Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta with Chicken

Tender pasta and chicken smothered in a creamy, garlicky white sauce – This Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta with Chicken is a delicious and easy meal for any night of the week!

A large skillet full of Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta with Chicken.

CREAMY GARLIC CHICKEN PENNE PASTA RECIPE

This chicken penne pasta recipe is a thing of beauty. Tender pasta and chicken coated in a rich creamy, and incredibly flavorful sauce with so much garlic – the aroma alone will have you melting.

HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PENNE PASTA

  1. The Pasta: Get a good quality penne pasta like De Cecco and cook it according to the instructions on the package. Usually the amount of time needed to cook is universal, but occasionally it can vary by brand. You want to cook to “al dente” which means that it’s tender but still has a bite to it. It shouldn’t be mushy at all.
  2. The Chicken: Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and season them with salt and pepper. You could also cook the breasts whole, it will just take a bit more time. Cook them in olive oil or butter in a hot skillet until browned and cooked through.
  3. The Sauce. The garlic cream sauce starts with a roux that’s turned into a Bechamel. There’s a ton of garlic cooked into it, for that deep garlic flavor you’d expect from something called Garlic Chicken Penne Pasta. To the cream sauce a little bit of Parmesan is added for another layer of flavor, and some chopped parsley for freshness and color.

A skillet full of Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta with Chicken with a wooden spoon.

HOW TO MAKE A BECHAMEL SAUCE

I love making cream sauces. It’s one of my favorite things to cook. I learned how to make cream sauces the easy way as a kid watching my mom and grandma. They always made it look so effortless, but the result was so creamy and delicious I knew it must be difficult.

A basic cream sauce, or Bechamel, consists of butter, flour, heavy cream and salt. Some add pepper or nutmeg for a slightly deeper flavor. Want to make macaroni and cheese from scratch – start with the bechamel and just add cheese. Simple as that.

To make this Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta with Chicken, the Bechamel is made with lots of garlic, and a little bit of Parmesan cheese. You can also make Alfredo sauce this way, although it’s not the “traditional” way, but it is a less heavy option versus the rich butter and cream.

Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta on a wooden spoon being lifted out of a skillet.

HOW TO MAKE THE GARLIC CREAM SAUCE

  1. A Bechamel sauce starts with hot melted butter in a large skillet.
  2. The next step is adding a whole bunch of garlic. Six cloves to be exact. If you don’t love garlic as much as I do, you could cut that down to 1 or 2 cloves, but it will of course change the flavor from it’s intended garlicky nature.
  3. Next flour is mixed in and that mixture is cooked until it starts to turn golden brown. This cooks out that icky flour tasted that you definitely don’t want coating on your dinner plate.
  4. Finally chicken broth and nonfat milk are stirred in and brought to a simmer. You don’t want to risk burning the milk by boiling, but just bring it right to the edge when those little bubbles start forming around the edges of the pan.
  5. Once it’s all nicely thickened so that it coats the back of your spoon, turn off the heat and stir in half of the Parmesan cheese. The other half will be added with the chicken and pasta.

It really is a simple process, which I’ve outlined in photos below. Easy peasy!

Once you’ve tossed the pasta and the chicken with all that cheesy goodness it’s time to dig in. We love this meal, because it’s easy, it’s quick and it’s super creamy and flavorful.

How to Make Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta with Chicken shown in a collage of photos.

A serving of Creamy Garlic Chicken Penne Pasta on a plate with a fork.

More Chicken Pasta Recipes to enjoy:


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A plate of creamy garlic penne pasta

Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta with Chicken

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 12 ounces penne pasta cooked to al dente
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut into small pieces
  • 5-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley plus some for garnish
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
  • In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil. Add chicken and season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside with the pasta.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and melt, then stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in flour and italian seasoning cook for about 1 minute or until golden. Whisk in milk and chicken broth and simmer for several minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in half of the Parmesan cheese until melted.
  • Toss the cooked pasta and chicken with the sauce to coat, then stir in remaining Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with fresh grated Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley.

For more easy weeknight pasta recipes, try these:

Creamy 4-Cheese Spaghetti

Pumpkin Alfredo

Chicken, Bacon and Blue Cheese Mac & Cheese

One Pan Tomato Basil Chicken Linguine

 For all pasta recipes, go HERE, for all dinner recipes go HERE and for the Recipe Index go HERE.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. I used this recipe to make dinner a few days ago. My wife and I agree that it turned out very well and deserves a 5 star rating. I’ll definitely be making this dish again. There were leftovers so we ate the leftovers the next night and as suggested by some of the other reviewers, I added a cup of frozen summer peas; that was also very good (the peas added a little texture). The best part was that I could make it all gluten free using Barilla brand GF Penne and some Bob’s Red Mill GF all purpose flour. Delish!

  2. Absaloutly beautiful added peas corn double sauce mix had no stock used just home brand chicken noodle soup into 2cup mixture and lil bit more garlic definatly cook again even then fussy child is eating it

  3. Wow! This was fantastic and super easy to put together! If yu wanna Impress someone, this is the recipe to do it! I had two rashers of bacon ? that I sliced not crumbled, I used an Asiago/parm/Romano cheese mix. I threw in about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning in as well! Holi Hannah my older son who is an extreme picky eater ate it! High fives ✋all around my table! Thank yu Kristin for yur inspiration! Will so make this dish again! ?

  4. Amazing recipe. I added a little cilantro and my picky two year old gobbled it up. I couldn’t stop eating myself. Definitely going to be making this again

  5. I did it, and it was amazing!! This time around, I will be putting more garlic in the sauce. But beside that; excellenté! Miam!!

  6. Has anyone ever tried doubling it? I have a family of 5 (3 which are males) and they sure can eat! Curious if I doubled the recipe If it would come out just as good

  7. This was very good! We loved it! Creamy with great garlic flavor, will make again for sure!

  8. We made this today and it turned out amazing, but instead of chicken we put ham in it and we made double of it and stilled turned out. Thxs for showing us how to make this, were gonna make this again soon