This delicious One Pot Chicken Pasta is ready in less than 30 minutes! It's a meal the whole family loves with seasoned chicken, pasta, and vegetables in a creamy tomato sauce topped with melted cheese.
Do you know what's better than pasta? Pasta with chicken! Do you know what's better than pasta with chicken? Pasta with chicken that's cooked in ONE POT.
That's right! This One Pot Chicken Pasta will be your new favorite weeknight meal. In less than 30 minutes you have a creamy pasta dish packed with chicken, veggies, and a delicious sauce.
The flavors remind me of chicken parmesan, just without the breaded chicken. That's right! A complete meal with minimal cleanup that tastes like chicken Parmesan in less than 30 minutes. Easy, peasy.
Why You'll Love One Pot Chicken Pasta
- Ready in 30 minutes: This is a true 30-minute meal including prep time making it perfect for busy weeknights.
- Minimal Clean-up: This pasta dish has it all cooked in just one pot. Since it has chicken, pasta, and vegetables, there isn't a need for side dishes. It's truly a one pot meal.
- Classic flavors: The classic flavors in this dish make it a crowd-pleaser! Creamy tomato sauce, chicken, melted cheese, and pasta. This is a meal my whole family loves and asks for almost weekly.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta: Any shape of pasta will work in this one pot pasta, but I find the small-medium pasta (like shells, rotini, fusilli, etc) are easier to use than longer pasta like spaghetti or linguini that tends to stick together more. I don't recommend making this with alternative pasta from chickpeas or lentils since they cook differently and absorb liquid differently.
- Chicken: Boneless chicken breast or chicken thighs both work great in this recipe. Additionally, you could swap in ground meat, sliced chicken sausage, or ground sausage.
- Marinara sauce: Choose a marinara sauce with a flavor you enjoy since it serves as the base for the sauce. Rao's is our favorite.
- Chicken broth: Using broth instead of water is a great trick for adding more flavor to the pasta. Any broth can be used.
- Bell peppers, onions, and garlic: I am always looking for ways to add flavor and nutrients at the same time. Bell peppers, onions, and garlic are an easy way to do that. Use any combination of aromatics and veggies you like.
- Italian seasoning: Make sure to season the chicken. Italian seasoning is an easy all-in-one choice, but something simple like salt and pepper would also work fine.
- Cheese: Since we are making chicken parmesan inspired pasta, there has to be some melted cheese. I like a combination of mozzarella and parmesan, but any cheese can be used or you can leave it out.
How to Make One Pot Chicken Pasta
Making this dish is a little bit more nuanced than literally throwing it all into one pot and calling it a day. But not too many steps so don't worry!
1. Choose the right pot
Find a pot that will hold up the pasta plus the veggies, chicken, etc. I tend to use a large Dutch oven, but a regular-size stock pot or even a large saute pan with a lid will work too. Cooking one-pot pasta recipes in too small of a pot causes the pasta to stick and/or burn, so makes sure to choose a large enough pot.
2. Brown the chicken
Add olive oil to the pot over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, add the Italian seasonings and other spices to the chopped chicken cubes and give them a toss. Add the seasoned chicken to the oil in the pot in a single layer. Let it brown and sear. Then give it a stir and cook until it's browned nicely. This shouldn't take more than 4-5 minutes.
Do not worry about cooking the chicken all the way through, you just want to give it some color. It will continue cooking with the pasta after and cooking it too long can dry it out. Take the chicken out of the pot and set it aside.
Pro tip: If you are picky about the texture of your chicken or worried it will overcook, consider cooking it completely at this step and then setting it aside. Once the pasta is cooked, stir it back in.
3. Cook the vegetables
Now add in the bell pepper and onions. Allow those to cook till they soften, for about 4-5 minutes, then toss in the garlic, cooking for another minute until it is nice and fragrant. Feel free to add some spinach or other vegetables as well.
4. Add pasta and sauce
Now add in the pasta sauce and the broth. Bring this to a simmer and add in the pasta and chicken. Put a lid on the pot and let it all cook down for about 12-15 minutes.
Give it a good stir every few minutes while it cooks so the pasta doesn't stick. Then press everything down into the cooking liquid. If things look too dry, add some extra water.
It's ready when the pasta is cooked al dente and there is a nice, creamy sauce.
5. Make it cheesy
Take the lid off and add the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Put the lid back on again for just 1 little minute so that it has time to melt. Now you can dig in!
Taste the pasta and season with more salt and pepper if needed. I also like to garnish this one-pot chicken pasta dish with some fresh basil, but that's totally optional.
Ideas for Customizing One Pot Pasta
This one pot pasta recipe is easy to customize by trying it with different vegetables, proteins, and garnishes.
- Change up the vegetables: Instead of red bell peppers (or in addition to) add some chopped cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, or summer squash.
- Add spinach: You could also add some spinach to this One Pot Chicken Pasta right at the end. When it's time to add the cheese in, add a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach instead and mix it into the pasta. It will wilt quickly and cook right in the hot pasta.
- Change the protein: Use ground Italian turkey, chicken sausage, ground beef, or chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. Yum! You could also add cooked shrimp right before serving.
- Try different cheeses: Try this dish with different cheeses. Swapping in creamy goat cheese or tangy feta cheese completely changes the flavor profile of the dish.
- Add flavor: Don't be afraid to play with the flavors in this recipe. Consider adding some sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or artichokes. Stir in some fresh ricotta, cottage cheese, or cream cheese. Finish the dish with fresh basil, parsley, or toasted breadcrumbs.
- Make it vegetarian: Simply leave out the chicken for a tasty vegetarian dish. Add some white beans or chickpeas for protein if you like.
Side Dish Ideas
This pasta recipe has it all - protein, vegetables, and carbs so there really isn't a need to add a side dish. But if you want to add some extra veggies or something on the side, these are our favorite options.
- Roasted veggies: You know I'm always all about veggies! Often I will roast some veggies in the oven while the pasta cooks. Some of my go-to roasted veggie recipes include broccoli, asparagus, and green beans.
- Salads: A simple side salad always goes great with pasta. Try this easy Spring Mix Salad, Cucumber Salad, or Arugula Salad.
- Garlic bread: It's hard to not think about garlic bread when you serve pasta. Consider making these high-protein Two Ingredient Dough Garlic Knots or Breadsticks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions about making one pot pasta dishes.
Like any pasta dish, one pot pasta dishes store well and may even get better after a night in the fridge. Always let the pasta cool completely before storing it. Keep it in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
To reheat the pasta, add an extra splash of water or broth and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Generally speaking, you will need 3-4 cups of liquid for every 8 ounces of pasta. The exact amount can depend on how many other ingredients you are adding to the one-pot pasta and the type of pasta you are using.
One Pot Chicken Pasta
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- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz short pasta (like penne or rigatoni, whole wheat if desired)
- 1.5 cups marinara sauce
- 1.5 cups low sodium chicken broth (more if needed)
- 3 tbsp mozzarella cheese
- 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
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- Nutritional Information
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
This recipe works best with small to medium pasta shapes.
If the pasta isn't quite cooked through but the liquid has already been absorbed, add more broth about 1/2 cup at a time.
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