Turn ordinary chicken pasta into Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta with one ingredient – pesto sauce! And with a few other ingredients and short steps, you’ll have a delicious meal ready for the dinner table in no time.
If you enjoy the flavor of pesto, then you’ll love my freezer-friendly Slow Cooker Lemon Pesto Chicken.
Why this chicken pesto pasta recipe works
Creamy chicken pesto pasta is a recipe that creates juicy chicken that’s fork tender and easy to shred apart. In addition, the other ingredients are considered pantry staples that require no prep and are packed with lots of flavors. It’s also a super versatile dish that can easily be added to (see the serving suggestions below).
- Chicken Breasts: Boneless skinless chicken breasts are slowly cooked in a creamy pesto sauce until done and ready for shredding.
- Bow-Tie Pasta: Cooked to al dente and added toward the end of cooking time. This pasta is easy to pick up with a fork and goes perfectly with the shredded chicken.
- Pesto: The highlight of the recipe is a jar of pesto sauce, which is made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. It’s also seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Heavy Cream: This cream is used to help with thickening the sauce base and enriching the chicken pesto pasta.
- Cheese: Three different kinds of cheese are used to get the perfectly creamy sauce: mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese.
- Seasonings: Salt and pepper and red pepper flakes add a bit more flavor to the pesto chicken.
- Cubed Butter: You’ll use about a half cup of salted butter cut into cubes. (Unsalted butter works fine as well.)
Step One – Add chicken to the crock pot, seasonings, pesto, cream cheese, and cubed butter (on top).
Step Two – Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
Step Three – After cooking, shred each chicken breast with two forks. You don’t have to remove the chicken from the slow cooker unless you prefer more space to work with.
Step Four – Add bow tie pasta cooked al dente, heavy whipping cream, and mozzarella cheese to the slow cooker.
Step Five – Gently stir to combine everything together.
Step Six – Serve immediately with some suggestions below, and enjoy!
Different ways to serve
- Creamy pesto chicken pasta can be served as is. Simply scoop a few helpings into a bowl and eat up.
- When it comes to finishing it with a topping or two, try it with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese and a dash of red pepper flakes.
- You can also add a scoop or two over a bed of fresh spinach or rice.
- Don’t forget the garlic bread or garlic sticks and a fresh green salad with dressing.
Fresh spinach, fresh basil, cherry tomatoes (or sun dried tomatoes), frozen peas, and diced yellow onions are additions that can be thrown in with the pasta and cheese.
Although I used bow ties, you can switch it up with penne pasta, rigatoni, or even spaghetti noodles. You can also use your favorite gluten free pasta. You’ll want to ensure the pasta cooks evenly but is not overdone.
Of course! If you have some on hand, throw it in instead of the storebought kind.
Add any remaining pesto chicken pasta into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, add to a skillet over medium heat. You may add more liquid (olive oil or chicken stock will work) to recreate the creamy sauce.
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Slow Cooker Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
- 1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
- 8 oz. jar pesto
- ½ cup salted butter cubed
- 8 oz. cream cheese cubed
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Wait to add:
- 16 oz. bow tie pasta (cooked – see directions)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- ½ cup parmesan cheese shredded
- additional crushed red pepper optional
- Add the chicken to the slow cooker and season with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Next, add the pesto, cream cheese, and cubed butter on top of the chicken.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Shred the chicken with 2 forks, right in the slow cooker. Or remove to a plate if that's easier for you.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions on the stove top to al dente (don't overcook). Add the cooked and drained pasta, heavy whipping cream, and mozzarella cheese to the slow cooker with the chicken and sauce, stir.
- Serve immediately with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes and enjoy!
- Homemade pesto can be used instead of storebought.
- Add any remaining pesto chicken pasta into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, add to a skillet over medium heat. You may have to add a bit more liquid (olive oil or chicken stock will work) to recreate the creamy sauce.
- Chicken thighs are fine to use instead of chicken breasts.
- Any pasta shape can be used, but be sure not to overcook it, or it will fall apart when stirred into the chicken and sauce
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.
Blown away by how delicious and easy this is! Thank you for the awesome recipe!
Sarah Olson says
I’m so glady you tried this and like it!