This Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta Recipe is a super easy and delicious 30-minute recipe made with your favorite pasta and juicy shredded chicken mixed in comforting garlic and lemon cream sauce.
Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
You guys are going to love this super easy creamy lemon chicken pasta. Similar to my creamy penne pasta, this version stands out thanks to a little added lemon zest and shredded chicken for added protein. Seriously comforting, it’s perfect for busy weeknights and picky eaters.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to try a lemony cream sauce before, I highly recommend you give this one a go.
It isn’t too lemony.
Instead, the added lemon juice and lemon zest add a welcome light and fresh taste to an otherwise heavy cream sauce. Mixed with butter and a little fresh garlic and grated parmesan cheese and you’ve made yourself your very own lemon alfredo sauce.
If you already know that you love lemon-infused sauces, feel free to add an extra tablespoon of lemon juice and play around with the lemon zest. Lemon zest is more concentrated, so start with smaller amounts than you would the lemon juice.
You can also double the sauce for a super-rich and super-creamy lemon chicken pasta.
How to Make Creamy Lemon Alfredo Sauce
It’s really easy to make this creamy, luscious lemony white sauce. You’ll need a large pan, skillet, or Dutch oven and the following ingredients (exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):
- salt (to season the pasta and to boil the pasta)
- all-purpose flour
- fresh garlic
- fresh lemons
- chicken broth
- heavy cream
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
To make the sauce, start by melting the butter in your pan or skillet. After the butter has melted, whisk in the flour to create a thick roux. Allow the roux to cook for about 30 seconds before adding the garlic, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Mix well to combine. Still whisking, slowly add the cream and the lemon zest. Simmer for a minute or two before adding the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from heat.
Once the pasta has finished cooking, reserve at least 1 cup of hot salted pasta water before draining. Use the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce if it becomes too thick.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- Use freshly grated parmesan cheese – not the powdered stuff. The flavor will be better overall and there won’t be any weird clumping.
- Also, remember to remove the sauce from the stove immediately after the parmesan has been added to, and combined with, the sauce. Allowing the sauce to boil after the cheese has been added may result in a curdled, gritty sauce.
- Use full-fat heavy cream.
- The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. As with all alfredo recipes, this one is best enjoyed right away.
- The best way to thin out your sauce is by added salted pasta water about 1/4 cup at a time.
- Before reheating leftovers, expect to add a little bit of liquid (cream, chicken broth, etc) before heating. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave, gently stir and continue to heat until the desired temperature is reached.
- Serve with your favorite roasted vegetables or a yummy side salad.
Looking for more delicious pasta recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- Creamy Ham and Pea Pasta
- Creamy Penne Pasta Recipe
- Creamy Buffalo Chicken Pasta Recipe
- Easy Pasta Primavera Recipe
- Penne Arrabbiata Recipe
- One-Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Easy Bacon Broccoli Pasta Recipe
- Ground Turkey Pasta Recipe
- Easy Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe
Have you tried making this Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta Recipe
- 8 oz pasta - I used spaghetti noodles
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper - to taste
- fresh parsley - to garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until it is al dente (about 2-3 minutes less than the cooking time listed on package directions).
- As the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Sprinkle the melted butter with the flour and use a whisk to combine (it will form a thick paste). Cook the paste (roux) for about 30 seconds, stirring often.
- Add the minced garlic, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Whisk continuously as it comes to a gentle simmer. Allow it to simmer/bubble for about 30 seconds.
- Still whisking, slowly stir in the cream and lemon zest until fully combined with the flour mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly.
- Stir in the grated parmesan cheese and shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat.
- Reserve at least 1-2 cups of hot pasta water before draining the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Add some of the reserved pasta water to the pan, if the sauce becomes too thick (the starch from the pasta thickens the sauce).
- Season with additional salt, pepper, and lemon zest, to taste, and serve garnished with additional grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, if desired.
- Always salt the water with about 1-2 tablespoons of salt whenever you cook pasta - it helps flavor the pasta as it cooks.
- Remember to save and set aside at least 1-2 cups of boiling pasta water before draining the pasta. If needed, use it later to thin your sauce.
- For this recipe, I used leftover cooked chicken breasts from dinner the night before. Rotisserie chicken is also easy. You can also poach chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)