chicken alfredo recipe
Main Dish

Chicken Alfredo Recipe

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For as long as I can remember, fettuccine Alfredo has been a favorite dish of mine when dining out at Italian restaurants like the Olive Garden. Eventually, I found a copycat Olive Garden Alfredo sauce recipe to try making at home. I have been making this chicken Alfredo recipe for years now. And I adapted it into a whole Olive Garden-inspired meal.

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Getting Started

The recipe card only covers making the chicken, pasta, and sauce. So here is an outline of steps to make a full Olive Garden-themed meal. Ultimately, this loose guide helps keep me on track while I’m cooking.

  1. Prep lettuce – Make sure lettuce is washed and chopped. To wash a head of lettuce, I use a colander and a salad spinner. After I wash the leaves in the colander, I tear them into bite-sized pieces as I toss them in the spinner.
  2. Defrost chicken, if applicable – If you’re not using fresh chicken and did not place frozen chicken in the fridge the night before. At this point, it’s time to get it defrosting in the microwave.
  3. Preheat grill or skillet – Get the grill or cast iron pan warming up now for the chicken.
  4. Preheat oven – Start the oven for the breadsticks. You could also skip this step and use an air fryer instead.
  5. Start pasta water – Fill a large saucepan with water. Add salt. Bring to a boil.
  6. Start sauce – Start melting the butter in a small saucepan.
  7. Put chicken on – Salt and pepper the chicken before placing it on the grill, or in a cast iron pan with a splash of olive oil.
  8. Finish prepping salad – I like my salad to come to room temp, so this is when I’ll start assembling the salad in individual salad bowls or family-style in a large bowl. Place lettuce in bowls, add croutons, shredded parmesan cheese, and any other toppings. I like it when everything has had a chance to marinate in the Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing. I add that now, too.
  9. Prep pasta and sauce – Bring the pasta and sauce together.
  10. Breadsticks in oven or air fryer – Throw the breadsticks in the oven or air fryer.
  11. Chicken off – Using a meat thermometer, check the temperature of the chicken. Once at temp, remove to a warmed plate and let rest for a few minutes. Then slice.

Chicken Alfredo Recipe Ingredient Recommendations


I recommend using fresh chicken breast cutlets. Sometimes they are packaged and labeled as thin-sliced chicken breasts. Frozen chicken cutlets are okay, too. I usually have some in my freezer. When using frozen cutlets, I defrost them in the fridge the night before or in the microwave right before cooking.

Grill the chicken if possible. Otherwise, the next best option is to use a cast iron skillet but any skillet will do.


Store-brand, dried fettuccine pasta is my recommendation.


For the garlic, you can’t go wrong with freshly minced garlic cloves. However, prepared minced garlic works just as well. For quick reference, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic is equivalent to one clove of garlic. 

Heavy Whipping Cream

Store-brand, heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream will do.

Cream Cheese

I recommend regular, store-brand cream cheese. As opposed to a low-fat, whipped or flavored cream cheese. This recipe calls for a small amount of cream cheese. And, as a quick tip, if I have any leftover celery stalks from a recent batch of Pub-Style Cottage Pie, I use the remaining cream cheese with the celery to make a great snack.

Parmesan Cheese

Bagged, shredded parmesan cheese is best. Store-brand, grated parmesan cheese works, too. Stir the cheese in gradually because it wants to sink right to the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring ocassionally until it is incorporated and unlikely to leave a sticky, overcooked mess at the bottom of the pan.

Chicken Alfredo Recipe Ingredient Alternatives


Of course, to make this meal vegetarian, omit the chicken.

Chicken Alfredo Recipe Finishing Touches

Follow the chicken Alfredo recipe instructions to use some of the pasta water and help the sauce stick to the pasta and add the ultimate creamy touch. For this mantecare-esque technique, I will either first drain some of the pasta water into a large measuring glass, or use a ladle to transfer a few scoops of the water into the measuring cup, and then drain the rest of the water into the sink. If I forget to grab a measuring glass and don’t want to dirty another dish, I may just drain most of the pasta water into the sink and just leave some pasta water in with the noodles.

Either way, add the sauce to the drained pasta and toss together with pasta tongs.

Serve the pasta in a warmed pasta dish. Then, top with chicken, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and a pinch of parsley.

Chicken Alfredo Recipe Pairings

As I have noted above, turn this dish into a meal by pairing it with a tossed salad and breadsticks. For the salad, use Olive Garden croutons and Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing

Store-brand frozen breadsticks or cheese-stuffed breadsticks are my go-to. I love dipping them in the Alfredo sauce and soaking up the tangy salad dressing.

Additionally, a glass of chilled Chardonnay pairs great with this chicken Alfredo recipe, too.

Chicken Alfredo Recipe Leftovers

After serving two people, this recipe provides 2-4 leftover servings. Store leftovers in the fridge and use within a few days. Reheat the chicken and pasta in the oven or microwave. The sauce will break when reheating. I find it separates more when microwaved than when warmed in the oven.

And if you still have the salad fixings and breadsticks (and the wine!), treat yourself to the whole meal all over again with the leftovers!

Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

Course: Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 4


  • 8 oz fettuccine pasta
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 c Parmesan cheese, grated or finely shredded
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • parsley, fresh or dried


  • Fill large pot with salted water. Bring to a boil.
  • While the pasta water gets underway, begin sauce. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook for two minutes. Then add in heavy cream and cream cheese. Heat until bubbling, but do not boil. Slowly add in Parmesan cheese while stirring. Mix until the cheese melts. Keep warm on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Once pasta water is ready, place the fettuccine noodles in the boiling water. Boil for 11 minutes.
  • While pasta and sauce cook, prep and cook chicken cutlets. Heat oil in a skillet. Salt and pepper each side of chicken cutlets. Add chicken to pan. Don't overcrowd. May need to cook in batches. Cook until internal temperature reads 165F, 3-5 minutes per side.
  • Once pasta is ready, drain, preserving some of the pasta water. Add Alfredo sauce to the pasta. Toss and add a splash of the reserved pasta water. Toss until mixed.
  • When chicken is ready, serve sauced pasta and top with sliced chicken, and a sprinkle each of Parmesan and parsley.

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