Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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This creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe is one of our favorite restaurant style dishes to make at home in just 30 minutes! It’s bursting with flavor, thanks to a combination of tender, Cajun-spiced chicken and a rich, cheesy sauce.

Why You’ll Love This Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe

Cajun Chicken Pasta is one of my husband’s favorite dishes to order when we go out to eat. It took me a while, but I finally nailed making it at home! Here’s why you will love this recipe:

  • Restaurant Quality at Home: I make this sauce with a combination of heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and cream cheese. This creates a luxuriously creamy, cheesy sauce that perfectly complements the spicy chicken.
  • Quick and Easy: Ready in just 30 minutes with simple inexpensive ingredients, this creamy Cajun chicken pasta recipe is perfect for busy weeknights.
  • Flavor Explosion: The Cajun spices provide a warm, spicy kick to the tender, seasoned chicken that’s irresistible.
  • Versatile Protein Options: Works great with chicken, but you can also swap in shrimp or sausage depending on what you’re craving.

My family is from Louisiana and many of my dishes are inspired by all those classic Cajun flavors. Make sure to try my copycat Cajun jambalaya pasta, easy Cajun shrimp pasta, or this flavorful Cajun chicken Alfredo!

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe ingredients arranged in bowls. From top to bottom: chicken broth, parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, oil, cream cheese, seasonings, red bell pepper, heavy cream, butter, penne pasta and cubed uncooked chicken.

What You Will Need

This creamy Cajun chicken pasta recipe calls for simple, flavorful ingredients… Most of which you likely already have on hand. Here’s what you’ll need along with some handy swap suggestions. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact amounts.

  • Pasta: I used penne pasta, but you can use whatever kind you like. (Bow-tie, spaghetti, etc.)
  • Butter and Oil: A combination of butter and olive oil will create the best sauce.
  • Onion: I used a white onion, but a sweet yellow onion is a good swap.
  • Bell Pepper: I used a red bell pepper for a pop of color, but an orange or yellow bell pepper will work just as well. You can also use a green bell pepper, but keep in mind they have a stronger, less sweet flavor.
  • Garlic: Use freshly minced garlic for the most flavor. In a pinch, you can swap this for garlic powder.
  • Seasonings: Use Cajun seasoning, dried basil, paprika powder, cayenne pepper, freshly ground black pepper and salt.
  • Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces.
  • Cheese: Freshly shredded parmesan cheese is best. Read note in tips section below for why.
  • Heavy Cream: Half-and-half or evaporated milk will also work, but your sauce will be less creamy.
  • Cream Cheese: Let it come to room temperature before starting.
  • Chicken Broth: You can use regular or reduced sodium, whichever you prefer.
Two bowls of Cajun chicken pasta with a pot of pasta with a serving spoon.

How to Make Cajun Chicken Pasta

This Cajun chicken pasta is that it will have your kitchen smelling AMAZING, attracting everyone to the kitchen before you call them for dinner! Scroll to the recipe card at bottom of the post for full detailed instructions.

  • Cook the Pasta: Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water, set aside.
  • Add Veggies and Seasonings: While the pasta is cooking, sauté the onions and bell pepper in butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, Cajun seasoning, basil, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 more minutes.
  • Cook the Chicken: Add the chicken and stir and cook for 8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Make the Sauce: Add the parmesan, heavy cream, cream cheese and chicken broth. Stir and cook until the sauce starts to thicken.
  • Combine and Serve: Add the cooked and drained pasta and stir to coat pasta with sauce. Serve with freshly chopped parsley on top, if desired.
A skillet of Cajun Chicken Pasta with tender, seasoned chicken and penne pasta in a lusciously creamy sauce.

Chef’s Tips and Variations

  • Use Fresh Cheese: Do not use the green shaker can style parmesan cheese that does not need refrigeration. This type of cheese is coated in anti-caking agents that work as a thickener in sauces. It can also turn our sauce grainy!
  • Cayenne Pepper: If you like heat, start by adding 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and taste the sauce. Remember you can always add more cayenne pepper, but you can’t take it out!
  • Add Shrimp: You can add peeled and deveined raw shrimp to the sauce while you are cooking the sauce to thicken. The shrimp will cook in that same amount of time, about 8 to 10 minutes. Continue with the rest of the recipe as directed!
  • Add Tomatoes: I tested this recipe with and without tomatoes, we liked both, but decided we liked it better without. If you want to add tomatoes, stir in a can of diced tomatoes (well drained) when you add the bell pepper.

What to Serve with Cajun Pasta

Filling enough on its own, a few small sides are more than enough to round out your dinner table! Here are some tasty pairing ideas to go with this creamy Cajun pasta:

A bowl of creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta with fresh herbs on top and fork ready to take a bite.
Creamy pasta and chicken in a bowl.
4.5 from 349 votes
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Yield: 6 servings

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

This easy, cheesy and creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta is packed with tender pasta nand juicy tender bites of spicy chicken! This easy pasta dinner is one of our favorite restaurant style dishes to make at home in just 30 minutes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper**, more or less depending on taste
  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
  • 1 cup heavy cream, or half and half
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup chicken broth

Instructions 

  • Boil 6 cups of water in a large pot over high heat and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water (so it doesn’t clump, can also toss a little olive oil on it to prevent clumping) and set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add the butter, olive oil and onion to a large pot over medium-high heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent.
  • Add the red bell pepper, garlic, Cajun seasoning, basil, paprika, ground black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 3 more minutes or until the bell pepper starts to become soft.
  • Add the chicken and stir and cook for another 6-8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Add the parmesan, heavy cream, cream cheese and chicken broth and stir and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken and the cream cheese has fully melted.
  • Add the cooked and drained pasta and stir to coat pasta with sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then serve with freshly chopped parsley on top, if desired.

Video

Notes

Store: This Cajun chicken pasta is best served fresh, but leftovers can be saved! Place leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat: For best results, reheat leftovers with a little added cream on the stovetop to prevent it from becoming too dry.
Freeze: I do not recommend freezing this dish, the cream sauce will separate and become oily once thawed.
Use Fresh Cheese: Do not use the green shaker can style parmesan cheese that does not need refrigeration. This type of cheese is coated in anti-caking agents that work as a thickener in sauces. It can also turn our sauce grainy!
Cayenne Pepper: If you like heat, start by adding 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and taste the sauce. Remember you can always add more cayenne pepper, but you can’t take it out!
Add Shrimp: You can add peeled and deveined raw shrimp to the sauce while you are cooking the sauce to thicken. The shrimp will cook in that same amount of time, about 8 to 10 minutes. Continue with the rest of the recipe as directed!
Add Tomatoes: I tested this recipe with and without tomatoes, we liked both, but decided we liked it better without. If you want to add tomatoes, stir in a can of diced tomatoes (well drained) when you add the bell pepper.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 683kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 41g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 158mg, Sodium: 929mg, Potassium: 741mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 2106IU, Vitamin C: 30mg, Calcium: 279mg, Iron: 2mg

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    Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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    Jessica
    For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.