Creamy chicken pasta with bacon is easy to make weeknight one pot pasta dish! With only 30 minutes of total work, this chicken dinner recipe is simple, fast and delicious! Full of tender chicken, spinach, tomatoes, and bacon!
Creamy chicken pasta with spinach and bacon is one of my favorite things to eat! And how about you? After all, it’s a very rich and indulgent treat for dinner. I also love that it only takes about 30 minutes to make it. This easy pasta recipe will yield about 4 servings.
By the way, you can easily double if you are feeding a crowd or want extra for later. The restaurant chicken pasta just doesn’t compare to this delicious homemade version with spinach, bacon and tomatoes! Once you make it, you will know what I’m talking about.
WHAT’S IN CREAMY CHICKEN PASTA SAUCE?
I made this Creamy Chicken pasta sauce using butter, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. While the bacon and chicken are great together, I simply like to add garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to make the sauce taste even better!
Note that it is best to use freshly grated parmesan cheese right off of the block so that your sauce isn’t grainy. I do not recommend using the “shaker” style container grated cheese for this recipe.
The Parmesan will thicken this sauce up. If it isn’t quite thick enough, allow the sauce to stand for 2-3 minutes before serving.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PASTA:
- The first step to making chicken pasta is to brown the chicken in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then, add garlic.
- Next, you will pour in your heavy cream.
- Lastly, you will add your parmesan cheese and stir just until the cheese has melted and your sauce is smooth.
Substitutions that will work
If you don’t like messing around with fresh tomatoes, you can replace them with a can of diced tomatoes.
Prefer fresh herbs? Use fresh herbs, such as basil and oregano instead of the dried herbs. And if you so desire, also replace regular bacon with a turkey bacon.
Also, if you want to lighten up this recipe, simply use half and half instead of heavy cream.
Should I use fresh or frozen spinach?
Spinach is one of the healthy elements of this tasty chicken pasta dish. Besides, it’s one of my favorite ways to eat it. With pasta in the creamy sauce. Even though I always use fresh spinach in my recipes, I also like the idea of frozen spinach. Because compact frozen spinach may be easier to handle than fresh spinach leaves that cook down significantly.
Overall, in terms of nutrition, frozen spinach compares very favorably with fresh spinach. And if you love spinach, by all means, use more than the recipe indicates. It will shrink when cooking anyways!
Why is my chicken pasta too watery?
Because of the chicken! You should drain excess liquid after cooking chicken. Depending on the chicken your supermarket carries, it may have added liquid. Unfortunately, this liquid will be released during cooking. But as long as you discard it, it’s fine.
Why did my cheese clump up?
Make sure to reduce heat before adding heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Once you add the cheese, stir on low simmer until smooth. By the way, I do not recommend using “shaker” style container grated cheese.
Creamy Chicken Pasta Recipe in pictures
First, you will cook bacon. Once you cook it, you will remove it onto a separate plate. Then cook the chicken breasts in the same pan. Remove chicken from the skillet and slice it in thick strips. You can keep it on the same plate with bacon. So far so good!
Next, you will make the creamy sauce. This is my favorite part!
You will thicken the sauce by adding Parmesan cheese. Make sure to reduce heat before adding heavy cream and Parmesan. Heavy cream, especially the one with all the additives (not the one that just has milk fat and milk – that one is fine), might curdle when cooked at boiling temperatures, therefore keeping the heat low should prevent this.
Once you add the cheese, stir on low-medium simmer until the cheese is incorporated. If the sauce is still runny to your liking, simply add more cheese to thicken up the sauce. Are you still enjoing it?
Lastly, you will add pasta, chicken strips, and sliced bacon. You will want to reheat them in the sauce. Also stir until you fully coat pasta with sauce. You don’t want any dry pasta. Next taste and season with more salt if necessary. Maybe just a bit!
Finally, you will cover the pan with a lid. This will keep the pasta warm. Serve it with chopped parsley, additional shredded Parmesan and red pepper flakes! By the way, it reheats so well!
How to reheat leftover pasta
- Creamy pasta dishes will always suffer when reheated. What can we do? Add a little water, milk or cream to the ready mixed pasta and warm through slowly if reheating on the stovetop.
- If using a microwave add a little of the above liquid, then heat on a low wattage setting, stirring a couple of times in between.
- Preheat the oven! Set your oven to 350F (175C) and wait for it to preheat. This method is gentle on pasta and sauces, but may not be practical for a single serving. Add the pasta to a baking dish and spread it across, because a deep pile of pasta may heat unevenly. Add a splash of milk or extra sauce to keep it moist. The pasta is usually ready in 20 minutes, but check after 15 just in case. The foil should help trap moisture, slowing the drying process.
Creamy Chicken Pasta with Bacon
- 6 bacon strips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken (thick in size, such as chicken breasts)
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 4 small tomatoes (diced)
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (more, if desired)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded (more for garnish)
- 10 oz. penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons Parsley (chopped)
- BACON: Add bacon strips to the skillet and cook until crispy. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined platter that will absorb extra grease. Chop into 1 inch pieces
- CHICKEN: Paper towel dry the chicken and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then set aside.Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet. Add chicken breasts and cook on each side on medium high heat for about 4 minutes per side (for a total of 8 minutes) until nicely browned. If chicken is still pink in the center, reduce heat to medium and cook covered for several minutes until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from pan and slice it.
- Add butter to the hot pan and once it melts, add chopped garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes on medium high until tomatoes release their juices. Add fresh spinach and cook until it wilts.
- Reduce the heat and season with paprika, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes and salt. Mix.
- Next add heavy cream and slowly add Parmesan cheese - until the cheese melts and makes the sauce creamy.
- PASTA: In the meantime bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook it according to instructions. Drain the pasta, but do not rinse.
- Add sliced chicken, bacon and pasta. Next add chopped parsley. Stir until fully coated in sauce. Season with more salt if necessary.
- TO SERVE: Serve with additional shredded Parmesan and red pepper flakes, if desired.
Our new favorite chicken pasta recipes include Cajun Chicken and Sausage Penne Pasta dish.
We also love amazing Chicken Spinach and Bacon Alfredo Pasta. You can easily make both recipes for midweek dinners!