Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine

Dive into a plate of Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine 🍝! Juicy chicken, sweet onions, and a creamy, tangy sauce come together for a comforting and delicious meal. Perfect for a cozy dinner at home!
Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine pinit

Hey there, fellow foodies! I can’t wait to share this fantastic Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine recipe with you. 🍝 It’s got everything you love – juicy chicken, sweet and savory caramelized onions, and a creamy sauce that ties it all together. Perfect for a weeknight dinner or when you want to impress your guests without too much fuss. Let’s get cooking and have some fun in the kitchen!

Try my One Pot Spinach and Salmon Pasta recipe.

What you’ll need to make Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine

Serves: 4

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. BBQ sauce
  • 10 oz. linguine
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 3 oz. parmesan cheese, freshly grated (+ extra for serving if desired)
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Chicken Linguine

When it comes to crafting a delicious pasta dish, the ingredients are key, and our Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine is no exception. We start with succulent, bite-sized pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned to perfection. The real flavor punch comes from the onions, slowly caramelized to bring out their natural sweetness and enhanced with a touch of balsamic vinegar and BBQ sauce for a hint of tang and smokiness.

The linguine is cooked just right – firm yet tender – ready to soak up the rich, creamy sauce made from heavy cream and freshly grated parmesan cheese. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds a burst of brightness, balancing the richness of the cream and cheese. We finish off with a sprinkle of chopped parsley for a fresh, vibrant touch, and of course, we can’t forget the essential seasonings of sea salt and black pepper to tie all these flavors together. Each ingredient plays a crucial role, making this dish a harmonious blend of savory, sweet, tangy, and creamy that’s sure to delight your taste buds.

Try my Vegan Marry Me Pasta Sensation recipe.

What you’ll need to do to make Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine

Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 40 min

Hey there, pasta lovers! Ready to whip up something delicious? Let’s dive into this Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine that’s bound to become a favorite.

1| First, grab your trusty skillet and heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Toss in your bite-sized chicken pieces and those lovely garlic slices. Season it all with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté everything, stirring now and then, until the chicken gets that nice golden color and is cooked through – about 6-7 minutes. Scoop out the chicken and garlic with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a plate. Don’t worry, they’ll be back soon!

2| In the same skillet, throw in your thinly sliced onions. Sprinkle a bit of salt to help them along and cook over medium heat. Keep stirring occasionally until the onions become soft and start to turn a beautiful light golden color – this should take around 18-20 minutes.

3| Now, it’s time to add a flavor boost! Stir in 1 tablespoon each of balsamic vinegar and BBQ sauce. Let everything cook until the onions are super soft and nicely caramelized, another 10 minutes should do the trick.

4| While your onions are getting all sweet and delicious, cook your linguine according to the package directions until it’s al dente. Don’t forget to save a cup of that starchy pasta water before you drain the noodles!

5| Back to the skillet – add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream, the juice from half a lemon, and 3 ounces of freshly grated parmesan. Give it all a good stir and bring it to a light simmer. Pour in a splash (about 1/4 cup) of the reserved pasta water and mix in your cooked linguine. Check the sauce consistency and add a bit more pasta water if you need to thin it out.

6| Finally, take it off the heat and serve your linguine topped with the sautéed chicken, a sprinkle of fresh parsley, and some extra parmesan if you’re feeling fancy.

7| Dig in and enjoy this hearty, comforting dish! Buon appetito!

Chicken Linguine

Some possible substitution and improvisation ideas for the recipe

Here are some substitution and improvisation ideas to keep your Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine fresh and adaptable:

Try my Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake recipe.



  • Swap chicken breasts with chicken thighs for a richer flavor and softer texture.
  • Use shrimp or tofu for a different protein option.

Heavy Cream:

  • Substitute with half-and-half for a lighter version.
  • Use coconut milk for a dairy-free alternative.

Parmesan Cheese:

  • Try Pecorino Romano or Asiago for a different cheesy twist.
  • Use nutritional yeast for a vegan option.


  • Replace with any pasta you have on hand, like fettuccine, spaghetti, or penne.
  • Use gluten-free pasta to suit dietary needs.



  • Add spinach, kale, or arugula for extra greens.
  • Mix in sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers for additional flavor.

Flavor Boosters:

  • Add a splash of white wine or chicken broth when cooking the onions for extra depth.
  • Incorporate a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.


  • Swap parsley with basil, thyme, or oregano for a different herbal note.
  • Garnish with fresh chives or green onions for added freshness.

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Sprinkle toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds on top for a crunchy texture.
  • Add a tablespoon of chia seeds or hemp seeds for a nutritional boost.

Sauce Variations:

  • Mix in a bit of pesto for a herby twist.
  • Stir in some creamy goat cheese or ricotta for a different creamy texture.

These substitutions and improvisations can help you tailor the recipe to your preferences or whatever you have in your pantry. Enjoy experimenting and making this dish your own!

Try my Red Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables recipe.

Some Tips for Success

Here are some useful tips to help you make the most out of your Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine recipe:

Perfect Caramelization:

  • Be patient with the onions! Cook them low and slow to achieve that deep, sweet caramelization. Rushing this step can lead to burnt bitter onions instead of sweet, golden goodness.

Seasoning Layers:

  • Season the chicken and onions as you cook them. Adding salt and pepper at different stages helps build a balanced flavor profile.

Chicken Cooking:

  • Make sure not to overcrowd the pan when cooking the chicken. This helps it brown nicely rather than steam. If needed, cook the chicken in batches.

Pasta Water Magic:

  • Don’t forget to reserve a cup of pasta water before draining. This starchy water is perfect for thinning out the sauce and helping it cling to the pasta.

Creamy Sauce:

  • When adding the cream and cheese to the caramelized onions, ensure the heat is on low to prevent the cream from curdling. Stir continuously to create a smooth, creamy sauce.

Fresh Ingredients:

  • Use freshly grated parmesan for the best flavor and texture. Pre-grated cheese often contains additives that prevent it from melting smoothly.

Lemon Juice:

  • Add the lemon juice off the heat to maintain its bright, fresh flavor without risking any bitterness from cooking.

Prep Ahead:

  • Save time by prepping ingredients ahead. Slice onions and garlic, chop parsley, and grate parmesan before you start cooking.

Herb Boost:

  • Add fresh parsley just before serving to keep its flavor vibrant and fresh. You can also mix some into the pasta for an even distribution of flavor.


  • Don’t hesitate to make this dish your own! Add your favorite veggies, swap proteins, or play with different herbs and spices to suit your taste. Refer my suggestions above.

By following these tips, you’ll ensure that your Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine turns out delicious every time. Happy cooking!

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Some serving suggestions

Here are some great serving options to complement your Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine:

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Side Dishes

Green Salad:

  • A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich pasta. Try a mix of arugula, spinach, and romaine with a lemon or balsamic dressing.

Roasted Vegetables:

  • Roast some seasonal veggies like asparagus, bell peppers, or Brussels sprouts. Their caramelized flavors will complement the onions in the pasta.

Caesar Salad:

  • A classic Caesar salad with crunchy croutons and a tangy dressing pairs perfectly with the creamy pasta.

Try my Caprese Bowtie Pasta Salad recipe.

Bread and Rolls

Garlic Bread:

  • Serve with warm, crispy garlic bread or garlic knots to soak up the delicious sauce.

Crusty Bread:

  • Serve with a loaf of crusty French or Italian bread to mop up the sauce.

Soft Dinner Rolls:

  • Warm, buttery dinner rolls can be a great addition to the meal.

Try my Healthy Chicken and Gnocchi Skillet recipe.


White Wine:

  • A crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio can balance the richness of the dish.

Iced Tea:

  • Refreshing iced tea, either sweetened or unsweetened, is a great non-alcoholic option.

Sparkling Water:

  • Serve with a slice of lemon or lime for a fizzy, palate-cleansing drink.

Garnishes and Extras

Extra Parmesan:

  • Offer extra freshly grated parmesan on the side for those who love a cheesy finish.

Chili Flakes:

  • Provide a small dish of red chili flakes for guests who enjoy a bit of heat.

Fresh Herbs:

  • Garnish with additional fresh parsley or a sprinkle of chopped basil for extra flavor and color.

Dessert Options


  • Finish the meal with a classic Italian dessert like tiramisu.

Panna Cotta:

  • A light and creamy panna cotta can be a delightful end to the meal.

Lemon Sorbet:

  • A refreshing lemon sorbet cleanses the palate and provides a light, tangy finish.

These serving options will help you create a well-rounded and satisfying meal that complements the flavors of your Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine perfectly. Enjoy!

Some storage suggestions

Here are some storage options to help you keep your Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine fresh:


Airtight Containers:

  • Store leftovers in airtight containers to keep the pasta fresh and prevent it from drying out. Properly sealed containers help maintain the flavors and texture.


  • Label the containers with the date to keep track of freshness. The dish should stay good for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.


Portion Control:

  • Divide the linguine into individual portions before freezing. This makes it easier to thaw and reheat just the amount you need.

Freezer-Safe Containers or Bags:

  • Use freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags to store the portions. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn.

Freeze Quickly:

  • Lay the bags flat in the freezer to ensure quick and even freezing. Once frozen, you can stack them to save space.



  • Reheat the pasta on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a splash of water or chicken broth to help loosen the sauce and prevent it from drying out.


  • Place the pasta in a microwave-safe dish and cover it loosely with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Heat in short intervals, stirring in between to ensure even heating. Add a little water or broth if needed.


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the pasta in an oven-safe dish, cover it with aluminum foil to retain moisture, and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Tips for Best Results

Fresh Herbs:

  • If using fresh parsley or other herbs as garnish, add them fresh after reheating to maintain their vibrant flavor and color.


  • If you plan to freeze the pasta, consider adding extra cheese only after reheating, as it may change texture when frozen and thawed.

Avoid Overcooking:

  • Be mindful not to overcook the pasta during reheating. Reheat just until warmed through to keep the pasta from becoming mushy.

By following these storage options and tips, you can enjoy your Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine even after a few days or weeks, ensuring that it remains delicious and satisfying.

Try my other dinner recipes, here.

And there you have it, folks! Our delicious Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine is ready to be enjoyed. I hope you loved making this dish as much as I do. The flavors are out of this world, and it’s sure to become a favorite in your home. Thanks for joining me on this culinary adventure. Until next time, keep cooking, keep smiling, and enjoy every bite! 🍽️

Glycemic index: 40 (low) Glycemic load: 26 (high)

Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine

Whip up this amazing Caramelized Onion and Chicken Linguine 🍜 in no time! With tender chicken, golden caramelized onions, and a dreamy sauce, this pasta dish is a sure hit. Let's get cooking!

Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 40 mins Total Time 50 mins Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 4 Estimated Cost: 12



  1. Step 1:

    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

  2. Step 2:

    Add the chicken and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. Step 3:

    Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the chicken develops some color and is cooked through, approximately 6-7 minutes.

  4. Step 4:

    Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and garlic from the skillet and transfer to a plate. Set aside.

  5. Step 5:

    Using the same skillet, add onions and cook over medium heat. Season with salt to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions become soft and start to develop a light golden color, approximately 18-20 minutes.

  6. Step 6:

    Stir in balsamic vinegar and BBQ sauce. Continue cooking until the onions are very soft and nicely caramelized, another 10 minutes.

  7. Step 7:

    In the meantime, cook the linguine al dente according to package directions. Before draining, reserve one cup of the pasta cooking water.


  8. Step 8:

    To the skillet with the caramelized onions, add the heavy cream, lemon, and parmesan. Stir well and bring to a light simmer.

  9. Step 9:

    Add a splash of pasta cooking water (1/4 cup or so) to the sauce and stir in the cooked linguine. Check consistency and add a bit more pasta water only if needed to thin the sauce to desired consistency.


  10. Remove from heat and serve the linguine topped with chicken, fresh parsley, and extra parmesan, if desired. Have fun!

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
Calories 655kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26.63g41%
Total Carbohydrate 64.44g22%
Sugars 7.89g
Protein 37.87g76%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Expand All:
Can I use a different type of pasta?

Absolutely! While linguine is a great choice for this recipe, you can use any pasta you have on hand, such as spaghetti, fettuccine, or even penne.

Can I make this recipe dairy-free?

Yes, you can! Substitute the heavy cream with coconut milk or a dairy-free cream alternative. Use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese for a cheesy flavor without the dairy.

How can I make this dish gluten-free?

Simply swap the linguine with your favorite gluten-free pasta. Everything else in the recipe is naturally gluten-free.

What can I use instead of chicken?

You can replace the chicken with shrimp, tofu, or even thinly sliced beef. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure your protein is cooked through.

How do I prevent the cream from curdling?

To prevent curdling, make sure to add the heavy cream over low heat and stir continuously. Avoid bringing it to a rapid boil.

Can I prepare any components of this dish in advance?

Yes! You can caramelize the onions ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This will save you some time when you’re ready to cook the pasta.

What should I do if my sauce is too thick?

If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water, chicken broth, or even a splash of milk to thin it out to your desired consistency.

How long do leftovers keep in the fridge?

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. For best results, reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave with a little added water or broth.

Can I freeze this pasta dish?

Yes, you can freeze it! Portion the pasta into freezer-safe containers or bags and store for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

What sides go well with this dish?

Garlic bread, a simple green salad, roasted vegetables, or a Caesar salad are all great sides to serve with this pasta.

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