Lemon Chicken Pasta
Rich, creamy, and oh so delicious this Lemon Chicken Pasta recipe is an absolute must try.
Pasta will always be a comfort food for me, and when it tastes this delicious then it gives me a moment where I feel like I am living my best life. Lemon Chicken Pasta is easy to make yet tastes like I spent a lot of time making it.
Read on to learn just how to make this light yet decadent dish.
What is Lemon Chicken Pasta
This recipe was born out me putting together three of my favorite things. Lemon, pasta, and chicken are all favorites of mine. And when combined they compliment each other perfectly.
Pasta is such a versatile food and goes so well with a variety of meats and sauces. And I confess that I love them all. Traditionally pasta is the supporting structure that brings little flavor to a dish.
But this time around it finally gets its time to shine.
Free from heavy sauces or smothered in meat lemon pasta is a light dish with a subtle lemon butter sauce. A hint of parmesan cheese is thrown on as a compliment to the zesty tangy flavor of the lemon. Together they make the pasta shine.
The addition of lemon chicken to the pasta is literally heaven. And takes a simple pasta dish to the next level by making it a complete meal.
This is a two part recipe that really is taking two recipes and making them one. By making lemon chicken and lemon pasta and combining them in my opinion it really becomes the perfect dish.
Lemon Pasta Ingredients
When making this Lemon Chicken Pasta recipe I like to start my pasta first. Allowing me to get the noodles cooking prior to putting my chicken into the skillet. This helps me to balance my time. So we will start with the ingredients that go into the lemon pasta.
- Pasta: This simple dish is best made with a long pasta such as spaghetti or linguini. I find that the longer pasta noodles are coated more easily by the sauce. However if those are not available then a shorter pasta would work as well.
Lemon Butter Sauce Ingredients
When it comes to flavor profiles there are some that just compliment each other perfectly. And I have to say that this lemon garlic butter sauce is one of those flavors for me and my family. Here are the ingredients I used to make this tangy lemon sauce.
- Olive Oil: When it comes to cooking pasta my go to oil is Olive Oil. There is a richness to this oil that compliments the pasta and corresponding spices.
- Butter: In my opinion butter makes everything better, especially salted butter. This Lemon Pasta benefits from the rich and creamy nature of the butter and I am here for it.
- Garlic: Can you really have a pasta dish without garlic? I do not think so.
- Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan cheese is creamy and salty, I highly recommend it for this dish. It elevates the flavor to a whole new level.
- Lemon: When I say that this recipe calls for lemon I am referring to the lemon juice and to lemon zest. If you are not a huge lemon fan than just use the lemon juice. This recipe is called Lemon Pasta for a reason, so don’t be afraid to add it.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Bringing a bit of spice this is an optional seasoning to add. I prefer the balance that the red pepper flakes bring to this dish.
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper: These simple spices brings out the flavor of whatever they are added to. In a recipe as simple as this one they are helpful in bringing out the subtle flavors of the lemon, butter, and cheese.
- Parsley: Bringing the balance of beauty to this dish parsley serves no other purpose than to bring beauty, and it does just that.
Make it your own
When it comes to cooking I believe that we need to honor our own preferences but be open to learn about the preferences of others. While this is a Lemon Chicken Pasta you can go lighter on the lemon if you like.
If there is an ingredient that you hate then omit it. If there is one that you love that you want to add then go for it. Make this dish your own.
Lemon Chicken Ingredients
When looking around your kitchen chances are that you already have the ingredients for the lemon chicken. Most of us keep chicken in the freezer, it is just a staple in my home. When making Lemon Chicken Pasta I prefer to use chicken breast or chicken thighs.
When I am in a pinch and trying to figure out what I am going to cook for dinner this is one of my go to recipes. So if you are like me and need some delicious and easy meals to be your go to, then give this a try.
I prefer to marinate my chicken prior to cooking to give it a chance to absorb some of the flavors and seasonings. This also helps the chicken to tenderize.
Marinating the chicken in the lemon butter sauce for a minimum of 30 minutes is preferred. I have thrown chicken into the marinade in the morning when I am headed out to work. That way it has all day to bask in the goodness of the seasonings and flavor of the lemon garlic butter.
- Chicken Breast: I like to cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise for this recipe. I find that a thinner cut of meat that is about 1/2 inch thickness cooks best in the skillet.
- Lemon Juice: In my opinion this is the subtle but shinning star of this recipe. Bringing the acid and the sweet to this recipe makes this lemon chicken pasta one of my favorites dishes.
- Seasonings: Garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and Ground black pepper, are the simple seasonings that bring a balance of flavor.
Cooking the Pasta
Pasta is a pretty straight food to make. As long as water is boiling when pasta is put into it. And the pasta is removed when it is soft enough to bite through or Al Dente.
As long as you have a deep pan and a hot stove cooking pasta is pretty simple. I like to use a Pasta Cooker that allows me to easily lift my pasta out of the pot. That way I avoid the mess or stress of carrying hot liquid to the sink.
If you do not have a Pasta Cooker try using a large cooking pot instead. Because I like to use spaghetti noodles for this Lemon Chicken Pasta recipe this tall type of pot works best.
The chicken and the lemon garlic butter sauce for this dish is also fairly easy and straightforward.
Cooking the Lemon Chicken
It is not possible to have lemon chicken pasta without lemon chicken.
I use a large non-stick skillet that has a lid to cook the chicken. Using a lid helps the chicken to cook all of the way through and keeps the work area clean from splatter.
When cooking the chicken in this recipe using a Large Deep Skillet works best. It is able to hold a significant amount of food and allows me to mix ingredients easily.
This is the skillet that I have and I love it. It is nonstick and significant in size. And the best part is that it is dishwasher safe. So when it comes to clean up I am not standing scrubbing a pan for forever.
I will add the butter and oil to the pan over medium high heat. Once the butter is melted add the chicken and place the lid on top. Cook for 5 minutes, turn and replace the lid. Cook another 3-5 minutes or until cooked through and browned on each side.
Once the chicken is completely cooked I remove it from the pan and set it aside.
Creating the Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce
Using the same pan that the chicken was cooked is my preference.
When cooking the sauce do so over a medium high heat. The olive oil and butter will work with the heat to help release the flavor in the crushed red pepper and minced garlic. I like to simmer the two for a minute before adding the lemon juice and pasta water.
Once all of the ingredients are in the skillet I like to turn the temperature down a bit and let the flavors come together. Placing the burner on a medium-low heat allows the Lemon Pasta to really become creamy. The pasta heats up with the sauce and I will use a pair of tongs to gently mix the pasta with the sauce.
Plating the Lemon Chicken Pasta
The best part of this recipe is the finished product and enjoying all of your efforts in the kitchen.
The lemon pasta is the perfect base for the chicken. I will take the pasta and lay it on a plate, sprinkle it with parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley, and red pepper flakes.
The chicken is then laid on top of the pasta. If you want to make this dish even more lemony add some lemon zest. Otherwise I just grab a fork, dig in, and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is lemon chicken pasta?
Lemon chicken is a savory chicken dish that uses lemon juice and Italian herbs to provide seasoning and flavor. It is often seared in a non-stick skillet, but can also be cooked in an oven, or even in an air fryer.
For this recipe I use a lemon garlic butter sauce to coat the chicken in and add even more lemon flavor.
What does lemon juice do to chicken?
Lemon juice adds flavor, balance through acidity, and acts as a meat tenderizer. The result is chicken that is full of flavor, extra tender, and the perfect mixture of savory and sweet.
What is lemon chicken pasta sauce made of?
Lemon juice, chicken broth, salted butter, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and ground black pepper all join together to make this dish sing.
It is a delicate blend of flavors that are not very spectacular on their own, but together in the right proportions this lemon garlic butter sauce is delicious.
Other Recipes to Try
Lemon Chicken Pasta Recipe
- 1 Non-Stick Skillet
- 1 Large Pasta Pot
- 1 Box Spaghetti
Lemon Chicken Marinade
- 2 Large Chicken Breast cut in half length wise
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
- 1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
Use 1 tbsp Butter and 1 Tbsp Olive Oil in skillet to cook chicken
Lemon Pasta Sauce
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 Large Garlic Cloves Minced
- 1 tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 Juice and Zest of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 Cup Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese Separate into two 1/4 cup portions one for the sauce the other for topping.
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Marinating the Chicken
- Cut chicken in half lengthwise to reduce size and make it easier to marinate and cook. Use a rolling pin or meat mallet to pound the chicken tenderize it and flatten them to an even thickness. I prefer 1/2 inch in thickness. Pat them dry with paper towels.
- To marinate place the chicken, and ingredients for the marinade into a Ziploc plastic bag or container with a lid. Mix the ingredients together and then place them into a plastic bag or container. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Cooking the Lemon Chicken
- In a non-stick skillet add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter. Heat the pan up on medium high heat until the butter is melted. Add the chicken and cover for 5 minutes until the chicken is golden brown on the bottom. Lift the lid and turn the chicken over using tongs, replace the lid for another 3-5 minutes until the chicken is golden brown.Remove the lid and make sure that the chicken has browned on both sides and that it is cooked through.
Cooking the Pasta
- *Starting the pasta and setting it to boil prior to the chicken helps to maximize my time.Bringing a large pot of water to a boil and add a few pinches of salt to the water. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions until it is Al Dente and easy to bite through..When the pasta is done remove 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside to help thicken the sauce and make the sauce creamy. Drain the pasta when it is done.
Making the Lemon Pasta Sauce
- In a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat combine the oil, butter, garlic cloves, and crushed red pepper flakes together. Red pepper flakes can be omitted if you do not like their flavor.Cook for about a minute allowing the garlic and crushed red pepper to open up in the heat and oils. Add the pasta water, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese and bring them to a light simmer.
- Add the drained pasta and lemon zest to the skillet with the other sauce ingredients. Mix all of the ingredients together until the spaghetti is well coated with the sauce.Transfer the pasta and sauce to plates and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese and parsley to your taste.
- Add the Lemon Chicken to the top of the pasta. If you want to add more red pepper flakes, parmesan, or parsley feel free to do that.
- The next step is the best step. Grab a fork, sit down, and enjoy!