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Cacio e Pepe Chicken with Cream Sauce

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.

Cacio E Pepe ChickenCacio E Pepe Chicken

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

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Season the flesh side of the chicken with flaky kosher salt, black pepper, dried marjoram, granulated garlic and onion.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Drizzle olive oil over each piece and massage the oil and seasonings deep into the meat.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Allow the chicken to sit and marinate for about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 415 degrees F.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

After 20-30 minutes, flip the chicken over and drizzle with olive oil on the skin-side. Massage it in.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Sseason the skin with flaky kosher salt and plenty of black pepper. Roast on the middle rack of your oven for 45 minutes.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Grate your cheese by hand! I did not measure the cheese, because you will use however much or little you want. This is about 1 1/2 cups though.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

After 45 minutes of roasting, remove the chicken from the oven and sprinkle each piece with a generous amount of cheese.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Until it looks like this.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Add more black pepper! Roast for another 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is starting to crust up!

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Or until it looks like this. Let it rest for about 5 minutes while you make the sauce. Grab about a tablespoon of the flavorful chicken juices, you’ll add that to the sauce.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Bring the chicken juices, heavy cream, black pepper, nutmeg, granulated garlic, dried parsley and marjoram to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

(I forgot the granulated garlic)

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Let it reduce for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until it’s thickened enough to be creamy and not liquid.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

You’ll know when it’s ready when you can leave a VERY quick trail behind.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken 15

Turn off the heat and add the cheese. Stir it in to melt.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Add a squeeze of lemon. Taste and adjust with flaky kosher salt, and more black pepper if needed.

Cacio E Pepe Chicken


Cacio E Pepe Chicken Cacio E Pepe Chicken

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Cacio E Pepe Chicken

Cacio e Pepe Chicken Thighs

  • Author: Chef Resha
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


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

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.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Keto, Poultry, Low-carb
  • Method: Roasting

Keywords: keto cacio e pepe chicken, cacio e pepe, cacio e pepe chicken

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Recipe rating

  1. Danak Dabonne says:

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight and my picky mother said it was a hit! Easy and delicious dish to prepare. I swear I make your recipes exclusively lol Thanks again Chef?

  2. Shera says:

    I’ve reached the part of my 20s where my lactose intolerance has turned aggressive and still went back for seconds w/ my cauliflower rice and sautéed spinach! Bomb!

  3. Lindsey says:

    I made this tonight and it was perfection! My husband kept commenting on how good the chicken was. I served with pasta for my carb lovers, and sauteed spinach for myself. The sauce worked so well with everything. 10/10 will be making this again!

  4. Jennifer says:

    This is amazing recipe! As per usual from Chef Resha. Perfect switch up if you’re “dieting” and want to change up your chicken and vegetables.

  5. Julie says:

    Made this tonight. ‘It smacks’ as the cool kids say. We’re not keto and we’re in quarantine so we served this with pasta to make sure it stuck to our ribs. The sauce is great! It thickened as it was supposed to and we tossed the pasta in it. The chicken was roasted perfectly. And adding the cheese made it have a little parm crisp on top. So. Good. Didn’t change anything but having Italian seasoning instead of the marjoram! Will definitely be making again!