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
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