You’ll love this creamy Chicken Broccoli Alfredo! It has become one of our favorite go-to meals. It’s very easy to make, and it comes together in just 30 minutes.
Seared chicken, crisp tender broccoli, and al dente penne pasta…tossed with a quick homemade Alfredo sauce, and finished with more freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Make this chicken broccoli Alfredo for dinner tonight. Everyone will love it!
Everyone loves a creamy Chicken Broccoli Alfredo! This Italian-American favorite is one of my most requested recipes to make for dinner. It’s so incredibly delicious and comforting!
What I love about this recipe is that it’s quick and easy, which is great for busy weeknights.
We really love creamy dishes, especially this Creamy Lemon Chicken, Cajun Chicken Alfredo and Creamy Salmon Pasta, so we’re very excited to add chicken broccoli Alfredo to our regular rotation. If you’re looking for something less creamy, try my easy Rigatoni Bolognese!
Why we love this chicken broccoli Alfredo:
- It’s a complete meal. Protein, carbs, and veggies…all in one! But hey, there’s nothing stopping you from doubling down on carbs and making a side of this Cheesy Garlic Bread!
- Extra comforting: Something about creamy pasta dishes always hits the spot!
- Great for weeknights! It comes together in just 30 minutes and it’s so easy to make.
The Creamy Homemade Alfredo Sauce
Here in the United States, we are used to creamy Alfredo sauce made with heavy cream, but did you know that authentic version doesn’t call for cream?
The origins date back to 1908, when a restaurant owner in Rome, Italy named Alfredo di Lello (hence the name “Alfredo sauce”) invented it. The original version is made with just 3 ingredients: butter, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and salt. Warm starchy pasta water is used to emulsify it into a creamy and smooth sauce.
If you’ve ever made the authentic version, you’ll know that it actually requires some skill and experience to prevent the cheese from clumping. The American-Italian version of Alfredo sauce is adapted to include heavy cream, which makes it easy to prepare and also extra creamy.
The homemade Alfredo sauce I use in this chicken broccoli Alfredo recipe contains heavy cream, butter, garlic, freshly grated parmesan cheese (freshly grated this is key!), salt, and pepper. It’s super simple and pretty much foolproof, so worry not!
As always, the full ingredient list with quantities can be found in the recipe card down below, but I wanted to provide a few helpful ingredients notes here.
- Chicken breasts: Pounded to about half inch thick.
- Italian seasoning: Used to season the chicken.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil, to cook the chicken
- Fresh broccoli florets: I’d highly recommend using fresh broccoli so you can get that tender crisp bite. It makes a huge difference in the texture of the entire dish. Frozen broccoli tends to be soggy and very pale in color.
- Pasta: For this chicken broccoli Alfredo recipe, I like to use short pasta shapes, such as penne or rotini. But it’s really up to you! Fettuccine works really well too.
For the Alfredo sauce:
- Unsalted butter: Adds a rich and buttery taste to the Alfredo.
- Garlic: For those aromatic tones!
- Heavy cream: You’ll need about 2 cups for 4 servings. Yup, this isn’t a light dish!
- Parmesan cheese: For this recipe, I’d highly highly recommend grating your own cheese. Use a box grater.
- Salt and pepper to taste
Here’s a quick step-by-step tutorial on how to make this easy pasta dish.
Step 1 | Grate the parmesan cheese
Using a box grater, grate the parmesan cheese block. You’ll need about 1 ½ cups of semi-packed freshly grated parmesan. Set aside.
If you don’t have a box grater, see if you can find freshly grated parmesan at your grocery or specialty food store, found in the refrigerated or deli cheese aisle. It comes in containers or bags, but obviously has a shorter shelf life.
Step 2 | Cook the chicken
Using a meat mallet, pound each chicken breast to about ½ inch thick evenly. Season with Italian seasoning, salt (about ½ teaspoon per breast), and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet, and cook chicken for about 6 minutes per side, or until the center registers 165 degrees F. Set aside and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then slice or cut into cubes.
Step 3 | Cook pasta and broccoli
Meanwhile, in a large pot with boiling generously salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions. During the last 3 to 4 minutes, add the broccoli florets and cook until tender crisp. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water just in case. Drain and run through cold water to stop the cooking process.
You can also microwave the broccoli florets. Place washed broccoli florets in a microwave-safe bowl and add about ¼ cup water. Cover with a plate and microwave on high for about 4 minutes. Add more time as needed.
Step 4 | Make the Alfredo sauce
In the same skillet used to cook the chicken (wipe it clean), melt butter and sauté the minced garlic for a few seconds until fragrant. Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a light simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 5 | Toss to combine
Add the cooked pasta and broccoli, along with the sliced or cubed seared chicken into the sauce. Toss to coat evenly.
Serve with more parmesan cheese on top. This chicken broccoli Alfredo is best when served immediately, so you can get the silkiest and smoothest, freshly cooked sauce!
Here are some of my favorite ways to customize this chicken broccoli Alfredo recipe:
- Different ways to cook the chicken! I like to pan-sear it, but you can also grill it or do a breaded version. This is also a great recipe to use leftover chicken.
- Bake it! If you like it extra cheesy, add everything into a baking dish and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees F until melted, bubbly, and slightly golden brown on top.
- Swap the protein: Salmon and shrimp work great here. Or give my Creamy Salmon Pasta recipe a try!
- Use your favorite pasta: Short pasta or long pasta work great here. Options include penne, rigatoni, rotini, cavatappi, farfalle, fettuccine, tagliatelle, spaghetti.
- Use fresh pasta: If you’re into homemade pasta, or if your store sells daily fresh-made pasta (mine does, I love it!), definitely go ahead. It’s a great way to elevate this classic home cooked chicken broccoli Alfredo into something fancier!
- Make it carb-free: Use zucchini noodles instead.
Pairing and Serving Ideas
I always serve chicken broccoli Alfredo with my Cheesy Garlic Bread. If you’re short on time, you can just opt for your favorite frozen store-bought garlic bread.
A simple side garden salad would also be a great option. Or try this Italian Chopped Salad!
More Italian-inspired favorites:
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Lasagna Bolognese (made with no-boil noodles!)
- Rigatoni Bolognese
- Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
- Tuscan Chicken Pasta
About 3 to 4 minutes in boiling water, depending on how tender crisp you like them and on how large they are. Test them after 3 minutes until cooked to your liking. Cook in the same pot as the pasta to avoid dirtying up too many pots.
I would not recommend using frozen broccoli. It will be soggy, which will affect the overall texture of the dish.
I like using short pastas, such as penne, rotini, cavatappi, or farfalle. Long pasta shapes are also wonderful – fettuccine, spaghetti, linguini. Fresh pasta is even better!
No. Those come with added preservatives that will make the sauce grainy. I’d highly highly recommend grating your own parmesan cheese using a box grater.
I would not recommend freezing this dish. Dairy-based sauces don’t freeze very well.
Tips for Success
- Before you start, get the water for the pasta boiling first. It can take some time.
- Use low heat to make the Alfredo sauce. It needs to simmer for just a few minutes or until it’s creamy and the grated parmesan cheese is fully incorporated. Overcooking the sauce can cause it to become too thick or break.
- Reserve some of the pasta water just in case you need to adjust the consistency of the sauce.
- Use freshly grated parmesan cheese to ensure the Alfredo sauce turns out smooth and creamy.
- This dish is best when served immediately. Perfectly creamy and silky smooth!
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
- 2 chicken breasts - boneless, skinless
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 3 to 4 cups broccoli florets
- ½ pounds penne pasta
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 cups heavy cream - plus more as needed
- 1 ½ cups FRESHLY grated parmesan cheese - I use a box grater
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Using a meat mallet, pound each chicken breast to about ½ inch thick evenly. Season with Italian seasoning, salt (about ½ teaspoon per breast), and pepper.
- Cook chicken: In a skillet over medium heat, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pan-sear chicken, about 6 minutes per side or until fully cooked through in the center. Let it rest for 10 minutes, and then slice or cut into cubes.
- Cook pasta and broccoli: Meanwhile, in a large pot with generously salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions. 3 to 4 minutes before the pasta cook time is up, add the broccoli florets and cook together with the pasta, until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is tender crisp. Reserve 1 cup pasta water for later just in case. Drain and run through cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Make the Alfredo sauce: In the same skillet you used to cook the chicken (wipe it clean), melt the butter and sauté the minced garlic for a few seconds until fragrant. Add heavy cream and bring to a light simmer over low heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the grated parmesan cheese and stir to combine for another 1 minute, set aside. If the sauce is too thick, stir in some of the reserved pasta water as needed.
- Return the cooked pasta and broccoli into the skillet, and toss with the Alfredo sauce until warmed. Do the same with the sliced or cubed chicken. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan on top. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Use FRESHLY grated parmesan cheese for the sauce. Pre-shredded bagged parmesan cheese contains added preservatives that will make the sauce grainy.
- Reserve some of the pasta water just in case you need to adjust the sauce consistency.
- Don’t overcook the sauce or use high heat, otherwise it can thicken too much and separate.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave oven.
- Broccoli: I would not recommend using frozen broccoli – it will be soggy and lack that vibrant green color.
- Cook it along with the pasta during the last 3-4 minutes until crisp tender.
- Microwave with ¼ cup water (covered with a lid or plate) for about 4 minutes or until crisp tender.
- Steam for 4 to 5 minutes in a steaming basket over simmering water in a pot.
- Chicken: Shrimp or salmon are good substitutes. This is also a great recipe to use leftover chicken.
- Pasta choices: Penne, rotini, farfalle, rigatoni, farfalle. Fettuccine or spaghetti are great choices too.