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5 from 9 votes

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

Creamy lemon chicken pasta is a creamy and decadent pasta full of bright citrus flavor! Seared chicken is tossed with pasta in a Parmigiano Reggiano cream sauce and topped with lemon zest!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6


  • 1 pound paccheri or rigatoni, penne, ziti, etc
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast filleted and pounded flat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large lemons zested, about 1 1/2 tablespoons of zest
  • 1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water will most likely not need it all
  • 2 large egg yolks optional


  • 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 salt and pepper 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. Sear the chicken on both sides until browned and cooked through (about 6-7 minutes total time). Work in batches to not overcrowd the pan. Place the cooked chicken on a cutting board and tent with foil. Begin cooking the pasta to 1 minute less than al dente.
  • While the pasta is cooking heat a large clean pan to medium-low heat and add the butter and half the lemon zest. Once melted add the cream and cheese and bring to a simmer. The sauce will begin to thicken after a couple of minutes of simmering.
  • Slice the chicken into bite-size pieces. Add a 1/2 cup of pasta water and the chicken to the sauce and continue to cook over moderate heat while waiting for the pasta to cook.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce and mix or toss to coat. Cook until just al dente. If the pasta is too dry add some more of the reserved pasta water, a bit at a time, to get a perfect consistency.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and wait 30 seconds. Add the egg yolks and mix rapidly or toss to coat and emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the remaining zest divided onto each plate and more Parmigiano Reggiano. Enjoy!



  • The egg yolks are optional, but they really help to keep the sauce creamy and emulsified.
  • Buy thin-sliced chicken cutlets or fillet whole chicken breasts.  Pound out cutlets to about a ½" thick for even cooking that will only take approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Always save your pasta water!  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.  


Calories: 776kcal | Carbohydrates: 57.2g | Protein: 48.1g | Fat: 33.9g | Saturated Fat: 17.1g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 717mg | Potassium: 231mg | Fiber: 2.7g | Sugar: 2.7g | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 3mg