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This one-pan chicken pasta combines lean chicken breast and sautéed spinach for a one-bowl meal that's garlicky, lemony and best served with a little Parm on top. I call it "Mom's Skillet Pasta" and she called it "Devon's Favorite Pasta." Either way it's a quick and easy weeknight dinner we created together and scribbled on a little recipe card more than a decade ago, and it remains in my weekly dinner rotation to this day. It's a simple dinner the whole family will love.

EatingWell.com, August 2018; updated January 2023


Read the full recipe after the video.

How to Make Chicken & Spinach Skillet Pasta with Lemon & Parmesan

This chicken pasta dinner is a family-friendly weeknight favorite. Made in just one skillet, clean-up is a breeze.

1) Start the Pasta

To get this dinner on the table fast, get the pasta cooking first. We call for penne pasta but any shape will work. If you have a gluten sensitivity, gluten-free pasta works well here. If not, using whole-wheat pasta will give you a boost of fiber without taking away from the flavor of the dish. Make sure not to overcook the pasta which can make the dish mushy at the end.

2) Cook the Chicken

While the pasta cooks, start the chicken. (You will want a high-sided skillet here or a large pot big enough to hold all of the ingredients.) You can use chicken breast or chicken thighs in this recipe. chicken breast is the better choice if you want a leaner dish with less trimming. Chicken thoughts offer a meatier flavor, but usually need to be trimmed. Make sure the pieces are cut about the same size so they cook evenly.

3) Finish the Dish

Once the chicken is cooked through, you finish the dish by making the sauce! Garlic adds a savory baseline flavor. Wine and lemon juice (and zest) are added to make the sauce bright and tangy. Bringing the sauce to a simmer helps meld the flavors and gets the pan hot enough to rewarm the pasta and wilt the spinach which is added at the end. This dish is at its best served right away sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in wine, lemon juice and zest; bring to a simmer.

  • Remove from heat. Stir in spinach and the cooked pasta. Cover and let stand until the spinach is just wilted. Divide among 4 plates and top each serving with 1 tablespoon Parmesan.

Nutrition Facts

scant 2 cups
335 calories; protein 28.7g; carbohydrates 24.9g; dietary fiber 2g; sugars 1.1g; fat 12.3g; saturated fat 2.7g; cholesterol 66.9mg; vitamin a iu 7100IU; vitamin c 30.8mg; folate 154.8mcg; calcium 143.6mg; iron 3.3mg; magnesium 107.9mg; potassium 684.5mg; sodium 499.2mg; thiamin 0.2mg.

3 lean protein, 2 fat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable