You’ll love this rich and creamy Cajun chicken pasta brimming with bold New Orleans flavor. Made with a zesty spice blend, fire-roasted tomatoes, and tender chicken, it’s an easy one-pot pasta recipe that’s perfect for weeknight dinners!
Why you’ll love it: This recipe is a one pot pasta, meaning that you won’t be spending hours on cleanup.
How long it takes: 45 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: a very large skillet or Dutch oven
Servings: 4 generous servings
- 1 Recipe Overview
- 2 Creamy Cajun Pasta with Chicken
- 3 Why You’ll Love This One-Pot Recipe
- 4 What Is Cajun Seasoning?
- 5 What You’ll Need
- 6 Looking for the Right Pan To Use?
- 7 How To Make Cajun Chicken Pasta
- 8 Make-Ahead Ideas
- 9 Tips for Success
- 10 FAQs
- 11 What to Serve with Cajun Chicken Pasta
- 12 Make It Your Own
- 13 Storing & Reheating Leftovers
- 14 More One Pan Dinners
- 15 Get the Recipe: One-Pot Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe
Creamy Cajun Pasta with Chicken
If my mailbox is any indication, one-pot pasta recipes are very much in demand! And why not? Easy dinners like my pasta with pancetta and this Cajun chicken pasta are economical, filling, and taste great. They’re also easy to make in a single pan on the stovetop.
The traditional way of preparing pasta involves a pot for boiling, a saucepan for cooking, a colander for straining, etc. Basically, a lot of dishes to wash! You guys are going to love this one-pot Cajun chicken pasta made with corn, bell peppers, and tomatoes in a creamy cheese sauce. This one-pot recipe needs just that: one pot for everything!
Why You’ll Love This One-Pot Recipe
- Savory and spicy. If the word “Cajun” conjures up thoughts of burning tongues and breathing fire, don’t worry. Some Cajun foods are indeed smokin’ hot. However, my Cajun blend is pleasantly warm and friendly to your palate.
- Ultra-creamy. The pasta absorbs all the delicious, spicy flavor as it cooks right in the same pan as the sauce. Meanwhile, the starches released from the pasta impart a wonderful creamy texture.
- Easy to make. Everything comes together so beautifully with very little effort. And there’s only one pan to wash!
What Is Cajun Seasoning?
Cajun spice is a spice blend that hails from the southern state of Louisiana. It’s a staple in Cajun and Creole cuisine. While recipes vary, generally, Cajun seasoning is a spicy blend that includes garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion, and black pepper. It’s savory and a little smoky. I use my homemade Cajun seasoning (linked in the ingredients below) on everything from pasta to scrambled eggs, roasted sweet potatoes, and of course, my jambalaya recipe.
What You’ll Need
I love that most of the ingredients for this easy pasta dinner are fridge and pantry staples. I go over the details of each ingredient below. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card for the full ingredient amounts and recipe instructions.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast: You really can’t beat boneless skinless chicken breasts for convenience. They’re a good source of low-calorie, low-fat protein and are easy to transform into a delicious pasta dish like this one.
- Onion, Red Bell Pepper, and Garlic: This trio of savory vegetables adds flavor and nutrition. Any type of onion is fine. If you prefer a green or yellow bell pepper instead of a red one, that’s just fine, too, or you can substitute chopped celery.
- Cajun Seasoning: This seasoning blend of spices and herbs adds just the right note of savory spiciness to this Cajun pasta recipe. If you like spicier heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes as a garnish.
- Canned Tomatoes: Fire-roasted diced tomatoes add a smoky component.
- Chicken Broth: Look for low-sodium or no-salt-added broth to control the amount of added salt.
- Pasta: A short pasta such as ziti (in photos) farfalle, rotini, or penne works best in one pot pasta. Macaroni is fine, too.
- Corn: Canned or frozen corn is super convenient. If you have fresh corn, it definitely has the best flavor and texture.
- Cream: Heavy cream works best in this creamy pasta. You’ll only use a half cup which keeps the calorie count under 500 calories per serving (and the servings are generous).
- Parmesan Cheese: Grated Parmesan has tons of flavor. If you prefer another type of cheese, that’s fine, too. I’d suggest Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack.
- Fresh Parsley: A handful of fresh chopped parsley brightens up the creamy pasta, keeping it from becoming too cloyingly rich.
How To Make Cajun Chicken Pasta
Who’s ready to make the creamiest Cajun pasta with chicken, all in one pot? We’ll begin by prepping the ingredients, then it’s a matter of combining everything into a fabulous dinner! Let’s get cooking.
- Prepare the ingredients. Slice and season the chicken breasts, then chop the onions, bell pepper, and garlic.
- Sauté the chicken. Heat a splash of oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Spread the chicken into a single layer, and let it cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes. Stir it and quickly brown the other side. It doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through.
- Add veggies. Next, add the onions and peppers to the pan with the chicken. Stir occasionally, until they begin to soften.
- Add seasonings. Stir in the garlic and the Cajun seasoning and cook until fragrant.
- Combine. Now, add the undrained tomatoes, chicken broth, and dry pasta to the pan. Give it a good stir, making sure all the pasta is submerged.
- Cook. Bring the pan to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer the pasta until it’s al dente. When the pasta is tender, reduce the heat to low.
- Add cream. Warm the cream slightly in the microwave, then slowly pour the warm cream into the pan, stirring constantly. Add the parmesan cheese, corn, and chopped parsley. Heat a couple of minutes until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens.
- Rest. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let it sit for a few minutes. Don’t skip the “resting” time. This lets the pasta release additional starch and absorb a bit more liquid.
Wondering what you can do ahead of time to expedite things? Prep the onion and bell pepper up to a day ahead and refrigerate in a covered container. The parsley can be washed and dried. Grate the cheese and refrigerate it.
If you’re using homemade Cajun seasoning, that will keep in your pantry for a long time, up to two years.
Tips for Success
Here are some final tips to keep in mind when making your one-pot Cajun chicken pasta:
- How to measure pasta: Generally, 8 oz. of short pasta like macaroni is about 2 cups. Barilla has a really helpful chart that I refer to often.
- Pasta cooking times will vary. The cooking time depends on what type of pasta you choose, so use the cooking directions on the package as a guide.
- Warm the cream before adding it to the pasta. About 30 seconds in the microwave should do the trick. If you add ice-cold cream to the hot sauce, it may curdle.
- If you don’t have heavy cream, cream cheese can be a good substitute for heavy cream in one-pot pasta recipes like this one (also see my recipes for homemade Hamburger Helper or Instant Pot crack chicken pasta).
- Stir the pasta a few times while it’s cooking. If it seems like it’s getting a little dry or sticking to the bottom, add a little extra broth or water. Lower the heat a bit, if necessary.
I recommend using heavy cream or cream cheese. Lower-fat alternatives to heavy cream such as half & half or milk tend to curdle when heated. The curdling doesn’t affect the flavor, but it isn’t exactly appetizing.
These seasonings are often used interchangeably. That being said, they aren’t quite the same. Both originate in the south, however, Creole seasoning is usually milder than Cajun, with herbal aromatics such as basil, oregano, or thyme.
What to Serve with Cajun Chicken Pasta
This creamy Cajun pasta recipe is a complete meal all on its own! A crisp green salad or dish of fresh fruit contrast nicely with creamy pasta and can be made ahead. Try classic arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette or a citrus salad. Homemade corn muffins, corn bread, or beer bread are a good choices, too.
Make It Your Own
Like most pasta recipes, this Cajun pasta is easy to customize to suit your family’s tastes. Try these variations:
- Prefer dark meat? Substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Not fond of Cajun? Substitute my fajita seasoning, 1:1, for the Cajun seasoning.
- Instead of canned corn, sub in a different canned vegetable of your choice. Fresh baby spinach is good, too. You may want to try my Jamaican style rasta pasta!
- Looking for something different? My creamy chicken and asparagus pasta is always a hit. Chicken stroganoff and creamy chicken Marsala are wonderful, too.
Storing & Reheating Leftovers
- Refrigerate: Promptly cover and refrigerate any leftover Cajun chicken pasta. It will keep for a few days.
- Reheat: Microwave individual portions using medium power in 30-second increments until warmed up. Try not to overdo it. Larger portions can be gently heated in a skillet over medium-low heat until warmed through. Add broth, cream, or water to thin the sauce if necessary.
Interested in a weekly meal plan (it’s free!) that includes this Cajun chicken pasta recipe? Take a look at my Meal Plan #29. You’ll find a wholesome recipe for each weekday plus a categorized grocery list. Let me do the planning for you this week!
We’ll be adding a new meal plan weekly. If you’re interested, browse all of our meal plans.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into very thin slices (boneless skinless chicken thighs may be substituted)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1 pepper)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (more or less, to taste)
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 8 ounces pasta (see note)
- 1 can (15 oz.) corn, drained
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (more for garnish)
- Red pepper flakes, for garnish if desired
- Heat a large straight sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper. When pan is hot, add olive oil and chicken. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until lightly browned but not yet cooked all the way through.
- Add onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Add garlic and Cajun seasoning and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until garlic is fragrant.
- Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and pasta.
- Stir well to combine, bring to a boil, and push down pasta so it is submerged in broth.
- Reduce heat to medium, maintaining a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until pasta is al dente, about 15 to 17 minutes (depending on which pasta you choose).
- Warm cream slightly in microwave for 30 seconds.
- Reduce heat to low; stir in cream, parmesan cheese, corn and parsley.
- Once parmesan has melted and sauce has thickened slightly, turn off heat and cover for 3 minutes.
- Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with additional parsley or red pepper flakes, if desired.
- We recommend a short pasta such as ziti (as pictured), farfalle, rotini, or penne.
- Leftover pasta should be refrigerated promptly in a covered container. It will keep for 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or small skillet.
- If you’re not a fan of corn, choose an alternative canned vegetable of your liking. Baby spinach leaves are a good choice, too.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.