How to Make Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta In 30 Minutes or Less

Feb 24, 2020 | Chicken and Poultry, Pasta, Quick Meals, Recipes

Hello and happy Monday, everyone! Today, we are going to kick the week off right with a quick recipe for Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta. It’s so fast to make you can do it from start to finish in under 30 minutes. Oh, and it is delicious!

Some of you may remember that way back in March of last year; we did a 30 Minutes or Less Chicken Pesto. Though similar to what we are doing today, there are some apparent differences between the two. The Chicken pesto from last year was pretty much just chicken, cherry tomatoes, pesto, and pasta. Today our pasta has chicken, roasted red pepper, spinach, pesto, and cream. So again, it is similar but different. One other significant difference between the two posts is that in the one from last year, we made the pesto, this time we are using premade, though I did make it. You can make it or use store-bought stuff if that’s what you prefer.

Okay, let’s take a look at how to make…

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta in 30 Minutes or Less

7:05 pm – Getting Started

It was 7:05 pm when I started cooking last night. The first step was to get the pot on for the pasta. I filled a medium-sized pot with hot water, added some salt, and put it in the stove on high.

Once the pot was on the stove, I got to work on an onion and some garlic. The onion I used was pretty small, so if all you have are large onions, only use half. For whatever reason, I cut the onion as though I was going to dice it. At the last minute, I changed my mind and decided I want to slice it, so I went back after it was peeled and cut the root off. With the root cut off the onion, I proceeded to slice it. I also peeled and sliced one relatively large clove of garlic. Once the onion and garlic had been sliced, I put them on a plate and set them aside.

7:08 pm – Chicken

Once I was done with the onion and garlic, it was chicken time. But, before I got my hands all covered in chicken, I put a large, heavy-bottomed skillet on medium heat on the stove.

The chicken I bought was a chicken breast that still had a bit of the rib and wing bone attached. I bought this because it was cheaper than boneless chicken breast. I should also say I’m not generally a fan of chicken breast. However, on the rare occasion that I do buy it, I usually get it bone-in and skin-on. It is way cheaper and with a little practice takes next to no time to clean.

To clean the chicken, I found the bone and followed it with my knife to cut it away. I then took the tenders off the breast. The tender is the little flap of meat on the underside of the breast. If you’ve ever bought breaded chicken tenders, this is what they are made of. With the tender removed, I sliced the breast and tender into 1/2 cm pieces.

7:12 pm – Cooking the chicken

Now, that the chicken was all sliced, I added 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into my pre-heated pan along with the chicken. When I added the chicken in, I spread it out in a single layer to speed up the cooking process. I also turned the heat up a little on my pan as it wasn’t quite hot enough. You may not need to do this. The issue was that my pan is very thick and just wasn’t getting hot enough.

While the chicken was cooking I took a few minutes and thoroughly cleaned my knife, cutting board, and work area.

7:15 Cooking the pasta

Around 7:15 pm the water for my pasta was boiling, and my chicken was cooking. The pasta I used takes about 12 minutes to cook. I knew that if I started cooking it at this point it would line up pretty perfectly with when the sauce would be done. How did I know that? The chicken was almost cooked through and I knew that sauce wasn’t going to take that long. Also, even if the timing didn’t line up perfectly, there was only going to be a few minutes difference and I could compensate for that. So, I dropped the pasta in the water.

I also took this opportunity to season the chicken generously with salt and pepper then I flipped the chicken and finished cooking it through.

7:20 pm – Onions and Garlic In

At 7:20 I add the onion and garlic into the pan along with the chicken. I cooked, stirring for about 2 minutes before adding in the roasted red peppers.

The roasted red peppers I used were jarred. They came pre-roasted and sliced into thin strips. You can obviously roast your own peppers. However, I happened to have this on hand and wanted to use them up. They’re actually pretty good out of the jar so if you want to save some time I suggest going this route. I used about 1/2 a cup of peppers in total.

7:24 pm – Sauce It

At 7:24 pm I added in about 1/4 cup of pesto. Again, this was pesto that I had made a few days ago and had in the fridge. You can make it from scratch (link at the top of the post) or you can buy it. I prefer to make it because it tastes better and has no preservatives and stabilizers. But, if you want to save some time you can go that route. Once I added in the pesto I let it cook for about a minute before adding in the cream.

At first, I added in a 1/2 cup of heavy cream, but I ended up having to add in a bit more to loosen the sauce. In total, I used about 3/4 of a cup. If you don’t want to use the cream I suggest making a bechamel by cooking roux into milk to thicken it. You don’t want to add straight milk or anything less than heavy cream (whipping) because it will curdle when it hits the heat.

7:26 pm – Spinach

After adding the cream, which came to a boil very quickly I tasted the sauce and added a bit more salt and pepper as was needed. Then I added in 2 big handfuls of baby spinach and stirred until it was softened into the sauce.

7:28 pm – Drain Pasta

At 7:28 pm my pasta was done. I drained it and added it to my sauce.

7:29 pm – Turn off heat and finish

I grated about 1/4 cup of parmesan into the pasta, stirred everything together and served.


This is not a diet pasta recipe by any means but it also isn’t nearly as heavy as you may think it is. Recipes like this will often suggest multiple additions of cream, each one being reduced before the next is added. This makes the pasta very heavy. You don’t get that with this. Also, the roasted red pepper and spinach along with the pesto give this pasta an incredible flavour. I highly recommend you give this a shot. If you do, I’d love to hear what you think.

Thank you, everyone, and have a great Monday. And remember to tune into Dinner with Ben tonight at 6 pm Atlantic time on my Facebook page.

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta

What more is there to say? It's creamy, it's chicken, and it's pesto. Delicious!
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: 30 minute meals, Chicken Pasta, Quick Meals
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


  • 2 Chicken Breasts, Sliced
  • 1/2 Small Onion, Sliced
  • 1 tsp Chopped Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Roasted Red Peppers
  • 2 cups loosley packed Spinach
  • 1/4 cup Pesto
  • 3/4 cup Cream
  • 1-2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan
  • 4 portions Cooked Pasta


  • Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the olive oil and sliced chicken into the pan.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook until cooked through it will take about 6 minutes.
  • Add in the onions and garlic, cook for 2 minutes, then add in the roasted red peppers and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Next up, add in the pesto, cook for about a minute then add in the cream and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add in the spinach and cook for 2 minutes before adding in the cooked pasta.
  • Add in the parmesan, toss the pasta to coat, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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