Chicken Alfredo pasta is a creamy and comforting dish of silky pappardelle noodles, butter, garlic, Parmigiano Reggiano, and heavy cream, and topped with blackened chicken and some fresh parsley for brightness. This pasta is stick to your ribs good!
There is nothing quite like a creamy and comforting bowl of pasta.
This chicken Alfredo pasta made with egg pappardelle is one of my go-to's when I'm craving a hearty and creamy pasta but want to keep it fairly simple.
This version includes a few non-traditional ingredients, including cream, garlic, and blackened chicken, and while this dish is not authentic Italian in any way, it's still worth sharing with you because I think you'll love it as much as I do.
Plus, it's picky eater-approved.
If you're looking for the more "traditional" Roman-style Alfredo, check out my recipe for fettuccine alfredo.
How to make chicken alfredo pasta
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Bring a large pot of salted (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon) water to boil. Also, finely mince 3 cloves of garlic and grate 1 ¼ cups of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and set it aside.
- Butterfly 1 pound of chicken breasts and flatten the pieces to about ⅜ to ½" thick. Using a plastic bag and meat mallet is the easiest way to do this.
- Season the flattened chicken with blackened seasoning on both sides. Use about 2 to 2 ½ teaspoons of seasoning. You can also just use salt and pepper (1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoons pepper) if you like.
- Heat a stainless steel pan to medium heat. Once the pan gets hot (wait 3 minutes) add a touch of olive oil and lay down the chicken to sear. After 2 minutes toss in 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan as well.
- The chicken should take approximately 3 minutes per side to cook. Place the cooked blackened chicken on a cutting board and tent with foil.
- Using a new clean pan, heat 7 tablespoons of butter and the garlic over medium-low heat. Note: You don't want to use the pan that blackened the chicken for fond/deglazing since it will be burnt and will ruin your alfredo sauce!
- Once the garlic turns golden (about 2 minutes) add in 1 ¼ cups of heavy cream and the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Stir the sauce and bring to a simmer. At this point, you can cook your pasta in the boiling water to al dente.
- The sauce will thicken and begin to bubble. Once it does you can turn the heat down to low. When the pasta is al dente, drain it well and add it to the alfredo sauce. Toss well, then taste test. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add 3 tablespoons of minced parsley. Turn off the heat. Slice the blackened chicken into bite-sized pieces and either toss it all together with the pasta or serve it individually on plated portions of pappardelle. Enjoy! Note: If the pasta dries out use a couple of tablespoons of reserved pasta water at a time to bring back the creamy consistency.
More on the chicken
In Italy, it is frowned upon to serve chicken mixed with pasta. Typically, chicken would be part of the main dish while pasta would be served separately.
Italian-American cuisine is different in the sense that it takes liberties with ingredients.
The combining of chicken with pasta is definitely a more American thing to do.
And the addition of blackened spiced chicken is most definitely not traditional.
Blackening is usually associated with Cajun-Creole cuisine and involves cooking meat or seafood in a combination of spices and butter, usually in a cast iron pan, to give it a blackened color.
If you can't find blackened spice, you can use Cajun seasoning, although keep in mind that it will likely have more heat than blackened spice.
Alternatively, you can opt for salt and pepper and the chicken will taste just as good!
I like to serve the chicken on top of the pasta, but you can also toss with the pasta to evenly distribute it if you prefer.
Note: Make sure you take the time to pound out the chicken cutlets to ⅜ to ½" thick to ensure even cooking and to create maximum surface area for the seasoning.
More simple creamy pasta recipes
Cooler nights call for ultra-creamy and comforting pasta recipes that are simple and tasty. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Creamy mushroom pasta bake - Fontina cheese, roasted mushrooms, spinach, thyme, ricotta, and nutmeg are tossed with rigatoni and baked until bubbly.
- Pasta alla Norcina - Paccheri pasta is tossed with a white wine-pork sausage and Pecorino sauce.
- Linguine al limone - Lemon juice, lemon zest, Parmigiano Reggiano, butter, and pasta water create the simplest silky sauce.
- Creamy Cajun chicken pasta - Seasoned chicken, Smoky andouille, bell peppers, and green onions tossed in a spicy tomato-cream sauce.
- Chicken marsala pasta - Mushrooms, prosciutto, and sliced chicken tossed in a buttery marsala sauce.
- Garlic mushroom pasta - Silky ribbons of pappardelle are tossed with garlic, Pecorino Romano, and loads of mushrooms in this super easy pasta.
- Cacio e pepe - It doesn't get any simpler than black pepper, Pecorino Romano, pasta water, and bucatini!
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For the chicken
- 1 pound chicken breast filleted and pounded to ⅜" thick cutlets
- 2 ½ teaspoons blackened spice optional, otherwise use 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the pasta
- 8 ounces egg fettuccine or egg pappardelle
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ¼ cups Parmigiano Reggiano grated, plus more for serving
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons Italian parsley minced
- 1 cup reserved pasta water for thinning, will not need it all
- Bring a large pot of salted (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon) water to boil.
- Dry the chicken cutlets with paper towels then season with the blackened spice on both sides.
- Heat a stainless steel or cast iron pan to medium heat and wait 3 minutes. Coat the pan with olive oil and add the chicken to the pan. After 2 minutes add the butter. The chicken should take about 3 minutes per side to cook. Place the cooked chicken on a cutting board and tent with foil. Begin cooking the pasta to al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking heat a large clean pan to medium-low heat and add the butter and garlic. Cook garlic until golden (about 2 minutes) then add the cream and cheese and bring to a simmer. The sauce will begin to thicken after a couple of minutes of simmering.
- Add the al dente pasta to the alfredo sauce and mix or toss to coat. If the pasta is too dry add some of the reserved pasta water, a bit at a time, to get a perfect consistency.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the parsley. Cut the chicken into slices and top on individual plates or mix it straight into the pasta in the pan. Serve with more grated Parmigiano Reggiano on the side. Enjoy!
- Substitute blackened spice for salt and pepper or whatever seasoning you like.
- Buy thin-sliced chicken cutlets or fillet 1 pound of chicken breasts. Pound out cutlets to about ⅜ to ½" thick for even cooking that will only take approximately 3 minutes per side.
- Use the reserved pasta water to thin out the pasta if it is too thick or dries out. Just add a couple of ounces at a time to get a perfectly creamy consistency.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge. Reheat in a pan over medium heat.