Cajun Chicken Pasta
This creamy one-pot Cajun Chicken Pasta is an easy and tasty dish that’s ready in under 30 minutes. Made with tender chicken, bow tie pasta, and colorful bell peppers in a Cajun-seasoned cream sauce, it’s such a simple meal to whip up! This recipe is quick, flavorful and a must try.
My daughter is head-over-heels for the Cajun Pasta meal at Chili’s, so I decided to come up with a copycat recipe for Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta. She’s not a fan of tomatoes, so we left those out and instead added in some sautéed bell pepper. One bite and she was in heaven. In fact, she thinks this homemade version is better then what she gets at Chili’s restaurant!
She’s not the only one in our family that loves pasta! Pasta meals are always a hit, and this Cajun-inspired chicken pasta is no exception. Fresh veggies, tender chicken and bow tie pasta all combined with a creamy Cajun sauce that coats every bite. This pasta recipe is super easy to make and mild enough that the whole family can enjoy it.
Add a slice of homemade French bread to soak up the deliciousness, plus a simple salad and you’ve got yourself an incredible pasta night!
You’re going to fall in LOVE with this version of cajun chicken pasta! It requires only simple, easy-to-find ingredients and comes together with very little effort. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need:
- Pasta. You’ll need 2 cups of your favorite medium-sized pasta. I like to make this pasta dish using bow tie, also known as farfalle pasta. Linguine is another popular option for making Cajun pasta recipes. Penne pasta works too! Feel free to substitute whole grain or whole wheat pasta for added nutritional value. And if you’re on a gluten-free diet, you can use a gluten-free pasta.
- Chicken. Use any cooked chicken. Rotisserie chicken is my go-to because it adds so much extra flavor.
- Veggies. I went with both yellow and red bell peppers just because it looks prettier – you can use whatever bell pepper variety you prefer. Keep in mind that red peppers are the sweetest, yellow and orange peppers are mild, and green peppers can be somewhat bitter.
- Creamy sauce. Cream cheese along with milk, flour and spices are blended together to create the deliciously creamy sauce. Feel free to sub heavy cream for the milk for a richer sauce.
- Spices. To flavor this dish, we’re using paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and salt. Not all Cajun seasoning is created equal – some have a bit more heat than others. Mine is on the conservative side, so if you like more heat, add a dash or two of red pepper. I also didn’t use a ton of spices, feel free to increase the amounts based on your personal preference.
- Chicken broth. Not only adds flavor, but also adds the perfect amount of liquid for the sauce.
The above list is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Pasta with Cajun Flavors
Please see the recipe card for the full, printable recipe with all of the details.
My favorite part about this Cajun pasta recipe is that it’s very straightforward and moves quickly. I recommend prepping the cooked chicken, chopping the bell pepper and getting the pasta cooking in a large pot before starting anything else. Here’s the simple method:
- Sauté peppers. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray or heat about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil or butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add peppers and sauté until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Make cream sauce. While the peppers are cooking, use a blender to combine milk, flour, cream cheese and seasonings until fully combined.
- Cook chicken. Add chicken to the pan with the peppers. Reduce heat to low and pour in the cream sauce, stir while it thickens, about 1 minute.
- Add chicken broth + pasta. Pour in the chicken broth, and stir to fully combine. Stir in the cooked pasta. Let the dish simmer on low for 1-2 minutes.
- Serve. Garnish, if you’d like, serve and enjoy!
Tips for recipe success
This pasta recipe is really simple, but here are a few tips to make sure it’s absolutely perfect every time!
- Cooking pasta. Don’t forget to season the water with plenty of salt before adding in the pasta; otherwise this dish may taste under-seasoned. As a general rule of thumb, I add 1 tsp salt per 4 cups of water.
- Chicken. For this recipe, you can use chicken that is cut into strips, shredded or diced into bite size pieces.
- Heat level. This cajun pasta is very mild. I’ve served it to small children with no issues. However, if you’d like to add a little kick to this dish, add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Frequently asked questions
Can this recipe be made vegetarian?
Definitely! To make vegetarian cajun pasta, simply omit the chicken or add in veggies like sautéed mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli and/or asparagus. Also, use vegetable broth rather than chicken broth.
Can I substitute the chicken with something else?
This dish would be great with sliced sausage or kielbasa instead of chicken. You can also make it a seafood pasta and use shrimp instead of chicken.
Can I use store-bought cajun seasoning?
You can definitely use cajun seasoning from the store that has already been mixed. Start with 1/2 teaspoon, taste and add more as desired.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
If you don’t wish to serve this dish right away, you can make it in advance to serve later. In fact the flavors will develop even more as it sits!
Keep in mind that the pasta will absorb a lot of the sauce, so your dish will be less creamy if you make it in advance and store all the ingredients together.
Another alternative would be to prepare everything except for the pasta, and then to cook the pasta fresh when you are ready to serve and add it to your other ingredients after re-heating them.
Leftover pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat gently in the microwave, splashed with a bit of water, chicken broth, chicken stock or milk to keep it from drying out as you rewarm it. I do not recommend freezing leftovers.
This cajun chicken pasta recipe is absolutely perfect for a busy weeknight, but it’s also impressive enough to serve for a special occasion. Add a loaf of bread and a side salad, and you’ve got a feast!
This dish has quickly become part of our regular dinner rotation. It’s fast, filling, pretty to look at, and a crowd pleaser – what more could you ask for?!
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Cajun Chicken Pasta
- 8 oz bow tie pasta, cooked according to package instructions
- 3 cooked chicken breasts, about 12 oz
- 1 1/2 cups chopped bell peppers, any variety works, but I like to use red, orange and yellow for plenty of color
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 ounces cream cheese, light or regular
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Optional for garnish: parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley
- Set aside cooked pasta. Chop or shred cooked chicken. I like to use a rotisserie chicken. Chop peppers.
- Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray or heat about 1/2 tablespoon oil. Sauté peppers over medium heat until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, use a blender to combine milk, flour, cream cheese and seasonings until fully combined.
- Add chicken to peppers in the pan. Reduce heat to low and add the cream sauce, stir while it thickens, about 1 minute.
- Pour in the chicken broth, and stir to fully combine. Add and stir in the cooked pasta. Let the dish simmer on low for 1-2 minutes. Garnish, serve and enjoy.