This delicious slow cooker Olive Garden chicken pasta features tender, fall apart chicken that simmers all day in creamy and cheesy sauce! It is easy to put together, tastes amazing, and is the perfect dinner for a busy weeknight.
This is a copycat version of the popular Olive Garden chicken pasta recipe that you can make without much effort, fuss or mess. Since the recipe uses the restaurant’s own brand of salad dressing it has the same distinctive bright and zesty flavor with added lemon that they are famous for.
The entire family will enjoy this rich and filling crock pot meal. My daughter loved this recipe so much when I first made it she requested I make it again for her birthday dinner next week! It is a great way to get restaurant inspired food at home, even when you aren’t an experienced cook.
Why You Will Love This Chicken Pasta Recipe
This slow cooker recipe is a dump and go recipe that takes very little effort.
There are just 5 simple ingredients ingredients.
It is a delicious family friendly meal.
For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below
Chicken – I use skinless chicken breast with this recipe, which is also how it is made at Olive Garden. It would work fine with thighs though if you prefer dark meat.
Olive Garden Italian Dressing – This dressing is a creamy dressing you can buy at most grocery stores. You could use any creamy Italian dressing, but the official Olive Garden variety has a hint of lemon and will give you authentic flavor so the dinner tastes just like it would at the restaurant.
Parmesan cheese and cream cheese – This is a very cheesy dish and these two ingredients both flavor it and make it creamy.
Pasta – Any shape pasta works fine in this recipe. Penne pasta is traditional but I used rotini because my kids like that best. The pasta is actually cooked separately, not in the slow cooker, and added at the last minute. You could also skip the pasta and and serve it over rice or just by itself.
Spices – There is plenty of salt in the salad dressing, so you don’t need to add more. You could sprinkle on some black pepper if you like.
How to Make Olive Garden Chicken Pasta in the Slow Cooker
1. Add Ingredients
Before you start either spray your crockpot with cooking spray or use a crock pot liner. This will make cleanup much easier after you are done!
Then place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker and sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and pepper. Then pour 2 cups of the dressing over the top. If you bought the smaller 16 ounce bottle of dressing this is the entire bottle!
Then take the cream cheese block and cut or tear it into pieces. Scatter the pieces of cream cheese around the chicken.
Then put the lid on the crockpot and let the meal cook for 5-6 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
20-30 minutes before you are ready to serve dinner start a pot of boiling salted water for the pasta. Boil the pasta for the cooking time directed on the package and drain.
3. Add Pasta
Take the lid off the slow cooker. At this point the food won’t look that great, because the cream cheese will still be in chunks and everything will be in big pieces. But don’t worry, it is fine!
Shred the chicken with two forks. It should fall right apart without much effort. You might even be able to shred it just by stirring!
Stir so the cream cheese finishes melting and combines with the dressing to make a rich and creamy sauce. Then add the cooked pasta, scoop it out and serve.
How to Serve
Slow cooker Olive Garden chicken pasta is a very rich and creamy pasta dish. So it doesn’t need a lot of sides to go with it! I like to serve it with a side salad. If you buy a large sized bottle of Olive Garden dressing you can use the extra on the salad.
A little bit of grated parmesan cheese or fresh basil on top will make this Olive Garden chicken even better. And garlic bread or breadsticks are always a great accompaniment to any pasta dish. Serving an easy vegetable like green beans or broccoli is a great way to make this a more well rounded meal.
How to Store
Store leftover chicken pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. When you reheat you will probably want to add some milk or cream because it will thicken as it cools.
Yes, you don’t have to use noodles. This dish tastes great over rice or another grain like quinoa. You can also just serve it by itself, which makes it a lower carb dinner.
No, don’t put frozen breasts in a slow cooker. The crockpot will not get hot enough fast enough to cook them through. Using frozen meat will put you at risk of food poisoning.
This is a creamy and cheesy sauce, but it isn’t really like alfredo sauce. The sauce has a distinct lemon taste from the dressing, which is not a typical alfredo flavor.
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- 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast (2 pounds)
- 2 cups Olive Garden Italian Dressing
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved
- 8 ounces cream cheese, (1 block)
- ground black pepper to taste, optional
- 8 ounces pasta, penne, rotini or your family favorite
- Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Put the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. Make sure they are thawed.
- Pour the Olive Garden Italian dressing over the top.
- Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top. Then cut up a block of cream cheese and distribute it around the meat.
- Put the lid on the crock pot and let it cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- About 20-30 minutes before you want to eat cook the pasta according to the package direction and drain.
- Take the lid off the slow cooker. Use two forks to shred the chicken. It should fall apart without much effort.
- Stir to mix the cream cheese together with the shredded meat. Add the pasta and stir to combine.
- You can also keep the pasta separate and spoon the chicken out onto it as desired.
- If you are trying to make it look just like Olive Garden's dish use penne pasta.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 367Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 235mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 32g
Nutrition facts are estimates.