30 Minute Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta

The heat gets turned up on alfredo cream sauce courtesy of a little Cajun spice and charred poblano pepper. Cajun chicken Alfredo comes together in under 30 minutes for a soulfully satisfying and quick dinner you’ll want to eat straight from the pot. Whether you serve it over gemelli or rigatoni pasta as I did here, this spicy cream sauce is to die for!

hand reaching for a bowl of Cajun chicken sauce over gemelli pasta.

A taste memory gone bad

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.

Oh.. and I also didn’t have fettuccine. And turns out, I didn’t miss either of them.

Since I’m always preaching about using what’s in the pantry, I got to digging around and came up with a poblano pepper, pasta, and a few spices to whip up this Cajun chicken pasta and it’s oh-so-creamy, lime-kissed sauce.

And just like that…a new taste memory was born.

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It all about the sauce, baby.

ingredients for Cajun chicken pasta.
The Cajun Alfredo sauce counts on lots of spice and seasoning and some cream and chicken stock.

Sauce base

This Cajun cream sauce starts with charring poblano in the skillet and touching it with heavy cream and chicken broth to keep things lighter.

Cajun spice blend

Half of the spice blend seasons the sauce, while the other half is used to season the chicken.

Sure you can buy a pre-mixed Cajun spice blend but chances are you probably have most of the necessary spices to make your own. So much faster and more economical.

In case you’re running to the store, here’s the spice blend ingredient list:

  • Smoked paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Dried herbs: oregano and thyme

How to make Cajun chicken Alfredo sauce

three steps for Cajun chicken pasta including roasting poblanos and seasoning chicken
  1. Char a cored poblano pepper over an open flame on the stove. Or broil it in the oven turning over as it chars.
  2. Season the chicken breast with the half of the Cajun spice blend along with some salt.
  3. Toss the Cajun seasoning over the sliced chicken.
sauteeing chicken, peppers and onions and adding cream sauce.
  1. 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 [4].
  2. In the same skillet, add a little more oil and saute the peppers and onions with the remaining seasoning blend [5] for about 5 minutes until all relaxed and happy.
  3. Add in the cream, chicken broth and charred poblano and stir together. Simmer to thicken [6].
two images with steps to make Cajun chicken pasta.
  1. Toss in the chicken allowing it to finish cooking in the sauce. Taste and season as needed with more salt and pepper [7].
  2. Toss the cooked pasta in the skillet with the sauce. Sprinkle with some grated parmesan cheese and a little red pepper flakes if desired [8].

Don’t have chicken broth?

Reserve a little water from cooking the pasta to thicken the sauce.

-Josie + Nina

If you love spicy cream sauces….

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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.

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hand reaching for a bowl of pepper, chicken and gemelli pasta.
5 from 3 votes

30 Minute Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta

The heat gets turned up on alfredo cream sauce courtesy of a little Cajun spice and charred poblano pepper. Cajun chicken Alfredo comes together in under 30 minutes for a soulfully satisfying and quick dinner you’ll want to eat straight from the pot. Whether you serve it over gemelli or rigatoni pasta as I did here, this spicy cream sauce is to die for!
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes
Servings 6

Equipment

Ingredients
 

For the seasoning

For the pasta

Instructions

  • 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.
    1 poblano pepper
  • Combine the seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl. Toss ½ of the seasoning with cut chicken in a bowl and set aside.
    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
  • 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.
    2 Tablespoons olive oil, ¾ lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 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.
    1 diced or thinly sliced red pepper, 1 diced or thinly sliced yellow pepper, ½ cup chopped onion
  • Stir in heavy cream, chicken broth, and charred poblano 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.
    ½ lb rotini pasta
Course: Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: Cajun
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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