Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta with creamy Alfredo sauce is an incredibly flavorful meal. There is no need to go to the restaurant when you can make this spicy pasta dish at home.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
What Makes Copycat Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta So Good?
You haven’t heard of Cajun-Italian cooking before? No surprise there; it’s not really a thing.
But this creamy pasta dish with tender Cajun-spiced chicken strips and fresh tomatoes will make you wish there were other Cajun-Italians recipes out there. Maybe there are, but until you find them, this pasta’s unique flavors will keep you more than satisfied.
Why You Should Try This Recipe
In cooking terms, à la minute refers to a recipe cooked start-to-finish just before eating. Unlike most pasta sauces that sit around for hours or even days before serving, the sauce for this Cajun Chicken Pasta Chili’s recipe is super fresh and delicious.
Don’t worry, it is super easy to make, and because you make it in the same pan, cleanup is a breeze!
Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta Ingredients
For the Cajun-spiced chicken, you’ll need:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Cajun seasoning
- Olive oil
The exact ingredients in each brand of Cajun spice seasoning differ, but most usually contain paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, onion powders, and salt. Slap Ya Mama is a famous brand of Cajun seasoning that doesn’t include any MSG, but you can use your favorite.
For the pasta sauce, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Yellow onion, diced
- Garlic, minced
- Heavy cream
- Lemon zest
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
To serve copycat Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta, you’ll need:
- Cooked penne pasta
- Plum tomatoes
- Fresh parsley leaves
- Green onions
You can cook the penne ahead of time and reheat it in simmering water for about 30 seconds before using it in this recipe.
You can use any fresh plum tomatoes you prefer in this recipe, but Roma tomatoes are probably the most common ones you will find. Do not use canned tomatoes.
How to Make Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta
Here are the steps for making this copycat Chili’s Cajun chicken pasta recipe. Note there’s a printable recipe card below.
To cook the chicken:
- Trim the chicken breasts to remove any extra fat or skin, and use paper towels to pat them dry.
- Liberally sprinkle the chicken breasts with the Cajun seasoning.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and wait until it starts to shimmer.
- Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan. Cook on the first side for 6 to 7 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover it with aluminum foil to keep it warm.
To make the sauce:
- Dice the onions and mince the garlic. Put aside for later.
- Return the same pan you used to cook the chicken to the stove. Using the same pan will save you from additional cleaning and add a ton of flavor to your sauce.
- Melt the butter over medium heat and saute the diced onions until barely translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for about a minute before whisking in the heavy cream, lemon zest, and grated parmesan.
- Continue whisking until the cream mixture begins to bubble and thickens.
- Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve copycat Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta:
- Dice the plum tomatoes. Chop the parsley and green onions. Reserve for garnishing.
- If desired, slice the chicken into strips.
- Add the warm cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
- Plate the sauced pasta and top with the chicken breast or sliced chicken.
- Garnish the pasta with the prepped plum tomatoes, parsley, green onions, and parmesan cheese.
Try making this dish with grilled or sauteed shrimp or andouille sausage. Combining shrimp, chicken, and andouille sausage will give the pasta a more authentic Cajun flavor.
Several ingredients that are wonderful additions to this recipe include:
- Green bell peppers
- Chipotle peppers
- Other vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchini)
What to Serve With Cajun Chicken Pasta
The sauce is so good that you will want some sort of bread to mop up any leftovers. French bread or dinner rolls will work fine, but if you have time, think about making Commanders Palace’s famous Garlic Bread for the ultimate dinner combination.
A simple green salad or some steamed or roasted veggies would be great sides for the dish.
How to Store Leftover Cajun Chicken Pasta
Keep cooked pasta, sauce, chicken, and garnishes in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to three days.
How to Reheat Chilis Cajun Chicken Pasta
Reheat the cooked chicken strips with the sauce over low heat while frequently stirring to prevent the sauce from scorching. You may want to add extra heavy cream or milk to the sauce to thin it out a little before reheating. Heat the cooked pasta in simmering water.
More Chili’s Copycat Recipes
Favorite Chicken and Pasta Recipes
Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta
Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta is an incredible dish you can make at home.
- 1 pound penne or bow tie pasta
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
- 3 roma tomatoes diced for garnish
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves chopped for garnish
- 1 tablespoon green onions chopped for garnish
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan for garnish
Cook pasta according to package directions on the box. Drain and set aside.
Pat dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel. Season with cajun seasoning and rub it all around.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 6 to 7 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil.
Melt butter in the same skillet or saucepan. Add diced onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the minced garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk in heavy cream, lemon zest, and grated parmesan. Whisk for 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
For serving, add pasta and chicken to a plate or bowl. Spoon the sauce over the top, and garnish with diced tomatoes, parsley, green onions, and shredded parmesan. Enjoy immediately.
Crockpot or Slow Cooker
Season the chicken with cajun seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add chicken and quickly sear on both sides.
Add chicken, butter, onions, garlic, heavy cream, and lemon zest to slow cooker. Stir. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Separately cook the pasta until tender.
Serve chicken and sauce over pasta with all of your favorite toppings.
Calories: 932kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 171mg | Sodium: 361mg | Potassium: 942mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2702IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 241mg | Iron: 3mg