Chicken Scampi – a super simple chicken and pasta recipe that packs rich and buttery decadence, rounded by complex wine flavor, along with hints of bright lemon, and plenty of freshness from the garlic. It’s such a satisfying dish!
Chicken Scampi Pasta Recipe
Bite size chicken pieces are tossed with herbs and pan seared in a hot skill until gorgeously golden brown. Then they’re tossed in a glorious white wine reduction, garlic and butter sauce.
And to make it a hearty main dish it’s finished by tossing it all together with tender pasta. Talk about dinner done right! It will leave you craving it again soon.
And I’m sure it’s easily better than the infamous Olive Garden’s. Homemade can always beat a chain restaurant.
Another option here is to ditch the pasta and serve it with another hearty carb (to pair with that abundance of savory sauce) like crusty bread, potatoes or rice.
Chicken Scampi Ingredients and Substitutes
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts: Boneless skinless chicken thighs will work great too. Just cook a little longer as needed.
- All-purpose flour: I like to use unbleached all-purpose flour. 1 Tbsp cornstarch could be substituted.
- Italian seasoning: You can make your own blend using 3/4 tsp dried oregano 3/4 tsp basil and 1/2 tsp marjoram or thyme.
- Salt and pepper: Salt is used to season the chicken and also use to season your pasta when boiling.
- Unsalted butter: Salted butter could be used if needed just cut back on the amount of salt added to the dish.
- Olive oil: You’ll only need a little here. In a pinch another type of neutral flavored oil could be used.
- Garlic: I only recommend using fresh garlic here.
- Dry white wine: I like to use Sauvignon Blanc. Low sodium chicken broth could be used but it won’t have quite as much flavor.
- Red pepper flakes: These add a nice kick of heat, it can be omitted if preferred. If needed a little cayenne pepper can be substituted.
- Fresh lemon juice: If you had to lime juice could replace it.
- Thin spaghetti: Other good options are standard spaghetti, angel hair, linguine or fettuccine.
- Parsley: Dried could be substituted (I’d use 1 – 2 Tbsp), it just won’t be quite as fresh and flavorful.
- Parmesan cheese: Romano cheese will work great too.
Scroll down for full recipe with ingredient amounts, directions and print option.
How to Make Chicken Scampi
- Boil water in pot: Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook pasta (cook according to directions on package, to al dente. I find it’s best to start cooking the pasta in the boiling water while the wine is reducing in sauce).
- Dry chicken, toss with flour and seasonings: Dab chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Toss with flour, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper (I use about 3/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper).
- Melt portion of butter with oil: Meanwhile melt 3 Tbsp butter with 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Sear chicken: Add chicken and let sear until browned on bottom, about 4 minutes, turn and let cook through about 2 – 3 minutes.
- Set chicken aside: Transfer chicken and butter mixture to a bowl or large plate (continued below). Tent with foil to keep warm.
How to Make Chicken Scampi Sauce and Finish Dish
- Saute garlic: Place pan over medium-low heat. Melt 1 Tbsp butter. Add garlic and saute about 20 seconds (don’t brown it!). (At this point, separately add pasta to boiling water to cook to al dente.)
- Add wine, reduce: Pour in wine and red pepper flakes to butter garlic mixture and let simmer until reduced by about 3/4, about 5 minutes.
- Melt in remaining butter: Add remaining 4 tbsp butter and let melt.
- Add lemon, and chicken: Off heat stir in lemon. Return chicken to skillet and toss with sauce.
- Toss with pasta, garnish: Toss drained pasta with chicken, sauce mixture, and parsley. Garnish servings with parmesan and serve warm.
What to Serve with It
This is best served with some fresh vegetables that are steamed or roasted. Here’s some ideas:
- steamed or roasted broccoli or asparagus
- oven roasted vegetables medley
- roasted zucchini squash and tomatoes or go with just baked zucchini
- Don’t skip drying chicken. This removes some of the excess moisture on the exterior so it browns better.
- Use a hot skillet to brown the chicken. Preheat it. More browning will equal far more flavor.
- Select a decent wine. A really cheap wine will just ruin the flavor.
- Careful not to over-cook the chicken or it will be dry. Keep it warm in foil (don’t cover completely you don’t want to continue to steam and cook it).
- Keep wine away from flames (its flammable from the alcohol).
- Allow enough time for sauce to simmer. Otherwise alcohol flavor will overwhelm the dish, let the majority of it cook off.
- Cook pasta to al dente for the perfect texture.
More Delicious Pasta Dishes to Try
- Baked Ziti
- Pasta Carbonara
- Pasta Primavera
- Penne alla Vodka
- Tortellini with Pesto and Roasted Veggies
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- 1 1/4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced into 1-Tbsp pieces
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic (6 cloves)
- 12 oz. thin spaghetti (or standard)
- 1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 1/8 - 1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or Romano cheese, for serving)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook pasta (cook according to directions on package, to al dente. I find it's best to start cooking the pasta in the boiling water when the wine is reducing just before step 7).
- Dab chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Toss with flour, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper (I use about 3/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper).
- Meanwhile melt 3 Tbsp butter with 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken in a single layer and let sear until browned on bottom, about 4 minutes, turn and let cook through about 2 - 3 minutes.
- Transfer chicken and butter mixture to a bowl or large plate. Tent with foil to keep warm.
- Return pan to medium-low heat. Melt 1 Tbsp butter. Add garlic and saute about 20 seconds, don't brown it. (At this point, separately add pasta to boiling water to cook to al dente.)
- Pour wine and red pepper flakes into butter garlic mixture in skillet and let simmer until reduced by about 3/4, about 5 minutes.
- Add remaining 4 tbsp butter and let melt.
- Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice. Return chicken to skillet and toss with sauce, season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Toss drained pasta with chicken, sauce mixture, and parsley. Garnish servings with parmesan and serve warm.