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!
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.
One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- 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)
- 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)
- 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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- 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.
Other Chicken Pasta Recipes You Might Like:
- One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
- White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli
- Chicken Broccoli Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce
- Greek Chicken Pasta Salad
- Monterey Chicken Skillet
How to Make Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta – Step by Step Photos
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.
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.
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 1/2 lb. penne to the skillet along with one 15oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes (with the juices) and 2 cups chicken broth.
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 until the pasta is tender and the broth has become thicker and more saucy in texture.
Add 2 oz. cream cheese to the skillet in small chunks. Stir until the cheese has melted into the sauce.
Top with sliced green onions and SERVE! This One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta is going to be on regular rotation in my house. :)
I think this bowl of pasta is begging for some Freezer Garlic Bread, what about you?
It’s a great tasting dish. I added sliced turkey smoked sausage along with the chicken and it was great. Used half and half instead of cream cheese. I wondering if I could use a different pasta. Linguine or bow tie ?
Yes, you can definitely use a different shape pasta if you prefer. :) Shorter shapes, like bowtie, are usually a little easier with one pot cooking methods like this.
So I couldn’t wait to try this recipe and gathered the ingredients together except I used premixed cajun seasoning, because I forgot to buy thyme and I didn’t have a lot of “time”. I generally try to stick to a recipe for the first try. I realized I had 1.5 lbs of chicken and I didn’t want to save the .5 lb. I added a little additional seasoning, butter, oil to make up for the difference as I did with the pasta and the chicken stock. A little too much extra pasta, so I decided to add an additional can of fire roasted tomatoes and cream cheese. When I went to taste it, I realized, I had bought fire roasted Rotel, lol. It is very spicy, but still so delicious!!! Thank you for the recipe!!!!
Hi, I really hate cream cheese and I’m wondering if substituting it for regular marble cheese would work just as well? Thank you
Marble cheese probably won’t melt into the sauce quite the same way as cream cheese, unfortunately.
I can’t wait to make this tonight! My previous question was answered, thank you, I wanted to know if this can be made ahead of time and reheated?
Hi Christine! Yes, this can be made ahead and reheated, but the pasta will absorb some of the sauce. Portion and reheat in a microwave until steaming, or keep in the pan and warm on the stove.
Hi! My daughter doesn’t like canned tomatoes, can I substitute tomato sauce and how much? Thank you
Hi Christine, you can sub tomato sauce in a 1:1 ratio. xoxo -Monti
I just tried this for the first time and loved it! I doubled the recipe and made it in a big pot, and it came out quite a bit soupier than the pictures. If you’re doubling the recipe, I recommend not covering the pot during the simmer step, and use higher stove temperatures in general.
Made it just now and it tastes great! Easy to make as well. Do you have any recommendations if we wanted to add any more veggies? Thank you!
I think almost any veggie would work- especially cauliflower, kale, mushrooms, or sweet potatoes. However, I would cook the veggies separately and add them in at the end. Depending on the veggie, they will either absorb or release moisture and fuss with results. xoxo -Monti
Thanks! Will try next time for sure!
What if I wanted to do Cajun steak instead of chicken, how does that change the way the recipe is made?
You’ll probably want to sear the steak first, then remove it from the skillet. Prepare the rest of the dish without the steak in the skillet, then just slice it and add it in at the end, otherwise, it will likely overcook and become tough.
Another winning recipe! :) I made as directed except more onion powder instead of diced onions. The pasta cooked fully, the sauce became thick after I removed the lid and simmered another 2 minutes, I was worried about the tomatoes because I’m not a huge fan of chunky tomatoes but they cooked down and worked perfectly.