe?
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This recipe was first posted August 31, 2015, but has been updated with new photos and better detailed instructions on September 1st, 2021.
Comments & Reviews
I made some substitutions and it was still good! Easy to customize using what you have on hand but I would like to try it as written. Definitely a keeper. Thank you,!
So glad you liked it and could customize it for what you had on hand!
If I freeze this and reheat it in single serving portions will the reheating time still be 45 minutes or will the lesser amount mean the reheat time will be less?
No, it will not take as long to reheat. Depending on how big the servings will determine how long it will take. I would start with 20 minutes and then keep checking it.
Kathy Carias says
I’ve made this twice now. The first time I followed the recipe exactly and it was very good. The second time I added sliced carrots and more cheese and it was even better! Love your recipes!!
Oooh I will have to try that! Great suggestion!
My daughter is allergic to whey. Anyone have any ideas on a substitute? I was thinking of coconut milk and using a thickener, maybe cornstarch, and using a hard cheese (less whey), like parmesan. I realize it will change the flavor and texture, parm is much hardier. I’ll try that and see. I’ll let you know.
I always have difficulty cleaning my cast iron skillet. Any quick tips.
Pampered chef plastic scrapper, hot water, and just wipe dry with towel.
I’m looking for freezer meals that can be heated on the stove? Could I make this, freeze it, thaw it the day before, and then warm up on the stove?
Yes, feel free to give that a try! It should work great.
I have everything but the cream. Can I use milk instead?
You can try, but the sauce will not be as rich or thick…but hey, do what you gotta do!!
I’ve got minced garlic in a jar in the fridge-about how many tablespoons of that would equal two cloves?? Please and thanks!
I absolutely LOVE your recipes! The taquitos are our family’s fave!!
Each teaspoon of garlic is 2 cloves so you will need a teaspoon of the minced stuff.
Do you have the nutrition facts for this?
There is no way it takes 15 minutes to cook cubed chicken. Maybe 5 minutes.
How long is this good for in the freezer?
Rule of thumb is 4-5 months, then it will start losing some of the flavors.
I am so happy to have come across your website. Your recipe for chicken fingers were a big hit in my house. I look forward to trying many more of your recipes. Thanks.
Now I have a concern. I feed large crowds at any given moment. Do you think I could double this recipe and freeze it. I thought I could use 2 lbs. of chicken and a whole pound of pasta and just double all the other ingredients. Also, do you think it would effect the recipe if I used dark meat chicken instead of white meat chicken.
Yes this recipe is freezable like you mentioned 🙂 – and its up to you if you want to use dark meat chicken. I’m sure it would still taste great!
Do you thaw the garlic chicken pasta and then cook? Or into the preheated oven, frozen?
No, place the pasta into the oven frozen. 🙂
Michelle M says
I would like to try this recipe, but I am wondering how much onion is used. I don’t see onion listed on the ingredient list. Please help! =)
1/2 cup – I fixed the recipe up top! 🙂