One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

$9.41 recipe / $2.35 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.71 from 272 votes
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It’s been a while since I’ve made a one-pot pasta! But this weekend I got a craving for a creamy, smoky, spicy, easy one pot dish, so I set to work! This One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta is incredibly easy to make, so it’s perfect for weeknight dinners. I have a few variations for you below (spicy, non-spicy, creamy, non-creamy) so be sure to read on! :)

Check out my One Pot Recipe archives for more one pot goodness!

One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta ready to be served out of the pan.

Customizing the Pasta

There are several ways you can customize this super simple and delicious one pot pasta. Check out these ideas for substitutions, add-ins, or omissions:

Adjust the Heat

This pasta is spicy. BUT you can adjust the heat by adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper in the Cajun seasoning. You can cut it in half for just a little heat, or if you are completely spicy intolerant, leave the cayenne out all together. That makes me kind of sad, but I completely understand. Sometimes your body and brain don’t want the same thing. :)

Make it Creamy (or not)

If you can’t do cream cheese, feel free to replace it with a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half. I’d probably use about 1/4 cup heavy cream, or 1/2 cup of half-and-half. OR, if you don’t want it creamy at all, that works too. This pasta was quite delicious even before I added the cream cheese, but the creaminess does balance the heat and acidity very well.

Make it “Extra”

If you want this pasta to be super over the top, try adding some cooked bacon, or a final dusting of Parmesan cheese. That little bit of extra umami flavor will really take this Cajun Chicken Pasta over the top! Or, in place of or in addition to, you could add shrimp. 

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One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

4.71 from 272 votes
Cook a complete dinner in one pot with this Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta, using mostly pantry-stable items. Perfect for busy weeknights! 
One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta in the pan.
Servings 4
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins

Ingredients

Cajun Seasoning

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.20)
  • 1 tsp oregano ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp thyme ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)

Chicken Pasta

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast ($5.47)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced ($0.32)
  • 1/2 lb. penne pasta (uncooked) ($0.75)
  • 15 oz. fire roasted diced tomatoes ($1.00)
  • 2 cups chicken broth ($0.26)
  • 2 oz. cream cheese ($0.50)
  • 3 green onions, sliced ($0.25)

Instructions 

  • Combine the ingredients for the Cajun seasoning in a small bowl. Cut the chicken into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes. Place the cubed chicken in a bowl, pour the Cajun seasoning over top, and stir to coat the chicken in spices.
  • Add the olive oil and butter to a large deep skillet. Heat the oil and butter over medium-high until the skillet is very hot and the butter is melted and foamy. Add the seasoned chicken to the skillet and cook for a couple minutes on each side, or just until the outside gets some color. The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point.
  • Add the diced yellow onion to the skillet and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or just until the onion begins to soften. Allow the moisture from the onion to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  • Next, add the pasta, fire roasted diced tomatoes (with the juices), and chicken broth to the skillet. Stir just until everything is evenly combined, then place a lid on top and allow the broth to come up to a boil.
  • Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the pasta simmer for about ten minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is thick and saucy.
  • Add the cream cheese to the skillet in chunks, then stir until it has melted into the sauce. Top the pasta with sliced green onions and serve.

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Video

Notes

  • The deep skillet I use is a 4-quart capacity.
  • Depending on your cookware, you may need to adjust the heat up or down to maintain a simmer in the broth. Be sure to stir often to prevent the pasta from sticking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 482.65kcalCarbohydrates: 51.53gProtein: 34.95gFat: 14.58gSodium: 847.23mgFiber: 3.45g
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A bowl full of One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta being eaten.

How to Make Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Seasoned cubed chicken with Cajun seasoning in a glass bowl

Stir together the ingredients for the Cajun seasoning in a small bowl (2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp salt). Cut one pound boneless, skinless chicken breast into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes. Place the chicken cubes in a bowl, pour the Cajun seasoning over top, then stir to coat the chicken in the spices.

Sauté Chicken Pieces in Cajun Seasoning

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is very hot and the butter is melted and foamy, add the seasoned chicken pieces. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side, or just until they get some color. The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point.

Onions added to skillet with cooked chicken and Cajun seasoning.

Add one diced yellow onion and continue to sauté for just a couple minutes more, or until the onion just begins to soften. The moisture from the onion should help dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Add Pasta Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Chicken Broth

Add 1/2 lb. penne to the skillet along with one 15oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes (with the juices) and 2 cups chicken broth. 

Stir Ingredients to Combine

Give everything a brief stir to make sure it’s all combined, then place a lid on top and allow the broth to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn it down to medium-low, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. 

Simmer Cajun Chicken Pasta

Simmer until the pasta is tender and the broth has become thicker and more saucy in texture. 

Add Cream Cheese to Cajun Chicken Pasta

Add 2 oz. cream cheese to the skillet in small chunks. Stir until the cheese has melted into the sauce.

Finished One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Top with sliced green onions and SERVE! This One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta is going to be on regular rotation in my house. :)

A bowl full of One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

I think this bowl of pasta is begging for some Freezer Garlic Bread, what about you?

LOVE ONE POT PASTA? TRY THESE OTHER FLAVORS:

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  1. If I wanted to substitute Cajun seasoning for the individual ingredients, about how much would I need to start with? There are roughly 6 teaspoons of ingredients, which equals 2 tablespoons (if my math is correct!). Would that be too much?
    thanks

  2. I used cavatappi pasta. I was in a pinch of ingredients so I used onions, peppers and tomatoes sautéed in butter and olive oil with Cajun season. I used a roaster chicken I grabbed at the store. Mixed broccoli and parmesan cheese.

  3. Definitely will make again. But for us, we would use less pasta coz we like our pasta a little sauce. It was dry coz the pasta absorbed a lot of the sauce.

  4. I double the cream cheese and a little less salt, added a shredded cheese mix… this was SO good! I’m going to try subbing pasta for cauliflower next time.

  5. The sauce as followed was missing a little something for me but I added some cream in addition to the two ounces of cream cheese and a cap full of shaker Parmesan and it was delicious! (Also did some sliced green bell peppers instead of the green onions, highly recommend for some crunch)

  6. I thought this was good. Used what I had on hand I used onion powder in place of onion and crushed tomato’s in place of fire roasted tomatoes and rigatoni and added mushrooms.

  7. This recipe was outstanding! Loved being able to cook the pasta in this one-pan meal!

  8. I’ve made this several times, no changes to the recipe and we absolutely love it. It is definitely a staple in our house.
    I just had a question — if I had some leftover rotisserie chicken I wanted to use up, could I use that in this recipe and I would I have change anything? Would I have to add it later on or still follow recipe as is?

  9. Hello Beth,

    Love the site and all your recipes. Lately I’ve noticed that the text is over lapping on my android phone making it impossible for me to read your content.
    Is there any way you can fix this?

    Thx!

    1. Hi! I just sent you an email. SO sorry this is happening and would love to figure out a solution ASAP. We need screenshots to send to our tech folks. XOXO -Monti

  10. Not our favorite recipe. Perhaps too much paprika for us and it was definitely missing something. The recipe was easy to make and it makes a lot (unfortunate for us because nearly all of it went in the trash).

    1. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I had the same thing happen. Spent money and time on this recipe and it didn’t even smell good once it was done. I don’t know if it was just the cream cheese or if I put too much noodles in it but it smelt kind of weird and my kid didn’t like it and I tried a bite and I didn’t think it was too bad but I didn’t take up a bowl myself. The whole pot of it went into the trash. :(

  11. Super delicious! I like spicier food so I added more cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. I also added more salt. I think next time I’ll try this with hot spicy sausage as well as the chicken. Definitely keeping this in my rotation! Thanks!

  12. I’ve made this a few times, and it’s always a hit. Sometimes I use chicken, sometimes I use sausage or shrimp. Sometimes I use all 3. I often add fresh spinach or kale (if I have it on hand), and it really compliments this recipe. This is a favorite in my house, and it always stays on the rotation. It’s budget friendly, fast and delicious. 

  13. I used 8lbs of penne instead of the half lb you recommended. Ate it all raw then combined the Cajun seasoning with the chicken broth and drank it. I’m just built different. 10/10 would make this recipe again.