Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta is a timeless dish that always delivers in taste and portion size. Now you can make this dish for your entire family without leaving your home, and you likely already have the ingredients on hand. The creamy alfredo sauce melts in your mouth, and the kick of the cajun-spiced chicken compliments the pasta well. Top it off with refreshing tomato chunks and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for a dish full of southern cajun flavors. The best part is that this tasty meal can be made in less than 30 minutes and because it includes pasta, chicken, and fresh toppings, it stands on its own as a filling lunch or dinner; though I do like to serve this dish with homemade garlic bread.
While this recipe calls for using penne pasta, you can use any pasta you have on hand, such as shell pasta, macaroni, or bow tie pasta. You can also adjust the spice in this recipe by adding more cajun seasoning to taste. For a deeper flavor, you could leave the chicken to marinate in the cajun spice for a few minutes before cooking. Be sure to check our recommendations below this recipe for tips on thickening the sauce or turning this into a vegetarian-friendly dish.
Chili's Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
- 8 oz penne pasta, cooked and drained
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup heavy cream, or more, to taste
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
- In a gallon size Ziploc bag, add the chicken breast, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and the cajun seasoning. Shake to coat thoroughly.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, which will take about 5-6 minutes on each side. Slice into strips or cubes, and set it aside.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne pasta according to package instructions and drain well. Set aside.
- Next, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant- about 2 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently to avoid burning.
- Gradually whisk in the heavy cream and lemon zest. Cook, whisking continually until the ingredients are well-incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Then stir in the Parmesan until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit more heavy cream as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Stir in the pasta and gently toss to combine.
- Add the sliced chicken on top of the pasta, and garnish with parsley if desired.
- You can add a teaspoon of cornstarch to the sauce to thicken it up a little. If it's too thick, add more heavy cream.
- For an extra creamy sauce, add 2oz. of cream cheese to your sauce.
- Make this a vegetarian-friendly dish by omitting the chicken or replacing it with tofu, and trade the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
If this meal looks delicious, but you don’t feel like cooking, check out our list of best meal home delivery services to help you out.