Sign up for sneak peeks & email updates

Want all the recipe deets & sneak peeks of what’s coming up?
Click here to subscribe to my newsletter!

Easy Versatile One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet

by | Aug 12, 2021 | Recipes

One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet is the perfect easy weeknight dinner. In just over 30 minutes, you’re ready to eat these juicy pan seared chicken breasts that are coated in a rich cream sauce. This hearty and slightly decadent meal is bursting with the bold flavors of garlic, onion, and parmesan cheese. Indulge in its richness and pair with pasta or rice, or lighten things up by serving with a fresh green salad or roasted veggies. Either way, it’s fast, filling, and a hit with everyone who takes a bite.

macro close up of pan seared chicken in creamy sauce with spinach and shredded parmesan cheese garnish

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy.

Do you ever have nights at home where your protein is picked out for dinner, but just don’t know what to do with it? Yeah, me too. One of those nights is how I came up with this recipe for One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach.

I’ve got a picky eater in the house who isn’t keen on like 95% of veggies. I was the picky AF eater in the house up until about my college years. Then, I started venturing into different foods and cuisines.

Eventually, I became that person who’d been the kid who hated salads and refused to eat my broccoli to being the woman who called a big bowl of leafy greens with tasty toppings a perfectly suitable dinner all on its lonesome.

The picky eater in my household did not have a similar journey in life. But, thankfully, he is generally happy to pick out any extra veggies he doesn’t deem fit for his mouth.

So this One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach dish became a compromise. A compromise between wanting some veg and not going so overboard that a non-veg person wouldn’t dig it. I’m happy to say that this easy to make and versatile chicken and spinach dish has been picky eater approved!

close up of sliced chicken breast served atop penne pasta with creamy spinach sauce

JUMP TO:

INGREDIENTS    SWAPS    TIPS & TRICKS    HOW-TO    RECIPE

One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet

My One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet features pan seared chicken nestled in a quick and easy sauce. It pairs well with pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes. This main entree is such a simple meal to make that you don’t want to skip over it. It’s a bit of a riff on Tuscan Chicken and Chicken Florentine, and the taste is very reminiscent of Spinach Artichoke Dip.

The cream cheese and half and half are combined with chicken broth to make the rich, creamy sauce. Spinach, garlic, and onion are cooked in the sauce to give it big, bold flavor. Then the pan seared chicken is added back into the pan and coated with the sauce before serving.

By searing the chicken breast in a touch of olive oil in the frying pan, you’ll develop a golden brown, slightly crunchy exterior on them. This also creates a bit of a fond on the bottom of the skillet. That fond is used to create a deeper, more complex flavor for this One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet.

penne pasta with creamy spinach sauce served alongside a chicken breast

Versatility is King

The thing I love most about making this recipe is that it is extremely versatile—a much appreciated element when cooking for a picky eater of any age. You can make it as directed in the recipe and serve it over pasta or white rice. It also goes great with mashed potatoes and the creamy sauce acts as a sort of gravy for the mash.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can use just one chicken breast. Then, shred up the chicken and disperse it throughout the sauce. Replace the other two chicken breasts with frozen veggies like corn, broccoli, and bell peppers to still have a hearty, but more cost effective meal.

In that same vein, make the recipe as directed and then add in more veggies to stretch this dish further if you’ve got more mouths to feed.

You could also use this creamy chicken and spinach in a more creative way. Ideas include using it as the filling for burritos or layering it with pasta and veggies in a casserole.

There are literally just so many options for making this One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet a home run hit!

close up photo of penne pasta with creamy spinach sauce, chicken, and tomatoes

Gonna try out this recipe?

Leave a star rating or review in the comments to let me know what you think!

Ingredients For One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet

overhead shot of all ingredients to make creamy spinach and chicken skillet
  • Chicken – We’re using boneless, skinless chicken breasts because our household prefers white meat chicken. If you prefer dark meat, you could use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead.
  • Garlic – The fresh garlic in this dish provide another layer of flavor and also really amps up the dish’s aroma.
  • Onion – In this recipe, I’m finely dicing the onion because I really want them to break down as they cook. Starting off with a small dice means they will essentially melt away into the sauce, helping to thicken the sauce.
  • Spinach – Frozen spinach adds grassy, vegetal notes that permeate the creamy sauce. This cuts through its richness just enough to strike a perfect balance that keeps you coming back to this dish for more. Fresh spinach also works beautifully in this dish. If you use fresh spinach, don’t add it to the skillet until you’ve created the sauce; it will then wilt and cook down slightly in the sauce.
  • Cream Cheese – Cream cheese is the very foundation of the cream sauce that gives this One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet its namesake creaminess. Using cream cheese helps ensure that our sauce is rich and velvety smooth right from the jump.
  • Half and Half – I use half and half to help thin out the cream cheese and turn it into a typical sauce consistency.
  • Chicken Broth – I like to use chicken broth to help thin out the cream cheese as well. This also deepens the chicken flavor in the sauce.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Parmesan cheese is an optional ingredient in this recipe. Freshly grated right off the block works best, but prepackaged grated also works is that’s all you’ve got. You can add a touch to the sauce as you finish the dish (prior to serving). This will help adjust for any additional saltiness you want in the dish. Or sprinkle a touch over each piece of chicken when plating for a tasty garnish.

Pin this recipe to make later!

recipe pin graphic for pinterest

Ingredient Swaps & Variations

  • Garlic Powder / Onion Powder – If you don’t have fresh garlic or onion on hand, garlic powder and/or onion powder can do in a pinch. I suggest starting out with 1 teaspoon. Let it cook through in the sauce for a few minutes. Then, taste the sauce to see if the amount needs to be adjusted. If it needs adjusting, add by the 1/4 teaspoon until you’ve reached a flavor profile you like.
  • Shallot – If you don’t have any onion on hand, give shallots a try in this One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet. This is also a good sub if you find the taste of onions to be too strong. They’re a great swap for onions since their flavor is similar to that of an onion, but much more mild.
  • Heavy Cream – I like half and half because the cream cheese already makes this creamy sauce pretty luxurious. But, if you’re down with full fat or just want to amp up the creamy goodness, swap out the half and half for heavy cream.
  • Bulk It Up with More Veggies – Adding in more veggies is a great way to bulk up this recipe to feed more folks or give the dish more color. Veggies I would recommend for this One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet are tomatoes, corn, broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, or artichoke hearts.
  • Swap Chicken for Steak – Steak makes a great swap for chicken in this dish. If you use steak, you can keep the chicken broth in the recipe as its called for or swap it out with beef broth to echo the flavor of the steak.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

Other Recipes That Go Well with This Dish Two great side dishes that pair well with this main entree are my Crazy Simple One Pan Super Garlicky Green Beans and my Kickin’ Crispy Roasted Broccoli With Lemon And Feta.

Ways to Use One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet Leftovers – I like repurposing leftovers of this dish by shredding the chicken and adding in a can of black beans to make a filling for burritos. If I’m feeling frisky, I turn it into a riff on enchiladas by separating the chicken from the sauce. I then create an enchilada filling by adding beans, tomatoes, sautéed onions and peppers, and shredded cheese to the shredded chicken. To bulk up the leftover sauce, I add in some sour cream before thinning it out with a little half and half so it stays a saucy consistency. Then, I assemble and bake the enchiladas as you would for a typical enchilada dish.

close up photo of penne pasta with creamy spinach sauce

Recipe Notes

Storage – Leftover One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach is best stored in an airtight glass or plastic container in the fridge. Stored in this manner, leftovers will last up to 7 days.

Reheating – Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave, but I prefer to reheat them in a skillet over low heat until the chicken is thoroughly warmed.

Servings & Nutrition – One serving of this One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach is one piece of chicken breast and 3/4 cup of the spinach/sauce mixture. This recipe makes 4 servings. Each serving has approximately 480 calories, 10 g of carbohydrates, 45 g of protein, 29 g of fat, and 4 g of sugar. For the full recipe and additional nutritional information, please see the recipe card below.

How to Make One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet

Step 1. Season the chicken breasts to taste with salt and pepper. Add a little olive oil to a skillet over medium high heat and let the oil warm through for 1-2 minutes.

overhead shots of steps 1 and 2 for one pan creamy chicken and spinach

Step 2. Add the chicken breasts to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes. Then, flip the chicken and cook an additional 5-6 minutes. While the chicken cooks, prep the onion and garlic. Finely dice the onion and set aside. Grate the garlic cloves and set aside.

Step 3. When finished cooking the chicken, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the diced onion to the skillet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Stir the onions to evenly spread the salt and begin removing the fond from the chicken off the bottom of the skillet.

overhead shot of steps 3 and 4 for how to make one pan creamy chicken and spinach skillet

Step 4. Cook the onions until they are clear and then reduce the heat to medium. Add in the grated garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, while stirring often so the garlic does not burn.

overhead shots of steps 5 and 6 for making creamy chicken and spinach

Step 5. Once the garlic is heated through, add the frozen spinach to the skillet. Stir to mix well with the onions and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Step 6. Next, add in the cream cheese and stir to help the cheese melt into the onion, garlic, and spinach. Once most of the cheese has melted (approximately 2-3 minutes), add in the chicken broth and half and half. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

overhead shots of mixing add cream cheese to spinach and mixing in for creamy chicken and spinach skillet

Step 7. Add the chicken breasts (and any accumulated juices) back into the skillet and simmer for 10-12 minutes to finish cooking the chicken and reduce the sauce to a thicker consistency.

overhead shots showing chicken nestled in creamy spinach sauce and then topped with shredded parmesan cheese

Step 8. Top with optional parmesan cheese and then serve.

If you make this recipe, tag me in your photos on Instagram—I love seeing what you guys decided to make!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if the chicken is fully cooked in this One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet dish?

Your best bet if you’re truly worried about whether or not your chicken is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I have the ThermoPop meat thermometer from ThermoWorks and I love it!

Is there another leafy green that I could use in this dish instead of spinach?

Sure! I would first and foremost suggest kale. Kale is much more fibrous than spinach though, so I would roughly chop it up before adding it into the dish to ensure that it’s fully cooked in this recipe before serving. If you use baby kale, add it in after you’ve created the sauce because baby kale is much more tender than fully matured kale and will cook quickly like fresh spinach. Don’t like kale? Another option I would suggest is arugula. If you use arugula, do the same as you would with fresh spinach and add it to the skillet after you’ve created the sauce.

What could I use instead of cream cheese in this recipe?

If you don’t have cream cheese or don’t like its taste, I would recommend using mascarpone or ricotta cheese. Mascarpone will be just as creamy as the cream cheese, but have much less tang. Ricotta won’t be as creamy as either cream cheese or mascarpone, but it has a very mild cheese flavor so more of the chicken flavor from the broth and the cooked chicken breast will come through in the sauce.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

Easy Versatile One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet

Easy Versatile One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Fast, filling, hearty, and slightly decadent this creamy chicken and spinach dish can be on the table and ready to eat in just over 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 package of frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 8 oz whipped cream cheese
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

1. Season the chicken breasts to taste with salt and pepper. Add a little olive oil to a skillet over medium high heat and let the oil warm through for 1-2 minutes. Then add the chicken breasts to the hot skillet.

2. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes. Then, flip the chicken and cook an additional 5-6 minutes.

3. While the chicken cooks, prep the onion and garlic. Finely dice the onion and set aside. Grate the garlic cloves and set aside.

4. When finished cooking the chicken, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the diced onion to the skillet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Stir the onions to evenly spread the salt and begin removing the fond from the chicken off the bottom of the skillet.

5. Cook the onions until they are clear and then add in the grated garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often so the garlic does not burn. Add the frozen spinach to the skillet and stir to mix well with the onions and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

6. Add in the cream cheese and stir to help the cheese melt into onion, garlic, and spinach. Once most of the cheese has melted (approximately 2-3 minutes), add in the chicken broth and half and half. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

7. Once at a simmer, add the chicken breasts (and any accumulated juices) back into the skillet. Continue simmering for 10-12 minutes to finish cooking the chicken through and thicken the sauce. Garnish with optional parmesan cheese before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 480Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 171mgSodium: 834mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 45g

This nutrition data is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Please keep in mind that your specific nutritional values may vary based on the brand of ingredients you use to make this recipe.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Leave a review below or tag @sweetsavorynsassy on Instagram and hashtag it #sweetsavoryandsassy so I can see your photos!!

Share this Post:

Welcome to Sweet, Savory & Sassy!

About photo

Hey there! I’m Krystal, the sassy-mouthed, self-taught, home cook behind the content here at Sweet, Savory & Sassy. I have a deep love for sharing food with people and showing folks just how easy it really is to make dishes that will bring a little extra joy to those you love. There’s nothing like making something special for friends and family and seeing their face light up in delight during that first bite!
Get to know more about me…

Recent Posts

10 Easy Recipes Perfect for Your Super Bowl Party

10 Easy Recipes Perfect for Your Super Bowl Party

The big game is just a few days away...what are you making for your Super Bowl party spread? If you're looking for inspiration and easy recipes that please any crowd, then check out this assortment of 10 appetizers and sweet treats that are super simple to make!...

Kale and Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Kale and Sausage Stuffed Peppers

These Kale and Sausage Stuffed Peppers are the perfect weeknight meal anytime you need something quick, easy, and filling. Low in carbs and high in protein, they're stuffed with a savory combination of Italian sausage, curly kale, mushrooms, onions, and fresh garlic....

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

This Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili is sweet, spicy, and perfect for the chilly weather of Fall and Winter. It's loaded with butternut squash, black beans, tomatoes, onions, red bell pepper, and fresh garlic in a thick, well-seasoned beef broth. As soon as the...

Popular Posts

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to Recipe