One Pot Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

Ok, now for today’s beauty of a meal. It’s fast. It’s a start-to-finish one-skillet meal (I won’t even bore you with how much I love skillet meals since I’ve gushed more times than I can count). It’s light and refreshing and creamy without being loaded with heavy cream…and, it’s really just a perfect weeknight meal to make you feel like you can go ahead and pin that gold star on your apron for one more dinner knocked right out of the park.

One Pot Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

The flavors are crazy delicious. And if you ask me, lemon, broccoli and chicken are a match made in skillet heaven. I’ve included a few notes in the recipe about different pasta brands and the consistency of the sauce so be sure you don’t skim over that part. This lovely recipe is a riff from one of our other constant, favorite skillet meals: Skillet Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and this new lemon version is just as stellar.

Who can resist a meal that is healthy, flavorful and only requires one measly skillet for cooking? Clearly, I can’t, since at the risk of being completely one-dimensional, I think I have a bazillion one-skillet meals on this blog.

One Pot Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

What To ServeDivine breadsticks or Cheesy Garlic Bread
Killer green salad (throw together your own or use a variation on this Gourmet Green Salad)
Fresh, seasonal fruit

P.S. If you haven’t noticed the semi-new feature in the footer, take a look way down there at the bottom of the page. The Weekly Menu Plan is updated every single week and is full of inspiration to help you get dinner on the table all week long.

One Year Ago: Layered Mexican Cornbread Salad
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fun Cake
Three Years Ago: Asiago Crisped Spinach and Raspberry Salad

Skillet Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

Yield: Serves 6

Skillet Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

The brand of penne you use will define how much liquid to add total. When I use the Creamette (green package) brand of penne that cooks to al dente in 7 or so minutes, I use the amounts stated in the recipe. But I've also made this with Barilla penne which is slightly thicker and needs 10-11 minutes to cook until al dente. When using a pasta like that (thicker with more cooking time needed), keep your eye on the liquid amount. If the liquid is mostly absorbed but the pasta isn't close to being tender yet, add another 1/2 cup liquid to the skillet (and possibly another minute or so of cooking time).

If you want to give a burst of fresh lemon flavor, squeeze an additional 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice into the skillet pasta right before serving.

Also, if you don't have a large 12-inch skillet, you could totally make this in a large pot. Finally, if you like your sauce a bit thicker, use a little extra cornstarch (maybe another 1/2 tablespoon?) or cover the skillet off the heat and let the pasta sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cubed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Zest of two lemons, about 1 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons, use the same ones you just zested)
  • 12 ounces penne pasta (see note)
  • 2-3 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Add the chicken and saute, stirring frequently, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate, keeping as much oil/liquid in the skillet as possible.
  2. Keep the skillet on medium heat and add another teaspoon of oil if needed (I usually don't but you'll want to keep an especially close eye on the garlic). Add the garlic and basil and stir constantly for about 30 seconds. Add the water, broth, lemon juice and pasta. Stir to combine.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally just to keep the pasta from sticking, for 10-12 minutes until the pasta is tender - it will cook for a few more minutes in the next step. There will be a bit of liquid left in the skillet; that's ok.
  4. Add the broccoli and lemon zest. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the broccoli is bright green and tender. While the broccoli is cooking, whisk together the milk and cornstarch.
  5. Uncover the skillet and stir in the milk mixture along with the Parmesan cheese and reserved chicken. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 1-2 minutes.
  6. Season with additional salt and pepper (this is really important - don't skip this step!) and serve.

Recipe Source: adapted from this skillet meal

87 Responses to Skillet Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

  1. Kim in MD says:

    Mel- since you don’t want to gush (once again) about your love for skillet meals I will do it for you- I LOVE them! Having only one pan to clean is great, but the best thing about skillet meals is the pasta (or rice) absorbs all of the flavors in the dish, which makes it taste amazing! I will be making this for dinner this week, and I know it will be a hit with my family!

  2. Barb says:

    This looks nice and fresh for spring.

  3. Sheila says:

    Mel, you make life so much easier for so many of us. . . .another dream recipe for weeknights. I’m getting out one measly skillet and going after the gold (star) for my apron. I don’t do weekend work only home work. Bless your heart for the incredible amount of time you spend this weekend to take care of problems your readers were having with e-mail. You totally rock!

  4. It’s gorgeous and I love skillet meals! I’m sure the whole family would be pleased with this one.
    Have a beautiful Monday Mel!

  5. Teresa says:

    This looks so fabulous, and I am excited to make it. I am even more excited that I got this recipe in my email inbox after weeks of not receiving your posts. Thank you for fixing this problem, Mel. I hope other bloggers will take steps to fix things on their end so we can all continue to enjoy the wonderful recipes that you all work so hard on!!!

  6. Annette M. says:

    I know what I am going to have for dinner tonight now. Better go get the chicken thawing. Thanks for planning dinner for me. I am really a sucker for meals with lemon.

  7. Barb says:

    This is off the subject, but something for the suggestion box— More Videos Please!!
    I really enjoy those.

  8. Amanda says:

    If you were to use pre cooked rotisserie chicken how would you change the beginning of this recipe?

    • Mel says:

      Amanda – Just eliminate the oil and chicken and proceed with the recipe – then stir in the rotisserie chicken in at the end.

  9. Amy says:

    My two-year-old boy is sitting on my lap, and when he saw the pictures for this meal, he exclaimed, “That looks delicious!” I agree! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks, Mel!!

  10. J says:

    I love your blog and have tried many of your recipes. I haven’t been receiving your emails (and many others that I follow) for weeks now. And happily today I got this yummy recipe in my mailbox. Any idea why I haven’t been getting them?

    • Mel says:

      J – all I really know is that if blogger’s are using Feedburner for their email updates, it’s basically stopped working as well as it used to (and there’s virtually no customer support). The rumor is that the email service is phasing out of Feedburner. It sounds like bloggers will either have to switch to a paid email service (Feedburner is free) or deal with the hassle of hit and miss emails (and no solutions). I switched to MadMimi and have been super impressed. Goodbye, Feedburner! I’m so happy you (and others) received the email today!

      • J says:

        Thanks for your response. I will try harder to remember to look at your blog daily. Your recipes are awesome!

  11. This looks great! The whole email situation is so frustrating. We had a whole discussion in my blogger Facebook group about people switching if they still used Feedburner. I’m happy to tell you it came right to my inbox today like nothing ever happened.

  12. Amanda says:

    Wonderful recipe, looks so good! :)

  13. Cheryl says:

    What should I reduce my liquids to if I’m not using pasta? My husband and I are diabetic and shouldn’t eat pasta.

    • Mel says:

      Cheryl – I would leave out all of the liquid that the pasta would have been cooked in and just use 1/2 cup or so to steam the broccoli. Good luck.

  14. Sharon says:

    The photo definitely got my attention and made it tonight for dinner. Was awesome, great flavor and liked the fact I could use skim milk and not too much cheese…added a little chicken flavoring and turned out great. Thanks for another one pot dinner!!

  15. Pasta is my favorite dinner. Can’t go wrong with lemon and broccoli!!

  16. Marci says:

    What’s the secret to keeping those bits of chicken tender? Everytime I’m doing some kind of skillet chicken which involves browning it first, it ends up tough and dry and I end up picking it out and giving it to me 2 year olds that eat anything.

    • Mel says:

      Marci – It’s easy to overcook little bites of chicken like that – they really only need a few minutes in the pan. Usually tough/dry chicken is due to overcooking so watch it carefully!

  17. Christy says:

    Ok, so truth be told I didn’t have super high expectations for this one just looking at the ingredients, but it was a huge hit with my kids! They came back for seconds, which rarely happens around here. Definitely a keeper. Thanks!

  18. I love lemon pasta dishes! I am going to try a gluten free version!

  19. Jen says:

    This was great spring dinner. Instead of steaming the broccoli, I roasted it, and we loved the extra depth of flavor that it lended. Everyone went back for seconds!

  20. Shannon says:

    I made this for my family last night, and they loved it!!!! Thank you!

  21. marina hernandez says:

    hi mel, my comment this time is not about this recipe, me and my husband just come back from a trip to Italy and we love this soup ZUPPA RUSTICA, i have the pictures but i dont know how to attached, it was so good, but i cant find i recipe similar, did you have any idea how to prepare??



    • Mel says:

      Marina – I’ve never had that soup. You might have good luck googling to see if there is a recipe online somewhere. Sorry I’m not more help!

  22. Whitney says:

    Mel, this was definitely a success at our house. I have made so many recipes and not commented before, but I’m being brave and posting a comment. Thank you for helping me want to cook again. I got in a major rut after having my second baby in 2 years and continuing to work full time. I have also started baking all our bread again thanks to you. My husband says, after most dinners, “Thanks for a great dinner Whit (and Mel!)”. You’re appreciated here in our house for sure!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for the comment, Whitney! I’m so happy you are loving the recipes and that you have been able to pop out of your cooking rut (we all end up there at some point in time, right?). Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know!

  23. Cam says:

    This is soooo YUMMY!! I made this for dinner tonight — LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! There are only 2 out of 6 of us that like broccoli, so I substituted zucchini & it was a great substitution! (I would love it with broccoli too though, I just know it!)

  24. kuresh rana says:

    I like its

  25. Jenna says:

    Pinned it. My family will probably love this one. Thank you!

  26. Janet says:

    Let me just say that I am eating this as I write. This is amazing. I really appreciate your directions, the steps flow right in to each other. I can’t wait for hubby to get home to try it but I know what he will say, “restaurant quality”. I will definitely be exploring your site.

  27. Amy Michel says:

    This dish is amazing, we all loved it! Thanks for another hit, Mel!

  28. Natasha says:

    Great meal for leftover, over cooked chicken. Quick and everyone loved it!

  29. Diana P says:

    This looks fantastic, Mel! I will try it very soon. Do you have any experience with almond milk? I would like to try this substituting almond milk (which we drink exclusively here) for the milk. I’ve done it with other recipes successfully, but don’t know how it will react with the lemon.

  30. Jessica says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. This was amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe!!

  31. Recipleaser says:

    I love this one, Mel! I’ll definitely be making it for dinner this weekend! :)

  32. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Mel – I absolutely LOVE your blog and tell all my friends and family about it. I have tried loads of your dishes (LOTS of desserts, I must confess) and joyfully eaten my way through them all. I just wanted to note for those who are going to try this dish that you should really have a GIANT sized skillet. I have a fairly large one but had to split the dish after the pasta cooked and it was time to start adding things back in. Other than that tiny note the recipe was excellent. I’m warming it up today for lunch and couldn’t be happier about the large Pyrex of more leftovers still in the fridge! Thanks again for all your cooking.

  33. Fiona says:

    So good! I made this with asparagus because I forgot to buy broccoli and it was simple and delish :)

  34. Carrie says:

    This was great. The lemon flavor was just right. I used fresh basil out of my garden- next time I’ll add it in at the end because it got a little too cooked when I added when the recipe said. The leftovers were terrific!

  35. Rachael says:

    I love your blog! It is usually the first place I look for a new recipe. How about a video or picture tutorial about your favorite way to pat chicken dry. Perhaps it is intuitive to some but I always end up with a mess.

  36. Clare says:

    Making this tonight, but using the never-ending supply of zucchini coming out of my garden right now!

  37. Genesis says:

    I saw this recipe and it looks so delicious! I already have the chicken thawed out, i’m so excited to cook this tonight!

  38. Stephanie says:

    How would the cooking time for the broccoli be affected if I am using frozen florets as opposed to fresh?

    • Mel says:

      Stephanie – I’m not sure since I haven’t tried it but I’d probably cut it down a bit since the florets have been precooked a bit before freezing.

  39. Nancy says:

    Hi Mel ~ thank you so much for another wonderful recipe! I had looked at this recipe when you first posted it, but was not sure my husband would like it because of the lemon flavor. I had picked up some broccoli at the farmers market this week and was looking for a easy way to use it and saw this recipe again. So, made it last night and it was really good. Everyone loved it ~ me, my husband, my daughters, and a dinner guest. My middle schooler even took it for lunch today. You are actually well-known in our home as I make your recipes often. As a matter of fact, that wild rice hot dish looks pretty good for tonight. Thanks again ~ love you and your blog!

  40. Jennie P. says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit! Can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for your amazingly tasty recipes!!

  41. Nicole Riggs says:

    I have been trying a few new recipes a week to try to get out of my cooking slump, and this one was a huge success! :) Like my summer squash, I have more broccoli in my garden then I care to eat- so thank you again for saving me. This was a big hit with the kids and I was a bit sad that we didn’t have leftovers I have to say. Thanks Mel!

  42. Janelle says:

    This was a swing and a miss, but I fully admit that it’s probably my fault. I overcooked the pasta (and substituted whole wheat pasta when that was probably the wrong flavor for the dish), and I undercooked the broccoli, and added too much lemon juice. Results were edible but disappointing, but it probably would have been much tastier if I’d prepared it right.

  43. Marcie says:

    Thanks for another great recipe, Mel! My family usually grumbles when I say we are trying a new recipe; however, when I tell them it’s from you they are relieved! :) I’ve never had one of your recipes not turn out while some recipes I’ve tried from other sites have been awful! Thanks for all the great recipes!

  44. Michelle says:

    This recipe was fabulous but mine ended up more like soup and not creamy at all. I triple checked my ingredients and 4.5 cups of liquid seems like too much? The water is supposed to go into the skillet not just to cook the pasta correct? What was I doing wrong??? The good thing was it was still delicious but I’d like it to be creamy and not soupy next time. Help!

    • Mel says:

      You can try cutting back on the water, Michelle – I find I need that amount to cook the pasta until it’s tender without drying out but if your pasta was overly soupy, try cutting back by 1/2 cup to a cup and add more later if needed.

      • Michelle says:

        Thanks! I’ll try that.
        And I’m about to serve your honey glazed chicken and curried cauliflower. Can’t wait to see how it goes!

  45. Rick says:

    Thanks for this super delicious recipe! I modified it a bit by adding half an onion cut into slivers and about a tablespoon of capers (cooked at the same time as the garlic). Everyone loved it! :-)

  46. Mary Beth says:

    Hi! This recipe looks amazing, however I am confused on one part. Do you cook the pasta in the skillet or could you precook the pasta and drain off the water and then mix the rest of the ingredients in the pot instead?

    • Mel says:

      The recipe calls for cooking the pasta in the skillet – I’ve never tried precooking the pasta – you would want to significantly reduce the liquid if doing so.

  47. Laura Harper says:

    Fabulous! Enjoyed it very much. Next time I’ll add some lemon pepper to the chicken and the only changes I made this time was to cut down on the garlic and lemon zest. But great meal.

  48. Amy Curley says:

    Oh my gosh! So happy I stumbled upon this! This recipe was that exact something I have been craving and was super awesome because I had all the ingredients on hand. Biggest reason I want to double high five someone?? MY KIDS LOVED IT!!!! That being said, the reason I personally loved was the “cream” sauce. I am super lactose intolerant and this recipe allowed me to use the milk I can drink and make it seem like I was having cream. Parmesan cheese is one of the only cheese I can eat, so this was a home run from the beginning. Thank you so much! Now, to browse through ALL your recipes. Where’s my wine?

  49. Alison says:

    Hey there! This was a great recipe–thank you! It has been my favorite lemon chicken dish that I have used this winter…I am trying to figure out good go-to lemon dishes that will help us use the lemons from our tree. The sauce was so yummy! I overcooked the chicken a little so my only advice is to take them off heat when they are about 95% done–they will finish cooking on the plate and when you put them back in the skillet. I love skillet meals and became an instant fan when I first came across them in the ATK Family cook book. So glad you are a fan too!

  50. Alana Storms says:

    I made this tonight and it was a HUGE hit! My husband & my 1 & 3 year olds all went back for 2nd’s & 3rd’s. I didn’t have Parmesan or basil, & it still turned out amazing! Thanks for adding to my main dishes!

  51. Rebecca says:

    We had this last night and I even tried it for the first time with guests. That is definitely a compliment, trying a new recipe with visitors at the table! You seriously do amazing work, Mel and we are thankful. Made it exactly as you wrote it above and it was awesome. Thank you.

  52. Nancy says:

    Not a cook. So when you say oil is that olive oil?

  53. Chandra says:

    I made this for dinner last night, had it for lunch today and myself and my super picky track runner are looking forward to making it again. In love with this meal. Thank you!

  54. Sarah says:

    I have made this recipe several time with varying degrees of success. The first time was A-Maze-Ing. Tonight it had a very bitter taste. Any guesses why that would happen? I did use the juice of two large lemons so I’m wondering if maybe that’s too much?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sarah – bitterness can come from the zest of the lemon if too much of the white rind has been zested in. The bright yellow zest is what you are after. That might have been the case if you tasted a lot of bitterness.

  55. Derek says:

    Mel- this recipe is amazing. ALL of your recipes seems to be amazing- my wife and I were talking and realized that you supply our table with meals 3-4 times a week- the meals are healthy- easy- and OH SO SUPPER DUPER TASTY. Even our toddler likes your food. We made this one tonight for the umpteeth time and felt like we should say thank you. THANK YOU!!!

  56. Emily says:

    I thought I liked lemon – I’m definitely a fan of lemon but this was WAY too lemony for us and I didn’t even use half of the amount of lemon zest. It tasted like noodle lemonade. Surprisingly this is probably my least favorite recipe of yours that I have made (the rest have been generally awesome)!

  57. Priscilla says:

    Just found you site today! Plan on making this my with Sister. It looks and sounds good.
    Chicken and lemon are awesome together.
    Thank you!

  58. asha says:

    This was good. I just made it and it was delicious. I added some bird’s eye chili just because i love it spicy.

  59. Jodie says:

    Hi Mel. I made this tonight for dinner exactly like the recipe with adding 1 to 2 Tbs of ‘Better Than Bullion’ chicken base and it was so delicious I wanted to lick the plate clean. Thank you for this recipe it is most definitely a keeper.

  60. Tiffany says:

    I have made this a couple times & everytime it comes out great! I find u don’t have to use 1 type of brand of pasta, u can use any type of short pasta & it all works out great!! U can also use fresh basil as well. Thank u for posting this its a great find! =)

  61. Dina from Canada says:

    thanks for the wonderful recipe, Mel. It was a big hit!

  62. Sharon says:

    This is a delicious combination of simple, easily available ingredients. No cornflour in the cupboard (or it was well hidden) but still creamy with the parmesan. I’ve just discovered your blog and have a long list of recipes to try. (We started with raspberry salad in a parmesan basket.)

  63. Diane says:

    Love your site. Have you tried this with whole wheat penne?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t but I believe others did in the comment – it should work fine if you keep an eye on it and add any additional liquid if needed.

  64. Lori says:

    Wow! This is *so* good!! Just made it this evening for supper and I’m really glad I don’t have to share with anyone. Leftovers for lunch!

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