Garlic butter pasta with juicy, tender chicken is the best dinner idea! Whip up this easy recipe in 30 minutes or less with just a handful of ingredients, perfect for busy weeknights. Add your favorite toppings like shredded parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley and red pepper flakes.
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If you want more quick chicken recipes, be sure to check out my Almond Crusted Chicken, Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Pumpkin Chicken Curry, Creamy One Skillet Chicken Thighs, Shredded Chicken Taco Salad or my super scrumptious and highly rated Creamy White Chicken Chili! These Honey Garlic Chicken Wings are also fabulous.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Fast: get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less!
Versatile: chicken pasta recipes pair easily with almost any side dish. I love serving this one with a roasted veggie or a side salad.
Flexible: you can easily play around with the ingredients in this recipe to appease picky eaters. Leave out the cherry tomatoes or add more, use a different kind of pasta, add more vetetables like broccoli or green beans. Feel free to experiment as you please.
Delicious: this recipe is so simple but soooo good! It's something the whole family will love and it's ridiculously easy to make.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Extra virgin olive oil: or avocado oil.
- Chicken: I typically use boneless skinless chicken breast meat. You can substitute chicken thighs, if desired.
- Salt & black pepper: In my opinion, kosher salt tastes best! It has a larger grain which creates a nice crunch. But, regular table salt will work fine.
- Salted butter: unsalted butter also works in a pinch. You can always sprinkle in extra salt for flavor, if needed.
- Cherry tomatoes: sweet and tart cherry tomatoes add great flavor to this recipe. You can leave them out if you want, or substitute something like broccoli or green beans.
- Garlic: I always keep a jar of minced garlic in the refrigerator for convenience sake. You can also mince up 2-3 fresh garlic cloves. Garlic powder will also work, I recommend using about ¼-1/2 teaspoon as it's quite potent. Start slow and add more if you want!
- Your favorite pasta: whole wheat rotini is my favorite! Bow tie pasta or penne pasta would also be delicious, and you can even use spaghetti noodles. For a gluten free version of this dish, I highly recommend Banza Chickpea Pasta! It's so good and tastes just like regular wheat pasta.
- Optional toppings: shredded parmesan cheese, dried or fresh parsley and red pepper flakes.
How To Make Garlic Butter Chicken Pasta
Keep scrolling for the full recipe card and measurements. We’ll start here with a quick overview!
- Place boneless chicken breasts in a large plastic bag and pound with a tenderizer (or your first) until they're even and ¼ to ½ inch thick.
- Remove chicken from the bag and sprinkle both sides with black pepper and kosher salt (or sea salt). Regular fine table salt also works, but I prefer a larger grain salt in this recipe because it adds really nice texture and crunch!
Saute chicken & make pasta:
- Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once oil is hot, add chicken and sauté for 8-10 minutes. Flip and sauté 8-10 more, until golden brown with an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove from pan and rest at least 10 minutes before cutting.
- Note: multitask here and cook pasta, according to package directions, while chicken is sautéing. Not all packaging specifies this, but I like to boil my pasta in salty water (I usually put 1-2 tablespoons of salt in my pasta water and it adds so much flavor)!
- If your pan has excessive residue from cooking chicken, carefully pour ¼ cup of water into the skillet while it's still hot. Dump out this water and wipe clean with a paper towel.
- Place pan back on the stove on medium-low heat.
- Put butter in the skillet and allow it to melt completely, then cook tomatoes in butter for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds, until fragrant.
- Remove skillet from heat. Drain noodles and mix into the buttery sauce.
- Slice (or dice) chicken and combine with garlic butter noodles.
- Add toppings like shredded parmesan, red pepper flakes and parsley if desired. Plate and enjoy!
Garlic: it doesn't take long to saute garlic. 30-60 seconds really will do the trick, any more than this and the garlic may burn. So watch carefully!
Cooking chicken: the key to juicy chicken breast is pounding it into even thickness before you sauté it. This helps the meat to cook quickly and evenly so it doesn't dry out.
You can use a special meat tenderizing hammer, but a rolling pin also works. To be honest, I normally just pound chicken with my fist, because even though I'm a food blogger, I do not currently own a tenderizer.
Save some time: make this dish even faster by purchasing a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. Dice the chicken or shred it up, then mix into the garlic butter pasta and tomatoes.
Protein: swap shrimp for chicken!
Add veggies: roast/sauté broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, brussels sprouts, spinach or green beans and add them to your pasta dish.
Vegetarian: leave the chicken out and substitute veggies or tofu for a vegetarian dish.
Noodles: no need to make a special run to the store, use the pasta you've got on hand!
I like using a nice, large skillet for this recipe. My favorite is this 3 quart stainless steel skillet. Any large pan will do the trick, though.
How To Store Leftovers
Allow leftovers to cool and place them in an airtight container. Refrigerate up to 3-4 days and reheat in the microwave!
I like to place a damp paper towel over my noodles while they reheat, I find that this re-moisturizes pasta so that leftovers aren't dry.
I don't recommend freezing this dish as noodles tend to be mushy and oddly textured when they thaw out.
Frequently Asked Questions
You don't HAVE to add salt to your pasta water, but I highly recommend it because it will infuse your noodles with great flavor.
Chicken and pasta are a fantastic combination! They taste really good together and chicken adds protein to a carbohydrate heavy ingredient. You can slice, dice or shred cooked chicken before adding it to a pasta dish.
Without chicken, garlic butter pasta will last in the fridge for about 5 days. But because of the chicken in this dish, it will keep for only 3-4 days.
What To Serve With Garlic Chicken Pasta
- Roasted Broccoli And Cauliflower
- Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- Simple Oven Roasted Asparagus
- Beet & Goat Cheese Salad
- Simple Garden Salad
- Dinner rolls
- Garlic bread
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Garlic Butter Chicken Pasta
- 1 Large skillet *My favorite is this 3 quart stainless steel skillet. But, any large pan will do the trick!
- 2 medium chicken breasts *6-8 oz. each *see note below
- Kosher salt and black pepper *see note below
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil *or avocado oil
- 8 ounces (about 2 & ½ cups) whole wheat rotini pasta *see note below
- 5 tablespoons salted butter *see note below
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic *see note below
- Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, chopped fresh parsley
Recipe notesChicken: I like to buy organic chicken breasts because they're usually quite a bit smaller and less woody in texture. I generally use 6-8 ounces pieces, but you can also use one larger chicken breast, if desired. Kosher salt: I like a large grain salt like kosher or sea salt in this recipe. It adds nice texture and a bit of crunch. Table salt works fine, though. Pasta: whole wheat pasta adds an extra bit of fiber to this recipe, but you don't have to use a whole wheat option. Also, note that any shape of noodle will work fine, so use what you've got on hand (even spaghetti)! If you need a gluten free option, I highly recommend Banza Chickpea Pasta! It's so good and tastes just like regular wheat pasta. Butter: unsalted butter can also be used. Consider sprinkling in some table salt when melting your butter if you go this route. Garlic: I keep a jar of minced garlic in the fridge at all times, it's so convenient! You can also mince up 2-3 fresh garlic cloves.
- Place chicken in a plastic bag and pound with a tenderizer (or your first) until even in thickness. They should be ¼-½" thick.2 medium chicken breasts
- Remove chicken from bag and sprinkle both sides generously with black pepper and salt.Kosher salt and black pepper
- Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Once oil is hot, add chicken and sauté for 8-10 minutes. Flip and sauté 8-10 more, until golden with an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove from pan and rest at least 10 minutes before cutting.
- While chicken is sautéing, multitask and make your pasta according to package instructions. Not all packaging specifies this, but be sure to add 1-2 tablespoons of salt to your pasta water before boiling for extra flavorful noodles.8 ounces (about 2 & ½ cups) whole wheat rotini pasta
- If your pan has excessive residue from cooking chicken, carefully pour ¼ cup of water into the skillet while it's still hot. Dump water and wipe clean with a paper towel.
- Place pan back on the stove, reduce heat to medium-low. Put butter in the skillet and allow it to melt completely.5 tablespoons salted butter, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Add tomatoes and cook them in butter for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds, until fragrant (garlic burns easily so be careful, it won't take long)!
- Remove pan from heat, drain noodles and mix them into butter sauce. Slice (or dice) chicken and stir into skillet.
- Add toppings like parmesan, red pepper flakes and parsley if desired. Plate and enjoy!Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, chopped fresh parsley
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