This Slow Cooker Pesto Mozzarella Chicken Pasta recipe is a perfect, easy dish that cooks itself while you’re busy with other things. It’s made in the slow cooker and it takes less than five minutes to assemble before you leave for work. You’ll come home to dinner waiting!
Why this recipe works
This meal is a perfect, easy dish that cooks itself while you’re busy with other things. It’s made in the crockpot and it takes less than five minutes to assemble before you leave for work. The chicken, pesto, and lemon cook while you are away, then cooked pasta and mozzarella cheese are added before serving.
How to Make Easy Pesto Chicken Pasta
Since there’s no cooking on your part at all, once the chicken and pesto are in the slow cooker, it’s a great recipe to have on hand during busy weeks. Just add cooked pasta and mozzarella and you have a delicious dinner that tastes like you’ve been cooking for hours.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts – season genoursly with salt and pepper
- Pesto– I use a jar of Classico Traditional Basil Pesto. This ends up being about a cup of pesto.
- Salted butter – no need to melt, just slice it!
- Lemon – use a half of a large lemon. Do not use jarred lemon juice for this meal.
- Rotini Pasta cooked to al dente and drained – DO NOT ADD THIS UNTIL THE CHICKEN IS DONE COOKING
- Grated Parmesan – Mix this in with the pasta and chicken.
- Shredded mozzarella – Sprinkle this on top of the dish and let melt.
- Dried basil – for garnish
Step by Step Directions
Step 1 – Add the chicken and top with salt and pepper.
Step 2 – Smear over the pesto over the chicken.
Step 3 – Squeeze over the lemon juice.
Step 4– Slice the butter and add on top.
Step 5 – Place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time
Step 6 – Shred the chicken right in the slow cooker with 2 forks.
Step 7– Add the cooked and drained pasta and the parmesan cheese, stir.
Step 8 – Sprinkle over the mozzarella cheese. Place the lid back on the slow cooker for 15 minutes more or until the cheese melts.
Recipes FAQs and Variations
The butter really flavors the dish and makes it decadent. Though if you want you can use a 1/2 cup of chicken broth instead of butter if desired.
I use chicken breasts for this dish but you could also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat or if budget is an issue. You’ll just need to make sure your thighs cook long enough so they’re tender and not tough.
Use the correct amount of water (see your pasta box) and make sure it’s boiling before adding the pasta. Stir the pasta gently into the water. Cook to al dente. Drain your pasta in a colander and add to the recipe.
Use a jar of sun-dried tomato pesto instead of basil pesto for a change
Add sliced mushrooms for added texture.
Change the pasta shape; you can use any hearty pasta shape such as bow-tie pasta or penne.
Slow Cooker Pesto Mozzarella Pasta
- Slow Cooker- 6 quart or larger
- 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts (1.5-2 pounds works fine, 3 chicken breasts)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 8.1 oz. jarred pesto I used Classico (be sure to look at the ingredients if you have anyone allergic to nuts)
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1/2 lemon
These items don’t get added until the end
- 1 lb. dried rotini pasta (cooked and drained, see directions for more info)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan (I use the powdery shake bottle type)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 tsp. dried basil to garnish
- Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Spread over the pesto, squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. Cut the butter into slices and lay over the chicken.
- Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time.
- Near the end of the cooking time, cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain well.
- Shred the chicken with 2 forks. Add the cooked pasta and the parmesan cheese, stir everything until the pasta is coated with the buttery pesto sauce and the chicken is evenly dispersed throughout the pasta. Add the mozzarella cheese over the pasta. Cover for about 15 more minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Serve and enjoy!
How to Video:
- Use a jar of sun-dried tomato pesto instead of basil pesto for a change
- Add sliced mushrooms for added texture.
- Change the pasta shape; you can use any hearty pasta shape such as bow-tie pasta or penne.