Dry pasta cooks up perfectly tender in a luscious sauce with chicken, spinach and tomatoes in this one pot wonder. This utterly delicious Chicken and Spinach Skillet Pasta is on the table in about 30 minutes!
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know I’m pretty crazy about fast and easy one-pot meals. It stems from the “life is complicated, dinner shouldn’t be” philosophy that I’ve adopted over the years. This is what raising four boys while working both in and out of the home does to a woman!
After serving many of these simple, delicious meals to my family, I’ve determined that complicated does not necessarily mean better.
Ever since the momentous day when I discovered you could throw dry pasta into a pot with a slew of other ingredients and end up with a delicious result, things have never quite been the same around here. It led me to experiment with all kinds of different pastas, proteins, and veggies and this Chicken and Spinach Skillet Pasta has risen to the top as one of my favorites. My family loves this easy meal! It’s been a regular on our menu around here for so many years.
The funny thing is, I could work for hours in the kitchen to create a special meal and the next night pull off this easy chicken pasta and the crowd goes crazy. Go figure!
- Chicken – You’ll need 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Spinach – Pick up a 5-ounce bag of fresh baby spinach. It will seem like too much but trust me, spinach has a way of almost disappearing as it wilts so you’ll need the entire bag.
- Chicken broth – I recommend using low sodium broth – always – and season with salt, to taste. I use reduced sodium Better Than Bouillon so that I can mix up exactly how much broth I need for each recipe.
- Fire roasted diced tomatoes – I prefer flavorful fire roasted tomatoes over regular diced tomatoes for this recipe. I just love that hint of smokiness.
- Penne – Uncooked, dry penne cooks up perfectly in this one pot pasta. You can substitute a different short pasta but I think penne is the best choice. While you can use a measuring cup, I highly recommend investing in an inexpensive kitchen scale with a bowl to ensure you are using the correct amount of pasta in recipes like this one.
- Onion – Diced yellow or white onion.
- Mozzarella and parmesan – A little shredded part-skim mozzarella adds a luscious layer but this is not an overly cheesy dish. Grated or shaved Parmesan is the finishing touch.
- Half and half – Combines with the diced tomatoes and mozzarella to create a light cream sauce.
- Oil – Extra virgin olive oil.
- Garlic – Minced garlic,
- Seasoning – The pasta is simply seasoned with a little Italian Seasoning, crushed red pepper, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. If you want a spicy pasta, add additional crushed red pepper.
How to Make Chicken and Spinach Skillet Pasta
- Heat the oil in deep 12-inch skillet and add the chicken. Season the chicken with Italian seasoning, a touch of salt, and pepper, and continue cooking for 3 or 4 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.
- Add additional olive oil to the pan and add the onions. Cook until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two until fragrant.
- Add the broth, tomatoes, pasta, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Stir in the cooked chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in half and half and mozzarella and simmer for minute or two until warmed through and the cheese has melted.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the fresh spinach until it wilts from the heat of the pasta. Top with Parmesan and serve.
FAQs and Valerie’s Tips
I have found penne to be the best choice but you can substitute any type of short pasta you love. Bowtie, shells, or fusilli will all work.
I recommend using fresh baby spinach, when at all possible. Frozen spinach can be used in a pinch but be sure it is fully defrosted and wring out as much of the liquid as possible before adding it to the pasta.
Yep! Other readers have added mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, and more with great success. I recommend reading the reader comments section to see what has worked for others.
More One Pot Pasta Recipes
- Shrimp and Spinach Pasta
- Philly Cheesesteak Pasta
- Skillet Sausage Pasta
- Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- Meaty Tortellini Skillet
Chicken and Spinach Skillet Pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 8 ounces penne pasta (uncooked), approximately 2 ½ cups
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- ½ cup half and half
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (part skim or whole), shredded
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a deep 12-inch skillet or sauté pan and place it over MEDIUM heat. Add the chopped chicken and cook, stirring frequently. Season the chicken with Italian seasoning, a touch of salt, and black pepper, and continue cooking for 3 or 4 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add the onions. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Add the broth, tomatoes, pasta, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Stir in the cooked chicken and bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to MEDIUM-LOW. Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the half and half and mozzarella and simmer for minute or two until warmed through and the cheese has melted. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the fresh spinach until it wilts from the heat of the pasta. Top with Parmesan and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
This post was originally published on October 23, 2014. It has been updated with new text and images.
Questions and Reviews
Hi Valerie, this looks wonderful. Any suggestions on how to cook substituting chicken with shrimp?
Hi Lydia. I would do it just as written, substituting uncooked, peeled and deveined shrimp for the chicken. It will take just a couple of minutes to saute the shrimp. Remove them from the pan when they are pink on all sides. I wouldn’t add them back until the last 3 or 4 minutes of the cooking time to avoid having them get overcooked. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!
One pan and 30 minutes? Count me in! Such wonderful flavors going on in this recipe! 🙂
Thank you, Amy!
Would this dish freeze well?
If the chicken is fully cooked why would you you add it in during the 15 minute simmering process? Overcooked? I make this with cut up chicken thigh for more flavor, add Boursin herb and garlic cheese for more body in the sauce. Chicken is added with the spinach to arm through.
Valerie, I have been planning to make this recipe for a few days now. Initially, I was able to open the link, but today (as I’m about to make this for dinner), I tried 11 times and I get the same “oops” message that it can’t be opened. Very annoying!
Bonnie, I am SO sorry! I have no idea why those links are no longer working but I’ve corrected the issue by adding the recipe right here for you. I apologize for the inconvenience.
My boyfriend informed me that I need to cook more…and so I came across this recipe on Pinterest…and my boyfriend likes it. He’s eating it as I type this review. I added red pepper w the onion. I love red pepper so much I put it in everything. This recipe was easy to make and looks just like the picture. It’s a good hearty meal! I’ll be checking out and making a few of your other recipes.
I’m happy the recipe worked out for you, Amanda. Red pepper is always a great choice for adding to pasta dishes. Keep cooking! 🙂
The link to ehow is not working. Can you send me the recipe?
Hello Lauren. I just checked the link and it worked just fine. Give it another try and let me know if you can’t get to the recipe.
Made this tonight. It was easy, excellent and a keeper for sure. Thank you for the recipe.
I made this dish for my family for dinner tonight, in under 40 minutes it was ready and they absolutely devoured it!! My husband said it was better than any pasta he’s ever had at Olive Garden. Definitely a keeper!
That is a wonderful compliment, Ashleigh! Thanks so much for coming back to let me know it worked out for you guys. I think I need to get this on our menu again very soon.
Looks delicious..where is the recipe?
Link for ehow doesn’t work. Thanks
It seems to be working just fine. Give it another try, Donna.
This dish was delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
I am drooling over this one…. What a great weeknight dinner?! I am loving your pictures too
You are the first place I look to when I want to make a skillet dish like this. I’ve only made a couple but I was pretty excited when I first realized the pasta cooked in the same skillet as the sauce!
Congrats on being on ehow!!