How to Make Slow Cooker Olive Garden Chicken Pasta

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Make this easy, creamy slow cooker recipe and you'll understand why people love Olive Garden chicken pasta.

One of the popular TikTok recipes we love is Olive Garden chicken pasta, an easy slow cooker dinner that’s creamy, comforting and loaded with flavor. Serve it with a side of warm breadsticks, a glass of wine and some Frank Sinatra tunes, and it’ll feel like a night out at your favorite family restaurant!

What’s in Olive Garden Chicken Pasta?

Olive Garden Chicken Pasta ingredientsNancy Mock for Taste of Home

The ingredients for this recipe are so easy to find. Layer boneless chicken breasts, Olive Garden Italian dressing, cream cheese and Parmesan cheese in a slow cooker. In a few hours, you can slice or shred the chicken, stir in some pasta and dinner is ready! The bottled dressing is a great shortcut ingredient that serves as the cooking liquid and adds loads of zesty flavor from garlic, cheese and herbs.

How to Make Slow Cooker Olive Garden Chicken Pasta

This recipe is adapted from the version on The Magical Slow Cooker blog. It’s a hearty comfort dish that makes 6-8 servings. Serve it warm with breadsticks or garlic bread and a fresh green salad.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, trimmed of any fat
  • 1 16-ounce bottle Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling on the finished dish
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 16 ounces cavatappi pasta
  • Optional: Toasted breadcrumbs and minced fresh parsley

Editor’s Tip: Use fresh Parmesan cheese instead of shelf-stable shake cheese for this dish. It melts smoothly into the sauce.

Tools You’ll Need

Directions

Step 1: Start with the chicken

chicken for Olive Garden Chicken PastaNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick spray. Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in the bottom.

Step 2: Add the dressing and cheese

chicken and ingredients for Olive Garden Chicken PastaNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Pour all of the Olive Garden dressing over the chicken breasts. Place the brick of cream cheese on top of the chicken. Sprinkle the grated fresh Parmesan over everything, along with the black pepper.

Step 3: Cook the chicken

Set the slow cooker to high, cover and cook everything for about 4 hours until the chicken is done. (It should have an internal temperature of 165°F.) You can also cook it on the low setting for about 6-7 hours.

Step 4: Prepare the pasta

pasta for Olive Garden Chicken PastaNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Shortly before the slow cooker is done, cook the cavatappi pasta according to the package directions and then drain. Already threw the box out? Here’s how to cook pasta.

Step 5: Blend the sauce

sauce for Olive Garden Chicken PastaNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Using tongs or two forks, move the chicken to a plate or cutting board. Then, use a stick blender to blend the sauce inside the slow cooker for 2-3 minutes until it’s smooth and creamy. If you don’t have a stick blender, use a hand whisk.

Editor’s Tip: Blending the sauce at this stage before other ingredients are added is the easiest way to get a smooth and creamy sauce with no lumps or oily spots.

Step 6: Shred the chicken

shredded chicken for Olive Garden Chicken PastaNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Use two forks to pull the cooked chicken breast apart into shreds. You can do this on a cutting board or place the chicken back in the slow cooker and shred it there. The chicken should be very tender and pull apart easily. Place the shredded chicken back in the slow cooker, if you haven’t already.

Step 7: Add the pasta

chicken and pasta for Olive Garden Chicken PastaNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Add the cooked cavatappi pasta to the slow cooker. Gently stir everything together so the pasta and chicken are coated with the sauce.

Step 8: Serve

Olive Garden Chicken PastaNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Spoon the Olive Garden chicken pasta onto plates or pasta bowls. Top each dish with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. You can also sprinkle on finely diced parsley and toasted breadcrumbs for color and a little crunch.

Tips for Making Olive Garden Chicken Pasta

Olive Garden Chicken Pasta on the Plate Nancy MockNancy Mock for Taste of Home

What are some other methods for shredding chicken?

When it comes to how to shred chicken, you have a few options. If the chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, pull the chicken into shreds with your hands—this is actually an easier way to do it than using two forks, but only if the meat is cool. Another method is to slice the cooked chicken breasts into a few chunks and place them in the bowl of a stand mixer. Run the mixer on medium with the paddle attachment to break the chicken up into shreds in just a few seconds.

How can you make Olive Garden chicken pasta your own?

  • Change the pasta: This Olive Garden Crockpot chicken recipe works with other pasta shapes—just choose one that’s sturdy so it will hold up under the chicken and creamy sauce. Short pastas with twists or ridges to hold the sauce work well, including penne, rotini, rigatoni, elbow macaroni and gemelli. Or, go with flat, wide strands of pappardelle.
  • Use chicken thighs: Another swap you can make is to use boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts. Just increase the slow cooker time to about 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  • Add vegetables: When it’s getting near the end of the slow cooker time, lightly sauté some vegetables in a little olive oil until tender. Strips of red or green bell peppers, thinly sliced red onion, broccoli florets, or sliced cherry tomatoes are all good options. Stir them into the sauce with the pasta and chicken.

What can you serve with Olive Garden chicken pasta?

Breadsticks, of course! Make a batch of warm copycat Olive Garden breadsticks to serve on the side. An Italian chopped salad or roasted vegetables would also be tasty with your Olive Garden pasta.

How do you store leftovers of Olive Garden chicken pasta?

Once the pasta is cool, store any leftovers in a sealed dish in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat the pasta, stir in a little extra Olive Garden dressing or some cream first to help loosen the noodles and sauce.

You can also freeze this Olive Garden Crockpot chicken. Allow it to cool completely, then scoop the chicken pasta into one large casserole pan or into individual containers. Seal them well and then freeze for up to 3e months. To reheat, allow the frozen chicken pasta to thaw in the fridge overnight. Bake the covered casserole pan at 350°F for 45 minutes to an hour until it’s heated through. Individual containers can be warmed up in the microwave.

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Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.