Full of flavor and incredibly creamy, Pressure Cooker Chicken Pesto Penne Pasta is a one pot dump and cook recipe sure to satisfy every member of your family.
Extending on the ever so delicious LOW CARB Instant Pot Pesto Chicken recipe, I thought I would turn it into a pasta dish. So many non-low carb folks have asked about adding pasta to this recipe. Low carbers can use low carb pasta!
The rich flavors of the pesto, garlic and tomatoes come together with chicken broth infused pasta for a one pot dish, which is divine.
This incredibly satisfying and creamy meal is ready to eat in under 25 minutes.
Jump to Section
Ingredients for Pressure Cooker Chicken Pesto Penne
- Chicken Breast – thighs can be used instead.
- Onions and Garlic
- Basil Pesto
- Penne Pasta – any type of pasta can be used!
- Fresh Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes
- Spinach or Kale
- Alouette Cheese or Boursin Cheese – see notes below
We love penne pasta in this recipe. What’s great is that you can choose whichever type of pasta you prefer.
If you like a lot of onions, feel free to add more than what is called for in the recipe below.
How to Make Pressure Cooker Chicken Pesto Penna
- Just dump it all in.
- Really, it is that easy.
There is an order for the ingredients and I have included process shots so you can follow along or watch the video to see exactly how Pressure Cooker Chicken Pesto Penne is made.
Pro Tip: Onions and chicken release quite a bit of liquid, so the overall volume of liquid is therefore reduced.
Can Pressure Cooker Chicken Pesto Penne Be Frozen?
Pressure Cooker Chicken Pesto Penne can be frozen into portions and then reheated using the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker or if bringing to work, it can be reheated in the office microwave.
If using the microwave and to ensure the pasta won’t become overcooked, I suggest first allowing the container with the chicken pesto penne to thaw out in the refrigerator, although if your office is cold, perhaps keeping it on the counter for a bit will help it start thawing quicker. However, please note that it is always best to thaw raw food in the refrigerator.
If reheating in the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker, add a cup of water to the cooking pot and place the chicken pesto penne into a stainless steel pan. Use the pot in pot method and use a cook time of 5 minutes, with a 5 minute natural pressure release. If reheating frozen, you may need to add 5 minutes to the cook time.
See my Pressure Cooker Perfectly Cooked Pot In Pot Rice recipe to get a visual of cooking pot in pot, when water is being used in the cooking pot, as opposed to cooking a second dish over a main dish.
What is Better than Bouillon Chicken Base?
- It is a condensed paste, used to make broths, stocks and as a flavor enhancer.
- Better than Bouillon Chicken Base is a great ingredient to keep in your refrigerator at all times.
- When mixed with water, it becomes a broth, which can be used in place of recipes calling for chicken broth.
There are many flavors of Better than Bouillon, so make sure to stock up on the basic flavors like chicken and beef.
Better than Bouillon Chicken Base can be used as a flavor booster to recipes too. My Pressure Cooker Salisbury Steak w/Onion Mushroom Gravy recipe, for instance, uses a little in the meat patties and gives this dish a huge boost in flavor.
If you love garlic, more can be used.
Can I Use Jarred Garlic?
- Yes, there are many brands of minced jarred garlic, which are great to use and are a time savor.
- Fresh garlic is wonderful, but when you do not have any on hand, just grab a jar and squeeze. Cooking should be fun and if pre-minced ingredients make your life easier, just use them!
One of the beauties of this recipe is that you can use your favorite pasta or even spaghetti noodles.
Pasta, spaghetti, noodles (whatever you want to call them) are quite interesting when deciding which to use in a recipe. There are so many shapes and sizes of noodles and some pair better with one recipe over another.
For instance in my Instant Pot Baked Ziti (Pressure Cooker) recipe, I would never use angel hair pasta. That recipe begs for a heavier noodle, such as ziti or rigatoni.
What Pasta Can I Use in Pressure Cooker Chicken Pesto Penne?
- Instant Pot Chicken Pesto Penne is best paired with a medium pasta noodle, like penne rigate (and why the recipe is called Chicken Pesto Penne).
- Bow tie pasta is very nice. You might see this this type of pasta called “farfalle,” or “butterfly” pasta.
- Fusilli and even linquine would be nice with Chicken Pesto Penne.
Pro Tip: Make sure to use a good brand of pasta like De Cecco, as it holds up very well when cooked under pressure.
Pro Tip: Amazon often has the best price of the De Cecco brand and it can even be ordered using Subscribe and Save. I usually order the five packs, which is cheaper than the grocery stores. If you look at the Amazon listing, you will get a choice of various shapes of pasta and noodles.
Chicken can be cut into strips or pieces.
Can Dark Meat Chicken Be Used in Pressure Cooker Chicken Pesto Penne?
Dark Meat is fine to use when making Chicken Pesto Penne. If you use dark meat, just add it to the cooking pot before adding in the pasta.
Dark meat takes longer to cook.
Alouette cheese was developed by a French cheese maker who came to the US in 1974 and created a brand new specialty cheese which would combine traditional French recipes with the American palette.
Boursin cheese is a brand or type of Gournay cheese, which is the Normandy region of north western France. It is a wonderful blend of a soft cheese, similar to cream cheese with herbs mixed in. Both types work well in this recipe.
Pro Tip: If you cannot find Alouette cheese, use Bourin cheese. If you cannot find either of those in your area, a simple substitute it for cream cheese, a little cream, butter and Italian seasonings.
Can Kale Be Used Instead of Spinach for Chicken Pesto Penne?
- Yes, kale adds great nutrients to Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Chicken Pesto Penne.
- Use as much or as little as you like. Same goes for the tomatoes.
Did you know that one serving of kale is better than three servings of another green vegetable?
Watch the video below as I walk you through every step and detail of this recipe. I’ve given you a ton of information above, but sometimes a live visual of the process helps so you can follow along. I have my own cooking show on my YouTube Channel, so be sure to check it out and subscribe!
Watch my video and then scroll to the bottom for the printable recipe card.
Tips and Tricks for Pressure Cooker Chicken Pesto Penne
- White meat chicken goes over pasta, dark meat goes under.
- If you don’t have Alouette or Boursin cheese, check the “Notes” section for the sub.
- Add as much or little spinach as preferred.
- Cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes are best.
Casserole and one pot meals are so wonderful to make for several reasons. One pot, little work, delicious and only one pot to clean!
Enjoy a creamy comfort meal any time of the year!
More Pressure Cooker Chicken Casserole Recipes to Make:
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
- Instant Pot Bagels Lox and Cream Cheese Pasta + Video!
- Pressure Cooker One Pot Chicken and Rice
- Pressure Cooker Chicken Enchiladas
Don’t you just love one pot meals? For a full list, check out these one pot recipe meals.
Kitchen Equipment and Essentials
- Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker
- J.A. Henckels Classic 7-inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
- Amco Advanced Performance 18/10 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
- Simply Gourmet (Dry) Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
- Anchor Hocking Glass (Liquid) Measuring Cups
- di Oro Living Silicone Spatulas Set
- My FANTASTIC Teak Cutting & Charcuterie Board & Compartments
Caring is sharing! If you would like to support This Old Gal, please share this recipe on Social Media, so that I can continue to bring you more wonderful recipes!
If you share a picture of something you make from our blog, tag it with #thisoldgalcooks so we can see it. We might feature it on Instagram! It makes my day when I see you’ve made one of our recipes!
Here is the handy printable recipe:
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Pesto Chicken Penne PastaPrint Pin SaveSaved! Rate
- 1 medium Yellow/Brown Onion sliced medium/thin
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 3.5 cups Chicken Stock/Broth (or 4 teaspoons Better than Bouillon Chicken Base + 3.5 cups water)
- 1 pound Penne Pasta
- 4 cloves Fresh Garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
- 2 pounds Chicken Breast boneless/skinless (cut into 2 inch chunks)
- 5 ounces Basil Pesto jarred or fresh
- 6 ounces Boursin Cheese Italian seasons
- 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
- 4-5 cups Spinach sliced
- Slice onions and place into cooking pot.
- Add butter to cooking pot. (If using chicken base + water instead of chicken broth, add chicken base now.)
- Pour in penne pasta.
- Add minced garlic and sea salt.
- Pour chicken broth over the penne pasta. (If using chicken base + water instead of chicken broth, add water now.)
- Place chicken pieces on top of pasta.
- Pour in pesto sauce to cover chicken.
- Cut Boursin cheese into chunks and place on top of chicken and pesto sauce.
- Lock lid in place and close pressure valve. Cook at high pressure for 3 minutes. When beep sounds, wait 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure.
- Remove lid and stir pasta.
- Stir in spinach and halved cherry tomatoes.
This Old Gal's Pasta Rule of Thumb
- Any type of pasta or semolina noodle is fine to use in this recipe.
- Look at package of pasta and find the variable cook time. Choose the lesser time given and then subtract 2 minutes. For example, if your package of pasta says "cook for 8 - 11 minutes," take that 8 minute number and cut it in half, which is 4. Then subtract 2 minutes from the 4 minutes and you will end up with the proper cook time. In this case the cook time will be 2 minutes.
- After the 2 minute pressure cook time is up, wait 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure.
- If the variable cook time on your package of pasta is 11 - 16 minutes, err on the lesser side. In this instance, the cook time would be 3 minutes. It is better to end up with overly firm pasta rather than mushy because you can continue to cook the pasta, but if it is mushy, there is nothing you can do to correct.
- If the pasta is too firm or al dente for your taste, simply put the lid back on the pot and let the pasta sit in the hot pot. The residual heat will continue to cook the pasta. Check after a few minutes to see if the pasta has reached the perfect firmness for your liking. If not give it a stir and let sit some more.