One Pot Marry Me Chicken Pasta

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‘Marry Me’ chicken pasta is so good, they say, that those you make it for will want to marry you! With the creamy and tangy sun dried tomato sauce, tender chicken breast and comforting pasta, it’s no surprise. The best part? Make this in about 30 minutes, and all in one pot, including the pasta!

Overhead of the top of a bowl of creamy chicken pasta with sundried tomatoes with a fork in it and with a red and white tea towel.

Why you’ll love it

Serve this marry me chicken pasta for dinner, and you’ll end up with marriage proposals. It’s that good, they say!

I’m already married, but I agree that this dish – essentially a creamy chicken pasta with sun dried tomatoes – is a real crowd pleaser. Even my very fussy little one gobbles it down.

Here’s what else I think you’ll love:

  • ONE pan only! This is a true one pan dish. You don’t even have to cook the pasta separately before adding it to the pot.
  • Ready in just 30 minutes. Only 1 pan to wash AND on the table in 30 minutes? This is surely a keeper!
  • Great for both kids and grown ups. As I said, this is mild flavored enough for your fussiest eater, and yet tasty enough for those with more refined palates!
  • Simple ingredients. Grab chicken breast, sun dried tomatoes and cream, and you probably already have most of the other ingredients in your pantry.
  • Makes a lot. Strictly speaking, this recipe serves 4. However, I find it goes further if you serve it with simple sides such as vegetables or salad and garlic bread.

About the ingredients

You’ll find a full list of ingredients with amounts in the recipe card below. But here’s a summary of what you need to know.

All the ingredients needed to make Marry Me Chicken Pasta including pasta, paprika, sun dried tomatoes, mustard, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, Italian herbs, raw chicken breast in flour, cream, garlic, parmesan, chicken broth, spinach and basil.

An onion (optional): For a little extra sweetness, you can part caramelize a sliced onion before adding the raw chicken. This does add an extra few minutes, however. Alternatively, you can add 2 tablespoons of caramelized onion chutney, or even a tablespoon of honey.

Chicken breast: You’ll only need 2 large chicken breasts, making this a fairly economical recipe. Slice into roughly 2 cm thick slices, then roll in flour. The flour helps to thicken the sauce as the meal cooks – magic!

I prefer to use chicken breast – it ends up nice and tender since it’s kind of ‘poached’ in the liquid – however you are welcome to use chicken thigh if you prefer.

Garlic: For me, 3 large cloves is about right. Feel free to increase or reduce the amount if you like.

Dried herbs and spices: If you don’t have mixed dried Italian herbs, you can simply substitute with a combination of dried herbs that you have in your pantry. Basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme are all great choices.

Paprika adds smokiness – I prefer sweet paprika – and mustard adds tang and spice.

Dried red pepper flakes or chili flakes are optional. I leave them out because of my young child, but usually serve a few chili flakes on the side for anyone who wants to sprinkle them over.

Pasta: Traditionally, Marry Me Pasta is made with penne for its ability to hold sauce well. Other great options are fusilli, rigatoni, ziti, farfalle (bow-ties) and other medium-sized pasta shapes.

Chicken broth (stock): Ideally, choose a good quality chicken broth.

Optional – for more complexity of flavor, you can replace half a cup of the broth with white wine.

Cream: You can use full fat (heavy) cream, low fat cream, or even half and half. I prefer full fat since there’s only half a cup of cream in the recipe.

Sun dried tomatoes: All sun dried tomatoes are not created equally! I actually prefer to use semi-dried tomatoes for more natural juiciness, sweetness and texture. Canned or jarred are fine.

Parmesan: Any fresh grated parmesan cheese is fine. Stirring this in at the end of cooking will finish thickening the sauce.

Spinach: This adds a nice contrasting splash of green to the pasta. I use pre-washed bagged baby spinach for convenience. You can even use frozen spinach if that’s what you have. Simply defrost and squeeze out the excess water.

Basil (optional): I like the freshness of basil on top to serve. You can substitute with another fresh herb such as parsley or chives, or just skip this step.

How to make marry me chicken pasta

If you’re going to include the onion, start by slicing and sautéing it in a little butter or olive oil for about 10 minutes. If not, move onto the next step!

Toss the sliced chicken breast with the quarter cup of flour. Then cook in a little bit of oil (or butter) until white on the outside (2 or 3 minutes).

Sprinkle all of the herbs and spices and seasoning all over the chicken.

Collage of 2 images showing raw chicken rolled in flour in a cast iron pot, and then with herbs and spices added.

Add the liquid, sun dried tomatoes and pasta. As much as you can, push everything down below the liquid. Simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the pasta is ‘just’ cooked (al dente!).

Collage of 2 images showing a red cast iron pot with all the ingredients for creamy chicken pasta with sundried tomatoes and then with all the ingredients mixed together ready to cook.

At the end of cooking, stir through the parmesan and fresh spinach.

Collage of 2 images showing a red cast iron pan with raw spinach on top of just cooked Marry Me Chicken Pasta with a wooden spoon in and then with the spinach mixed in.

Serve immediately with fresh herbs and more parmesan on top if you like.

Overhead of a blue and white bowl of Marry Me Chicken pasta with a fork in it on a grey tray and with a white and red checked tea towel.

Helen’s Top Tips

  • Don’t skip tossing the chicken in the flour. This helps to thicken the finished sauce ‘just enough’!
  • A medium-sized deep pot or skillet is best for this recipe. You want to be able to cover all the chicken and pasta with the liquid.
  • The partly caramelized onion adds a lovely touch of sweetness, but the pasta will still be delicious without this step if you’re short on time.
  • Try replacing half a cup of the chicken broth (stock) with white wine!
  • Stir occasionally during cooking, making sure to push the ingredients down below the liquid again each time.
  • For extra flavor, try adding chopped mushrooms and/or bacon at the start before cooking the chicken.

Serving idea

My favorite way to serve this delicious marry me pasta is with garlic bread (try this garlic bread in the air fryer!) and vegetables such as sautéed frozen broccoli, or sautéed frozen green beans, or just a simple green salad.

This way, the meal goes a bit further, too, serving 5 to 7 people rather than 4 if there aren’t any simple sides.

If you’re serving this dinner to guests, consider trying this easy Italian focaccia recipe, too!

Recipe FAQs

Does marry me chicken pasta reheat well?

It’s best eaten immediately after cooking when the sauce is creamy and plentiful. The pasta is still delicious when reheated the next day, but tends to soak up some of the creamy sauce. To reheat, simply cover and microwave individual bowls of pasta for around 3 to 3.5 minutes, or until the chicken is piping hot again. You could also reheat gently in a pan with a splash of extra broth or water.

Can I freeze it?

You can, but the texture may not be quite as good as when freshly cooked. To minimize the differences, only cook the pasta until ‘just’ cooked, then let cool to room temperature before adding to freezer safe containers and freezing for 1-2 months. Thaw completely in the fridge overnight before reheating.

How long does it last in the refrigerator?

3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

More family friendly 30-minute meals

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Closeup of the top of a pan of Marry Me Chicken Pasta with a wooden spoon in it.
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One Pot Marry Me Chicken Pasta

'Marry Me' Chicken Pasta lives up to its name! It's ready in around 30 minutes, made all in one pot (no pre-cooking the pasta!), and is creamy, tangy, comforting and satisfying. It's the perfect family friendly midweek recipe that even most fussy eaters will devour. Serve with vegetables or salad and garlic bread on the side.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 7 (with simple sides)

Equipment

  • cast iron

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 large onion, optional, sliced thinly (alternatively, 2 tablespoons caramelized onion chutney/relish or a tablespoon of honey)
  • 1 pound chicken breast, around 2 large chicken breasts, sliced into roughly 1 to 2cm thick slices
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour, (for gluten free, replace with gluten free flour or corn starch)
  • 3 cloves garlic, large, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon mixed dried Italian herbs, or other mixed dried Mediterranean herbs e.g. basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, sweet paprika (or any type)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard, Dijon (or other)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional (or amount to taste – alternatively, chili flakes)
  • 1 cup semi-dried tomatoes, or sun dried tomatoes (drained, if packed in oil, and sliced into strips if whole)
  • 8 ounces penne pasta, dried (other medium-sized pasta shapes work too e.g. fusilli, bow-tie)
  • 3 cups chicken broth , (stock)
  • ½ cup cream, any kind
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated (plus extra to serve, if you like)
  • 3 cups spinach, (I like pre-washed baby spinach for convenience)
  • fresh basil , optional, to serve (or parsley)

To serve (optional)

Instructions 

  • If including the onion, start by slowly cooking it in a little olive oil or butter in a medium-sized heavy pot or deep skillet for around 10 minutes until soft and sweet.
    1 large onion
  • Add a large drizzle of olive oil or a tablespoon of butter to the pot. Add the flour-coated chicken pieces and stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until white.
    1 pound chicken breast, ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Stir in the crushed garlic, then the dried herbs, paprika, mustard, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes/chili flakes if using.
    3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon mixed dried Italian herbs, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon mustard, ¾ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Add the semi-dried/sun dried tomatoes, pasta, chicken broth (stock), and cream. Push the ingredients down into the liquid and bring to the boil. Then turn the heat down to medium and let simmer for around 12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through and the pasta is just cooked but still has a bit of bite (al dente). Stir well once or twice during cooking.
    1 cup semi-dried tomatoes, 8 ounces penne pasta, 3 cups chicken broth, ½ cup cream
  • Now stir through the spinach and then the parmesan cheese. Serve immediately in bowls with a little more grated parmesan and fresh basil or other fresh herbs sprinkled over the top and with vegetables/salad and garlic bread on the side (if you like).
    ½ cup parmesan cheese, 3 cups spinach, fresh basil, garlic bread or other bread or toast, vegetables or green salad

Notes

Pan: The best pan to use is a heavy bottomed medium sized one that isn’t either too small or too large. You need enough surface area to cook all of the chicken in one batch, but not too much so that you can’t push all the ingredients down into the sauce to cook. Try a cast iron casserole pot, a deep medium-sized skillet, or even a large saucepan. 
Liquid: Feel free to replace half a cup of the chicken broth/stock with white wine for extra flavor.
Variation: Try cooking a little bacon and/or chopped mushrooms before adding the chicken.
Storing/Reheating: Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, marry me chicken and pasta will keep well for 3 to 4 days. Reheat separate covered portions in the microwave, or in a saucepan gently with an extra drizzle of water.

Nutrition

Calories: 629kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 44g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 118mg, Sodium: 1499mg, Potassium: 1786mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 3247IU, Vitamin C: 23mg, Calcium: 281mg, Iron: 6mg
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About Helen Schofield

Don't expect to find anything fussy or complicated here. Just QUICK, EASY & (mostly!) HEALTHY recipes from the Mediterranean and beyond. ENJOY!

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