Creamy Chicken Pasta
Looking for a super delicious, easy, crowd-pleasing dinner recipe? Creamy Chicken Pasta with incredible southwest flavors coming right up! This southwest chicken alfredo dish combines tender penne noodles, succulent seasoned chicken, taco seasoning, tomatoes, green chilies, and plenty of cheese, all tossed in the most amazing creamy sauce. Even your picky eaters will enjoy this family-friendly dish made with minimal ingredients. As an added win, it only takes 20 minutes of cook time! It will definitely become one of your go-to dinners!
Made this for lunch today and it turned out so good! I was having guests over, so I wanted something really tasty but easy. Everyone enjoyed and I’ll definitely make again!— Laura
Creamy chicken pasta offers mega crowd appeal. You know that friend who is adored everywhere she goes, manages to score free drinks from the bartender, and is magically upgraded to first class on overbooked flights? Creamy chicken pasta is that friend. You can’t help but love it.
Ultra creamy with layers of irresistible Tex-Mex flavor, this chicken pasta recipe is special enough for a romantic dinner, but is so easy, my teenage kids can throw it together with no problem! This one’s a winner, guys! Don’t delay… make it tonight!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- So satisfying. This meal is incredibly delicious, comforting, and filling. You’re going to be craving it on repeat!
- Quick & easy: Such an easy recipe with simple methods that can be whipped up in just about 20 minutes from start to finish.
- So tasty! This is one of the most delicious pasta dishes and should not be missed. It’s bound to become a family favorite and you’ll want to add it to your regular dinner rotation.
You’re going to fall in LOVE with this pasta dish! It requires only 8 simple, easy-to-find ingredients and comes together with very little effort. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need:
- Penne pasta. I love penne pasta in this recipe, but you can use any pasta you’d like — including gluten free noodles!
- Chicken breast. Chicken thighs will also work in this recipe. You can cut the cooked chicken into strips or chop it into bite-sized pieces.
- Taco seasoning. The only seasoning you’ll need to give this recipe the perfect flavor. You could also add a kick of heat with red pepper flakes, if you’re feeling a little wild!
- Olive oil + butter. For cooking the chicken and making the cream sauce.
- Heavy cream. Highly recommended for a super creamy, delicious sauce.
- Cheese. We love using a Mexican style blend in this recipe, but feel free to use pepper jack, sharp cheddar or Monterey jack cheese.
- Diced tomatoes + green chilies. Feel free to use a can of mild, medium or hot tomatoes & green chilies, depending on how spicy you want this dish.
how to make this recipe
You may have tried other creamy chicken pasta recipes, but this one’s the BEST! It’s also super easy! Here’s a quick rundown of how to make this recipe:
- Boil pasta. Start a pot of salted boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente and according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
- Cook chicken. While your pasta water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, you can season and cook the chicken. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the heated pan and cook, turning once, until chicken is completely cooked through, about 5 minutes. Once that’s done, plate it and cover it with foil.
- Make the pasta sauce. Use the same skillet that you cooked the chicken in and melt butter. Once melted, whisk in cream for a couple of minutes and then cheese and tomatoes & green chilies. Stir until the sauce is thickened and cheese has melted.
- Combine all ingredients. Stir the cooked pasta into the creamy Alfredo sauce. Cut the chicken and either stir it in or add it to the top of the pasta.
- Enjoy! Plate pasta with chicken and add a garnish of cilantro, fresh parsley or basil for color.
This pasta recipe is super easy and straightforward, but here are a few tips to make sure it’s absolutely perfect every time!
- Cooking pasta. Don’t forget to season the water with plenty of salt before adding in the pasta; otherwise this dish may taste under-seasoned. As a general rule of thumb, I add 1 teaspoon salt per 4 cups of water.
- Cutting the chicken. You can cut the chicken into strips or you can dice it into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat level. If you’re serving kids or someone sensitive to spice, be sure to use mild taco seasoning and mild tomatoes & green chilies.
- Different cut of meat. We use boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders, but chicken thighs will also work just fine.
- Shredded cheese. Use freshly grated cheese if possible; it has more flavor than the pre-shredded variety and melts smoothly.
When I serve this meal, I like to keep the sides pretty simple because this is one satisfying dish. Here are some of my favorite pairing options:
- Salad. A green salad, such as this Italian salad always goes well with any pasta dish. You could also make a fresh green salad by tossing mixed greens with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Feel free to add toppings to your salad such as red onion, cherry tomatoes, and croutons.
- Vegetables. Either bacon roasted Brussels sprouts or roasted broccoli would be delicious as a side dish.
- Bread. Don’t let any of the scrumptious creamy sauce go to waste! Sop it up with a crusty loaf of garlic bread.
While this dish is fabulous as-is, you can absolutely add other ingredients to use what you have available and customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Protein. Swap out the chicken breasts for chicken thighs, turkey cutlets or pork chops for a different flavor.
- Vegetables. Feel free to add some veggies to the mix. Baby spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, artichokes or roasted bell peppers would all be great.
- Add some crunch. Toast some Panko breadcrumbs in a skillet with butter (or olive oil) and garnish individual plates with a handful of the toasted breadcrumbs.
- Swap the pasta. Really, whatever pasta you have on hand will work. Bowtie, linguine, fussili and ziti are all great choices.
- Cheese. Instead of Mexican blend cheese, try using pepper jack, parmesan cheese, sharp cheddar or Monterey jack cheese.
Frequently asked questions
Definitely! Chicken and pasta make a great pairing. It adds protein and extra flavor to the dish. You can cook the chicken with the pasta or add grilled or sautéed chicken to the top of pasta.
You can sub the heavy cream in this dish with half-and-half or whole milk. It will still be delicious but it may just not be quite as rich and creamy.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat gently in the microwave, splashed with a bit of water, chicken broth, chicken stock, milk or additional cream to keep it from drying out as you rewarm it.
I don’t often beg readers to make a specific recipe—I truly love them all, so doing so feels a little like playing favorites—but this southwest chicken alfredo is an exception. Once you try this dish, you’ll find yourself making it on a regular basis. It’s just that good!
If you try this, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves this recipe as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Creamy Chicken Pasta
- 8 ounces penne pasta, or another favorite pasta variety
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup heavy cream, or half & half
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 1 (10-15 ounce) can diced tomatoes & green chilies
- cilantro for garnish
- Cook pasta until al dente and according to package directions; set aside. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry on both sides with a paper towel. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken on both sides. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the heated pan and cook, turning once, until chicken is completely cooked through (about 5 minutes per side). Remove chicken from skillet, place on plate, and cover with foil.
- Add butter to the same skillet the chicken was cooking in and melt over medium heat. Slowly add in the cream, whisking to incorporate all the seasonings and browned bits left behind from cooking the chicken. Whisk constantly and cook for 2 minutes. Add in cheese and diced tomatoes & green chilies; stir until thickened and cheese has melted.
- Stir in cooked pasta and reduce heat to low.
- Remove chicken from covered plate, slice into strips or chop into small bite-sized pieces, and add on top of pasta. Garnish with cilantro!