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This creamy pumpkin pasta with chicken and parmesan is a savory, satisfying way to enjoy your favorite winter squash. Best of all, the easy autumn-inspired dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes! Serve the pasta with pumpkin sauce alongside a crisp green salad, a basket of buttermilk biscuits, or a loaf of crusty bread. It’s perfect for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or any fall supper in between!

Overhead image of pumpkin pasta served with a side salad and bread

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

That’s right — our favorite autumn ingredient isn’t just reserved for sweet lattes, muffins, and pies! Instead, try using pumpkin in a savory dinner entrée with this easy pumpkin pasta recipe that comes together on your stovetop in a matter of minutes. With plenty of garlic, cream, and Parmesan cheese, the sauce tastes similar to Alfredo sauce. Canned pumpkin puree brings a hint of sweetness in the background, but is otherwise rather undetectable. It’s rich, creamy, flavorful, and totally family-friendly!

Front shot of a bowl of pumpkin pasta on a green dinner table

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pan of chicken pumpkin pasta. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Spaghetti: or substitute with another pasta shape that you like, including penne, rotini, linguine, fettuccine, or shells.
  • Olive oil: to saute the vegetables.
  • Onion and garlic: add savory flavor to the sauce.
  • Pumpkin: use a can of 100% pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling or pumpkin pie mix.
  • Chicken broth: to thin the sauce.
  • Heavy cream or half-and-half cream: adds richness and a creamy mouthfeel to the pumpkin pasta sauce.
  • Parmesan cheese: for sharp, salty flavor. I prefer freshly-grated Parmesan in this dish, since it melts smoother into the sauce.
  • Parsley and rosemary: use fresh herbs when possible. These add a lovely bright, fresh touch to the dish.
  • Ground nutmeg: a classic ingredient in creamy pasta sauces.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Chicken: you’ll need cooked, shredded chicken, so pickup a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, or cook your own chicken at home.
Pouring cream into a skillet of pumpkin pasta sauce

How to Cook Chicken for Pasta

You’ll need cooked chicken for this recipe, and a variety of options will work. Pick the most convenient method for you:

  • Boiled and Pulled Chicken: Boil about 1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken into bite size pieces. You’ll need a total of about 2 cups shredded. I find that 1 lb. of raw chicken breasts yields about 2 cups of pulled chicken, but there’s some flexibility here — it doesn’t need to be exact.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: This is a great shortcut! Purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred the meat, and use in the recipe as instructed. One large rotisserie chicken should yield about 3-4 cups of meat, so you’ll have some leftover.
  • Leftover Chicken: If you have leftover grilled or baked chicken from a previous meal, put those extras to good use in this dish.
  • Canned Chicken: Yep, you can even use canned chicken in this pasta.
Adding chicken to pasta and pumpkin sauce in a skillet

How to Make Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

This creamy pumpkin pasta sauce comes together quickly and easily, making it an ideal meal for busy fall evenings.

  1. Boil the pasta in a large pot of well salted water.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil in a skillet or Dutch oven.
  3. Stir in the pumpkin, broth, cream, cheese, parsley, rosemary, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is warm.
  4. Add the cooked spaghetti and chicken. Toss to combine, and cook just until warmed through. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Garnish the pasta with additional herbs such as fresh sage leaves, parsley, rosemary, or thyme just before serving.
Square side shot of pumpkin pasta sauce with noodles in a white bowl

What to Serve with Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

Pair the creamy pumpkin pasta with any of these easy sides:

Side shot of a dinner table with pumpkin pasta and salad and bread

Storage

This pasta is best enjoyed when it’s warm, fresh from the pan. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, but it may become a bit dry as the noodles absorb the sauce as they sit. I do not recommend freezing this dish, since cream-based sauces have a tendency to separate or “break” when thawed.

Reheat the leftovers in a skillet or saucepan, covered, over low heat just until warmed through. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes on high.

Square overhead shot of a bowl of creamy pumpkin pasta

Recipe Variations

  • Make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. It will still be rich, satisfying, and delicious!
  • Substitute 1 lb. of cooked, drained Italian sausage for the chicken.
  • Use leftover Thanksgiving turkey instead of chicken.
  • Just about any pasta shape will work well with this pumpkin sauce. Try penne, rotini, farfalle, rigatoni, linguine, fettuccine, tortellini, or ravioli.
  • Add fresh spinach to the pasta at the end (when you add the chicken). Cook and stir over low heat just until the spinach wilts.
  • Sage is another delicious herb that pairs well with these ingredients. Feel free to add some chopped fresh leaves to the sauce if you have them.
Horizontal image of a bowl of pumpkin pasta with salad and bread in the background

Tips for the Best Pumpkin Pasta Recipe

  • Cook the pasta just until al dente (tender, but still with a firm bite). The pasta will continue cooking in the sauce a little bit, and you don’t want it to be mushy or overdone by the end.
  • Make sure that you purchase a can of 100% pure pumpkin purée — not pumpkin pie filling or pumpkin pie mix.
  • Allow the cream to come to room temperature before you stir it into the sauce. This will help it blend smoothly without separating when it hits the hot pan.
  • Use fresh herbs whenever possible for the best flavor.
  • I prefer freshly-grated Parmesan for this recipe, since it melts smoothly into the sauce.
  • Reserve some of the pasta water and use it to thin the sauce at the end, if necessary. The starch in the cooking water adds great texture to the dish.
Overhead shot of pumpkin pasta with chicken in a white bowl

More Pumpkin Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of a bowl of creamy pumpkin pasta

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Chicken

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 490 kcal
This creamy pumpkin pasta is a savory, satisfying fall dinner — and it's ready in less than 30 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, grated, or pressed (about 1 tablespoon total)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¾ cup half-and-half or heavy cream, at room temperature
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (or about 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes)
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (or ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (such as the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
  • Optional garnish: additional chopped fresh parsley, rosemary, or grated Parmesan

Instructions

  • Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of well-salted boiling water according to the package directions for al dente. Drain.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion; cook and stir until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 more minute.
  • Stir in the pumpkin, chicken broth, cream, Parmesan cheese, parsley, rosemary, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Heat through, whisking frequently.
  • Add the cooked, drained spaghetti and the chicken to the sauce. Cook over medium heat, just until warmed through. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Serve on individual plates and garnish with fresh herbs or extra Parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • Make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. It will still be rich, satisfying, and delicious!
  • Substitute 1 lb. of cooked, drained Italian sausage for the chicken.
  • Use leftover Thanksgiving turkey instead of chicken.
  • Just about any pasta shape will work well with this pumpkin sauce. Try penne, rotini, farfalle, rigatoni, linguine, fettuccine, tortellini, or ravioli.
  • Add fresh spinach to the pasta at the end (when you add the chicken). Cook and stir over low heat just until the spinach wilts.
  • Sage is another delicious herb that pairs well with these ingredients. Feel free to add some to the sauce if you have it!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 490kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 29gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 451mgPotassium: 533mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 11277IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 157mgIron: 3mg
Keyword: pasta with pumpkin sauce, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin pasta recipe, pumpkin pasta sauce
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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