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The Viral Cacio e Pepe Chicken Recipe Revamps a Classic Italian Pasta in Just 20 Minutes

Make it in one pan for the easiest weeknight dinner

I may have just found the best upgrade to a chicken dinner — ever. We all know how boring chicken can get, even with good seasonings. Well, if you love Italian flavors and a good creamy sauce, then the viral cacio e pepe chicken is for you. Yes, this game-changing recipe came straight from TikTok, and yes, it’s that good. Imagine the cheesy, peppery goodness of a classic cacio e pepe sauce, but instead of pasta, it’s slathered over juicy chicken. Now that’s how you chicken-fy something (and talk about a protein boost!). Plus, it’s easy to make in one pan in just 20 minutes. Here’s how to make cacio e pepe chicken.

What is cacio e pepe chicken?

Cacio e pepe chicken is a culinary fusion that brings together the classic Italian pasta dish, cacio e pepe, with oven-baked chicken. The name cacio e pepe translates to “cheese and pepper,” which are the star ingredients of the traditional Roman dish. This modern twist incorporates these flavors into a chicken dish, resulting in a creamy, peppery sauce that coats tender pieces of chicken. Watch the TikTok video below to see the results:


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♬ Texas Sun – Khruangbin & Leon Bridges

Try another Italian fusion: Italian Meets Korean in This Viral Gochujang Pasta Recipe That’s Creamy, Spicy + Ready in 15 Minutes

How to make perfect cacio e pepe chicken

To make the perfect cacio e pepe chicken, follow these essential tips.

1. Use high-quality ingredients

Since this dish relies on just a few key ingredients, the quality of the cheese and pepper is crucial. Opt for freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese and freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor.

2. Choose your chicken

Opt for larger chicken pieces like thighs or breasts. These are ideal for dishes with rich sauces. The higher fat content of thighs helps absorb the cream sauce, but breasts offer a leaner alternative.

3. Create a creamy sauce

Achieving the right consistency for the sauce is key. Use reserved pasta water or chicken broth to help emulsify the cheese and create a smooth, creamy sauce that adheres to the chicken.

Love Italian food? Try our Chopped Italian Sandwich and Grated Tomato Pasta!

One-pan cacio e pepe chicken recipe

I love one pan wonders and this recipe from Simply Delicious makes cleanup a breeze. A bit of diced shallots and lemon juice in the sauce adds an extra kick of flavor.


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 4 garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Place chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with a piece of parchment paper/plastic wrap.
  2. Flatten with a meat mallet or rolling pin until approximately 1 cm thick. Then, drizzle each breast with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. 
  3. Cook the chicken in a large pan set over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides, then remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add a splash of olive oil then add the shallots and garlic. Cook until soft and translucent then pour in the cream. Add the lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes then stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the chicken back to the sauce (with any resting juices) and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes, then scatter with parsley and serve. 

Storage instructions

Leftover chicken and sauce can be stored separately in airtight containers and refrigerated for up to four days.

More winner winner chicken dinners to try:

Move Over, Wings: Bang Bang Chicken Skewers Are the Perfect Spicy-Sweet Bite

Homemade Orange Chicken Recipe Tastes Just Like Panda Express But Better (And Cheaper!)

Broasted Chicken: Easy Recipe for Crispy-Outside, Juicy-Inside Fried Chicken

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