Cajun Chicken Pasta
Chili’s copycat recipe made at home with an amazingly creamy melt-in-your-mouth alfredo sauce. And you know it tastes 10000x better!
I honestly haven’t been to Chili’s in about 10 years, but this place really holds such good memories for me. I’ve come here with family on many occasions and I might have had my first real date here. No joke.
Hey, when you’re 16, Chili’s is the best date night you will get. And I wouldn’t mind it on a Friday night right now. After all, have you seen their blooming onion?
But this cajun pasta has always had my heart and soul. That creamy alfredo sauce just melts right in your mouth, complemented by the spicy kick of the cajun chicken topped with refreshing tomato chunks and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
The flavor combination is just perfect, and you can make it right at home in 30 minutes or less. That way you can have date night with the same restaurant-quality at home, in sweats, binge-watching Netflix. Done.
Cajun Chicken Pasta
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Chili’s copycat recipe made at home with an amazingly creamy melt-in-your-mouth alfredo sauce. And you know it tastes 10000x better!
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
- 8 ounces penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup heavy cream, or more, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- In a gallon size Ziploc bag, add chicken, 1 tablespoon olive oil and cajun seasoning, shaking to coat thoroughly.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a grill pan over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in heavy cream and lemon zest. Cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more heavy cream as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Stir in pasta and gently toss to combine.
- Serve immediately with chicken, garnished with tomatoes and parsley, if desired.
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I am always tempted by the color and eye appeal of your recipe long before the taste reaches my lips! A beautiful dish, and I am sure just as creamy and tasty. I love your recipes.
This sounds absolutely delicious! Just wondering if there’s a way to make it w/o the cream and butter … maybe substituting a little olive oil for it to “stick” to the pasta? In any case – I’m printing this one out! Thanks.
Unfortunately, the cream and butter are key ingredients in this dish so I do not recommend any kind of substitutes without further recipe testing. But as always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions to better suit your dietary restrictions.
Deb- I’m with you and try to curb the fat in my meals as much as possible. I find substituting a low or even Fat Free sour cream or pain yogurt does the trick. It will be less rich, but no decernable difference in flavor. Most people will never notice the switch if the rest of the dish is great!
yes there is you can use no butter an use no dairy creamer instead of the cream it tase just as good it works
This looks delicious! I love alfredo sauce and spice, so this combo is perfect! 🙂
This recipe looks and sounds absolutely delicious. I cooked a cupple of your recipes so far and you just hit the top of my favourite recipe-blog-list.
I actually don’t live in the US (I’m from Germany) and Cajun-Spice is something you definitely cannot buy here. I have some ideas of how this might taste, but maybe you can help me out and give some details on the ingredients so I can mix something up myself? Thank you! Yvonne
There are actually many easy DIY cajun seasoning recipes available online. I have been meaning to make it myself but I have not gotten around to it just yet!
Easy DIY cajun seasoning recipe:
2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less optional)
Stir together until evenly blended. Store in an airtight container.
Greetings to Germany (I am German but live in the US)
Thanks for the recipe. I can’t do much spice, so I will modify this with less cayenne and red pepper.
Makes me so hungry! Looks really delicious!
Looks tasty! We’ve lived in louisiana all our lives and cajun food is by far the best! So can’t wait to test our your recipe!
This looks absolutely delicious, would love to try it out some time soon. 🙂
Love the look of this pasta. So many colors, it looks delicious. Pasta is almost daily on the menu in my family and the children can never have enough of it! Love your blog.
This looks lovely – this dish is really balanced but its delicious as well! Love it! xoxo Katei http://whatskatieupto.com
You probably won’t post this but a chicken breast is no way done is 6-7 minutes each side. I am a chef and no matter which way you look at it pan frying, grill pan, oven, steam etc a chicken breast cannot be done in that time
I understand you want to keep the time down but 6/7 minutes each side is either burnt and pink in middle or cooked okay outside and pink in the middle. Yes letting it rest by keeping warm may continue cooking it inside up to about 10 degrees more but that’s not enough for a whole chicken breast. Sorry if that annoys you but it’s a fact.
David, chicken breasts vary in size so yes, the larger ones will certainly take longer to cook through. The timing here is simply an estimation and obviously not set in stone.
You said “until cooked through” approximately 6-7 minutes on each side, KEY WORDS being UNTIL COOKED THROUGH! Obviously if David is a chef he would understand that! I don’t get why people have to always be so negative BTW Great recipe! Thanks for sharing
When I buy free ranch, organic chicken breasts, the cooking time is about 7 minutes per side. But if I have gotten some Anna Nicole full of steroids breasts, weighing in at over a pound a piece, those are obviously gonna take longer!
You use tenderizer hammer to flatten thicker part of chicken breast. it will cook on 5-6 min per side. Works every time 🙂
That’s what I did!
Hey David , the recipe calls for ” boneless ” skinless chicken breasts. 6 minutes per side is more than enough. Especially if pounded to even thickness. Hope your not annoyed but that’s a fact . Nice job Chungah. Keep up the good work.
Fact: The smaller chicken breasts I use cook perfectly in the amount of time that is recommended in this recipe, if not even less. I am paranoid and use a thermometer so I should know. Thanks Chungah, I have tried countless recipes of yours, and they have become favorites in our house, bravo!
6 minutes per side was just perfect for my chicken breasts (they were maybe even very slightly over). Thanks for the great recipe 🙂
This chicken pasta looks absolutely amazing and the fact that it’s prepared in under 30 minutes makes it even better! Pinned and can’t wait to try. Love your new blog design, by the way! 🙂
hands down my favorite recipe, sooooo good!
I have been cooking your recipes everynight.. Hmm whats for dinner? Damn Delicious. We had this wonderful pasta dish tonight and It was AMAZING. we added basil instead of parsley and a little chopped baby spinach. SO Yummy. Thank you.
Great idea with the spinach, always looking to sneak that in to meals 🙂
Just made this tonight. So incredibly tasty and easy to make! I made my own cajun spice mix (recipe from allrecipes.com) to put on the chicken breasts. I pounded the chicken breasts to make them even in thickness, and after flipping it onto the other side, I covered the pan and turned the heat to low, so the chicken stayed moist and was thoroughly cooked. The sauce was amazingly delicious as well, considering how simple it was to make. Was out of tomatoes but threw in some sweet corn as a substitute veggie. I have a lot of recipes saved from your website and I can’t wait to try them all over time!
This was super easy and delicious….my fussy husband even liked it! I will make this again for sure!
hi there! i can’t wait to try this, it looks delicious. however i have a question, is there any good substitute for heavy cream? i can’t seem to find it here in mexico unless it’s combined with whipping cream and it’s sweet, so i was wondering how can i substitute it
Half and half would be a great substitute.
Oh em gee. My husband and I made this tonight and followed it exactly except I didn’t have fresh parm (just the stuff in the jar and did half cup instead). He started chopping up the chicken before cooking so we didn’t cook it as a whole breast. It still turned out fine. Anyways – it was sooo good. Actually I ate so much and just about ate the whole thing myself. It makes a good amount too and very filling. It fed both of us plus left overs. Thanks again for a great recipe.
Would you be so kind as to share what brand cajun seasoning you use? Thanks so much!
I actually do not have a brand that I prefer over others – it just depends what my grocery store carries and if there are any sales. 🙂
A perfect meal for a hurried weeknight! My produce drawers are always filled with various odds and ends as well 😛
I love Chili’s CCP so hopefully this will turn out just as great! Btw, isn’t the blooming onion from Outback? Lol
I made this for dinner tonight and it was in fact DAMN DELICIOUS!! My whole family gobbled it up and it is going into the permanent dinner rotation. So yummy!
This is “DELICIOUS”! That is the word my Husband used when he messaged me from work about the meal I sent with him. I tasted it as well and had to try hard to limit my portion! I added shrimp and this is now on the “Keeper list”!! Thank you.
This is great! Such a quick dish!
At first I thought it was going to be a bit bland, with all the cream an not that much amount of spice. I probably used more garlic than the recipe and decided to put some basil on top as well, which was a nice addition.
Great, creamy dish though with lots of flavour. I liked the touch of cold tomatoes on top and my chicken was nice and juicy.
Definitely goes on my ‘great recipe’ list.
This was good & the whole family enjoyed it. Next time I will double it.
Our family loved this easy recipe. It was great with turkey kielbasa.
Looks wonderful…I am making this to take to a sick friend for her family…how would you suggest it should be re:heated?
You can reheat as needed on the stovetop, microwave or oven – it’s up to you!
It’s best reheated if you reheat sauce separate then toss pasta in.
I’ve made these several times and the family loves this dish. The only addition is flour to thicken the cream sauce, 2-3 Tblsp. I also increase the Parmesan cheese to 1/2 cup and 2 cups of heavy cream.
Made tonight for dinner and it was awesome! I’ve tried several of your recipes and they are always delicious.
This looks so yummy, and I love the idea of the Cajun spices!
So Damn Delicious! This will be making it into our rotation!
Hi Chungah! Just wanted to tell you that I featured this recipe on my blog: http://adoseofsimple.com/2016/03/04/the-weekend-list-diy-dog-bed-leaf-wall-art-chicken-pasta/
Thank you for sharing. Your blog is awesome!
I have made this several times and it’s amazing! My boyfriend and I make this at least once a month now. Love ^_^
Delicious! My entire family loved it and it was super easy. I used Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy and it was the perfect heat level. It’s a keeper!
This is so good! I may not order this at Chili’s anymore because I can already make this at home. Thanks a lot!
Looking great and tasty toooo! thanks for sharing you`r recipe
This may sound funny, but as much as it tasted like Chili’s dish the first night;the left over the next day tasted exactly like it. And that is really really good!
This looks incredible! I’m printing this one out and thinking of maybe adding some sriracha to it! I think that makes everything even better
My wife fixed this one. It was excellent. Much better the the local restaurants versions.
I will try this out tomorrow because it feels like yummy and delicious. I am big lover of chicken and all the stuffs made by chicken make me feel so hungry. by the way thanks for this . 🙂
I am making this tonight, but am shredding the chicken (it’s in a crockpot now), because my husband (and myself if I’m honest) can be particular when it comes to chicken sometimes.
Should I toss the shredded chicken in the spices, or add the spices to the sauce? Thanks a bunch!
Shredded chicken in the crockpot – genius! You can toss the chicken right in the spices. YUM! 🙂
Simply in love with pasta…. And combo of chicken to the pasta adds a different flavor to it. Surely going to try out this recipe.
Great recipe. The food tastes delicious!
OMG. Sooooooooo Damn Delicious! I made this for dinner, and I sware my husband licked the plate! I used veggie penne instead of plain pasta, and I cut my chicken breast in half since they were so thick. This recipe is definitely going in the monthly rotation! I took a picture but I’m sure how to upload it though :/
Thanks for sharing this delicious post!
I am dreaming this awesome dish and my mouth is full of water. I usually cook myself because of my foody nature but i always love pasta which cooked by my wife.
I just tried this recipe and it was delicious. Thanks for sharing such tasty recipe with us . Creamy alfredo sauce is a main ingredient in cajun chicken pasta.
Dear Lord…… This is FANTASTIC!! I have never been able to find, or make, any alfredo sauce that tastes just like Chili’s (or Olive Garden). You have helped me get it just right and now I’m addicted! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us! Can’t wait to try more 🙂
I’m making this tonight! I don’t have heavy cream.. Could I substitute with whole milk?
So let me start off by saying that this is my favorite meal at Chili’s… I’ve looked for copycats recipes but just never found one that seemed close. Since I adore you and all of your recipes I gave it a shot and WOW this was fantastic! The sauce was velvet and really delicious. The tomatoes totally made this dish. So glad I tried this recipe, you are fantastic!
Your cooking food is looking so delicious that my mouth become full of yummy water. I know this will be healthy and delicious. Keep posting such a good posts so that i can also cook and serve good food in my family.
This was absolutely amazing!! My husband loves Chili’s Cajun chicken pasta…. And he said this may be my best dish I cooked. Thank you. 🙂
Made it, loved it! I sear my chicken in butter instead of oil. I have a Deiss zesting tool and this recipe gave me a chance to use it! Will definitely make again!
WoW Yummy .. Thanks for sharing this delicious post.
I love having pasta but the Cajun Chicken Pasta I have never tried.
Looks really delicious. Will give it a try today.
Thanks for the wonderful post.
I just made this today, and it is so good! Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I’ve made this several times. One of the few recipes everyone in my house likes. The kids ask almost weekly when will I make it again! Thanks so much for sharing!
It was a great day for me when I made this wonderful cajun chicken pasta. I like pasta so much & tried many of its kind but this one was really yummy & delicious. I would love to try this out every week ! Thank you for sharing this mouth watering recipe 🙂 !!
Can I substitute half and half for the heavy cream?
I’ve made this. And made this. And made this again. My entire family absolutely LOVES it! We used shrimp tonight instead of chicken. We were in no way disappointed. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.
You, my dear, are amazing!! I cannot get over how fantastic this dish is!! Followed your recipe to a T & it turned out perfect! It’s definitely one for the rotation ’round here! Thanks for all your amazing recipes. Keep doing what you’re doing!
Made this dish last night and it was AMAZING. I am VERY new to cooking and I was surprised at how easy this pasta was to make (: Thank you so much for the awesome recipe!
It really did taste like Chili’s!
I have tried a lot of your recipes since coming across one by chance and let me say I don’t think I’ve come across a disappointing one yet. Keep them coming!
Made this one tonight but instead of doing a full cup of heavy cream I did about half cream and half soy milk and changed out the tomatoes for broccoli and spinach bc my boyfriend doesn’t like tomatoes.
But this was SO TASTY!
I think you have done an excellent job with the Cajun theme. Look super vibrant and gorgeous.
Oh yes, Cajun chicken! My hubbie will be making a trip to the grocery store tomorrow despite the fact that we have about a foot of snow! But I wanted you to know that I love the section on your site where you list ingredients so that I can cook a Damn Delicious meal with on-hand ingredients! And someone in my family had better get your cookbook for this wannabe chef! Thank you girl!
Just made this Dish, it was very very good. Made it just like it says, everyone in my family loved it, It will definitely be in my weekly recipe for home cooking
I am not sure what I did wrong- followed the recipe to a T. There is no thickening agent- so the sauce was very thin. Basically just cream. Flavor was good, but wrong consistency.
Hi , I’m just curious what type of brand did you use for Heavy Cream ?
Does it matter what kind ?
I’ve never really used heavy cream before so I want to be sure before buying it .
You can use any brand.
Can you make this ahead?
Yes, it reheats well!
It tastes absolutely delicious! Great recipe☺
A perfect meal for a hurried weeknight! My produce drawers are always filled with various odds and ends as well
Looks great!! Cajun Chicken is the best!! (:
Love love LOVE this recipe! Works with shrimp too, always a favorite when we have dinner guests.
This was absolutely DELICIOUS. Whole entire family LOVED it. Another high light is EASY dish. Thank you so so much for sharing this recipe and this is my family keeper 😀
When you measure noodles for your recipes do you go by weight or do you measure it in a liquid measuring cup to the specified ounces for the recipe?
I’m considering making this for a party. Can it be made ahead earlier in the day and reheated?
I love that this can be reheated after being done the day before. thanks Chungah
If I leave out the lemon zest, will it still be yummy?
Of course! If you’re not a big fan of lemon zest, you can omit as needed.
Hello Chungah, great recipe! Will be making it tonight Question: does the chicken need to be marinated for a certain time? Thank you and have a great day
Delish dish. Tasted amazing, loved the lemon taste mixed with the Cajun chicken. Will definitely be making it again.
This is my go-to meal at Chili’s. I didn’t want to go out to eat tonight, so I decided to try this instead. It was delicious and tasted just like Chili’s. I will be saving the recipe to use again!
Is this okay as leftovers? If its not eaten all the way the first night? In other words, will it be good for lunch the next day?
Can I make this without the chicken? Will it ruin the taste if I add the Cajun packet to the sauce instead? My husband and I really want to try this! 🙂
Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.
If I double this recipe is there anything that you would do differently ? Or just double it all?
You can simply double the recipe and adjust cooking time as needed. Hope that helps!
I love this recipe! Definitely a favorite in our house. I substitute spaghetti squash instead of the pasta to cut back on carbs. I make extra sauce and add an extra chicken breast as my husband insists I cook a serving for his lunch the following day!
This looks so delicious! Is the lemon zest a key part of the recipe? Or would it taste okay without?
Yes, you can omit.
Thank you for this cajun chicken pasta recipe.
I know you said you can omit the lemon zest, but wouldn’t it take away some of the taste? Also, can this be refrigerated and consume some days after? Thnks
Yes, you can omit the lemon zest if that is what you prefer. This also reheats very well but as I am not an expert on food safety, I cannot really say with certainty – sorry! Methods for optimal food storage and shelf life should be based on good judgment and what you are personally comfortable with. Hope that helps, Coeba!
Any chance you can make this as a casserole?
Hi Rita! That sounds like such a great idea but unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.
I have tried several of you’re recipes, and they always turn out great. This is the first time I’ve been compelled to comment on one. This was outstanding! We moved out to the country and take-out is a thing of the past. I chose to make this as my Mother’s Day dinner this year, and it was just what I was craving. The only thing I did differently was substitute lemon juice for the zest, and grilled the chicken. The lemon made the sauce. If you don’t have the zest, make sure you use juice. My daughter said it was the best pasta I’ve ever made! Definitely restaurant quality, it beats the heck out of a 45 minute trip into town. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!
Thank you so much for the huge compliment Kelly! So great your family enjoys it!
I’ve made this a couple of times, and it seriously is so yummy! Thank you!!
Thank you! So happy you like it.
Made this tonight and it was amazing. My husband’s new favorite meal! Thank you for sharing!
That’s so great Emily!
Girl, you just made my day. I love this dish. Perfect for family dinner. Thank you!
Awesome! Thanks Megan!
This was definitely a winner in our house! I opted to bake the chicken and added asparagus to the pot along with the pasta for an added veggie and it was delicious. Hubby and toddler approved meal, will be going in the monthly rotation for sure!
Happy you and your family enjoyed it!
Hi! I was wondering if this could be prepped or prepared and frozen? If so, how would you recommend do so?
Freezing sounds like an amazing idea but unfortunately, I cannot answer this with certainty as I have never tried freezing this myself. Please use your best judgment for freezing and reheating.
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