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Easy Chicken Penne Pasta is a one pot meal that’s done in under 30 minutes! This easy skillet recipe is picky eater approved and perfect for those busy weeknights.

pasta mixed with herbs and sauce in a black pan

Penne Pasta with Chicken

I struggle with coming up with dinner ideas – so I need simple and fast meals. This easy Chicken Penne Pasta is going to be on the list over and over! It’s just so full of flavor and packed with protein.

This recipe is a variation of my Cheesy Penne Casserole that I make for almost every potluck, except I added chicken to the mix to make it a healthier meal.

Need an easy meal? Chicken Penne Pasta is a simple one pot skillet meal that your family will love!

pasta mixed with herbs and sauce in a black pan

Penne Pasta

Now, I know that pasta has carbs but I find that if I’m craving pasta I should just go ahead and eat some, otherwise I’ll just make up for it by scarfing other foods. There are a few ways to make this skillet dinner a healthier pasta dish:

  1.  Use whole wheat pasta. There are a few brands that sell whole wheat pasta in many shapes, including penne, and I really enjoy it. Once you get the hang of cooking it and pour sauce all over it, your family will never know it’s whole wheat.
  2. Use a pasta substitute. This was something I resisted for a long time but I’ve finally found a non-pasta pasta I like. It’s called Banza pasta (see above the recipe for link) and it’s sold in an orange box. It’s pasta made from chickpeas so it’s super high in fiber and protein and low in carbs. I was super skeptical about it the first time I bought it but I actually really like it. You’re going to taste the difference (taste and texture) if you eat it plain with butter but if you put sauce on it no one will know – PROMISE. (BTW, this is NOT sponsored, I just really love it!)
  3. Penne pasta cooks fast and is perfect with red sauce because all the little grooves and the hollow center grabs up all the deliciousness.

One Pot Skillet Dinner Tips

I love making dinner in one pot and so does my husband: he does the dishes!

You can make the entire recipe for this penne pasta in one large skillet by working in batches and it’s still done in under 30 minutes. First, boil the pasta in the skillet and while it drains you heat up the sauce. Stir it all together and dinner is done!

Chicken Pasta with Tomato Sauce

I love red sauce with penne pasta and like my baked penne, this one pot meal has lots of cheese. It’s full of mozzarella cheese, of course, but has a secret ingredient that packs even more protein: cottage cheese. It sounds weird but it works: trust me. The kids WILL eat it.

Rotisserie chicken makes a 30 minute meal!

This recipe is done in under 30 minutes because I started with already shredded chicken. You can use rotisserie chicken or use leftovers! I love making a big batch of my Instant Pot Chicken or Instant pot shredded chicken and using it all week in meals like this or my Enchilada Skillet.

unclose photo of pasta mixed with herbs and sauce

Chicken Penne Pasta Variations

  1. Use my crockpot tomato sauce or use your favorite jarred. I always jazz up my jarred sauce with extra garlic and red pepper flakes too.
  2. Pick your pasta: regular, whole wheat, or low-carb.
  3. For the chicken, use rotisserie or precook some chicken like I do.
  4. The cottage cheese gives extra cheesy flavor and protein. It almost makes this into a creamy chicken penne pasta recipe!
pasta mixed with herbs and sauce in a black pan

Easy Chicken Penne Pasta

4.96 from 68 votes
Easy Chicken Penne Pasta is a one pot meal that’s done in under 30 minutes! This easy skillet recipe is picky eater approved!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 24 ounce jar pasta sauce use your favorite
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup small curd cottage cheese
  • 2 cups cooked chicken diced or shredded
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded


  • Boil water in pot or large skillet and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Add pasta sauce, pressed garlic, pepper flakes and cottage cheese to skillet and heat until bubbly and hot. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is heated through. Stir in the pasta and mozzarella cheese. Taste for seasoning, add salt and/or pepper as needed.
  • Serve hot with parmesan cheese.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Use homemade pasta sauce or a jar.
  • I am loving Banza Pasta, which is a chickpea pasta and low-carb. It’s in an orange box and tastes like regular pasta!
  • Use my meal prep chicken or instant pot chicken or shredded chicken, or you can use a rotisserie chicken.
  • To start with raw chicken: Cook pasta as directed in step 1. Then add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cook until brown on all sides and almost cooked through, 8-10 minutes (depending on size of pieces). Add the sauce to the pan with the garlic and cook until chicken is fully cooked through. Stir in cottage cheese, pasta, and mozzarella.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 457kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 991mg | Potassium: 696mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 765IU | Vitamin C: 8.6mg | Calcium: 257mg | Iron: 2.7mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

**Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!**

Last Updated on September 19, 2023

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This was super simple and easy to make! I used a vodka sauce and I shredded a store bought pre cooked full chicken and it was delicious!!! If you are looking for a last minute recipe that requires little time and ingredients, this is a great one to make.

  2. I made this last night. This recipe was so easy and delicious. My husband said it was a keeper. I used ricotta cheese instead of cottage. Will remaking it again. Thank you

  3. Really good! Followed everything exactly and turned out so delicious, definitely a recipe to save for rainy days

  4. Can I just skip the cottage cheese and only use mozzarella? I only have mozzarella on hand and don’t feel like going to the store just to get one thing. If I’m able to do that should I just add a cup of mozzarella in the cottage cheese place?

  5. I made a few slight changes and loved it! First, I cooked 1/2 an onion in olive oil, added the minced garlic for 1 addtl minute, then poured in a 15oz can of tomato sauce, a 15oz can of onion basil garlic diced tomatoes along with some Italian seasoning, pepper, salt, and the suggested red pepper flakes. Once boiling, I cooked diced raw chicken tenderloins in the steadily boiling sauce for about 10 minutes (reaching 165+). Then I stirred in my boiled pasta and about a cup of shredded Italian blend cheese. All of us (including my 3.5y/o) loved it!