While most people look for the Shrimp Scampi on the menu, I opt for the Chicken Scampi. Just a chicken girl. Always have been, always will be! What I love about making this dish is that it’s only a handful of ingredients, simple and amateur-level easy to make but the white wine, garlic and butter flavors pack such a huge punch and elevate this dish to fanciness highway. This is better than Olive Garden Chicken Scampi!
Better Than Olive Garden Chicken Scampi Pasta Recipe
Tender chunks of herby chicken are seared with butter and olive oil in a pan until crusty golden brown, in this Better-Than-Olive Garden Chicken Scampi recipe. Then they’re tossed in rich and delicious white wine reduction, garlic, lemon, and butter sauce alongside perfectly al dente spaghetti.
Serve with crusty bread or breadsticks to sop up all of the extra sauce.
Tips for making Better Than Olive Garden Chicken Scampi
- Don’t skimp on freshly minced garlic. This sauce is simple so the fresh garlic flavor is imperative! Jars of garlic or garlic powder do not compare and will leave this dish lacking flavor.
- Don’t brown the minced garlic. Be careful not to have the heat up to high. Burnt/brown garlic is extremely bitter and will ruin the meal. If you burn it, scoop it out of the pan and start over with new garlic.
- Use a hot skillet to brown the chicken. Preheat it. More browning will equal far more flavor.
- Use a wine you’d drink. Otherwise the cheap wine will be just as unpleasant in the meal.
- Careful not to over-cook the chicken or it will be dry. Keep it warm in foil (don’t cover completely you don’t want to continue to steam and cook it).
- Wine is flammable so use caution near flames on a gas cooktop.
- Save parmesan until serving otherwise the pasta will start to harden and get dry.
- Cook pasta to al dente for the perfect texture.
- Use tongs to swirl pasta onto each dish for an elevated restaurant look.
Storing and Reheating Chicken Scampi
If you have any leftovers, be sure to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep well there for a few days.
This recipe makes a good amount of sauce to keep the pasta from drying out, which is why this dish is amazing to serve with breadsticks or crusty bread. That said, once reheated, the pasta will absorb all that delicious sauce. So make a little extra sauce if you anticipate leftovers!
For reheating, add a little chicken stock, a dab of butter and a splash of wine to each serving bowl of pasta before microwaving and it will bring this back to life brilliantly! Wait to add the parmesan until just before serving so the pasta stays wet. Serve with a lemon wedge to squeeze over top.
Looking for other delish copycat recipes?
Better Than Olive Garden Chicken Scampi
- 1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenders cut into 1-inch chunks (boneless/skinless breasts work as well)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 1/4 stick butter divided
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. spaghetti or angel hair pasta
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional, adjust as preferred
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice plus lemon wedges for serving
- 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Put prepared chicken chunks in a zip-top bag or bowl and toss with 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, Italian seasoning and flour. Toss until evenly coated. Set aside on the counter.
- In a sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken in a single layer (be sure not to overcrowd the pan, it may take two batches) sear until browned (4 mins) flip each piece and let cook about 3 more minutes.
- Scoop out the chicken and set aside in a clean bowl. Tent with foil to keep warm.
- Turn the pan down to medium-low and melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Once warmed, add all the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, being careful not to brown it (about 1 minute). Pour wine and red pepper flakes into butter garlic mixture in skillet and let simmer until reduced by about 3/4, about 5 minutes.
- While waiting, bring a large pot of water (with 1 teaspoons of salt) to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions on package to al dente. Do not rinse pasta.
- Add remaining 5 tablespoons butter and let it melt into the sauce.
- Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and taste. Adjust salt and pepper if needed or even another splash of wine for a little kick! Once perfect, return chicken to pan. Add parsley and drained pasta. Toss with sauce. Serve warm and garnish plates with lemon wedges and parmesan.