When it comes to indulgent comfort foods, I don’t know if anything beats Chicken Alfredo. I just can’t say no to a big ol’ plate of carby pasta drenched in an ultra-rich and creamy sauce and topped with juicy strips of seared chicken, can you? (That was a rhetorical question.) And now that I know how easy it is to make it at home, I have a feeling this is going to become my new favorite special occasion meal. And yes, sometimes just making it through to the end of the week is a special occasion in this house. ;)
Can I Substitute the Heavy Cream?
While authentic alfredo doesn’t use any heavy cream, this American alfredo does use heavy cream as the base for the sauce, which helps the Parmesan melt in smoothly instead of clumping or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Most other dairy products or dairy substitutes contain too much water to allow the cheese to melt into the sauce properly, so I do not suggest substituting the heavy cream.
Fresh vs. Grated Parmesan
Freshly shredded Parmesan always trumps grated Parmesan from a can, there’s no argument there, but we’re cooking on a budget here so I made sure this recipe tastes great even when using less expensive Parmesan. If you have room in your budget for a wedge of fresh Parmesan, by all means, use it! But just know that you can still make a tasty alfredo even if you can’t afford the good stuff.
What to Serve with Chicken Alfredo
With any heavy dish like this, I like to pair it with a light and simple side salad. The delicate texture and fresh flavor of a simple side salad perfectly balances the thick and creamy alfredo sauce. Some Lemon Garlic Roasted Asparagus or Lemon Pepper Zucchini would also pair well. And of course, it wouldn’t be pasta night without some homemade garlic bread!
How Are the Leftovers?
The rich nature of this sauce means that it does start to thicken up quite a bit as it cools, so you definitely want to serve and enjoy this pasta when it’s hot out of the skillet. That being said, I would never turn down the leftovers of something so creamy and delicious. Just know that the texture when reheated will not be as silky smooth.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lb. total) ($6.49)
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning ($0.20)
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
- 2 Tbsp butter ($0.22)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced ($0.32)
- 1 cup heavy cream ($1.25)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan ($1.08)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp pepper ($0.02)
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional garnish) ($0.10)
- 8 oz. fettuccine ($0.88)
- Season both sides of the chicken breast with Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt.
- Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for about 7-8 minutes on each side, or until browned on the outside and cooked through.
- Remove the chicken to a clean plate and turn the heat under the skillet down to medium-low.
- Add the butter and minced garlic to the skillet. Stir and cook the garlic in the melted butter for about two minutes, dissolving the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet as you stir.
- Add the heavy cream and whisk to combine, dissolving any remaining browned bits. Allow the cream to come up to a simmer.
- While waiting for the cream to simmer, bring a pot of water to a boil for the fettuccine. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve about ½ cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining the pasta.
- Once the cream is simmering, add the grated Parmesan to the skillet. Continue to whisk and stir until the Parmesan has melted into the sauce and the sauce has begun to simmer. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes, or until it becomes slightly thicker. Add salt and pepper to the sauce to taste.
- Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the creamy sauce and toss to combine. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of the reserved pasta water and toss to combine with the sauce.
- Slice the cooked chicken breasts and serve it atop the creamy pasta. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
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Love alfredo? Check out our Shrimp Alfredo, too!
How to Make Chicken Alfredo – Step by Step Photos
Season two boneless, skinless chicken breasts with two teaspoons of Italian Seasoning and a pinch of salt.
Heat a large skillet over medium. Once fully preheated, add 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil and swirl to coat the skillet. Add the chicken breasts and cook on each side for 7-8 minutes, or until the chicken is well browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a clean plate.
Turn the heat down to medium-low, then add 2 tablespoons of butter and 4 cloves of minced garlic to the skillet.
Cook and stir the butter and garlic over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, dissolving the browned bits as you stir.
Add one cup of heavy cream to the skillet and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to medium and bring the cream up to a simmer.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add 8oz. of pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender. Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining the pasta in a colander.
While waiting for the pasta to boil, continue with the sauce. Once the cream is simmering, add ¾ cup Parmesan and continue to stir and cook until the sauce comes back up to a simmer.
When the sauce comes back up to a simmer the Parmesan will begin to melt. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce thickens slightly (3-5 minutes). Add salt and pepper to the sauce to taste.
Add the cooked and drained pasta to the alfredo sauce and toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick or too dry, add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water and toss to combine.
Slice the chicken breast and add it on top of the pasta, then serve. (You can garnish with chopped parsley if desired).