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Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Chicken & Spinach

This easy Lemon Ricotta Pasta recipe has the most flavorful Parmesan sauce and is loaded with perfectly seared chicken and delicious fresh spinach! Plus, it’s ready in 30 minutes flat!

Be sure to try my One Pot Parmesan Garlic Pasta recipe next!

Lemon Ricottta Pasta

I always seem to come back to this lemon ricotta pasta recipe in the summertime. The the light, lemony Parmesan sauce calls my name in these warmer months.

I first published this one two years ago, but felt the need to re-shoot and re-share, (something that I’ve been doing with my favorite recipes lately).

Now, I insist you scan through my tips for making perfectly seared chicken, it takes this recipe over the top.

Overhead view of seared chicken in a cast iron skillet with a spatula.

How to Make Perfectly Seared Chicken

✔️Cast iron skillets conduct heat very well and are perfect to use when searing meat.

✔️Medium-high heat works well for searing, and it’s important to use oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable, canola, or peanut oil to prevent the meat from burning.

✔️It’s important to refrain from moving the meat around as it cooks. Allowing the meat to stay in the same place in the skillet ensures that the sear isn’t disrupted. You’ll notice that the chicken starts to release from the surface when it’s ready. If it’s sticking a lot to the pan, it’s not done searing.

✔️Butterfly the chicken or pound it thin to create pieces of equal size. This will allow them to cook evenly and prevent them from being too thick.

Substitute for Ricotta Cheese

If you’re in a bind and don’t have Ricotta on hand, cottage cheese is probably your best bet for this dish:

  • It’s recommended that you sieve cottage cheese prior to using it as a Ricotta substitute:
  • To do this, place it into a strainer (in batches), and using the back of a spoon to press out the cottage cheese into another container that you can then use for the recipe.

👉These guys have other substitution options, although they are less likely to be found in your average kitchen.

Ricotta Pasta with Chicken and Spinach

Pasta Substitutions

Long noodles work best in this recipe, such as angel hair or linguine.

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Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Chicken and Spinach

4.73 from 11 ratings
This easy Lemon Ricotta Pasta recipe has the most flavorful Parmesan sauce and is loaded with perfectly seared chicken and delicious fresh spinach! Plus, it's ready in 30 minutes flat!


  • 2 Tablespoons oil, vegetable, canola, olive, or peanut oil are all fine!
  • 1 boneless/skinless chicken breast
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups part skim ricotta
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus more to garnish
  • 5 oz. fresh spinach


  • Cook pasta according to package instructions, reserve 1 cup of pasta water prior to draining. Set aside.
  • As the pasta cooks, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Butterfly the chicken breast and cut the seam to create 2 thinner slices, each about an inch thick. Season each side with desired amounts of salt and pepper.
  • Sear the chicken in the heated skillet for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Refrain from moving the chicken around as it sizzles, it will hinder the nice golden sear color. If the pan gets too hot, reduce the heat to medium. Once each side is a nice, golden brown and the middle is cooked, set the chicken aside. Don’t cut into it yet.
  • Reduce the heat of the skillet to medium low. Add half of the reserved water, lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta, Parmesan, and drained pasta. Toss evenly to coat. Add additional reserved water as needed to obtain desired consistency.
  • Slice the chicken into strips and top the pasta with it. Finally, toss in the spinach and heat until it’s just wilted.
  • Garnish with additional Parmesan if desired, and serve!


Although this recipe feeds 4, the portion sizes are fairly large. This could also serve 5 people. 


Calories: 705kcal, Carbohydrates: 91g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 57mg, Sodium: 374mg, Potassium: 686mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 3785IU, Vitamin C: 13.2mg, Calcium: 448mg, Iron: 3.1mg
Did you try this recipe?Mention @TheCozyCook on Instagram or tag #thecozycook!

Recipe Source: CookingClassy


This lemon Ricotta pasta is loaded with perfectly seared chicken, zesty lemon, and a sprinkle of fresh spinach, and a savory blend of Ricotta and Parmesan. | The Cozy Cook | #Pasta #Italian #Dinner #MainCourse #Ricotta #Spinach #Lemon #Spaghetti #ComfortFood

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25 comments on “Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Chicken & Spinach”

  1. Do you think adding a few capers would be good with this recipe?? 

  2. I definitely agree with the suggestion to cut down on the pasta, maybe by 1/2 for 4. I added garlic, red pepper flakes and mushrooms. It was very tasty. I might also try broccoli instead of spinach next time. Overall, I enjoyed it.

    • Hi Carol! I can understand cutting down the pasta, in fact, I’ve just updated it from 1 pound to 1/2 a pound for a bit of a saucier consistency. So glad that you enjoyed the flavors!! 🙂 -Stephanie

  3. I made this last night for dinner and it turned out great! I added mushrooms and my family loved it. I was kind of off put by the graininess with the ricotta and I think next time I will try goat cheese instead! 

    • Hey Kathy! I’m so happy that you enjoyed it! Ricotta definitely makes it a little bit different but it’s nice when you’re sick of the same thing all the time, definitely would love to hear how you like it with goat cheese! 🙂 Take care! -Stephanie

  4. Big hit in the family tonight! Thank you

    • Hey Lynn! I am so happy that you and your family liked this meal, that makes my day! My husband is a HUGE fan of the lemon/pasta combo, this is one of his favorites! 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to rate and comment! -Stephanie

  5. Made this last night. I put in roasted fresh asparagus, green peas and spices it up with some red pepper flakes. I thinned out the sauce with a little extra pasta water. Simple to make and delicious. Will make again. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • Hey Joan!! I’m so so happy that you enjoyed the recipe!! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment with your thoughts! Have a great day! -Stephanie

  6. I plan on making this soon but I have a question about the oil: you said in comments about searing chicken perfectly to use vegetable, canola or peanut oils yet in the list of ingredients, you have olive oil. Which is best? I have a cast iron skillet and it honestly scares me because nothing ever comes out right. 

    • Hey Michelle! You can actually use any of those oils, Olive would work fine too! Sorry for the confusion! Good luck with this one, you got this! 🙂 -Stephanie

  7. Made this for dinner tonight and it was delish!
    I doubled the chicken and will add even more next time. The only issue I had was the ricotta was a bit grainy. It didn’t make a smooth sauce. Other than that it was great. The lemon flavor was perfect. Not too strong, not too subtle. Will definitely add this to our rotation. The whole family enjoyed it.

    • Hey Mary! I’m so happy that you enjoyed this meal! I know what you mean. The consistency isn’t quite as uniform because of the ricotta, but the flavor more than makes up for it! I like mixing it up, you don’t usually find Ricotta in a lot of pasta sauces! Thanks so much for your comment and for rating the recipe! 🙂 Very happy to hear that your family enjoyed it! -Stephanie

  8. Tried this recipe last night. Added some cherry Tomatoes and some crushed red pepper flakes and my family loved it. Will definitely make this again.

  9. Made this today it was soooooooooo good I lI’ve lemons! Thank you will definitely make again!

    • Hi Loreen! I am soooo happy that you loved this recipe! My husband devours it every single time, he loves lemon. I like how this recipe is different with the ricotta cheese sauce too. Thank you for taking the time to let me know how you liked it! Have a great week!

    • Thank you Stephanie, its taste very good!

  10. Yum! I’m with your husband – love lemon. Especially in pasta dishes!

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