This low-carb and keto-friendly Cacio e Pepe Chicken with cream sauce recipe will love you down. Simple but bold flavors, simple execution — and totally keto. It’s no secret that chicken thighs are my favorite cut of the bird, and totally superior to white meat (sorry, just facts). When you bite into that ultra lusciously juicy meat and run it through that creamy cacio e pepe sauce? Girllllll.
Cacio e pepe literally means “cheese and pepper”. It’s most known as a pasta (which is fire, btw), but cheese and pepper can go on anything. So why not make cacio e pepe chicken thighs? There aren’t any carbs or sugar here, so if you’re following a low-carb or keto diet, this recipe will fit your macros perfectly. Serve it with cauliflower rice, or my roasted Mashed Cauliflower to complete the meal.
This could totally work with wings, leg quarters, or even skin-on chicken breasts. Just know that you’ll have to adjust the cooking times for white meat so that it doesn’t dry tf out. An instant-read thermometer is your friend if you’re unsure of how “done” your chicken is. White meat should be 160-degrees (allow the resting period to carry it to 165-degrees), and the dark meat should be 170-degrees (allow the resting period to carry it to 175-degrees).
As for the sauce…whew! Soooo good and it comes together in like 5 minutes. To keep it somewhat traditional to the flavor of cacio e pepe, you’ll want to be generous with the black pepper. Add just enough cheese so that you can taste it, but not so much that the texture gets thrown off. Finishing it off with lemon and basil just totally complements the chicken, and it’s honestly so delicious. You’ll need that little bit of acid to cut through the richness of the sauce.
How to make Cacio e pepe chicken
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Peppery, cheesy chicken roasted to perfection and served over a creamy cacio e pepe sauce with a hint of lemon and garlic. Totally keto-friendly!
Cacio e Pepe Chicken
- 8 chicken thighs
- Olive oil
- Flaky kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried marjoram (SEE NOTE)
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 cup finely shredded pecorino-romano cheese (shredded by hand)
Cacio e Pepe sauce
- 1 tablespoon rendered chicken juices, optional
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup finely shredded pecorino-romano cheese (shredded by hand)
- Flaky kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh basil
- Extra pecorino cheese
For the chicken
Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Trim the thighs of excess fat. Season the meat-side of each chicken thigh with a generous amount of flaky kosher salt and black pepper. Evenly sprinkle the dried marjoram, granulated garlic, and granulated onion all over the meat. Drizzle with a little olive oil and massage into the meat. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 415-degrees F.
Flip the chicken over, skin-side up. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel, then drizzle olive oil on the skin and massage to coat. Season the skin with kosher salt and plenty of black pepper. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the tops of each thigh with a desired amount of cheese. Place the chicken back into the oven to roast an additional 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them rest while you make the sauce.
For the sauce
In a large skillet, pour in 1 tablespoon of the chicken juices (if using), heavy cream, black pepper, grated nutmeg, granulated garlic, dried parsley, dried marjoram and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir to combine. The cream will thicken quickly, about 3 to 5 minutes. When it thickens, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and pecorino cheese. Stir to combine, then taste it. Season with flaky kosher salt to taste, and add more black pepper if you’d like. Place the rested chicken thighs on top of the cream mixture and serve.
You can use dried oregano, herbs de provence, or Italian seasoning in place of the dried marjoram.
- Category: Keto, Poultry, Low-carb
- Method: Roasting
Keywords: keto cacio e pepe chicken, cacio e pepe, cacio e pepe chicken