Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
This Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta is made with a zesty lemon cream sauce laced with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, shallots and garlic. Tossed with a bed of pasta, this creamy lemon chicken pasta recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes!
For another simple and delicious lemon recipe, try my Lemon Pasta! Lemon Honey Glazed Salmon is another light and bright lemon flavored dish you will love! My Boursin Pasta recipe is another one you won’t want to miss!
Why This Recipe Works
- Bold lemon flavor. This chicken pasta dish is bursting with bright lemon flavor! Made with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest, this pasta recipe lets the lemon flavor shine. It’s a great way to use those fresh lemons in your fridge!
- Quick and easy dinner recipe. This lemon cream chicken pasta comes together in just 15 minutes and uses simple ingredients. It’s perfect for a busy weeknight and yet is delicately delicious restaurant-worthy meal for those special occasions!
- Creamy sauce for chicken and pasta. Using heavy cream gives us a smooth and ultra creamy lemon sauce!
- Pasta: Use whatever pasta you prefer. I used spaghetti, but you can use orzo, bucatini, fettuccine, rotini, etc.
- Garlic Cloves: This creamy lemon garlic chicken pasta is incomplete without the minced garlic! It adds such a nice flavor to the sauce.
- Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth: Chicken stock will give you a great flavor in the sauce that you wouldn’t get with just water.
- Heavy Cream: If you want a lower fat option, you can use half & half, just note that the lemon sauce won’t be as creamy.
- Fresh Lemon Juice & Lemon Zest: Feel free to add more lemon zest if you want an even stronger lemon flavor. You can substitute lemon zest for dried lemon peel, but it won’t have as fresh a flavor.
- Parmesan Cheese: Please use parmesan that you have freshly grated! Store-bought, pre-shredded cheese is coated in cellulose which helps the cheese maintain it’s shredded state. This means it won’t melt into the sauce as well. You won’t have this problem with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Cook the garlic and shallot. Melt the unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Make the creamy lemon chicken pasta sauce. Add the chicken broth and cook until reduced by half. Add the heavy cream, onion powder, lemon juice and zest, and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and simmer.
- Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add some salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions (al dente for best result!). Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water for the sauce.
- Add the chicken and pasta. Add the cubed or shredded chicken and cooked pasta to the sauce. Stir until coated. Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed for sauce consistency.
- Garnish and serve. Garnish with fresh parmesan, fresh parsley, lemon zest and lemon wedges. Serve immediately!
Feel free to add more lemon zest to the sauce for a brighter lemon flavor.
You can use shredded rotisserie chicken for an even quicker option!
Use freshly grated parmesan cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in cellulose, which helps the cheese stay in its grated form. This means it won’t melt and meld into the sauce as easily.
If you don’t have shallots, you can use finely diced onion instead.
Use dried lemon peel instead of lemon zest (however, the flavor won’t be as bold!).
Add red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
Store any leftovers of the creamy lemon chicken pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Do not freeze. Dairy will separate and go gritty once frozen and thawed. Pasta will become mushy when frozen and thawed.
If you don’t have fresh lemons that’s OK! You can still make this recipe. Use store-bought lemon juice and dried lemon peel. The lemon flavor won’t be as bold, but the pasta will still be delicious!
Swap out regular pasta for wheat pasta! You can also use half and half instead of heavy cream. Reduce to a simmer to thicken. You can also add a cornstarch slurry to thicken if needed or desired.
I don’t recommend freezing this recipe due to the pasta and the cream. Dairy will separate once frozen and thawed, while pasta noodles will go mushy.
More Easy and Delicious Pasta Recipes
Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
- 10 oz uncooked pasta
- 2 cups chicken - cooked and shredded or cubed (this is a great recipe to use rotisserie chicken)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 shallot - diced
- 2 garlic cloves - minced
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream - or half and half for less fat and less creamy
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 large lemon - zested
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese - fresh grated
- Boil water in a pot. Once boiling add 1-2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the water, RESERVING 1 cup to use with the sauce, if needed.
- While the pasta is cooking make the sauce. In a skillet melt the butter and the shallot. Cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and cook until reduced by half. Stir in the heavy cream and onion powder, lemon juice, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the pasta and cooked chicken. Add a splash of pasta water to loosen up the sauce if needed.
- Serve immediately with extra parmesan and fresh lemon zest as garnish.