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Weeknight Creamy Chicken Alfredo

May 22, 2023
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
This Weeknight Creamy Chicken Alfredo is a beautiful rendition of a classic-----including all of the savory flavors! Perfect for the entire family.

Weeknight Creamy Chicken Alfredo

This Weeknight Creamy Chicken Alfredo recipe is a real special dish for any season! The perfect easy weeknight meal on any given day for the entire family that comes based with a deliciously creamy Alfredo sauce, Italian seasonings, and paired with semi-thick pasta and chunks of cooked chicken, which all work together for a great dinner. Truly a comforting recipe with every bite that reminds you of Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo. Meatless, Dairy-free + Gluten-free options.

Alfredo in a white plate on a black table with a drink and herbs as garnish.

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Alfredo is one of the classic recipes that are timeless. Regardless of the season, you can always enjoy a good bowl of this creamy, flavorful pasta. And if you've ever been to Olive Garden, then you know that their Alfredo pasta comes highly recommended----so why not indulge at home, right? This Weeknight Creamy Chicken Alfredo is a rendition of one of my favorite sauces----Alfredo sauce and although there's a gluten-free option as well as dairy-free, the original recipe consists of cream cheese, which creates that creaminess and velvety texture. Plus, this Creamy Pesto Chicken Breast with Broccoli is one to try next for sure!

OK, so traditionally, Alfredo pasta features fettuccine, which tends to be a bit thinner, but I wanted to fully enjoy everything with a nice soak up, which is why I chose to use this Tagliatelle pasta----my go-to! It is thinner than my fave Pappardelle, but makes the right amount of thickness for a creamy sauce like this one. If you love this white sauced pasta, then you're sure to go crazy over this Creamy Tuscan Lobster Pasta, Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta, and Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta.

Plus, the little "ridges" on this pasta really makes it have a great texture in every bite. This recipe is fairly quick to make, especially since the chicken bakes in the oven prior to making this pasta. Then you just boil the pasta then make the sauce, toss, and wallah! Seamless!

What is Alfredo?

Basically, Alfredo is a creamy pan sauce made form butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. As it has become popular, there have been several adaptations and substitutes to the ingredients, however, either way-----Alfredo sauce is usually best when made + eaten right away! Classically, Alfredo is often paired with Fettuccine, but as you can see, I chose to use rigatoni and there are an array of other pastas that can be used.

What Will Thicken Alfredo Sauce?

It’s important to thicken your Alfredo sauce so it gets nice and sticky. Personally, I love using arrowroot starch (which is a great gluten-free option). However, if you don’t have this on hand, using other subs like all-purpose flour, regular cornstarch, or tapioca flour work just fine.

Just be sure to always stir your thickener with warm water until it becomes a ‘milky’ liquid before adding it to the sauce OR you can add the dry thickener to your skillet with the seasonings, right before adding the liquids, whisking until smooth and thickened.

Jump to:

What is Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo Made of?

OK, so if you've had a good Alfredo pasta or you're very familiar with the one from Olive Garden, then you might be wondering what they're Alfredo is made of and if it's similar to this recipe. On the Olive Garden website, it shows that their Chicken Alfredo consists of creamy, homemade Alfredo sauce served with Fettuccine pasta and topped with sliced grilled chicken.

In this recipe, you can totally slice your cooked chicken and use your favorite ribbon-shaped pasta like Fettuccine and wallah!

Ingredients on a black wood table including shredded chicken, cheese, garlic, olive oil, flour, heavy cream, cream cheese, and herbs and seasonings.

How to Make Creamy Chicken Alfredo

Start making this recipe by chopping, slicing or shredding your cooked chicken. Then you begin boiling your pasta. In the meantime, you make your creamy sauce by sautéing a few garlic cloves, and then adding in the seasoning, heavy cream, cream cheese, chicken stock, and cheese. Next, toss in your cooked + drained pasta, chicken, and wallah. Very much a similar recipe to Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo.

Ingredients for Chicken Alfredo

Here’s what you need for this Creamy Chicken Alfredo Pasta:

  • Chicken Breasts. One of the stars of this dish. I decided to cut them into chunks after it being cooked for a nice bite; Can also be shredded or sliced length-wise.
  • Olive oil. you can also use avocado oil, coconut oil, or Grapeseed oil, if you prefer.
  • Chicken or vegetable stock. Use store-bought organic, low-sodium broth or make your own! For a dairy-free or vegan option, use veggie stock.
  • Heavy cream. I recommend organic–always! Of course, for a dairy-free option, just use full-fat coconut cream/milk.
  • Garlic. I prefer fresh, but you could substitute with ½ teaspoon garlic powder in a pinch.
  • Herbs + Seasonings. A great addition of flavor. You'll need salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, + parsley. You can make your own Italian herb blend if you'd like!
  • Parmesan cheese. You could also use pecorino romano. For a dairy-free option, So Delicious Dairy-Free or Violife cheese shreds or parmesan tastes great.
  • Cream cheese. Optional. I chose to use the traditional way of creating the creaminess with softened cream cheese, but you can use sharp cheddar instead.
  • Flour. This is used as a thickener, however, you can sub with GF flour for that option or tapioca flour, arrowroot, etc.
  • Butter. Use unsalted butter to control the flavor of the Alfredo sauce. For a dairy-free version, substitute with vegan butter.
Ingredients on a black table including pasta, chicken stock, Italian seasoning, cheese, and butter.

What You'll Love Most About this Chicken Alfredo Recipe

  • It’s super easy to make. (Under 30 Minutes)
  • Bold flavors—Cheesy + Herby chicken, all go so well together!
  • Smooth, chunky, + comforting, all at the same time.
  • Dairy-free + Gluten-free options!
  • Minimal steps
  • Comes fully seasoned!
  • Great comforting option for lunch or dinner or weeknights.
  • Did I mention, delicious?

How to Make Homemade Italian Seasoning

If you're thinking about making your own Italian seasoning blend, then look no further! All you need is handful of herbs + spices, mix them together, and wallah:

  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes

How to Store Homemade Italian Seasoning

You can keep leftover seasoning in a small tightly sealed jar and at room temperature for up to 6 months like your other herbs + spices.

How to Season Chicken for Alfredo?

When it comes to cooking the chicken for your alfredo pasta, it's fairly simple. I love to use general all-purpose seasonings such as salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, and thyme. In addition to the seasonings in the alfredo sauce, you're able to enjoy a double layer of flavor and herbs.

How to Cook Chicken for Chicken Alfredo?

The easiest way to cook the chicken for this creamy chicken alfredo, is to bake it in the oven before prepping it the way you'd like for tossing in the sauce. This way of cooking your chicken is closest to the Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo pasta we all love. However, you can also fry your chicken using breadcrumbs for an added crunch or grill it if you are able to do so.

Creamy alfredo in a large red skillet with tongs.

Adding Protein to this Creamy Alfredo Pasta

If you'd like to add protein to this creamy Chicken Alfredo pasta dish, it's easy to do, regardless of your diet!

Plant-based protein options:

  • Crispy seared or baked tofu cubes
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Crumbled stir-fried seitan
  • Crumble vegan bacon on top
  • Sautéed cauliflower florets or broccoli
  • Sautéed asparagus, Brussels sprouts, etc.

Non-vegan protein options:

  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Beef
  • Oxtails
  • Fish (fried, jerked, grilled, etc.)
  • etc.

Is Creamy Chicken Alfredo Pasta Easy To Make?

I still remember the first time I tried making a good creamy pasta at home. I was a bit intimidated at first, but boy was I pleasantly surprised! It was like a burst of flavor in every bite, and yet it was so easy to put together.

This alfredo recipe is fairly quick to make, especially since you can have your chicken cooked + prepped ahead of time which gives you time to boil the pasta then make the sauce, toss, and wallah!

Overall, this chicken alfredo recipe is definitely an easy weeknight meal aka comfort food in a bowl, includes simple steps, a great reminder of Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo, and can totally be personalized based on preference----i.e. sub with salmon, shrimp, scallops, or another meat like beef, dairy-free option, etc.

Alfredo on two white plates with two forks and a drink on a black table.

How to Best Shred Chicken

When it comes to creating pulled or shredded chicken, there are two most effective ways to do so. Firstly, you would need to ensure that your chicken is fully cooked and cooled and then you shred the chicken in one of the following ways:

Forks: For this method you would need two forks. If using this method, place your cooked chicken breast onto a plate or cutting board and use both forks to separate the chicken meat and 'shred' as you separate. Continue doing this until all of your chicken is shredded.

Stand Mixer: If you're looking to avoid using arm strength, then the method of a stand mixer might be just for you. This is by far the fastest and easiest way to shred chicken and you simply place all of your cooked chicken breasts in the bowl of stand mixer. Add the paddle attachment and mix on low. In just 15-20 seconds you’ll have shredded chicken. That easy!

Common Q + A's for Alfredo Recipe

What types of pasta are best to go in Alfredo sauce?

If you're thinking of serving Alfredo sauce with pasta other than Fettuccine, then I'm so with ya! When it comes to pasta, you can use long pastas like Bucatini, Pappardelle, Tagliatelle, etc. if desired.

However, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated. Otherwise, other pastas such as Penne, Rigatoni, Paccheri, Orecchiette, etc. are perfect.

Can I make this chicken Alfredo gluten-free?

Absolutely! To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta and ensure that the other ingredients like heavy cream, etc are GF-friendly. 

How do I make this Alfredo dairy-free?

So easy! To make this sauce dairy-free, simply use vegan butter instead of the regular butter. Then swap the cream with full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. And use your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese, dairy-free parmesan, or nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.

What Greens Can I Add to this Creamy Pasta?

Although, kale is the most common veggie that I like to add to this Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta, you can definitely use other greens such as spinach, collard greens, bokchoy, etc. for a nice twist!

When it comes to vegetables, there are so many benefits as we all know. While some veggies pack a greater punch when it comes to nutrients, we’ve curated a special list of our Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables! Most of these are super popular while others are under utilized in many dishes. Lettuce Eat, Shall We?

What is Tagliatelle?

All in all, Tagliatelle is a long, flat ribbon-like shaped pasta made from semolina, which is a type of coarse flour. It derives from the Italian term "tagliare", which translates to "cut up". Basically, the process of making Tagliatelle is by rolling the dough into flat sheets and cutting them into ribbons----hence the shape.

How long to cook Tagliatelle?

Like with many other types of pasta, you bring a pot of water to a boil, add the Tagliatelle along with olive oil or salt, and let it simmer for 7-10 minutes, depending on the packaging and brand and whether you're using fresh pasta vs. dried pasta. Fresh pasta cooks more quickly than dried ones.

How to make Alfredo more flavorful?

Basically, it's all about the seasonings. The more herbs + seasonings that you use in your Alfredo sauce, the better the flavor.

Why is my Alfredo sauce not creamy?

If your sauce is not velvety smooth it could be because your ingredients don't have as high of fat content to them. Make sure that you're using high quality ingredients and whisking everything frequently until smooth.

What should I serve with chicken Alfredo?

With most pasta dishes, I often enjoy them with a side of bread of some sort. Most times, I make my own homemade Garlic Bread, however, you can choose to spruce things up with many other options such as: A delicious Salad, Baked or mashed potatoes, Sautéed Greens, Grilled Veggies, or Toasted Bread.

Why won't the cheese melt in my Alfredo sauce?

It's so important to use freshly-grated cheddar cheese for the creamiest results in your sauce. While you can use shredded cheese, it won't melt as seamlessly because it has a special "coating", which prevents it from melting smoothly. NOTE: If you only have shredded cheese, then I recommend adding it to the sauce slowly, bit-by-bit, as you whisk the liquid which will make the cheese melt evenly and avoid clumping.

How do I fix my Alfredo sauce?

If your sauce is broken because it sat out too long at room temperature or you refrigerated it, no worries at all! To fix this, just pour your sauce into a blender and add a tablespoon of very hot water, then blend until it's smooth and creamy again.

Alfredo on two white plates with two forks and a drink on a black table.

How to Best Store + Reheat Chicken Alfredo

Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply microwave your leftover Chicken Alfredo until warmed through or over the stovetop in a skillet. If you need you add additional heavy cream to "revive" the creaminess, do so!

Can You Freeze Chicken Alfredo?

Absolutely! You can freeze Chicken Alfredo pasta together or in separate containers for a longer storage time. You may find that you have more control in the reheating process if you store + freeze the pasta separate from the Alfredo sauce. However, If freezer space is an issue, freezing the pasta and Alfredo sauce together is just fine.

More Delicious Pasta Recipes to Try!

Now that you're in love with this Chicken Alfredo, give these delicious pasta recipes that your entire family will love a try next:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this Weeknight Creamy Chicken Alfredo recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.

Up close shot of alfredo in two white plates with a drink, side of parmesan cheese, and three forks on a black table.
Alfredo on two white plates with two forks and a drink on a black table.

Weeknight Creamy Chicken Alfredo

May 22, 2023
5 from 2 votes
This Weeknight Creamy Chicken Alfredo is a beautiful rendition of a classic-----including all of the savory flavors! Perfect for the entire family.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed or sliced (That's about 2 medium chicken breasts; See Easy Shredded Chicken Recipe!)
  • 1 (16 oz.) package Ribbon-shaped pasta (I use Tagliatelle; See Post for Info!)

ALFREDO SAUCE:

  • 1 Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Instructions

COOK THE PASTA:

  • Cook pasta according to packaging. NOTE: Tagliatelle cooks about the same time as other pastas, usually 7-10 minutes, depending on brand.

TO MAKE THE CREAMY ALFREDO SAUCE:

  • To make the sauce, follow my Homemade Alfredo Sauce recipe.
  • When the Tagliatelle pasta is done, drain it and add it to the sauce, tossing until sauce fully coats + sticks to pasta. Feel free to add your cooked chicken to coat it, if desired. If not, add pasta to prepare plate(s) or bowl(s) and top with shredded or sliced chicken. Serve immediately!
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply microwave your leftover Chicken Alfredo until warmed through or over the stovetop in a skillet. If you need you add additional heavy cream to "revive" the creaminess, do so!
  • OIL: You can also use coconut oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil, instead of olive oil.
  • PASTA: You can use long pastas like Pappardelle, Tagliatelle, Fettuccine, etc. however, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated. Otherwise, other pastas such as Penne, Rigatoni, Paccheri, Orecchiette, etc. are perfect.
  • GREENS: To add a bit more flavor to this dish, you can always feel free to add in your favorite greens such as kale, spinach, broccolini, collards, or asparagus.
  • OTHER MEAT OPTIONS: If you'd like to switch things up, see post for more alternatives!
  • GLUTEN-FREE: To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta and ensure that the other ingredients like heavy cream, flour, etc are GF-friendly. 

Nutrition

Calories: 696kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 66g | Saturated Fat: 39g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 1296mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2467IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 420mg | Iron: 1mg

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Signature of my name, Shanika in black font.

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