Best Chicken Alfredo

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Chicken Alfredo is a creamy and rich Italian pasta dish, featuring fettuccine noodles coated in a velvety sauce made of butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese, and topped with tender, grilled or sautéed chicken.

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Chicken parmigiana on a white plate with parmesan cheese.

Creamy Dreamy Chicken Alfredo

The flavor profile of Chicken Alfredo is a harmonious blend of rich, creamy, and savory elements, creating a deeply satisfying culinary experience. The sauce, a luscious combination of butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese, is the star of the dish, offering a decadent creaminess that’s both smooth and velvety. The Parmesan cheese imparts a nutty and slightly tangy flavor, which balances the richness of the cream and butter. This creamy base provides a comforting and indulgent backdrop for the other flavors in the dish. The chicken, typically grilled or sautéed, adds a mild, meaty flavor that complements the sauce without overpowering it. Its tender texture and subtle savory notes are a perfect match for the creamy sauce, making each bite a delightful mix of flavors and textures.

Beyond the basic ingredients, Chicken Alfredo can often include a hint of garlic, which infuses the dish with a warm, aromatic depth. Some versions also incorporate a touch of black pepper or herbs like parsley, which introduce a slight piquancy and freshness, respectively, elevating the overall flavor profile. The fettuccine pasta, with its broad and flat shape, serves as an ideal canvas for the sauce, absorbing and holding onto the creamy mixture with each twirl of the fork. This allows for a perfect distribution of flavors in every bite, where the gentle, earthy taste of the pasta melds seamlessly with the rich, cheesy sauce and the savory chicken. The overall effect is one of comforting richness, with a complexity that comes from the blend of creamy, cheesy, and savory notes, making Chicken Alfredo a dish that’s both luxurious and satisfying.

Chicken parmigiana on a white plate with parmesan cheese.

How to Make Chicken Alfredo

First you will need the following ingredients:

  • Olive oil (1 tsp) – Olive oil offers a fruity, slightly bitter flavor with a peppery finish, enhancing dishes with its rich, smooth texture.
  • Chicken thigh or breast (6) – Chicken thighs have a juicy, tender texture with a richer and more intense flavor compared to chicken breast, owing to their higher fat content.
  • Unsalted butter (½ cup) – Unsalted butter provides a creamy, slightly sweet base, allowing for precise seasoning control.
  • Minced garlic (½ tsp) – Fresh garlic imparts a pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens upon cooking, adding depth.
  • Garlic powder (1 tsp) – Garlic powder offers a concentrated, slightly sweet garlic flavor.
  • Thyme (1 tsp) – Thyme delivers a subtle, earthy flavor with lemony and minty notes, a versatile herb.
  • Oregano (1 tsp) – Oregano provides a bold, aromatic taste with a slightly bitter, earthy flavor, commonly used in Italian and Mediterranean cooking.
  • Sea salt (¾ tsp) – Sea salt enhances flavors with its clean, straightforward salinity, and often contains trace minerals that add a subtle complexity.
  • Black pepper (½ tsp) – Black pepper adds a sharp, mildly spicy heat and a fragrant aroma, a universally used spice that enhances almost any savory dish.
  • Heavy whipping cream (2 cups) – Heavy whipping cream contributes a rich, creamy texture and a luxurious, buttery flavor.
  • Cream cheese (4 oz) – Cream cheese offers a mild, tangy flavor with a smooth, spreadable texture, it adds a wonderful creaminess.
  • Parmesan cheese (1 cup) – Parmesan cheese is known for its hard texture and sharp, nutty flavor, often used grated as a flavor enhancer in Italian cuisine.
  • Fettuccine (8 oz) – Fettuccine, a type of pasta, has a neutral, slightly eggy flavor, providing a perfect canvas for absorbing and complementing rich sauces like alfredo.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use this method:

  • Cook Pasta. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  • Brown Chicken. In a medium saucepan heat oil till medium high. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken till browned on both sides and cooked through. Set aside.
  • Melt Butter and Spices. Add the butter to the pan and let it melt. When hot and frothy add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes till browning and fragrant. Add the garlic powder, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. 
  • Add Dairy. Add the heavy cream and cream cheese. Whisk and heat until smooth. Add the parmesan cheese, stir and melt about 3 minutes till it thickens. 
  • Combine. Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta and top with cooked chicken.
A plate of pasta with chicken and cheese on it.

Tips and Tricks for Chicken Alfredo

Making a delicious Chicken Alfredo can be a rewarding experience, and with a few tips and tricks, you can elevate this classic dish to new heights. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

Quality Ingredients: Start with high-quality ingredients. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, good-quality cream, and fresh chicken make a significant difference in the final taste.

Cooking the Chicken: For the chicken, seasoning is key. Season it generously with salt, pepper, and any other preferred herbs before cooking. Sauté or grill it to a golden brown to develop a deeper flavor. Let the chicken rest a few minutes after cooking before slicing to keep it juicy.

Pasta Perfection: Cook the fettuccine al dente, as it will continue to cook slightly when mixed with the sauce. Reserve some pasta water to adjust the sauce consistency later.

Sauce Consistency: For the Alfredo sauce, heat the cream and butter gently to avoid separation. Add the cheese slowly, stirring continuously, to create a smooth sauce. If the sauce thickens too much, use the reserved pasta water to thin it to your desired consistency.

Balancing Flavors: To balance the richness of the sauce, a pinch of nutmeg or a squeeze of lemon juice can add depth. Be careful with salt, as Parmesan is already salty.

Combining Ingredients: Add the cooked pasta directly into the sauce and toss it over low heat. This helps the pasta absorb the sauce better, leading to a more flavorful dish.

Garnishing: Garnish with freshly chopped parsley or basil for a hint of freshness and color. A sprinkle of extra Parmesan cheese right before serving adds an additional layer of flavor.

Serving Immediately: Chicken Alfredo is best served immediately while the sauce is creamy and the pasta is perfectly cooked.

Experimenting with Additions: Feel free to add vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, or sun-dried tomatoes for added flavor and texture.

Reheating Leftovers: If reheating, do it over low heat and add a splash of cream or milk to bring back the sauce’s creamy texture.

Chicken parmigiana on a white plate.

FAQs

What kind of chicken is best for Chicken Alfredo?

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs are ideal for Chicken Alfredo. Thighs are juicier and more flavorful, while breasts are leaner.

How do I prevent my Alfredo sauce from becoming too thick or clumpy?

Ensure your sauce is cooked on low heat, and add the Parmesan cheese gradually while stirring constantly. If it becomes too thick, thin it with a little pasta water or additional cream.

Can I use pre-grated Parmesan cheese?

It’s best to grate Parmesan cheese freshly from a block for smoother melting and better flavor. Pre-grated cheese often contains anti-caking agents that can affect the sauce’s texture.

Is it okay to use half-and-half instead of heavy cream?

Yes, you can use half-and-half for a lighter version, but the sauce won’t be as rich and creamy as with heavy cream.

Can I make Chicken Alfredo in advance?

Chicken Alfredo is best enjoyed fresh. However, you can cook the pasta and chicken ahead of time and then make the sauce and combine everything just before serving.

What can I use if I don’t have fettuccine pasta?

Any pasta can work, but for best results, use a long, flat noodle like linguine or tagliatelle which holds the sauce well.

How do I reheat leftovers without the sauce separating?

Reheat gently over low heat, adding a splash of cream or milk to help re-emulsify the sauce.

How can I add more flavor to my Chicken Alfredo?

Infuse the cream with garlic and herbs like thyme or basil for added depth. Seasoning the chicken well and adding a pinch of nutmeg to the sauce can also enhance the flavor.

Is Chicken Alfredo suitable for freezing?

Freezing is not recommended as the cream-based sauce may separate and lose its smooth texture when thawed.

A fork is being used to hold a piece of chicken on a plate.

What to Serve with Chicken Alfredo

Pairing Chicken Alfredo with the right sides and accompaniments can turn it into an even more delightful meal. Here’s a list of items that go well with this creamy pasta dish:

Garden Salad: A fresh garden salad with a light vinaigrette dressing can balance the richness of Chicken Alfredo with its crisp, refreshing flavors.

Garlic Bread: Warm, buttery garlic bread is perfect for mopping up any leftover sauce and adds a nice crunch to the meal.

Steamed Vegetables: Lightly steamed vegetables like broccoli, green beans, or asparagus offer a healthy and colorful side that complements the creamy pasta.

Roasted Tomatoes: Oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, seasoned with herbs and olive oil, add a burst of acidity and sweetness to the dish.

White Wine: A glass of white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, can complement the creamy sauce of the Alfredo with its crisp and fruity notes.

Caesar Salad: A Caesar salad, with its creamy dressing and crunchy croutons, can be a rich but delicious side that echoes the creamy texture of the Alfredo.

Sautéed Spinach: Simple sautéed spinach, perhaps with a bit of garlic, adds a touch of earthiness and is a quick and easy way to incorporate greens into your meal.

Bruschetta: A side of bruschetta, with its fresh tomato, basil, and garlic topping, offers a refreshing contrast to the creamy pasta.

Grilled Seafood: If you want to add more protein, grilled shrimp or scallops can be a luxurious addition to the dish.

Roasted Mushrooms: Roasted or sautéed mushrooms, especially varieties like cremini or portobello, can add a deep, savory flavor that pairs well with the chicken and creamy sauce.

Try these favorites with your pasta

Chicken parmigiana on a white plate with parmesan cheese.

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A person holding a fork over a plate of spaghetti and best chicken [Keyword: alfredo].

Best Chicken Alfredo

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Chicken Alfredo offers a rich and creamy flavor profile, combining tender, savory chicken with a luxuriously smooth sauce of butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese, all served over a bed of delicate fettuccine pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 6 pieces chicken thigh or breast
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz dry fettuccine, or pasta of your choice

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan heat oil till medium high. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken till browned on both sides and cooked through. Set aside.
  3. Add the butter to the pan and let it melt. When hot and frothy add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes till browning and fragrant. 
  4. Add the garlic powder, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. 
  5. Add the heavy cream and cream cheese. Whisk and heat until smooth. 
  6. Add the parmesan cheese, stir and melt about 3 minutes till it thickens. 
  7. Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta and top with cooked chicken.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 547Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 20gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 150mgSodium 500mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 45g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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