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Make this easy Chicken Penne pasta for dinner tonight with penne pasta noodles, leftover chicken, and a homemade alfredo white sauce. This pasta dinner is something that everyone loves!
Chicken Penne Recipe (Easy Stove Top)
This simple chicken penne pasta recipe is a dinnertime staple for busy weeknights. My favorite quick & easy dinners are always ones where I can use a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken to make it.
Preparing a protein for dinner is usually the most time consuming part so recipes that call for already cooked chicken are a lifesaver!
Simply boil some penne pasta and while that’s cooking prepare the easy white alfredo sauce. Stir the two together and you have a cheesy, creamy, kid loved dinner.
Why You’ll Love This Penne Pasta Recipe with Chicken
- Kid-Friendly : This is one of those dinners that you can count on the kids eating with little to no battle involved. It’s cheesy, creamy, and has pasta which is like the kid favorite trifecta for dinnertime.
- Uses Simple Ingredients : Nothing fancy needed for this recipe!
- Leftover Chicken : I love recipes where I can quickly use a rotisserie chicken for the protein portion of the recipe. Makes prep a breeze.
- Penne Pasta – You need 12 ounces of penne pasta for this recipe which is equal to about 3 cups of dry pasta. So it’s *almost* a full 16 ounce box of pasta, but not quite.
- Finely Diced Onion – A yellow onion is preferred but you can also use a white onion or sweet vidalia onion if wanted.
- Cooked Chicken – This can be shredded or chopped. Use a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken. Just make sure that it’s cooked before adding it into the pot.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Half and Half – This is half milk + half cream and it’s necessary to help thicken the white alfredo sauce. You definitely want a milk that has a higher fat content in it to help thicken up the sauce.
- Garlic Powder
- Salt & Pepper
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese – I use a mild cheddar or medium cheddar but you can use sharp cheddar or even extra sharp cheddar if you prefer. For the best creamy melt, make sure to buy a block of cheese and shred it using a cheese grater.
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese – For the best taste and smooth melt, buy a wedge of parmesan cheese and shred it yourself.
How To Make Chicken Penne Pasta
- Cook the penne pasta according to the package directions on the box. Make sure to salt the pasta water before adding in the dry pasta. I use about 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Once done, drain the pasta (but do not rinse it) and save it for later.
- In a large skillet pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add in the chopped onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened.
- Add the shredded/chopped chicken to the skillet and stir to combine and heat through.
- Sprinkle the flour over the chicken while stirring.
- Slowly add the milk, while stirring constantly, until the flour is fully incorporated into the milk. Cook for about 2 minutes or until it’s start to get bubbly (like a low boil).
- Stir in the garlic powder, salt, pepper.
- Add the cheese in and let it melt and combine together.
- Add in the cooked pasta and stir to coat all the pasta in the white sauce + chicken.
FAQ’s + Expert Tips
- Can I Change Up This Recipe? : Yes, that’s what I love about this recipe. I usually add some Italian seasoning in with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. You can also add red pepper chili flakes for some spice or any other dried seasonings you prefer.
- Use a Different Pasta : Although this recipe is for ‘penne pasta’ you can use any similar shaped pasta you want – ziti, rotini, bow tie, rigatoni, etc.
- Protein : Instead of chicken use ground beef, ground turkey, or any other leftover meat you have like shredded pork or beef. If cooking ground meat I would recommend adding some seasoning like salt, pepper, basil, Italian seasoning, etc to the meat.
- Cheese Tip : For the best smooth creamy melt please buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself with a Cheese Grater – it makes all the difference. You can also experiment and use different varieties of cheese if wanted. Italian blend, mozzarella cheese, etc.
More Easy Pasta Dinner Recipes
- Perfect Instant Pot Baked Ziti
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Tortellini
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
Chicken Penne Pasta
- 12 ounces penne pasta (3 cups dry pasta)
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 3 cups cooked chicken shredded or chopped
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups half and half
- 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (mild, medium, or sharp cheddar)
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese