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Creamy Chicken Pasta

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Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Pasta is an easy, dump and go recipe that is similar to penne alla vodka with the ease of a slow cooker!

Kim and I keep a pretty close eye on our blog for a number of reasons. One of the things that she monitors is our search traffic.

Why would she do that, you ask? Well, to know what people are looking for on our site.

Lately, we’ve noticed a lot of people searching for a slow cooker creamy tomato pasta recipe. Now, we already have both an Instant Pot creamy tomato pasta and a stove-top penne alla vodka recipe.

Both dishes feature a tomato based sauce flavored with heavy cream. This slow cooker creamy tomato pasta is pretty much the same thing.

The only differences are that we cooked it in a crock pot and we added chicken for more filling dish.

A pasta bowl filled with the slow cooker creamy chicken pasta.

How to make slow cooker creamy chicken pasta?

First, start by sprinkling salt and pepper, Italian seasonings, red pepper flakes (optional) garlic powder, and onion powder on to the raw chicken.

Afterward, place the chicken into the bottom of the slow cooker. Use the photo below as a reference.

Two raw chicken breasts seasoned and placed into a slow cooker.

Next, add the marinara sauce (or use our easy marinara sauce recipe instead) into the pot.

Fill the jar with water, put the lid back on it, shake it, and pour that liquid into the pot as well.

Chicken, sauce, and water in the slow cooker.

After that, place the lid on the crock pot and cook the chicken and sauce for about 3 1/2-hours on high.

Then, remove the chicken and either shred it or cut into bite-sized chunks. Put the meat back into the slow cooker.

Pasta noodles and heavy cream added to the cooked and shredded chicken.

At this point, go ahead and pour in the uncooked pasta noodles and heavy cream. Use a spoon to press the noodles beneath the liquid.

Now, place the lid back on the cooker and reduce the heat to low. Let the creamy chicken pasta cook for another 45-minutes. Stir it from time to time to ensure even cooking.

Last, after the noodles have cooked, remove the lid, turn off the heat, stir and serve. That’s it, your slow cooker creamy tomato pasta with chicken is done!

A big scoop of the finished pasta on a metal spoon.

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Pasta Recipe Tips:

  • If you don’t want the chicken, simply follow the same steps but leave out the meat and reduce the total cook time from 3 1/2 hours to 45 minutes (on low).
  • As I stated above, you can use a homemade pasta sauce, but you’re still going to need about 24-ounces of extra liquid. Water will work fine or you can use chicken or vegetable broth.
  • Keep an eye on the noodles, 45-minutes of cook time is the recommended amount. With that being said, every slow cooker is different, so be aware that they could still overcook. It’s up to you to check them every 15-minutes or so and turn off the heat once they’ve reached your desired texture.
Another close-up view of the slow cooker pasta in a bowl.

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Another close-up view of the slow cooker pasta in a bowl.

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Pasta

4.7 from 188 votes
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Author: John
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 24.5 ounces marinara sauce, jarred or homemade
  • 24.5 ounces water
  • 16 ounces penne pasta, or other short pasta noodle (uncooked)
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Season the chicken breasts with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, . Place them in an even layer in the bottom of a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker, then pour in marinara sauce.
    1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    Salt and pepper
    ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Fill the empty marinara sauce jar with water, close the lid, and give it a shake. Pour the water into the slow cooker.
    24.5 ounces marinara sauce
    24.5 ounces water
  • Add the lid, and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. After that time, remove the chicken and either shred it or cut it into cubes.
  • Return the chicken to the slow cooker along with the pasta noodles and heavy cream. Press the noodles down to ensure they are submerged in the liquid.
    16 ounces penne pasta
    1 cup heavy cream
  • Close the lid, adjust the setting to low heat, and cook for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on how firm you like the noodles cooked. Stir occasionally to make sure the noodles are evenly cooked.
  • Serve hot with a side salad and garlic bread. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients shown and a serving size of about 4-ounces of the slow cooker creamy chicken pasta. Actual calories will vary. 
 
*The noodles can go from crunchy to soft very quickly, so check them often. 
 
*Adjust the seasonings to your liking.
 
*Doubling or tripling this recipe has not been tested. Therefore, we can not guarantee the outcome of adjusting the ingredients.

Suggested Equipment

Nutrition

Serving: 4Ounces | Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 495mg | Potassium: 634mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 853IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
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38 Comments

  1. I doubled the spices and stirred in 4 oz cream cheese at the end of cooking time instead of using heavy cream. I did have to monitor the liquid levels carefully for the pasta due to my substitution, but the dish turned out wonderfully! Even better, all picky diners at my table had happy plates. Such an easy, hearty meal.

    1. Good Morning Nathalie, that sounds awesome! Extra spices and using cream cheese probably added a ton of flavor. Thank you so much for commenting and rating the recipe card. Have a lovely day 🙂

    2. Thanks for the added post on a subscription for the heavy cream. I wanted to throw something together with ingredients I already have but of course I didn’t have any heavy cream. It also helps that we love cream cheese!!! I am about to get started now. Looking forward to this amazing dish!!! Thanks again

  2. I did it with 5 skinless thighs and it turnout great! Other than using thighs, I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out great.

    1. Thank you Susan! That’s wonderful to hear. Kim and I are glad you enjoyed the chicken pasta using chicken thighs. Thank you again for commenting and rating the recipe. Have a lovely day 🙂

    1. Hi Torry!

      Yes, frozen chicken breasts should work. Just double check to make sure that they’re cooked all the way through before shredding them and adding the pasta. Have a great day! 🙂

  3. My family loves this recipe! We tend to use whole grain penne, and never have a problem. We also add frozen peas.

    1. Thank you Aggie reader! Whole grain penne and peas sound like great additions to the recipe. Thank you again for commenting and rating the recipe card. Have a lovely day 🙂

  4. Great recipe! I always add a few extra spices or cheese to add a little more flavor to it. Has anyone tried substituting milk for the cream?

    1. Thank you Spencer! Extra spices or cheese is always an awesome addition. I’m sure someone has used milk in place of the cream. Hopefully, they’ll answer your question soon. Have a great day!

  5. Help! I’ve made this twice and both times the pasta was really starchy and chewy, way overdone. I tried farfalla the first time and penne the second time. I also played with the timing once I added the pasta. My slow cooker is only 3.5 qt but I’ve done the full recipe. Other than the consistency of the pasta, I really like this recipe and would love to put it in my dinner rotation. But what am I doing wrong with the pasta?

    1. Hi Christine!

      I’m so sorry this one is giving you trouble. I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. Crockpot pasta recipes can be a bit finicky. 🙂 We try to stick with Barilla brand pasta for the slow cooker recipes. I’m not sure what brand you used, but that may be a starting point. I’d try it with penne again and adjust your slow cooker to the lowest setting when adding the pasta. It may help to take the lid off at that point as well just to keep an eye on it more closely. Also, try stirring it a couple of times to make sure that all the pasta is heating evenly. Depending on the slow cooker, it may take significantly less time to cook the pasta than stated in the recipe. Hope that helps! 🙂

    2. @Kimberly, oh thank you, that’s super helpful! I’ve been using Trader Joe’s pasta but I’ll definitely try Barilla. I’ll also use your other suggestions next time I make it. I’m new to slow cookers in general and this is one of the first recipes I’ve tried. Thank you so much for your response with the great suggestions. I’m looking forward to trying this one again!

      1. You’re welcome! If all else fails, try cooking the pasta on the stove top and stirring it into the slow cooker at the very end just to mix the ingredients. You’ll want to reduce the water, though by quite a bit (maybe use 1/4 to 1/2 a cup), since you aren’t using it to cook the pasta. If you go that route, I’d just cook the chicken in a little water or broth then add the marinara and heavy later near the end of the cook time just long enough to heat them. Cook the pasta on the stove and stir it in last. 🙂

  6. Really enjoyed this. But it seems like it’s missing something I can’t figure out what. My family enjoyed it though.

    1. Hi Christine!

      If you make it again, consider adding red pepper flakes, a couple dashes of Tabasco sauce (this would make it a bit spicy), jarred garlic, or a pinch more salt. Start with a very small amount and work up from there, because any of those will begin to alter the taste in a negative way if a lot gets added. Hopefully that will help with the flavor. 🙂

    1. Hi Stacey!

      We haven’t tested the recipe with cheese sauce. The heavy cream is part of the liquid that cooks the noodles, so I’m not sure the cheese sauce would work in this recipe.

  7. I made this, with a few tweaks. I added some sliced mushrooms and green onions we needed to use up. I used homemade chicken stock instead of water. And it was fabulous!

    1. Hi Lizzie!

      We haven’t tried angel hair, but it should work. The time it will take to cook angel hair is less than penne. The cook time once the pasta gets added is listed on step #5, but you’ll probably want to reduce it so the noodles don’t overcook. Another thing to mention is the sauce may seem a little heavier since angel hair is a more delicate pasta. 🙂

  8. Can you use vodka sauce instead of the marinara and cream? Or will the cream in the sauce curdle? I have a jar of homemade vodka sauce I wanted to use.

    1. Hi Jillian!

      I haven’t tried this recipe with a cream based sauce, but I have made other slow cooker recipes with heavy cream and/or a cream sauce. Those have curdled or separated, so my guess is that vodka sauce would probably do the same. I’d hate for you to lose dinner and a great jar of homemade vodka sauce if it doesn’t work out.

    1. Hi James!

      We haven’t tried to double this recipe. However, it should be okay as long as the slow cooker will hold the volume of food required for the recipe. Our 7-quart crock pot was about halfway full after everything was cooked. Hope that helps. Have a great week!

    2. @Kimberly,

      It turned out great! Perfect size for my big crock pot! (I started it before you responded, thought I’d take a chance!)

  9. It was tasty but honestly less flavourful then I was expecting for some reason. Also the sauce-water to pasta ratio was way off and it ended up being more of a stew consistency.. but it was still yummy hence the four stars

  10. How long do you think the chicken would take to cook on low? I was hoping I could start it and leave for work while it was cooking

  11. I made this tonight for my husband and our friends and it was such a hit!!! Very good and will be making this again. Thank you so much for the recipe!

      1. Hi Daniela!

        I think that would work fine, and I’d add the heavy cream just before adding the pasta. Just put the heavy cream in long enough to warm it a bit, since you aren’t cooking the pasta in the slow cooker. Have a great evening! 🙂

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