Chicken Alfredo is a perfect easy recipe. Made in just about 30 minutes, you will love this delicious pasta dinner.
Fettuccini Alfredo is one of my husband’s favorite meals. For years we only had it when we ate out, thinking it was a difficult recipe. As I’ve learned my way around the kitchen, I learned just how easy this favorite was. A few simple ingredients and a little time on the stove top and you have a super easy and delicious Alfredo recipe.
Adding chicken to this recipe is super simple, and helps stretch the recipe and adds protein. Your family will absolutely love this quick dinner recipe.
How to Make Chicken Alfredo
Here is a brief overview of how to make chicken fettuccini Alfredo. For the full recipe including all measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Make the fettucini. Salt the water and see my tips below for cooking pasta.
- Cook the chicken. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper and cook in a hot skillet for approximately four minutes on each side. Remove from the skillet and tent loosely with foil.
- Make the Alfredo sauce. In the same skillet you cooked the chicken in, melt the butter with the heavy cream. Simmer for 15 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Put it all together. Toss the fettuccine with sauce. Cut up the chicken and serve on top of the fettuccine. Enjoy immediately.
Pro Tip: Making this Dinner Super Quick
You will notice the cook time on this recipe is 25 minutes. The key to having the dish ready in under 30 minutes is to multi-task. Start the pasta water, the chicken, and the sauce one right after the other. They each take about the same amount of time so will be ready around the same time.
Using chicken cutlets is key to making this recipe not only turn out quickly but work. We tried this recipe several ways and found that it was only when we cut our chicken into cutlets did the recipe come together fast and in one pan. Using full chicken breasts resulted in a blackened pan that was no longer suitable to make the Alfredo sauce. While cutting your chicken into cutlets is an extra step, it is one that is well worth it.
Though chicken Cutlets can be purchased from the butcher counter, I urge you to cut your own. Because chicken breasts are sold so thick these days, one pound of chicken is typically two breasts. Cut them in half (as seen above) and you have four perfectly sized cutlets.
Remember that chicken needs to cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. With your chicken cut into cutlets and pounded into even thickness, this will be about five minutes on each side. Your best bet to avoid overcooking the chicken is to use an instant read thermometer.
Instant Read Thermometer
Cooking the fettuccini noodles may seem like a super easy step in this homemade chicken Alfredo recipe, but a few things are important to keep in mind anytime you are cooking pasta.
- Bring the water to a raging boil. This means constant big bubbles. Wait to add the pasta before this point to make sure the water is at the correct temperature.
- Salt the water. This helps to flavor the pasta. Add one to two teaspoons of salt to the water before adding your dry pasta.
- Stir often. Because fettucini is long and flat, it is known for sticking together. Stir the pasta often with tongs once you add it to the water to help prevent it from sticking together.
- Follow the directions on the package. Cooking times may vary depending on the brand and type of pasta you are making. Set a timer as soon as you add the noodles to the boiling water.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce
Once you make this homemade Alfredo sauce, you’ll never want to use store-bought again. It comes together with just three ingredients on the stovetop and is so creamy and delicious.
- Heavy cream: I do not recommend using milk. You really need the thickness of the heavy cream to make a creamy thick sauce, and milk will not give you that.
- Unsalted butter: If you only have salted butter, be sure to taste your sauce before adding any additional salt.
- Parmesan cheese: See more on grating cheese from a block for this recipe below.
- Salt and pepper: This really pulls the sauce together at the end so I do recommend playing around with this. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Parmesan for Alfredo
Parmesan cheese is a key ingredient in this Alfredo sauce. It adds flavor and texture to the sauce, so the kind of cheese you use is important. Like any recipe that calls for shredded cheese, I recommend grating your own from a block. Since pre-shredded cheese is covered in preservatives that prevent it from clumping together in the bag, the best way to avoid that is to shred it yourself. This will not only taste better but melt better as well which is necessary for a smooth, creamy homemade Alfredo sauce. You will be glad you took a few extra minutes to do this.
Chicken Alfredo Variations
With Fettuccine Alfredo base, here are some ways to mix up the recipe:
- Add broccoli: Make chicken broccoli Alfredo by adding cooked chopped broccoli to the sauce. You can also add raw broccoli florets to the boiling water with the pasta when there are about six minutes of cooking time left. At the end of the pasta cooking time, drain both together and set aside.
- Use a different pasta. While fettuccini is the pasta most commonly served with Alfredo, truly any noodle will work. Penne, linguini, or spaghetti would also be delicious and soak up the sauce.
- Use a different protein. Skip the meat altogether or use shrimp or salmon.
Heavy cream and Parmesan cheese give the sauce some thickness. Allowing the sauce to thicken as it simmers is also important in thickening it.
The sauce in this recipe is made with gluten-free ingredients. I’ve only made this recipe with regular pasta, however it could easily be made with gluten-free noodles.
Because this sauce doesn’t have any flour in it, it will separate when reheated. Because of this, I recommend eating this dish fresh and not reheating any leftovers.
If you make this easy chicken Alfredo recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!
- 1/2 pound fettuccine cooked according to package instructions
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cutlets and pounded to an an even thickness
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded (2.5 ounces)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (add more to taste)
- fresh black pepper (add more to taste)
- Bring a large pot of water to a roaring boil. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Add the fettuccine and cook according to the length of time suggested on the package. Stir immediately after adding it to the water and then frequently while it is boiling.1/2 pound fettuccine
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for approximately 4 minutes on each side or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and tent loosely with foil. Drain any excess oil from the skillet, but no need to clean it.
- In the same skillet over medium heat, whisk together the heavy cream and the butter until the butter is melted. Bring it to a simmer and turn the heat down low. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You should see occasional bubbles.2 cups heavy cream, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese until it melts. Season with salt and pepper, tasting and adding more as needed. We typically add about 3/4 teaspoon salt and almost 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. The seasoning at the end really pulls together the dish, so be sure to play with this.1 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, fresh black pepper
- Toss the fettuccine with sauce. Cut up the chicken and serve on top of the fettuccine.