This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This is the best Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe! It’s creamy, cheesy, loaded with flavor, and on the table in 30 minutes! An easy weeknight dinner your whole family will love.
The Best Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe
This Cajun Chicken Pasta with smoked sausage is a hearty and flavorful dish that combines spicy cajun flavors with tender chicken and smoked sausage. I love this recipe because you can easily customize it by adjusting the spice level and adding veggies to it like bell peppers or mushrooms.
This pasta dish is a great weeknight meal that’s easy to prepare and ready in under 30 minutes. It’s a perfect choice for anyone who loves spicy and hearty dishes with bold flavors. The half and half also make this dish lighter than traditional heavy cream-based pasta dishes, making it a healthier option that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
Why You’ll Love This Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Quick and Easy! Perfect for busy weeknights! You can whip this recipe together in 30 minutes with just a handful of ingredients that you can find in any grocery store.
- Creamy Cajun Pasta! This rich and creamy cheesy cajun chicken and sausage pasta is unbelievably tasty with layers of cajun flavor and smoked sausage yumminess.
- Family Favorite! Your loved ones will rave over this yummy pasta! The kids too! To make it mild for the little ones just use a little less cajun seasoning.
- Pasta – I used penne pasta. But any type of pasta will work like fusilli, farfalle, rigatoni, or noodles.
- Olive Oil – The best choice is extra virgin olive oil for the added flavor.
- Chicken – You will need some boneless skinless chicken breasts. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are another option.
- Cajun Seasoning – Gives the dish a little kick, any store-bought variety will work or you can try making your own cajun seasoning.
- Salt – Salt is used to season the pasta water and the dish.
- Black Pepper – Freshly ground black pepper is the best choice.
- Sausage: Smoked sausage adds some yummy pork flavor to the dish.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic cloves add the best flavor. Jarred garlic will work, but can have a bitter taste.
- Parsley – Add a layer of herby flavor and it’s also used to garnish the pasta.
- Half and Half – Makes the pasta creamy and thickens the sauce as well. You could also use half milk and half heavy cream if you don’t have half and half on hand.
- Parmesan Cheese – It’s added to the dish to make it cheesy and used to garnish before serving.
This delicious cajun chicken and sausage pasta recipe is super easy! All you have to do is boil some penne or your favorite pasta and make a simple sauce. The entire dish comes together in 30 minutes!
To start, you’ll need to bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Next, cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente, which means still firm the bite. Then drain the pasta and set it aside for now.
While the pasta is cooking, you can begin sautéing the chicken. First, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Then add the pieces of chicken and sprinkle them with the cajun seasoning as well as some salt and black pepper to taste. Now, cook the chicken for about 5 minutes or until it’s no longer pink and fully cooked.
Next, add the smoked sausage and cook it for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown. Don’t forget to move it around the pan to get some color on all sides of the sausage. This is one of the keys to making a flavorful dish.
After the sausage has some color on it, add the minced garlic and chopped fresh parsley to the skillet. Then saute it together with the sausage and chicken for just 30 seconds until it becomes fragrant. If you cook the garlic for more than 30 seconds you risk burning it.
Now that everything has been sautéed, begin making the sauce by pouring the half and half into the skillet and bringing it to a boil. Then stir in the parmesan cheese and let the sauce cook for just 30 seconds to a minute to let the cheese incorporate into the sauce.
To complete the dish, turn off the heat and add the cooked penne to the skillet. Now, toss everything together to fully coat the pasta in the sauce. Then garnish it with more grated parmesan cheese and parsley. Now, serve the cajun chicken pasta immediately with some Garlic Knots if you like.
What Is Cajun Seasoning Made Of?
Cajun seasoning is typically a mixture of salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and thyme. Some mixtures include oregano as well. So if you don’t have any cajun seasoning on hand or feel like making my cajun spice mix, you can use a combination of these spices. And if your pantry is pretty bare, you can always mix together 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper to use as a substitute for cajun seasoning.
What Else Can I Add to Cajun Chicken Pasta?
This dish is really flexible so you can add just about anything you like! Shrimp could be an amazing addition. And sauteed veggies like bell peppers and onions would blend right into the flavor profile. You could even replace the parmesan cheese with cheddar cheese. Just keep in mind that you need enough sauce to coat all the pasta and add-ins.
- Salt your pasta water. You must salt your pasta cooking water with at least a tablespoon of salt to infuse the pasta with flavor. Not doing so can result in a bland dish.
- Pat the chicken dry. Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry to remove any excess moisture before sauteing. This will help the chicken brown better, which makes the dish more flavorful.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Once the dish is complete take it off the hot burner. You do not want the pasta to cook more once it’s been tossed together with the sauce.
Allow the dish to cool to room temperature then store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last 3-4 days, which makes it perfect for your weekly meal-prep! To reheat, transfer the pasta to a microwave-safe dish, and reheat in the microwave on medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can reheat the pasta on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
Transfer the cooled cajun chicken pasta to an airtight container or a freezer-safe sealable plastic bag. The pasta can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
When ready to reheat, remove the container or bag from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, transfer the pasta to a microwave-safe dish, and reheat in the microwave on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
Other Delicious Recipes To Try
- Cajun Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
- Crispy Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine
- Cajun Shrimp with Tomato Alfredo Pasta
- Crack Chicken Penne
- Creamy Cajun Pastalaya
- Cajun Pork Bites
- 8 ounces penne (2 cups, uncooked)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound chicken breast (2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into small pieces)
- 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- 2 links smoked sausage (cut into slices, about 8 ounces)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¼ cup parsley (chopped)
- 2 cups half and half (or heavy cream)
- 1 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions until it's al dente (cooked until it's still firm when bitten). Drain and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the skillet, then sprinkle with the cajun seasoning and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink and is cooked through, should take about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the sausage and cook for a couple more minutes until the sausage starts to brown.
- Add the garlic, parsley to the skillet and stir. Cook for 30 seconds until the garlic becomes aromatic.
- Add the half and half and cook until it comes to a boil. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
- Add the penne and stir everything together.
- Garnish with more parmesan cheese and parsley if preferred and serve while warm.
- Half and Half: Half and half has 12 percent fat content. Heavy cream can also be used. It is also called heavy whipping cream because it’s whipping cream with a milk fat content between 36 and 40 percent.
- Leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. Make sure to refrigerate within two hours of cooking. Keep in mind that the pasta will soak up all the sauce.
- Make ahead: Make the sauce ahead, then refrigerate. When ready to serve cook the pasta, then add the pasta to the sauce and cook until heated through.
- Note that that reheating leftovers may cause the pasta to become slightly dry. To prevent this, you can add a splash of chicken broth or water before reheating to add some moisture.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.