Our chicken bacon pasta recipe is made with no cream. Chicken tenders are seared and then served with a creamy sauce made with garlic, cream cheese, and bacon. Serve with gluten-free pasta for a delicious dinner your kids will love!
I love to test new recipes with chicken since my kids are constantly requesting chicken. While my Boneless Chicken Thigh and Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Bake recipes are family favorites, this creamy bacon chicken pasta has recently been ranking as #1.
HOW TO MAKE
Start by heating the olive oil in a pan and then carefully adding the chicken.
Season each side of the chicken before flipping with salt and pepper.
KITCHEN TIP: Chicken is fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep a food thermometer handy to test cooked chicken before serving.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove from heat and set on a plate to the side.
TIME SAVER: For a night you don’t have the time (or energy) to cook chicken for this recipe, buy a rotisserie chicken or canned chicken and skip steps 1-3.
In a pan, add butter, bacon & garlic.
Whisk until the butter is melted completely.
Add flour and stir into the butter mixture until it is combined.
COOKING TIP: Making a roux will help thicken a recipe and create a creamy texture. To make a roux, you mix together equal parts fat with flour.
In this recipe, I am mixing butter with flour to thicken my creamy pasta. For future recipes that might need to be thickened, this How To Make Roux step-by-step instructional post is helpful.
Next, whisk the milk into the pan. Add the milk slowly bringing the mixture to a simmer between each addition of milk.
I usually add 1/4 cup of milk at a time and keep whisking the milk until the full 1 cup of milk has been added.
Kitchen Tip: Make sure to bring the temperature of the sauce back up to a simmer before adding more milk or you’ll have a sauce that won’t thicken.
Then, add the cream cheese and whisk until it has melted.
Time to add my favorite ingredient! The spinach adds flavor and color to the pasta. Plus, this recipe lets me serve a vegetable without a complaint from the kids or husband 🙂
DO I HAVE TO USE FRESH SPINACH?
Nope! In the past, I have used frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach. I would encourage you to use whichever you have in your kitchen!
If you do use frozen spinach, I recommend cooking the spinach in the microwave and pressing the excess water out of the spinach before adding to your pasta dish.
Once the spinach has been mixed into the creamy sauce, add sliced cherry tomatoes.
GRAPE VS CHERRY TOMATOES
Have you ever wondered if you can use grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes? Well, I am here to tell you that you absolutely can! If you have grape tomatoes in your kitchen then save yourself a trip to the grocery store & add those to your dish.
If I can choose, I prefer using cherry tomatoes for this recipe because they are sweeter than a grape tomato.
Stir in cooked pasta. I use penne pasta because it is my family’s favorite. However, any type of pasta will work! Here are a few options that pair well with creamy sauces:
- Angel Hair
To finish this recipe, add the chicken.
When it comes to serving this meal, I have done it many ways. I have chopped my chicken into chunks and mixed it into the creamy sauce. I have also just served chicken strips on top of the pasta. The way you decide to serve this recipe is completely up to you.
Top it off with shredded parmesan, bacon pieces, green onions or a sprinkle of Italian seasoning & grab a fork!
CKC Features both Gluten-Free Guidance and Kids Cooking Instructions: If you’re new to eating gluten-free we understand it’s overwhelming trying to figure out which foods may contain gluten and which ones don’t. All of our gluten-free recipes marked with this symbol ✅ represent foods that need to be checked for gluten or cross-contamination.
The ⭐️ symbol in the recipe below denotes the steps in which kid cooks may need a helper (depending on age). If there is no ⭐️ symbol, that step (or recipe) doesn’t require a helper.
Chicken Bacon Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound chicken tenders ✅
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 6-8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled ✅
- 2 tablespoon gluten-free flour
- 1 cup milk
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature ✅
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 8 ounces gluten-free penne pasta, cooked per box instructions
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: parmesan cheese, green onions, and additional bacon for topping the pasta ✅
- ⭐️Cook the chicken. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is browned and released from the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan and set it aside.1 pound chicken tenders, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⭐️Make the sauce. To the same pan, add butter, garlic, and bacon. Whisk until butter is melted. Add flour and whisk into the butter mixture. Slowly add milk a little at a time, whisking and bringing the heat back up to a simmer between adding more milk. Continue whisking after the milk is added until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.6-8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled, 2 tablespoon gluten-free flour, 2 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 cup milk
- ⭐️Add the cream cheese, vegetables, and pasta. Add cream cheese and whisk to blend into the mixture. Stir in spinach and tomatoes. Add pasta to the cream cheese mixture.2 cups fresh spinach, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced, 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature, 8 ounces gluten-free penne pasta, cooked per box instructions
- Serve. Serve with chicken on top or slice chicken and stir into the creamy bacon pasta. Add parmesan cheese, green onions, or bacon if desired.Optional: parmesan cheese, green onions, and additional bacon for topping the pasta