Loaded Cajun Chicken Pasta is full of spicy flavor, and loaded with three different meats: chicken, shrimp, and sausage. Made with linguine and a creamy sauce, it is a meal everyone is sure to enjoy!
Table of Contents
- Creamy, Flavor-Blasted Cajun Chicken Pasta with Shrimp and Sausage
- The List of Ingredients
- Can You Use Milk Instead of Cream in Pasta?
- How to Make Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Recipe Notes
- What Goes with Cajun Chicken Pasta?
- How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Can I Freeze This?
- Get the Recipe
- More Family-Pleasing Chicken Dinners
Creamy, Flavor-Blasted Cajun Chicken Pasta with Shrimp and Sausage
Pasta dinners can be simple, but that doesn’t have to mean boring! If you find yourself reaching for mac and cheese or spaghetti a little too often, try swapping out your pasta standby dishes for this spicy, Cajun-flavored version of chicken fettuccine alfredo.
As you might have already noticed, I’m a big fan of anything made with Cajun or Creole seasoning, from Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken and Sausage to Cajun Shrimp Tacos, and more. This bold, yet rich pasta dish is one of the best. The trio of juicy chicken, savory sausage, and perfectly-cooked shrimp is a definite winner! And like many of your favorite pasta recipes, it comes together quickly and easily with just a skillet and a pot of boiling water.
(Looking for a slightly less “loaded” version of this dish? Check out my Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta, made with penne pasta and chicken.)
The List of Ingredients
Let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll need to make this creamy Cajun chicken pasta. It’s not exactly a short list, but most of the ingredients are things you probably keep on hand, like olive oil, seasonings, and chicken broth. Here’s the scoop:
- Pasta: We like long pasta such as linguine or fettuccine in this recipe, but you could substitute another pasta shape if you like.
- Olive Oil: Avocado oil is also good.
- Seasonings: Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, and thyme are all you need to jazz this recipe up, Cajun style! I also love this Homemade Cajun Seasoning!
- Shrimp: The shrimp should be peeled and deveined before you cook them. You can also remove the tails, or leave them on – it’s up to you.
- Chicken: My family enjoys boneless, skinless chicken breast in this recipe, but thighs would also work. Thighs might take a little longer to get tender in the skillet.
- Sausage: Andouille is my go-to for Cajun-inspired dishes like this one.
- Aromatics: A trio of onion, green pepper, and fresh garlic adds so much flavor to the recipe.
- Tomatoes: Crushed, canned tomatoes.
- Chicken Broth: Homemade is great, but boxed broth or stock is also fine. Vegetable broth can be used instead of chicken.
- Cream: The secret ingredient that makes this dish so irresistible? Heavy cream! While you could substitute as needed, I highly recommend using the real deal – it’s incredibly silky and rich.
- Parmesan: Grated parmesan gives the sauce its cheesy taste. It’s great to have a little extra on hand for serving, as well.
- Parsley: Freshly chopped, for garnish.
Can You Use Milk Instead of Cream in Pasta?
Yes, you can use whole milk or some half-and-half in this pasta recipe, but keep in mind that neither of these will thicken the sauce like heavy cream. To make a milk-based sauce thicker, try adding a slurry of cornstarch and water while the sauce is simmering. (Make a slurry using a tablespoon each of cornstarch and water, and add the slurry a teaspoon at a time until the sauce is thick enough for your taste.)
How to Make Cajun Chicken Pasta
Now for the fun part: the cooking! To make sure this process goes smoothly, have your shrimp peeled and deveined before you start. Chopping the veggies ahead of time helps, too.
- Start Cooking the Pasta. Set a large pot of water on the stove, and heat it to boiling. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, and when it’s done, drain it and set it aside to keep warm.
- Season and Cook the Chicken and Shrimp. While the pasta is cooking, combine a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning with ½ teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and thyme. Use this mixture to generously season your shrimp and chicken. Then cook the shrimp in a large skillet over medium heat, using a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking. When the shrimp is done, move it to a covered plate to keep warm, and cook the chicken pieces the same way.
- Cook the Sausage. Move the cooked chicken to the shrimp plate and cover it again. Now add the sausage to your skillet, browning it slightly and heating it through. Set that aside with the chicken and shrimp while you finish the sauce.
- Make the Creamy Cajun Sauce. Add more oil to your pan, and cook the aromatics for a few minutes before stirring in some Cajun seasoning, salt, the crushed tomatoes, the chicken broth, and finally the heavy cream. Stir this mixture well and let it simmer for a couple of minutes to thicken. Then take the pan off of the heat, and stir in your Parmesan cheese, until the cheese is fully melted.
- Finish the Dish. Carefully dump the drained, cooked pasta into the sauce, and gently toss to coat. Then top the pasta with the chicken, shrimp, and sausage. Garnish with additional Parmesan and freshly chopped parsley, if desired.
So there you have it: perfectly creamy, spicy, and cheesy Cajun pasta with chicken, shrimp, and sausage. It’s easier than you think, and oh-so-tempting. To make things even easier, check out these helpful recipe notes.
- Make It Spicier: If you want to add more heat, one way to do it would simply be to add more Cajun seasoning. However, Cajun seasoning usually includes salt, so adding more will also make the recipe saltier. You may want to cut down on the added salt if you do this. A slightly easier way to up the heat is to shake in some crushed red pepper flakes, or sprinkle in a little ground cayenne.
- Chicken Thighs: You can use chicken thighs in place of chicken breasts, but keep in mind that thighs usually contain a bit more fat and connective tissue than breast meat. Be sure to cook it until it is completely done and tender.
- A Touch of Sweetness: This little trick comes from a friend of mine, who always adds a tablespoon of brown sugar to her Cajun pasta. That little touch of sweetness is definitely delicious!
- Crushed Tomatoes: You will not need the whole 14-ounce can. A whole can will make this dish too tomato-ey. Eight to ten ounces is perfect. If you can’t find a can that small, just measure out what you need and save the rest for another dish.
- Kitchen Timing: Make sure to start cooking your meats and making the sauce while the pasta water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks. That way, you can add warm pasta to the sauce when it’s done, instead of cold pasta that’s been sitting too long and getting sticky or hard.
What Goes with Cajun Chicken Pasta?
To make this a meal, you can simply add some garlic bread and salad – but if you want to make something a little more special, maybe one of these tried-and-true side dishes are what you’re looking for…
- Candied Carrots: Made with fresh carrots and brown sugar, these easy Candied Carrots are special enough for the holidays, but easy enough for any meal. You’ll love their bright color and flavor alongside Cajun chicken pasta.
- Savory Green Beans: It doesn’t get much easier than these Air Fryer Green Beans – and their lightly-roasted taste and texture is such a treat. This might just be your new favorite way to cook green beans!
- Rolls: If you want to really spoil the people around your table, look no further than this perfect copycat recipe for Texas Roadhouse Rolls. The cinnamon honey butter is utterly divine!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
If you have leftover Cajun chicken pasta, just pop it into an airtight container and refrigerate it. The leftovers should keep for up to 5 days.
To reheat, place the desired amount in a covered skillet or saucepan, and heat on low, stirring now and then. You may need to add a little splash of milk or cream if the pasta seems dry. Don’t overheat or the chicken and shrimp will dry out.
Can I Freeze This?
I do not recommend freezing this dish, since the sauce can separate when freezing and thawing.
Loaded Cajun Chicken Pasta
- 1 pound linguine or fettuccine pasta
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into thin slices
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
- Parsley, optional garnish
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning and ½ teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and thyme. Season the shrimp and chicken evenly with this spice mixture.
- Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook the shrimp in the hot pan, cooking on each side for 2 – 3 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink and curl. Remove the shrimp from the pan immediately, and set aside on a covered plate to keep warm.
- Add a little more oil to the pan and cook the seasoned chicken until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside on the covered plate with the shrimp.
- Add the sausage to the pan. Warm the sausage and brown it slightly, then remove and keep warm on the covered plate with the chicken and shrimp.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan, and cook the onion, green pepper, and garlic for 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, crushed tomatoes, broth, and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is fully combined.
- Add the cooked, drained pasta to the sauce, and toss to coat. Then add the shrimp, chicken, and sausage.
- Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and a little extra grated parmesan if desired.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- I do not recommend freezing this dish, since the sauce can separate when freezing and thawing.
More Family-Pleasing Chicken Dinners
- Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings
- Baked Honey Mustard Chicken
- Pico de Gallo Chicken
- Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
- Best Chicken Fried Chicken
- Greek Chicken Souvlaki
- Best Homemade Chicken & Dumplings
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