Creamy Paprika Chicken Pasta
Creamy, extra delicious Paprika Chicken Pasta! Seasoned and seared chicken breasts served with an easy, mostly-pantry-staple pasta recipe! You can serve this with steamed veggies for a quick weeknight-friendly meal!
Creamy Creamy Creamy!
Paprika chicken pasta is hitting all the high marks here!
We start by seasoning the chicken and cooking it off in a skillet. Then we build layers of flavor by sautéing onions, garlic, and an array of paprika in butter. Using the same pan to cook the sauce means we’ll pick up on all that delicious flavor. Chicken stock helps deglaze the pan, so you don’t lose any of that golden goodness. Half and half and sour cream make the most irresistible sauce, and parmesan cheese ties everything together in a cheesy, unbelievably delicious bow. *chefs kiss*
This easy chicken pasta recipe uses humble ingredients that most of us have in the fridge and pantry but makes an undeniably tasty pasta dinner that everyone will love!
What ingredients do you need to make creamy paprika chicken pasta?
- Chicken: You can use any boneless skinless chicken for this recipe. I usually use chicken breasts, but this time I went with tenders, and the chicken was much more flavorful that way!
- Seasonings: You’ll need the usual garlic powder, Italian seasonings, and lots of paprika. Keep in mind that since this recipe highlights paprika, it’s important to use fresh paprika to make this so that the flavors are more pronounced. If you’ve had yours in the spice cabinet for longer than 6 months, I suggest replacing it before trying this recipe.
- Pasta: You can use any short-cut pasta for this recipe. I really like penne pasta for this because the sauce clings to the ridges, gets inside the pasta, and bursts with every bite!
- Butter: The butter is used to sauté the onions and garlic.
- Onions: I like to finely chop the onions for this recipe so that by the time we’re done preparing the pasta, the onions are so tiny that you don’t even notice they’re there!
- Garlic: I like to use my favorite grater to grate the garlic before adding it to the pasta. We still use the full 6 cloves, but you have the option of using as little as 4! I provided a range for garlic for this recipe because the garlic can overpower some of the other more delicate flavors here.
- Chicken Stock: Stock helps deglaze the pan once the onions, garlic, and paprika have cooked. I like to use my favorite wooden spoon to really pick up all those flavor bits.
- Half and Half: Adds creaminess and makes the sauce for this recipe.
- Sour Cream: Just a hint of sour cream gives this a tangy, delicious flavor. It also helps thicken the sauce slightly along with the parmesan cheese! I dislike flour-based pasta sauces greatly. Sour cream not only gently thickens the sauce, it adds flavor and allows the sauce to reheat beautifully when you have leftovers!
- Parmesan Cheese: Parm makes this cheesy and delicious!
How to make paprika chicken pasta:
- Prepare the pasta. This part is so easy; you’ve done it a thousand times! Make sure to generously salt the pasta water and cook the pasta for a minute less than what the package directions state so that we don’t overcook the pasta when it hits the sauce. You’ll also want to save a splash of pasta water just in case we need it to make the sauce glossy and to thin it out at the end!
- Season and sear that chicken. Combine the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, kosher salt, and paprika in a bowl. Lay the chicken breasts or tenders out on a clean surface and evenly season both sides. Add a drizzle of oil to a hot pan and cook the chicken until it’s done. Remove it to a plate and keep it warm for later!
- Make the sauce and serve. Add the butter to the same pan and when it melts, add the onions. Sauté until translucent. Then add the minced garlic and paprika and let it cook in the butter. This will allow the paprika to bloom. Then add the chicken stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape and deglaze the pan. Pour in the half and half and let it come to a simmer. While simmering, you want to add the sour cream to a bowl and whisk it. Add a tablespoon of the simmering liquid to the sour cream while you whisk. Repeat this a few times. This brings the sour cream temperature closer to that of the sauce so that it doesn’t curdle when we combine them! Once the sour cream is added and stirred in, you’ll add parmesan cheese and give it a second to melt. Then add pasta and combine. Add the chicken breasts right on top and sprinkle with more parmesan or parsley, and you’re ready to serve this!
FAQs about paprika chicken pasta:
What kind of paprika do I use?
I use a combination of hot, sweet, and smoked paprika for this recipe. If the ingredient is in the name, I want to make sure that I really highlight that aspect of it. You can use all hot paprika or all sweet paprika here as well. If you use smoked paprika, I like to limit it to ½ teaspoon, so the pasta doesn’t end up getting overpowered by a smoky flavor!
Can I use a different pasta shape?
You can! I do suggest using something that’s short and preferably something with texture so that the sauce clings to the pasta. Be sure to cook the pasta a minute less than package directions.
What kind of veggies would you serve with this?
I keep it pretty simple, to be honest! Steamed broccoli, or a medley of cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli! You can also do my zucchini and corn saute, or even just sautéed zucchini here as well! You can also add a handful or two of baby spinach to the sauce right before adding the pasta! It does change the look of the pasta a bit but definitely makes it healthier!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Cozy Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini
- Deliciously Easy Cacio E Pepe
- Pesto Baked Chicken with Tomatoes
- Crazy Good Garlic Noodles
- One Skillet Creamy Chicken Lazone
- 1 lb.chicken breasts (tenders or thighs)
- ½ teaspoon paprika (smoked or hot)
- ½ teaspoon EACH: Italian seasoning AND garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Pasta and Sauce:
- 10 ounces short-cut pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup yellow onions, finely chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 teaspoon EACH: hot paprika AND sweet paprika (see notes)
- 1 cup half and half
- ¼ cup EACH: sour cream AND chicken stock
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- Parsley, for topping
- PASTA: Bring a large stock pot of water to boil. Salt generously and cook the pasta 1 minute less than package directions; save ½ cup of pasta water. Drain and set pasta aside for now.
- CHICKEN: Season the chicken with the seasonings listed. Heat a casserole pan (or saute pan) over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and cook the chicken for roughly 6-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through to 165ºF. Remove the chicken to a plate; keep warm. Once cooled, you can slice it if you’d like!
- SAUCE: Over medium heat, add butter and onions to the same pan and cook for 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and both the paprikas and give it 30 seconds, stirring as needed so the garlic doesn’t burn. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and chicken stock and using a wooden spoon help scrape up any stuck on bits to deglaze the pan. Add half and half; when simmering, whisk the sour cream in a bowl with a fork. Add a tablespoon of the warm sauce from the pan to the sour cream as you whisk; do this two more times. Pour sour cream into saute pan; add the parmesan cheese and stir. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Pour a splash of pasta water if the sauce gets thick. Taste and adjust with additional salt as desired.
- SERVE: Add the chicken to the serving dish and serve family style, or serve pasta in bowls and top with chicken and serve with your favorite veggies!
- paprika: If you don’t have hot paprika, you can use ¾ teaspoon sweet paprika and a ¼ teaspoon cayenne in place! You can also use 1 full teaspoon of smoked paprika or use sweet paprika. I typically prefer 1 teaspoon hot paprika, and ½ teaspoon each smoked and sweet!
- gimme more veggies: You can bulk up this recipe by adding 1-2 handfuls of baby spinach 30-45 seconds before you add the pasta. Just let the spinach wilt into the sauce before adding the pasta! You can also add in roasted zucchini/eggplant chunks or serve those on the side.