One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

$9.41 recipe / $2.35 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.68 from 350 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.

“Amazing!!! Just made it…..home run!! Easy, simple, yummy!! I did add spinach at the end which was a great addition. Thanks!!”

charles

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

4.68 from 350 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 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes

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

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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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
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Video

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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. This was so good that I wanted to keep eating even after I was full! A really delicious, flavorful pasta. However, it was too spicy for my 7-year-old. I like a moderate amount of heat and thought it was perfect. The only change I made was using a can of diced tomatoes with mild green peppers rather than fire roasted, because the that was what I had on hand. This will be in regular rotation! (Maybe I will omit the cayenne next time and add extra spice to just the adult plates.)

    1. Making this tonight. I have made it before and it’s great. Was that rotel you subbed in there ? Did it change things much ? I’m interested in that. Love the recipe.

  2. This is a family favorite! I am wondering if it would be able to be cooked and frozen ahead of time? And if so could I reheat it right from frozen? Thank you!

  3. This is in our regular dinner rotation, minus cayenne pepper for our picky kid and with hot sauce for grownups.
    It’s fast, easy and one pot–you can’t go wrong! Plus, our picky kid loves it..

  4. This recipe is in our typical dinner rotation, it’s so good! We decided to try grated Parmesan cheese on it and it was even better! Definitely try it out if you love this recipe

  5. Soooo tasty. Added in some green bell peppers about five minutes before finishing and thickened with a 1 tsp flour slurry before adding in the cream cheese. It was perfection. Next time I’ll try it with Andouille sausage!

  6. This was a hit! Even my 6 year old said, hey I actually like this! Lol I’ll take the win! I didn’t have the smoked paprika but used regular paprika instead. And I left out the cayenne pepper – well because we’re whimps! The taste was great and and the recipe much appreciated for this busy mom. Thank you!