This creamy cajun chicken pasta combines juicy, perfectly blackened, smoky chicken breasts with a light cream sauce topped with fresh, acidic tomatoes and sliced green onions for a lovely pop of color and flavor. Serve this dish with some warm bread and a side salad, and you’ll be in pasta paradise!
The recipe was inspired by Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta, and you’ll see that it’s much lighter than the restaurant version because I use milk and chicken broth instead of butter and cream.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS EASY CAJUN CHICKEN PASTA
- Balance of spices. The cajun seasoning is spot on in this recipe and not too spicy, not too bland. You’ll find just the right balance of flavor in every bite!
- The perfect pasta texture. I used rotini noodles for this dish because they hold up well to the sauce without getting mushy. No one likes a soggy noodle, right?
- It’s an easy one-pot meal. This recipe comes together quickly and easily, and you only need one pot to make it! Less mess = happy dance.
- Makes great leftovers. If you like leftovers as much as I do, then you’ll be happy to know that this pasta dish reheats beautifully and makes a great workday lunch.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE CAJUN CHICKEN PASTA
- Chicken breasts: Try and find chicken breasts that are even in size, so they cook evenly. I like to pound them out a bit with a meat mallet before cooking so they’re an even thickness.
- Pasta: Penne pasta is perfect for this dish because it has ridges that help the sauce cling to it. But feel free to use whatever pasta you have on hand.
- Cajun seasoning: You can find this pre-made in the spice aisle of your grocery store, or you can make your own with this recipe.
- Cream sauce: Milk, onion, garlic, salt, and chicken broth make a light and flavorful cream sauce for this pasta.
- Tomatoes: I used Roma tomatoes, but you can use any type of tomato that you like.
- Green onions: Sliced green onions are the perfect garnish for this pasta dish because they add a lovely pop of color and flavor.
HOW TO MAKE CAJUN CHICKEN PASTA
- Heat oil in a large deep skillet add the cajun spiced chicken breasts to the heated skillet.
- Cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through.
- Add onion and garlic to the same skillet and cook, stirring, until softened.
- Add the uncooked pasta, milk, and broth. Season with the remaining cajun seasoning and salt.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often, until pasta is al dente and liquid is absorbed and creamy.
- When the sauce has thickened, remove it from heat.
TIPS FOR MAKING BLACKENED CHICKEN PASTA
- Cook your pasta until just al dente. This will allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce and not get mushy when reheating.
- Don’t overcook your chicken. Blackened chicken should be cooked until it’s just done in the center. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temp of 165°F. Remember it will continue to cook a few degrees after you remove it from the heat, so take it off the heat when it reaches 160°F.
- Use whole milk for a creamier sauce. I find that using whole milk gives the sauce a lovely, rich flavor without being too heavy. You can use 2%, but 1% and below will make a thinner sauce.
- Pound your chicken if it’s thick. I like to use chicken breasts that are of an even thickness, so they cook evenly. If your chicken is thick in some spots and thin in others, then pound it out with a meat mallet until it’s even all over. This will help it cook more evenly.
POPULAR SUBSTITUTIONS & ADDITIONS
- Switch out the protein. Salmon, shrimp, and scallops would all be delicious in this pasta dish. Just cook them the same way you would the chicken.
- Add some veggies. Sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, or yellow squash would all be wonderful additions to this pasta dish.
- Make it gluten-free. Use gluten-free pasta and chicken broth to make this dish gluten-free.
- Make it spicier. Up the cayenne pepper in the cajun seasoning, or add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pasta sauce.
HOW TO STORE & REHEAT CREAMY CAJUN CHICKEN PASTA
This pasta dish can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
To reheat, simply place the pasta in a skillet over medium heat and cook until heated through. You may need to add a splash of milk or chicken broth to thin out the sauce. You can also use the microwave to reheat this pasta dish. Place the pasta in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 30 seconds to one minute, or until heated through. Again, you may need to add a splash of milk or chicken broth to thin out the sauce.
HOW LONG WILL CREAMY CHICKEN PASTA LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
This pasta dish will last in the fridge for up to four days. After that, the sauce will start to break down, and the pasta will become mushy. So, if you want to enjoy this pasta dish at its best, then I recommend eating it within four days of making it.
CAN I FREEZE CREAMY CAJUN CHICKEN PASTA?
Yes, you can! Something to be aware of, though, is that the sauce will thicken up quite a bit, and the milk may separate or break when frozen. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just something to be aware of.
To freeze, simply place the pasta in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to three months. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it overnight in the fridge, then reheat it in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I use cream and butter to make a thicker sauce?
Yes, if you prefer a thicker sauce, then you can use cream and butter instead of milk. Just keep in mind that the sauce will be very rich this way and may not reheat as well.
Can I use a different kind of pasta?
Yes, you can use any type of pasta you like for this dish. Just keep in mind that the cooking time may be different depending on the type of pasta you use.
What should I serve with creamy cajun chicken pasta?
This pasta dish is delicious on its own, but it would also be great with a side of garlic bread or a simple green salad.
Creamy cajun chicken pasta is one of my all-time favorite pasta dishes. It’s creamy, flavorful, and so easy to make! Plus, it can be made ahead of time and reheated, making it the perfect meal for busy weeknights. If you’re looking for a delicious and easy pasta dish, then look no further than this creamy cajun chicken pasta!
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Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
This creamy Cajun chicken pasta is easy to make and features delicious blackened chicken, fresh bright tomatoes with perfectly cooked al dente pasta!
- ▢4 6- ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ▢4 teaspoons cajun seasoning divided
- ▢2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ▢1 small onion diced
- ▢2 garlic cloves minced
- ▢8 ounces penne pasta
- ▢2 ½ cups milk
- ▢1 cup chicken broth or water
- ▢½ teaspoon salt
- ▢1 roma tomato chopped
- ▢2 green onions chopped
Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of cajun spice mix all over the chicken on both sides and transfer to the heated skillet. Cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes a side. Transfer cooked chicken to a cutting board and let rest while you make the pasta.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic to the same skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the uncooked pasta, milk and broth. Season with the remaining cajun seasoning and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often until pasta is al dente and liquid is absorbed and creamy, 12 to 15 minutes.
Slice the chicken and transfer it on top of the pasta along with the chopped tomatoes and chopped green onions.
Tip: Pound your chicken breast if it’s uneven in size to ensure even cooking.
Calories: 305kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 433mg, Potassium: 442mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 896IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 145mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.