French Onion Chicken Pasta brings together classic French onion flavors, tender chicken, and creamy pasta, making it a comforting and indulgent meal that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds! Sprinkle a little more parmesan cheese on top for an extra layer of richness. For the same delicious flavors without chicken, try my French Onion and Browned Butter Pasta, too!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Onions: When you want to caramelize onions, yellow onions are your best bet. They bring an outstanding balance of flavor and natural sweetness to the dish. Of course, don’t hesitate to try out other onion varieties like sweet onions (think Vidalia or Walla Walla) or even the colorful red onions. They can add a delightful twist to this dish.
Pasta: Penne pasta is perfect for this dish with its ridged texture, helping the creamy sauce stick to it. Of course, you could use pasta you have on hand or make homemade pasta!
Chicken: Look for 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to season and cook before adding to the pasta dish. To save time, you could also use a rotisserie chicken that has already been cooked or leftover shredded chicken. Chicken thighs would also be delicious, but you may need to adjust the cooking time. Or, leave off the chicken for a delicious pile of creamy and flavorful pasta!
Heavy Cream: Heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream, gives the sauce a thick and creamy texture. If you are looking for a lighter option, you could substitute half-and-half or whole milk. However, substitutions may alter the flavor and texture of the dish.
Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan cheese elevates the flavor, texture, and richness of the sauce. Have some extra on hand for garnish, too!
Can I Make This Without A Food Processor?
If you do not have a food processor, you could mix the onion mixture with a blender or an immersion blender. It is important that the caramelized onions, melted butter, and pasta water are emulsified and thoroughly blended.
What To Serve With French Onion Chicken Pasta
French Onion Chicken Pasta is a flavorful and rich dish, so it pairs well with sides that complement its savory and creamy characteristics. Here are some delicious options to serve alongside this pasta dish:
- Garlic Knots
- Breadsticks (or garlic breadsticks)
- Potatoes (skins-on mashed, roasted potato wedges, or baked potatoes)
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- Roasted carrots
- Wedge salad
Storing & Reheating French Onion Chicken Pasta
If you have any leftovers of French Onion Chicken Pasta, first, let it cool completely. Then, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to 3-4 days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
French Onion Chicken Pasta
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks / 170 g) unsalted butter, divided
- 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced into half-moon shapes
- 8 ounces penne pasta
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 pound) pounded to an even thickness
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (238 g) heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup (100 g) parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for garnish
- parsley, chopped for garnish
- salt and pepper, to taste
- To a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, melt ¼ cup of butter.
- Once melted, add onions and saute for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are very tender and caramelized to a rich golden brown color.
- While the onions are caramelizing, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the rest.
- Once the onions are caramelized, carefully transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Set aside.
- To a microwave-safe bowl, add the remaining ½ cup butter. Heat until melted.
- Pour the melted butter into the bowl of the food processor with the caramelized onions.
- Add ½ cup of reserved pasta water to the food processor and blend until the mixture is well blended. Set aside while you prepare the chicken.
- Season the chicken breasts evenly with paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
- In the same skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the seasoned chicken breasts.
- Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on one side. Then, flip the chicken over, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove the chicken from the skillet and transfer it to a plate. Tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- To the same skillet over medium heat, add the onion mixture, heavy cream, parmesan, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until cheese is melted and the sauce is heated through.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss until the noodles are evenly coated in the creamy sauce. If the sauce appears too thick, add a bit more of the reserved pasta water to reach your desired consistency.
- Slice the cooked chicken breasts into strips and arrange them on top of the pasta.
- Serve hot, garnished with additional grated parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.
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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:
Sweet and savory! My favorite combination. This dish is one of my favorites!
This pasta dish is delicious! It does take some coordination on timing, but it's worth the effort! To save some time, I would use leftover chicken.
I love French onion and the sauce is so creamy and delicious. The chicken just brings it all together and this would be a fantastic dinner any night of the week.
The creamy French onion sauce pairs lovely with chicken! It is savory but also sweet from the onions!
Soooo delicious. I loved the creamy, flavorful sauce with the pasta and the sliced chicken on top made it a complete meal!