The heat gets turned up on alfredo cream sauce courtesy of a little Cajun spice. Easy Cajun Chicken Alfredo pasta is the busy weeknight dinner you can make in under 30 minutes. Save this to your favorite easy pasta recipes tab!
A taste memory
Cajun chicken alfredo pasta all started with a taste memory from the California Pizza Kitchen Chicken Tequila Fettuccine. I really thought that was what I had created. Then I realized—I had instead made a creamy, luscious chicken tequila fettuccine without tequila (I didn't have any but I did have vodka for this spicy one pot vodka pasta sauce).
Oh.. and I also didn't have fettuccine.
But...what evolved was a Cajun chicken pasta with some oh-so-creamy sauce and it's the 30 minute one pot meal I didn't know I needed.
Why you'll love this easy dinner
- Complete meal. It all starts with the simple homemade Alfredo sauce that is jacked up with a little Cajun seasoning. And then once you add the boneless skinless chicken breasts and some yellow and red bell pepper, you have the total package. Cue a big bowl, the couch and your current Netflix obsession. And serve it with a side of this simple arugula salad.
- Quick. 30 minutes. I repeat 30 minutes! 💃🏻
- A Little Heat. The sauce has a bit of a kick from a little cayenne pepper and poblanos but not too much so the whole family will enjoy it.
- Surprise zest. A little squeeze of lime juice riight at the end brings the magic.
The ingredient list might seem long but that's because we're going to mix up a homemade cajun seasoning blend. Trust me...it takes a minute and you probably have most of the necessary spices in your spice drawer.
And surprise! There isn't any cream cheese or butter. Just a little heavy whipping cream and a little chicken broth to help lighten the sauce
Here's what you'll need:
- Heavy cream (you can use light cream too like I do in my Alfredo sauce)
- Seasoning blend. The main ingredient is smoked paprika amped up with some cayenne and black pepper. garlic powder, black pepper
- Chicken breast. I'm talking juicy chicken breasts like my foolproof, super easy chicken. You can use a rotisserie chicken too!
- Veggies. You'll need both poblano and bell peppers along with some onion.
- Pasta. In this post, you'll see me using both rigatoni and gemelli (the twisted pasta). Farfalle or bow tie pasta would be great too as would fettuccine!
How to make this Cajun chicken pasta recipe
- Char a cored poblano pepper over an open flame on the stove. Or broil it in the oven turning over as it chars .
- Season the chicken breast with the half of the Cajun spice blend along with some salt .
- Toss the Cajun seasoning over the sliced chicken .
- Next, heat a large skillet (or you know I ♥️ a cast iron skillet) and add some olive oil until it shimmers. Cook the chicken over medium-high heat until browned but not completely cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet .
- In the same skillet, add a little more oil and saute the peppers and onions with the remaining seasoning blend  for about 5 minutes until all relaxed and happy.
- Add in the cream and the chicken broth and stir together. Simmer to thicken .
- Toss in the chicken allowing it to finish cooking in the sauce. Taste and season as needed with more salt and pepper .
- Toss the cooked pasta in the skillet with the sauce. Sprinkle with some grated parmesan cheese and a little red pepper flakes if desired .
Don't have chicken broth?
Reserve a little water from cooking the pasta to thicken the sauce.-Josie + Nina
- Extra Cajun. Add in some cooked andouille sausage to the sauce at the end of the cooking time for even more Cajun flavor.
- Seafood. Cooked shrimp would be so good in here (I won't practice because tbh I'm allergic) but you do you!
- Italian Cajun. Add in some sliced sun dried tomatoes for extra umami and a touch of sweetness.
Help! I don't have all the spices to make the homemade seasoning!
That's ok! You can substitute your favorite Cajun seasoning or blackening seasonings.
You teased me with the California Pizza Kitchen tequila fettuccine. How can I make that using this recipe?
After you brown and saute the onion and peppers, add in 2 Tablespoons of tequila and cook off for 2 more minutes. Proceed with the sauce recipe per usual. Serve with lime wedges.
How can I make this for a crowd?
This recipe is easily doubled or tripled and makes a simple dinner party recipe when served with a green or arugula salad.
Make ahead, Storage and Freezer Tips
Make ahead. Cook the pasta right before you plan to eat. Make the sauce either the day of or the day before and store in an airtight container. The next day, heat in a large skillet and thin with some chicken broth as needed. Toss with hot, cooked pasta.
Storage. In an airtight container in the fridge.
Freezer. I recommend you make the sauce with half of the seasoning blend and freeze it in a freezer safe bag or container (without the chicken or the pasta). Cook the chicken with the rest of the seasoning and prepare the pasta the day you plan to eat it. Follow directions above under make ahead.
…before you go...
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Easy Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta
- 1 poblano pepper, cored and charred
For the seasoning
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp thyme
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
For the pasta
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ lb chicken, thinly sliced
- 1 diced or thinly sliced red pepper
- 1 diced or thinly sliced yellow pepper
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ lb pasta
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- parmesan cheese, for serving
- 1 lime, for serving
- chopped cilantro for garnish, to garnish
- Core the pepper by carefully cutting around the stem and twisting it open. Slice down the length of the pepper and remove all the seeds. Using tongs, hold the pepper over an open gas burner flame turning as needed to evenly char. Set aside and cool.
- Combine the seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl. Toss ½ of the seasoning with cut chicken in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet until shimmering over medium high heat. Saute chicken in oil for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute or when chicken comes up easily from the pan without sticking and is browned. Remove chicken to a bowl.
- Sauté onion and peppers in the remaining olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add in Cajun seasonings and saute until the vegetables are relaxed and happy for about five minutes.
- Stir in heavy cream and chicken broth and adjust heat to medium-high. Thicken the sauce for five minutes while pasta is cooking.. Add chicken and cooked pasta into sauce and finish cooking. Hit the whole thing with a squeeze of lime and some cilantro. Serve with parmesan cheese.