Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta

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Instant Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta — Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that’s perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.



Easy Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta Recipe

There’s something about juicy seasoned chicken nestled in between al dente cooked penne pasta and crisp-tender broccoli, and all tossed together in a creamy cheese sauce that’s irresistible.

Actually, what’s almost more irresistible is that this is an easy instant pot pasta recipe, yes it’s a one-pot meal, and it’s ready in 30 minutes.

And the nice thing about using an Instant Pot is that the pasta cooks in the same pot you cook the chicken in, no separate boiling and draining required.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

You also make the heavenly sauce with cream cheese, heavy cream, Colby Jack, and Parmesan cheese in that same pot too.

But don’t worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot or other similar pressure cooker because stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

How ever you decide to make this cheesy broccoli chicken pasta recipe, it’ll be a guaranteed family favorite, especially on busy weeknights when you’re trying to get dinner on the table quickly and satisfy a variety of tastes and preferences.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Ingredients in Creamy Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta

This Instant Pot chicken broccoli pasta recipe is made with simple pantry and refrigerator staples that you may already have on hand. Quick, easy, and inexpensive – what’s not to love?

Let’s take a look at your shopping list:

  • Unsalted butter or olive oil
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Mustard powder
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Penne pasta
  • Reduced sodium chicken broth
  • Cream cheese
  • Fresh broccoli florets
  • Heavy cream
  • Colby jack cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil, optional for garnishing
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional for garnishing

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

How to Make Cheesy Broccoli Pasta with Chicken in an Instant Pot 

This one pot dinner recipe is a well rounded meal that your pressure cooker practically much makes for you. It’s the definition of a hassle-free recipe with very little prep time when you follow my straightforward and simple directions:

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Step 1: Set your Instant Pot to sauté and melt the butter.

Step 2: Combine all of the seasonings in a zip-top bag, place the chicken breasts in the bag, and shake to coat.

Step 3: Add the seasoned chicken to the Instant Pot and sauté.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Step 4: And the pasta, chicken broth, stir to combine, place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the vent is sealed. Set it to high pressure for 3 minutes.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Instant Pot Tip

It will take a little bit for the pressure to build up, and the food will be cooking while the pressure builds. So even though the Instant Pot is set for 3 minutes, it’s actually longer. It would be very tricky to cook chicken properly in only 3 minutes!

Step 5: When the timer is done, do a quick release and open the pot using a dish towel with pot holders on your hands and be careful – the steam is hot and can burn you!

Step 6: Change the setting back to sauté and add the cream cheese, place the lid back on the Instant Pot and let it sit for 2 minutes. Then turn off the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Step 7: Add the broccoli, place the lid on, and allow the broccoli to simply steam undisturbed for about 5 minutes.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Step 8: Open the lid, and stir to combine the melted cream cheese and steamed broccoli in with the other ingredients.

Step 9: Stir in the heavy cream, Colby Jack, and the Parmesan.

Step 10: You can enjoy this pasta as it is, but it’s best when it’s garnished with fresh basil, crushed red pepper flakes, and an extra sprinkle of parmesan on top of your pasta dish.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

How to Make Chicken Broccoli Pasta on the Stove

No Instant Pot? No worries!

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, but still want to make this easy broccoli pasta with chicken, it’s fast and easy on the stove, too. It’s a two pot recipe – one to cook the chicken, one to boil the pasta and broccoli – and it’ll all be ready in about 25 minutes.

For stovetop cooking directions, do as follows:

  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter (or use 2 tablespoons olive oil instead), add the chicken, add the seasonings (or shake the chicken and seasonings all together in a ziplock beforehand like in the Instant Pot method), and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring and flipping the chicken intermittently to cook evenly. Allow it to rest in the skillet when it’s done. Tip – Use as large and deep of a skillet as you have and check out my recommendations below.
  2. While the chicken is sauteing, get started boiling the penne pasta separately in a pot of water and cook it according to package directions
  3. In the last 3 minutes, add the broccoli florets.
  4. Drain the water when the pasta is al dente. Reserve 3 cups of pasta water. This is going to take the place of the chicken stock in the IP version.
  5. Add the drained pasta and broccoli to the skillet with the chicken, add the cream cheese, heavy cream, Colby Jack, Parm, and stir to combine and allow the cheeses to melt.
  6. Depending on how thin or thick you like your sauce, add the reserved pasta water, a little bit at a time, and stirring as you go. Tip – You will probably only use 1 to 2 cups, max.
  7. Taste, make any necessary seasoning adjustments, garnish as desired, and serve!
Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Large Skillet Favorites

Anytime you’re cooking and then mixing together a pound of pasta, a pound of chicken, and many ounces worth of cream cheese and cheese, you want to make sure you have a skillet or pot big enough for the job! In this case, in case you’re not using an Instant Pot, here are my 3 favorite large skillets:

LeCrueset 11.75-inches with Lid. The lid isn’t completely necessary for this recipe, but it’s a nice touch when you’re trying to get the cheese and cream cheese to melt by covering it.

All-Clad D5 Stainless Steel 3-Quart Pan. There are hundreds of chicken dinners you will see photographed in this pan on my site. Here is also the Amazon link for the same All-Clad 3-Quart Pan.

All-Clad D5 Stainless Steel Essential Pan, 4-Quart. Another one that is a workhorse and my favorite thing to make in this pan is Chicken Pad Thai because it holds a ton!

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Serving Suggestions for Instant Pot Broccoli Pasta with Chicken

Instant Pot chicken and broccoli pasta is a nicely filling meal by itself. However, if you’re looking for some salad and side dish options, here are a few of my favorites:

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta – Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that’s perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Storage Suggestions for Chicken Broccoli Pasta

Have any leftovers? Not to worry. This cheesy pasta dinner recipe keeps airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheat it gently in the microwave.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

FAQs

Do I have to use an Actual ‘instant pot’ brand pressure cooker?

For this recipe I use the classic 6-quart Instant Pot which was the original model. However, if you have the newer 8-quart it’ll work just fine. Other brands of pressure cookers will also work. I designed the recipe for use with the actual Instant Pot brand since it’s the most popular with my readers but you can improvise and adapt if you have another brand of pressure cooker.

Can I make creamy chicken broccoli pasta without an instant pot?

You sure can! Make it on the stove by following what I outline above in the post body or in the recipe card.

Can I use other pasta?

I know it’s tempting to use other types of pasta shapes because you’re thinking, pasta is pasta, right? Well, not so fast. That’s because different sizes and shapes of pasta cook at much different rates.

Angel hair pasta cooks in a fraction of the time of penne pasta which cooks much quicker than lasagna noodles or ziti. The recipe was tested using penne pasta so to be safe, use penne pasta.

Can I use frozen broccoli?

I recommend using fresh broccoli florets. Frozen broccoli will be much mushier in the finished dish and it’s not a texture I enjoy so use fresh broccoli.

Are other vegetables ok?

The vegetable star of the show in this recipe is broccoli. However, if you want to also add cauliflower, zucchini, small halved Brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas, sliced carrots, or whatever you’re into, you can give them a try. Or mix-and-match the vegetables.

Some veggies may work better than others for cooking through completely but not becoming mushy so just be mindful in your selections – no potatoes, they won’t cook through! No

are chicken thighs ok?

If you want to use boneless chicken thighs in place of boneless skinless chicken breasts, that’s fine. Thigh meat will probably take a bit longer to cook through than breast meat. However, it’s diced in bite-sized pieces which makes everything cook so much faster regardless

Tips for the Best Chicken Broccoli Pasta

Here are a few final tips for Instant Pot pasta success!

Full Fat Dairy

This is very important for the best tasting and best textured broccoli pasta.

  • Please use full fat cream cheese (nothing labeled lite, reduced fat, or ‘spreadable’) because other cream cheese products are just that, products. And they contain lots of water rather than fat which is bad for making creamy, cheesy sauces.
  • This also goes for the heavy cream. While you could potentially get away with half-and-half, I don’t recommend using milk with less fat than that. Your sauce just won’t be the same.
  • Cheese matters when you’re making a cheesy, creamy sauce. I like Colby Jack because it melts well and is pretty neutral as cheese goes, coupled with the Parmesan for a sharper bite and punch of flavor. However, other cheeses that you like such as shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack are also good choices.
Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Measuring

If you’re making this recipe as intended and you’re going to make it in an Instant Pot, you need to measure and use exactly 1 pound of penne pasta, and 4 cups of chicken stock.

Because if you use too much or not enough of one ingredient you run the risk of everything from undercooked pasta to soupy chicken.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Troubleshooting

We aren’t perfect and neither is cooking. If things happen to go awry, here are some common culprits and how to fix it:

  • Dry, hard, or undercooked pasta – means there was too much pasta AND/OR too little liquid.
  • To Fix – You could correct this by adding more liquid, sealing the machine, and cooking again until the pasta cooks through by absorbing the available liquid. However it gets tricky to know how much liquid to add and how long additionally to pressure cook.
  • Very soupy pasta and chicken mixture – means that you added too much liquid AND/OR not enough pasta and all the liquid wasn’t necessary and wasn’t absorbed during the cooking process and some is still floating around with the pasta and chicken.
  • To Fix – You can correct this by allow the mixture to cook a bit more. I would saute it all, uncovered, to encourage the excess liquid to boil off as steam. However, you run the risk of drying out the chicken a bit.
  • Bottom Line – Measure correctly and exactly, set your Instant Pot to the recommended times, and simply follow the recipe the first time you make it before attempting to change it or make substitutions.

Pin This Recipe

Yield: 6

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta - Juicy seasoned chicken with pasta and broccoli, all tossed in an AMAZING creamy cheese sauce! A family favorite EASY dinner recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights! Made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes and stovetop cooking directions are also provided.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (regular paprika may be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder (the dry or ground seasoning, not actual liquid mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound penne pasta (dry, uncooked)
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces full-fat cream cheese (brick-style; not spreadable, whipped, lite, or fat-free)
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream (half-and-half may be substituted but don't use any lower fat percentage dairy)
  • 1/2 cup Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishing if desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional for garnishing
  • Fresh basil, optional for garnishing

Instructions

  1. To a 6-quart Instant Pot (or 8-quart Instant Pot or similar type of pressure cooker* See Notes for Stovetop Directions), turn it on to Saute mode, add the butter and allow it to melt.
  2. While the butter is melting, to a large ziptop bag, add add the spices and seasonings, salt, pepper, add the chicken, seat the bag, and shake the chicken around with the seasonings to coat evenly.
  3. To the melted butter, add the chicken and saute uncovered for 2 minutes; stir and flip very frequently.
  4. Add the uncooked penne pasta, pour the chicken broth over it, and stir to combine.
  5. Put the lid on the IP, making sure the vent is sealed.
  6. Set the IP to HIgh Pressure for 3 minutes. Tip - It'll take a few minutes for the IP to come up to pressure and the food will be cooking while this is happening so even though it's only cooks for 3 minutes once it's at the correct pressure, it is still cooking in the ramping-up-to-pressure stage.
  7. When the timer finishes, do a quick release, and carefully open the IP. Cautionary Tips - I knock open the valve with the end of a wooden spoon, and with hot mitts on both hands, and a kitchen towel shielding my hands and forearms, I open the pot lid. Use caution because the steam that's coming out is extremely hot and can burn you so be very careful!
  8. Turn the IP back to Saute mode, add the cream cheese, and push it down into the noodles and bury it in the hot noodles to help encourage it to melt. Place the lid back on for 2 minutes.
  9. After 2 minutes, turn the IP off, and open the lid.
  10. Add the broccoli, stir to combine, place the lid back on, and allow it all to just sit there, machine off but with the lid on, for 5 minutes to allow the broccoli to steam.
  11. After 5 minutes, open the lid, add the heavy cream, both cheeses, stir to combine, and continue stirring to help encourage the cheeses to melt, and for the the cream to warm up. Taste and make any desired flavor adjustment such as more salt, pepper, etc.
  12. Garnish optionally with addtional Parmesan, red pepper flakes, and/or basil as desired before serving. Leftovers will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat gently in the microwave.

Notes

For stovetop cooking directions, do as follows

  1. In a very large skillet, melt the butter (or you can use 2 tablespoons olive oil instead), add the chicken, add the seasonings (or shake the chicken and seasonings all together in a ziplock beforehand like in the Instant Pot method), and saute over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring and flipping the chicken intermittently to cook evenly. Allow it to rest in the skillet when it’s done.
  2. While the chicken is sauteing, get started boiling the penne pasta separately in a pot of water and cook it according to package directions
  3. In the last 3 minutes, add the broccoli florets.
  4. Drain the water when the pasta is al denteReserve 3 cups of pasta water. This is going to take the place of the chicken stock in the IP version.
  5. Add the drained pasta and broccoli to the skillet with the chicken, add the cream cheese, heavy cream, Colby Jack, Parm, and stir to combine and
  6. Allow the cheeses to melt.
  7. Depending on how thin or thick you like your sauce, add the reserved pasta water, a little bit at a time, and stirring as you go. Tip – You will probably only use 1 to 2 cups, max.
  8. Taste, make any necessary seasoning adjustments, garnish as desired, and serve!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 592Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 1030mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 39g

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Comments

  1. Hi
    We like our pasta dishes with plenty of sauce. I do find that if I heat a pasta dish such as this up too long that it thins out
    Your dishes look dry on pix but with the amount of liquid they couldn’t be in reality. I usually use mini penne as I find the big penne to be too much pasta. I made a similar recipe with lemon zest and had to tweak it as it was a bit bland…..a fair amount of fennel and Italian seasoning and more parmesan plus fresh red pepper sauted and additional garlic. Yeh, I guess it was ultimately a different recipe but damned good nevertheless. :-D