Cajun food was first introduced in America by Acadian Immigrants that fled Canada and is known for being spicy, hearty, and rustic. This creamy Cajun chicken pasta is all that.
Once you have your ingredients prepped, this easy Cajun chicken pasta recipe comes together in no time and will leave your tastebuds asking for more. If you love spicy food, this creamy pasta recipe with chicken and Cajun seasoning is definitely up your alley.
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Skinless, boneless chicken breasts. I love the flavor of chicken breasts, but you can use skinless, boneless chicken thighs as well
- Olive oil for browning the chicken pieces
- Butter for sauteing the garlic and giving the sauce an extra creamy consistency and flavor
- Cajun seasoning. Not all Cajun seasoning is prepared the same way, so I recommend you go slowly when adding it. Some are very spicy, while others are milder.
- Garlic. Three small cloves or two large cloves are used in this recipe. Mince them finely.
- Diced tomatoes. Use freshly diced tomatoes if you can, not canned
- Half and half. You can use heavy whipping cream as well if calories are not an issue
- Parmesan cheese. I like to buy Parmesan in chunks and grate it myself. Pre-grated cheese contains other ingredients added that prevent it from melting properly.
- Parsley. I recommend you use fresh parsley, but if you only have dried parsley it’s fine to use it as well
- Penne pasta is my favorite, but you can serve it over spaghetti or any other pasta shape you like
How to make Cajun chicken pasta?
This Cajun chicken pasta recipe comes together really quickly once you have all your ingredients prepped.
- Cook the penne pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside. Save ½ cup of pasta cooking water if you need to make the sauce thinner. Return the drained pasta to the pot and mix a drizzle of olive oil into the pasta so it doesn’t stick together while you cook the chicken and sauce.
- Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips and season with ½ tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the chicken strips evenly on all sides. Reduce the heat and cook them until fully cooked, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the chicken strips to a plate and keep them warm.
- Using the same skillet, melt the butter and cook the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes and cook them for about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the half and half, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Return the chicken strips, along with their juices, to the skillet and cook until the chicken is warmed up.
- Mix the sauce and chicken into the pot with the pasta. If you feel the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of pasta cooking water to thin it out. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese, sliced green onions, and chopped parsley on top.
Variations and Add-Ins:
- You can omit the tomatoes and add chopped broccoli instead.
- Adding a touch of white wine to deglaze the pan after cooking the garlic, will give the sauce another level of flavor.
- Sliced bell peppers and capers give creamy cajun pasta a slightly different flavor.
- If you want a more tomatoey sauce, add a teaspoon of tomato paste to the cream sauce.
What to serve with Cajun Chicken Pasta?
This delicious Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe deserves to be followed by an amazing dessert such as Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake.
If you love strawberries you will love my Homemade Strawberry Cake from Scratch. If you are a chocolate lover, please try this yummy Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe or the always favorite Black Magic Cake.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers?
You can store any leftovers in an airtight container and into the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat it in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven.
I recommend you add 2 tablespoons of water to the pasta before reheating it. The sauce invariably becomes thicker when refrigerated and stored for a few days.
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe
- 12 oz penne pasta
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsps Cajun seasoning
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup tomatoes, freshly diced
- ½ cup half and half
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (and more for serving)
- 2 tbsps parsley ( and more for garnish)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted boiling water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Before you drain the pasta, reserve ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Place the drained pasta back in the pot and drizzle it with olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
- Season the chicken strips with ½ tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the chicken strips on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium and cook them until fully cooked, about 3 more minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
- Using the same skillet, melt the butter and saute the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Pour in the half and half and add the parmesan cheese, remaining tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, and chopped parsley. Simmer until thickened. Add salt and pepper if needed.
- Return the chicken strips, along with their juices, to the skillet and continue simmering until the chicken is warmed up.
- Mix the chicken and sauce into the pot with the cooked pasta and give everything a stir. Add some pasta cooking water if you feel the sauce is too thick. Top with sliced green onions, more parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley.