This Cajun Pasta is the definition of an easy, flavor-packed meal! Made with seasoned chicken in a creamy, slightly spicy sauce, Cajun Chicken Pasta is an easy dinner recipe that comes together in one pot in under 30 minutes.
Why You Will Love Cajun Pasta
- One-Pot Dinner Recipe. Made in one pan, with easy-to-find ingredients, this Cajun Pasta is on the table in under 30 minutes.
- Amazing Flavor. Thanks to the cajun seasoning and fire-roasted tomatoes, this one-pot pasta recipe packs a punch in the flavor department.
- Picky-Eater Approved. The addition of cream cheese mellows out the spice level to make this recipe suitable for those with more sensitive palates (AKA the kids!)
- Hearty. This recipe is an all-in-one satisfying meal. It is filled with protein and grains that will keep you satisfied long after dinner is over.
Notes on Ingredients & Equipment
- Chicken: Use either boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Cajun Seasoning: I always keep my pantry stocked with homemade cajun seasoning. It is made with the perfect ratio of spices for the ultimate flavor and helps you control the level of heat and sodium. However, feel free to use storebought cajun seasoning if that is what you have on hand.
- Pasta: You want to select a noodle that the sauce can easily adhere to, such as rotini, corkscrew noodles, or elbow noodles.
- Aromatics: Adding minced garlic and diced yellow onion helps to develop the flavor in this simple one-pot dish.
- Bell Pepper: I love the fresh, sweet flavor that a red bell pepper lends to cajun pasta. I don't recommend using green bell pepper, as it does not pair as well with the other flavors in this dish. Feel free to omit it if you don't care for the texture or flavor of sweet bell peppers.
- Diced Tomatoes: I highly suggest using fire-roasted tomatoes to add a nice smokey undertone to the cajun pasta.
- Chicken Stock: Use low-sodium storebought or homemade chicken stock or Instant Pot chicken stock. The stock will help to create a rich cajun pasta sauce while flavoring the noodles as they cook.
- Cream Cheese: Be sure to use regular or low-fat cream cheese, NOT fat-free cream cheese as it can cause the sauce to separate.
- Pan: Use a large stock pan with a lid or a large skillet that can be fitted with a lid. This will ensure that you have enough room for this pasta dish to cook.
- Cajun Sausage Pasta: Swap the seasoned chicken with sliced andouille sausage. It makes this recipe for Cajun pasta even easier!
- Meatless Cajun Pasta: Simply omit the chicken. You may find that the dish will only serve 4 versus 6 without the addition of chicken.
- Gluten-Free Cajun Pasta: To keep this recipe gluten-free, I recommend using Barilla gluten-free noodles, as they don't give off as much starch as other gluten-free brands. You also should confirm your chicken broth is gluten-free as well.
- Hate Diced Tomatoes? If you, or your kids, don't care for the texture of diced tomatoes, substitute 15 ounces of tomato sauce in place of the diced tomatoes or blend the fire-roasted tomatoes prior to adding them to the cajun pasta.
- Controlling the Spice: For a spicier version of cajun pasta, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons of hot sauce to the pasta after it has cooked. For a milder version, reduce the cajun seasoning in half.
How to Make the Best Cajun Pasta
This recipe for Cajun Chicken Pasta is a super easy recipe. And while you can find detailed directions in the recipe card, I do have some tips to make this one-pot meal even easier and better tasting!
Step One: Season the Chicken. Don't skip seasoning the cubed chicken with cajun seasoning prior to sauteeing the chicken. This will help to build the layers of flavor in this simple meal.
Step Two: Saute the chicken with the onions and peppers. Another tip to building flavor and texture in this pasta dinner is to saute the chicken, peppers, and onions until the chicken is browned and the veggies are tender.
Step Three: Bring to a boil. After sauteing the chicken with the veggies, you want to add in the broth and tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil before adding in the pasta. This will help the noodles cook evenly.
Step Four: Simmer the pasta until al dente. You want to simmer the pasta until it is just bite tender, or al dente. Cooking longer will result in mushy pasta.
Step Five: Add cubed, room-temperature cream cheese. It is best to add small chunks of cream cheese that are at room temperature so that it evenly, and quickly melts into the cajun pasta sauce. This will not only speed up the recipe but ensure a nice, creamy cajun pasta sauce.
This Cajun Chicken Pasta is a hearty meal that stands on its own. However, if you would like to add a side of vegetables, I recommend pairing this pasta dinner with a simple side salad like Mixed Greens with Mandarin Oranges or Avocado Spinach Salad.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
- Refrigerate: If you happen to have any leftover Cajun Pasta, allow it to cool slightly. Then transfer the leftover pasta to an airtight container and store it for up to 3 days.
- Reheat: To reheat this Cajun Pasta, I suggest dishing out individual servings into bowls, adding a splash of chicken stock or water, covering with a damp paper towel, and microwaving in 30-second intervals until warmed through.
- Freezing: Due to the addition of cream cheese, I don't recommend freezing this Creamy Cajun Pasta, as the sauce may separate when thawed.
More Easy Pasta Dinner Recipes
- Pasta Primavera
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- 5-Ingredient Baked Rotini
- Tuscan Pasta
- Shrimp Scampi Pasta
- Instant Pot Creamy Italian Pasta
If you enjoyed this simple Cajun Pasta, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below!
One Pot Cajun Pasta with Chicken
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion minced
- 1 large red bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 15 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes undrained
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 8 ounces rotini pasta (½ box)
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened and cut into cubes
- green onions for serving
- Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle the cubed chicken with ½ tablespoon of the cajun seasoning and toss to coat.
- Heat the oil in a large stock pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the seasoned chicken to the skillet and cook, stirring often, for a couple of minutes on each side, or just until the outside gets some color. Add the diced onion and red bell pepper to the skillet and saute for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds just to toast.
- Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and the remaining ½ tablespoon of Cajun seasoning to the pan and stir to combine, while scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the saucepan. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, remove the lid, add in the pasta, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover and let the pasta simmer for about ten minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until the pasta is tender and has absorbed most of the sauce.
- Remove the lid, add in cream cheese, and stir into pasta. Continue to cook the pasta uncovered and stirring often until the cream cheese has melted and the pasta has finished cooking about 5 minutes.
- Top the pasta with sliced green onions and serve.