Turn leftover chicken into an easy elegant supper with a lemon and some linguine with this easy recipe for lemon chicken pasta. It’s so simple to make, and has a bright and cheery lemon flavor that will have them begging for another serving!
Why this recipe works
This lemony, buttery, easy lemon chicken pasta recipe is not only packed with the sparkling taste of lemon and the creamy, dreamy flavors of butter and cheese, it’s also one of the easiest recipes I know.
It’s the perfect way to use up any leftover chicken you may have lounging around in your fridge, and there are so many ways to customize it (more on that in a sec!).
But most of all, it’s one of those go-to pantry chicken suppers that is just as good at a dinner party as it is on Monday night. A little cooked and shredded chicken, some lemons, some pasta, a handful of herbs, some butter and you are on your way to suppertime happiness!
Ingredients needed for this recipe
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Lemons: I’m going to be straight with you here…you gotta like like lemon to like this recipe. It’s LEMONY! And while I always go with fresh squeezed lemon juice when I can, in a pinch you can use the bottled kind.
- Pasta: We like linguine for this recipe, but you can use any long pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, etc) that you have on hand
- Herbs: We make this with whatever we happen to have on hand, so try your favorite! Parsley, thyme, oregano, chopped sage…and if you are in basil season, that’s wonderful too! Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s the fresh kind, for maximum flavor.
- Add-ins: Sometimes I serve this up with a veggie on the side, but you can also make it a perfect one-pot supper by adding in peas, baby spinach, or whatever other healthy veggie catches your fancy.
Here’s how to make this recipe
STEP 1: Cook up your pasta according to the package directions in heavily salted water until it’s done. Reserve one cup of pasta water (don’t skip this part! I’ll explain later!) and drain.
STEP 2: Meantime, heat some butter in large skillet over medium heat until it is nice melted. Add a couple cups of cooked and shredded chicken and stir it all up together until it is heated through.
STEP 3: Stir in some fresh chopped herbs and lemon juice. If you are adding a veggie, now is the time to pop that in the pan as well.
STEP 4: Add your drained pasta and some Parmesan cheese to the pan and give it all a good toss. Drizzle in just enough of that save pasta water to form a light sauce.
STEP 5: Divide among plates, garnish with extra herbs, cheese and lemon slices and serve it up!
When pasta cooks, it releases starch into the water (that is what makes it a little cloudy. And since hopefully you have thoroughly salted your water, at the end of the pasta cooking time you have a starchy, salty water that is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for making or loosening up a light pasta sauce. It’s truly magical.
You can! Cut the amount of lemon juice in half, and see how it tastes when you are done. You can always add it a little more if you want to ramp it up.
It depends on the veggies. If you are using frozen peas, heat them up first before you add them. Baby spinach is a wonderful add-in, and you can put it in the skillet without cooking it first – toss it over low heat until it is wilted and then add the pasta.
The absolute easiest way is to send someone out to the supermarket to get you a rotisserie chicken (already cooked and ready to shred!). Otherwise, I like to take chicken breasts, pop them in a pot of water with some salt and pepper, bring it to a boil for about five minutes, turn off the heat and cover the pot and let it cool for a couple of hours. It makes the perfect, tender, easy to shred chicken!
Pop your question in the comments and I will answer pronto!
Want to round out this meal?
One way is to toss some veggies right into the pasta mixture, but we also have a few side dishes we love! Asparagus with parmesan bread crumbs is a delectable side dish, and we also love having some whipped carrots (they add both color and another flavor!).
And we always recommend dessert OF COURSE…these banana parfaits are a nice light ending to a perfect supper.
Other lemon pasta recipes we love
Lemon Garlic Lobster Pasta
This speedy recipe for lemon garlic lobster pasta tastes like a party on a plate! The buttery, lemony, cheesy, garlicky sauce will have them asking for seafood seconds.
Creamy Lemon Pasta
This decadent but delicious recipe for creamy lemon pasta has all the elements of classic Alfredo sauce, but with a zing of lemon!
Lemon Parmesan Spinach Pasta
This speedy recipe for lemon parmesan spinach pasta has it all! Pasta, veggies and a light cheese sauce make a satisfying comfort food supper.
Could you leave us a review?
If you try this recipe, we would love to hear how it came out for you! I’d be super grateful if you could leave a star rating (you pick how many stars! 🌟 ) and your thoughts in the Comments section. Your thoughts and advice will help both us and your fellow readers. 🥰Print
Lemon Chicken Pasta
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 8 ounces linguine
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 2–3 lemons)
- 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- Thin lemon slices for garnish
- Cook pasta in heavily salted water until done. Reserve one cup pasta water and drain.
- Meantime, heat butter in large skillet over medium heat until melted. Add chicken and stir for 1-2 minutes until heated through.
- Stir in herbs and lemon juice. If you are adding some extra veggies, add them now.
- Add pasta and cheese to chicken mixture and toss. Add just enough pasta water to form a light sauce.
- Divide among plates, garnish with extra herbs, cheese and lemon slices and serve.
Chicken: You can use either cooked white or dark meat for this recipe.
Lemons: You need 2 to 3 lemons if you are squeezing your own juice (which we highly recommend for the extra fresh lemon flavor!) And yes, you can use bottled lemon juice if you need to!
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