Delightfully simple and tremendously tasty, Cajun chicken pasta is a quickfire midweek meal to please the whole family!
A fresh, healthy, delicious meal in 25 minutes tops? What’s not to like?
Products you need for this recipe
There are a few essential items you’ll need to get the best out of this Cajun chicken pasta recipe:
- Large frying pan – make sure you have a pan large enough for this one-pan recipe
- Large mixing bowl – a good quality mixing bowl is a must-have in every kitchen
- Kitchen knife – make sure you have a sharp, good quality kitchen knife
- Chopping board – invest in a bamboo chopping board
- Measuring spoons – these handy little measuring spoons are great for getting accurate, quick measurements
Cajun chicken pasta recipe
This dish is a delicious one-pan wonder! Creamy Cajun chicken mixed with smoky, spicy Cajun seasoning and pasta, for a marvelous midweek meal.
Simple ingredients, minimal preparation and a quick cook time from start to finish make this pasta dish perfect for those without much time on their hands.
Where this dish really excels is in the sublime mix of creaminess and spiciness!
Homemade Cajun seasoning
An essential part of this Cajun chicken pasta recipe is my homemade Cajun seasoning. It’s like a smoky flavor bomb and takes a humble chicken pasta dish to a different dimension!
What is Cajun seasoning made of?
It’s made up of smoked paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
Is this dish spicy?
Not particularly. There’s none of that chili heat that can put many people off. Instead, you get a nice, warm smokiness.
Also, this is creamy Cajun chicken we’re talking about – the creaminess of the dish balances with the smoky seasoning to reduce the heat.
What kind of seasoning can I use instead of Cajun seasoning?
For me, the homemade Cajun seasoning is key. It’s got a very specific balance of flavors that works so well with the chicken and the creamy sauce.
Still, if you do want to try something different, you can always opt for creole seasoning. It contains chili powder, so it will bring a little more heat.
If you want a milder flavor, go for ranch seasoning in place of Cajun, or leave out the paprika and cayenne pepper altogether.
Can this recipe be made in advance?
Yes! Like a lot of saucy, spicy dishes, this recipe just gets better when you let the flavors get to know each other.
So, by all means make Cajun chicken pasta a day before, two days at a push. Just make sure you store it properly.
Keep in mind that the pasta will soak up a lot of the sauce. This means a less creamy sauce if you make it in advance and serve it later.
One way around this is to cook everything except the pasta. Then, when you want to serve the dish, add the pasta and the rest of the ingredients to the pan and cook until the pasta is ready.
How do you store leftover Cajun chicken pasta?
You’ll need to store your leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh for 2–3 days, although I’d challenge you not to devour them before then!
Can you freeze it?
Yes, you can. Cajun chicken pasta will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months, although around the 3-month mark the flavor and texture will start to suffer.
Also, creamy cajun chicken doesn’t freeze that great. The less creamy it is, the better it will freeze.
Make sure it has fully cooled before freezing. Place the contents in an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze straight away. You can also freeze it in individual portions if you’ve made a large batch and only want to defrost a certain amount at a time.
When defrosting, defrost it in the fridge, preferably overnight. If you don’t have time, you can defrost it in a bowl of cool water, changing the water every 30–45 minutes until fully defrosted.
How do you reheat Cajun chicken pasta?
I recommended using a double boiler. It’s the best way to gently reheat leftovers without affecting the taste and texture too much.
You could also reheat your Cajun chicken pasta leftovers in a large saucepan or frying pan. You might find that the sauce becomes too thick, leading to a dry dish. If this happens, try adding a splash of milk or cream, or a little bit of stock.
What pasta should I use?
When it comes to which pasta to use with this dish, there are lots of different options:
The classic pasta to pair with chicken, penne pasta comes in the shape of small tubes and is terrifically versatile. Perfect for rich, creamy or tomato-based dishes and excellent for absorbing sauce.
These little bow-ties are great with Cajun chicken and are widely available. As they look like little butterflies, kids love them too!
You associate this type of pasta more with a carbonara or a bolognese. Still, if you’re a sucker for spaghetti, you’re going to love it in this creamy Cajun chicken dish.
Like a flatter, fatter spaghetti, linguine is a great option if you fancy getting your fork twirling skills on the go. Excellent with creamy dishes, although it’s not the most common type of pasta to serve with Cajun chicken.
A large, very flat ribbon type pasta, pappardelle isn't as widely known or available as the above, but it tastes fantastic. The wide surface area makes them perfect when paired with rich sauces, usually a ragu, but they’d go great with creamy Cajun chicken too.
Variations on this recipe
We’ve all got different tastes, right? Well, luckily this recipe is not only downright delicious, it’s also very flexible and highly adaptable.
Aside from picking your preferred pasta type, there are lots of ways to change up this recipe and tailor it to your taste buds. Here are a few suggestions:
Turn up (or down) the heat
Some like it hot, while others prefer it mellow. Either way, you can easily adapt this recipe to get just the right amount of heat.
For heat junkies, double the amount of cayenne called for in the recipe, or add a teaspoon of hot chili powder.
For those looking to dial it down a notch, halve the cayenne pepper or leave it out altogether. If you’re completely averse to spices, leave out the smoked paprika too.
Make it more or less creamy
This is supposed to be a creamy Cajun chicken recipe, right? Just how creamy is up to you.
If you want it creamier, add an extra 50% of the amount of heavy cream called for. Be careful though! You don’t want to go overboard. Too much cream will detract from the Cajun flavors.
To make this dish less creamy, you can either halve the amount of cream called for or you can use single cream. You could also use any kind of low fat alternative, like a low fat cream cheese.
Add some extra star quality
Now we’re talking! If you want to take that wow factor through the roof and go full indulgent mode, there are a few things you could do.
First of all, as mentioned in the recipe, add a final dusting of grated Parmesan cheese on top. For real luxury, use a quality aged Parmesan cheese. The flavor will blow you away!
Smoked sausage is another option. Go for a Cajun sausage – something like andouille would be perfect. Just chop it up and add it at the same time as the peppers and spices. Another sausage that would bring amazing flavor is Spanish chorizo.
While we’re talking star quality, let’s talk bacon. Chopped bacon in a pasta dish never fails to raise the flavor level. It works perfectly with chicken and spice, not to mention the creaminess.
Finally, for a little hit of rich umami flavor, look no further than a splash of good old Worcestershire sauce!
Go surf and turf
If you know anything about Cajun food, you’ll know that Cajun spices and seafood are a match made in heaven. So, if you want to take this dish to the next level while keeping that authentic Cajun style, add some delicious shrimp.
Make it veggie
For meat-free foodies, replace the chicken with a meaty mushroom, tofu, seitan or jackfruit.
Add some zest
Grate in some lemon zest to add some citrus flavor into the mix.
What to serve with Cajun chicken pasta
Go for a fresh, simple salad – something like a cucumber ribbon salad, a pear and rocket salad or a Caprese salad would be perfect.
If you’re really in the mood for a feast, serve your creamy Cajun chicken pasta with some homemade garlic bread.
More amazing chicken recipes
After you’ve mastered this Cajun chicken pasta, why not give these a go?
- Romesco chicken traybake
- Chicken chaat
- Sous vide fried chicken
- Sous vide chicken breast
- Coronation chicken jacket potatoes
- Chicken and leek pasta bake
- Chicken liver pate
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Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Diet: Halal
Add a spicy kick to your pasta and learn how to make this delicious Cajun Chicken Pasta. This tasty dish is easy to make and will delight the whole family.
- 600g (1.3lbs) boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped
- 15g (2 tbsp) Cajun seasoning
- 15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 red pepper, cut into chunks
- 1 green pepper, cut into chunks
- 2g (1 tsp) smoked paprika
- 1g (½ tsp) dried basil
- 225g (½lb) dried pasta
- 450g (1lbs) passata
- 500ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- 125ml (½ cup) double cream
- 22g (4 tbsp) parmesan, grated
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- cilantro, for garnishing
- Place the chicken and Cajun spice in a bowl and stir to coat the chicken evenly with the spice. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet. Gently fry the onion and celery until softened and translucent.
- Turn up the heat to medium high and add the chicken, searing the meat as you stir.
- When the chicken is more or less browned, add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes while stirring.
- Add the peppers, smoked paprika and basil, then stir fry for another 3 minutes.
- Tip in the pasta and stir.
- Turn up the heat, then pour in the passata and chicken stock. Give it a stir so that all flavours mingle, then wait until a low simmering point is reached.
- Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
- Stir in the double cream and let it bubble away for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, then sprinkle with parmesan, spring onions and cilantro.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Feel free to use as much or little of Cajun seasoning as you desire.
- Don’t fry the chicken on too high a temperature. Cajun seasoning burns very easily.
- Chicken thighs are so much juicier and flavourful than chicken breast. That said, the latter will also work in this recipe. Turkey too!
- I used rigatoni pasta in this recipe, but almost any type of pasta will work. Keep in mind though, that smaller pasta shapes need a shorter cooking time, so keep an eye on it!
- If you find you have plenty of double cream leftover after this recipe, don't let it go to waste! Try one of my other recipes that includes double cream!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: cajun chicken pasta, creamy cajun chicken pasta recipe, one pot cajun chicken pasta, one pot meal, easy chicken pasta recipe, family dinner recipe, how to make cajun chicken pasta
I like to add tomato paste and onion to my pasta
I always add chillies
Emma Louise Elliott
I like to add cheese, cheese and more cheese lol. And if the kids aren’t eating it lots of spice x
I add a stock pot to flavour the pasta.
Love this recipe. My secret hack is to use nutritional yeast in place of Parmesan-
I like to add mixed herbs to my pasta
I like to add spices to the sauce
With a combination of vegetables, herbs and spices .
I tend to cook lots of tomato based pasta dishes, I need to find ways to be more adventurous.
Spices and sauces x
As well as garlic,purée and tinned tomatoes and herbs I add bovril and Worcestershire sauce
Pesto and toasted sunflower seeds is my favourite addition to any pasta dish
A good tomato sauce is great to add to pasta
I prefer a creamy sauce so I love extra herbs and pesto.
Herbs and spices⭐️
Knowing your herbs, different herbs can give different tastes and adding certain ones will really give your dish the taste it needs
use tomato paste
usually by mixing it with a tasty sauce
I add passata or tin tomatoes, depending on the day, then garlic and whatever herbs are to hand together with shallots and Worcester sauce for a spicier flavour. Sometimes I add garlic and herb Philadelphia cheese to add body to the dish.
I often add garlic!
chilles and tomato
Red pepper flakes,fresh garlic, dried oregano, and basil,
I love to add a bit of chilli into the sauce.
a little bit of chilli powder
Garlic, I'm probably guilty of over use but its my fave lol x
I am a big fan of adding spices and chillies to pasta - i love my pasta spicy!
My favourite way is using tomatoes and cheeses.
A fresh tomato sauce with lots of basil and a splash of cream
Add balsamic vinegar to tomato sauces
Pesto sauce is great for jazzing everything up!
Lots of garlic and fresh herbs
Definitely a bit of chilli for spice
I always use garlic paste
I love to add lots of tomato and cheese to my pasta
I always think adding garlic and herbs adds dimension easily. I love a rich sauce too.
I like to use fresh herbs for added flavour especially basil ad parsley!
Pesto and toasted sunflower seeds is my favourite addition
I like a bit of heat to my pasta dishes. I usually throw in some dried chilli. Plenty onions too!
Basil and balsamic vinegar x
I like to add spices or tomato paste.
some great seasoning I bought in Rome. A 4 pack including pepper and cheese
I add garlic and herb to my pasta sauces. x
Lots of variations on tomatoes, fresh herbs and cheeses.
sweety drop peppers, love them!
As a cheese fan, there's nothing else I would add, making a carbonara! xx
Add pasta to the sauce, not sauce to the pasta
I love to add a delicious tomato sauce
a dash of fresh lemon juice
a good tomato based sauce, I like to add chillis as well
I use lots of fresh herbs and spices in the sauce
Adding chilli to the tomato sauce
Out of a jar, useless at cooking if it not burnt it isn't cooked
A good home made tomato base
I usually add a handful of different spices
we add garlic powder and herbs
I like to add a tomato or creamy mushroom sauce
Love to make Fajita pasta
Garlic & chillies
different herbs and garlic
I like to add garlic and chilli
We add lots of spice, ketchup and marmite! Lots of flavour! Yum!
Add garlic and herbs with a good tomato puree
I like creamy sauces with my pasta, like Carbonarra and Tuna Pasta Bake.
Marion Iris Tanner
Sounds weird i know, but i always add about a flat tspn of english mustard, gives it a kick you cant quite pin down! I also put a generous chuck of parmesan in any tomato based sauce before cooking, an italian waiter once told me that was what his mama and nonna did .
A rich tomato sauce, with chunky mushrooms, onions,courgette, lots of garlic and black pepper
Just sprinkle the tomato sauce on top.
Garlic and paprika are my favourite ways to add flavour
If in doubt, add more garlic!
Lots of fresh herbs added
homemade pesto drizzled over any pasta dish just seems to elevate it!
Lots and lots of pepper
I will add tomato paste and some Mexicano cheese for extra spiciness.
I always put plenty of pepper and some caesar sauce on any pasta dish to give it a bit of oomph.
i love to add fresh herbs and some spices
I like to use either fresh or dried herbs
I'll normally add garlic and bacon to a tomato based sauce
I slow roast red peppers and blend them into the tomato sauce
A decent sprinkling of Oregano is my go-to flavouring.
I always add extra garlic and black pepper to the sauce
I always use fresh herbs my favourite is basil. Also cant resist some fresh garlic. Pasta is pretty tasteless so the more flavour added brings a dish to life.
I'm all about herbs and spices. Love adding a bit of chilli and loads of garlic to pasta.
I like to use roast garlic and herbs for lots of flavour
fresh lemon juice xx 🙂
Use fresh local in season produce as much as possible, fresh basil is amazing in a sauce or pesto
Sun dried tomatoes and chillis
I like to add some chilli powder
Dried mushrooms like porcini.
I boil my pasta in chicken stock & olive oil! I then love a garlic type butter sauce with the pasta and defo a squeeze of lemon and Parmesan
Any dish add lots of garlic. I batch puree loads at the beginning of each month so I always have loads on hand.
I like to add spices!
Herbs! I love adding herbs to tomato-based pasta sauces for some more flavour.
Quite often, I find that a splash of Olive Oil can really lift a pasta dish
I like to add paprika
Some fresh lemon juice!
Definitely add cheese i love nothing more than pasta and parmesan
I always add pesto
I always crumble an oxo cube into my rich tomato sauces - makes them taste amazing!!
i love to add fresh herbs
I love adding pesto.
I like to add Garlic Cream to my pasta
I love to add garlic to pasta
I've added all sorts over the years to jazz it up, from simple salt/pepper seasoning to a spoon full of pesto or salsa, even dolloped a tablespoon of branston pickle in there which was surprisingly delicious.
I always add extra black pepper and more garlic than the recipe states.
I love to add olive oil and chill flakes
Chilli, garlic, ginger, parsley
I always add Provencal herbs
I love pasta, especially with tomato sauce made with homegrown tomatoes
I often add garlic, chilli or herbs to the water when cooking dried pasta.
I like to spice it up with chili flakes, oregano, or whatever my current favourite spice may be.
I love a spoonful of pesto sauce added to a tomato pasta sauce to add extra flavour.
I love to add various herbs, spices and also some lemon.