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Cajun Chicken over Creamy Pasta

Cajun Chicken over Creamy Pasta: extra juicy chicken seasoned with cajun spices quick sautéed served over tangy creamy pasta.  Full-flavored chicken makes entertaining easy with this healthier comfort food chicken dinner.

close up of Cajun seasoned chicken

Today’s Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe is a meal that you can have on the table in less than thirty minutes!  With everything always busy these days its nice to have a meal that ticks all the boxes for our weeknight dinner or entertaining.

I’ve been on a cajun kick recently sharing Cajun Shrimp Mac and Cheese and Cajun Shrimp Boil packet recipes.  Life is too short to eat boring bland food and with the flavors of onion, garlic, paprika, smoky chili powder with some herbs there is plenty of flavor punch in cajun food recipes!

The chicken is super succulent packed with cajun seasoning and spices with a slight heat that is perfectly balanced with the tangy cheese sauce. A light amount of cheese sauce, just enough that its velvety texture makes you want to scrape up every last drop of it!

Cajun Creole Seasoning Recipe
Mixing up homemade Cajun Creole Seasoning

Creamy Cajun Chicken pasta is very easy to make and uses my homemade cajun seasoning mix but you can also use your favorite store-bought brand too.  My cajun spices recipe is made with things you already have in your spice cabinet so you won’t have to head out to the store to buy it if you decide to make it at the last minute!

What’s the difference between Cajun, Creole and Blackened foods?

When I made this cajun chicken recipe for some friends for dinner we got to talking about what is the difference between cajun, creole and blackened foods.  They have all become intertwined and are often used interchangeably.

Blackened Foods:

Paul Prudhomme is the chef that first made blackened foods (starting with blackened fish) very popular.  It’s actually a cooking method.

Blackening is a process of using a seasoning mix and cooking it in a skillet starting with a very high heat so you sear the spices to the edges of the protein.

There is a very fine line between blackening and burning the edges so its a super quick process on high to seal the flavors to the edge then reducing the heat to cook the protein to its perfect doneness.

Cajun vs Creole History

Cajun and Creole both originate from Louisiana and a major oversimplification would be to say Cajun food is “country food” and creole food is “city food.  Today, while there may be subtle differences the words are often used interchangeably.

It’s fascinating to me how foods are affected by history.

Cajun’s as they became to be known, were originally French colonists that settled in Canadian providences of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the 1600s.  Britain tried to rule the area and those people rejected the monarchy.  The monarchy seized people’s properties and shipped them off to other places and one of the places they settled them was in Louisiana.

Most of those people settled in the country in Louisiana in areas without electricity so their foods were more rustic.

A Creole is a person who was usually born in New Orleans (the city) and usually are of French or Spanish heritage.  Their foods are a little more refined and have more ingredients because more things were available in the city.

You can read more about the subtle differences on the Experience New Orleans website. but for the sake of most recipes on my site, I use spices that are similar to both heritages and use the word interchangeably.  All of the foods from the area are bold and full of flavor and are a welcome addition to any menu!

Cajun Chicken over Creamy Pasta: extra juicy chicken seasoned with cajun spices quick sautéed served over tangy creamy pasta.  Full flavored chicken makes entertaining easy with this healthier comfort food chicken dinner.

LIKE IT?  PIN IT FOR WHEN YOU NEED AN EASY COMFORT FOOD DINNER!


 

How to make Cajun Chicken:

  •  Start with brining your chicken.  (See the pro tip below). Brining your chicken takes just a short time especially when using skinless chicken breasts like I do in this recipe but it guarantees a juicy succulent chicken breast.
Simple cajun spices on chicken breasts for cajun chicken
  • Season both sides of the chicken breasts with cajun seasoning mix.
stovetop grilling cajun chicken breasts
  • Using a grill stovetop pan cook chicken starting with a really high heat to sear on seasoning, then reduce the heat to medium-high to finish cooking.
  • Allow chicken to rest and to let juices absorb back into the fibers while you cook the pasta.
Butter, cream and sour cream in the pan
  • Cook pasta, drain the pasta, set aside.  Then in the same pasta pan, melt the butter, add sour cream and milk to form a creamy sauce.
whisking the tangy cream sauce for cajun pasta
  • Add in the parmesan cheese to boost the tangy cheese sauce to pair with the bold flavor of the cajun chicken
parmesan cheese being stirred into creamy cajun pasta
  • Stir the creamy tangy cheese sauce into the pasta at the last minute before serving.
thick cream sauce twirling in the pan
  • Slice the chicken across the grain to make it even more tender and juicy.

PRO TIP:  Quick Brining Method:

Bring the following to a boil on the stovetop.

  • Place 15 ounces of water
  • 3 oz of salt
  • 2 cloves a garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of smashed black peppercorns
  • 1/2 a lemon

Turn off and let cool for 10 mins.  Then add 15 ounces of ice to the pan and stir until all of the ice is melted and the liquid is cool enough to pour into a zip lock back

  • Place 3-4 pounds of skinless breasts into the bottom of a ziplock
  • Pour the cooled brine over the top of the chicken
  • Press out any air and seal the bag and place in the fridge for 60 mins.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag, throwing away the brine.
  • Pat dry and use as you need to for your recipe.

Note:  Do not leave the chicken in the brine longer than an hour or your chicken will get too salty.  You can make it ahead, but store it in a sealed covered container after the one hour of brining.

adapted from the King of Ratio’s Mark Rhuleman’s recipe


We have so many popular Chicken Recipes — Check them out here!


Common Questions in Making Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Can I use any pasta?  Yes, you can.  It will work with any pasta just use the same weight amount for the right sauce to pasta ratio.

Is this healthy comfort food?  It has 600 calories per person with the pasta, but you could serve it with zoodles for a healthier option.  It is complete comfort food!

Other serving suggestions/ways to use cajun chicken?  Cajun chicken breasts are excellent the next day for lunch on salads or even freshly made for a salad.

You can also cut it up and serve them over a rice bowl.  Make a sandwich and flavor the mayo with additional cajun spices for even more of a flavor boost!

The creamy cheese sauce works great on pasta alone and also as a dip if you don’t want to make pasta or zoodles.

Can I use other chicken pieces, what about with a bone?  Absolutely.  The cooking times will be longer with skin and with bone in them, but it’s totally interchangeable.  I still recommend brining, but if you are brining bone-in chicken you’ll need to leave it in the solution for 2-3 hours.

Other cooking methods for the chicken?  You can grill this chicken or bake it just as easily.  The baking of a skinless breast I usually do pounded to 1/2″ thickness and bake at 375° for 20 mins then check to see if it is done.

Sliced Cajun grilled chicken on a plate

Other Cajun recipes to try:

Other Comfort Food recipes with lots of flavor


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Yield: 6

Cajun Chicken over Creamy Pasta

Cajun chicken over creamy Alfredo pasta

Cajun Chicken over Creamy Pasta: extra juicy chicken seasoned with cajun spices quick sautéed served over tangy creamy pasta.  Full-flavored chicken makes entertaining easy with this healthier comfort food chicken dinner.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken breasts (brined), skinless, boneless (8 oz/serving)
  • 3 tablespoons cajun seasoning
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cupe sour cream
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 12 ounces spaghetti pasta
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Add water and salt to a stockpot.  Bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to the instruction on the pasta.  Drain out water and leave pasta in the strainer. 
  2. Put that stock pot back on the stove on low temp and add butter and allow it to melt. Once the butter is melted add sour cream and milk and whisk until well blended.  
  3. Add parmesan, stir well and set off hot burner until you are ready to add to the pasta.
  4. Place brined chicken on a plate and pat dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle cajun seasonings over both sides of chicken breasts pressing spice mixture firmly onto chicken breasts.
  5. Heat a grill pan, or cast iron skillet to high.  Place chicken into the pan when hot and sear and cook for 4 mins.  Flip then cook for 2 more minutes searing other side.  Reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for 10 more minutes until chicken is 160° and is white in the center. (Use a knife to test in the thickest area) See notes.
  6. Remove from skillet, allow to rest for 10 mins while you dress the pasta.
  7. Turn the heat to low, and rewarm the pasta sauce.  Once warmed add pasta and stir to coat.  
  8. Once chicken has rested cut it into slices and place on top a plate of creamy pasta.

Notes

See the post for the quick brining suggestion.

Chicken cooking times are approximate, it all depends on the thickness of your chicken.  I pound mine for quicker cooking.  Make sure to cut into the thickest part to check to see if the chicken is cooked. The chicken should be opaque (solid white, no pink) and the juices should run clear.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

6 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 631Saturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 180mgSodium: 1009mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 63g
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Jules

Thursday 16th of January 2020

We love this chicken dish and it's going to be on our Mardi Gras menu!

Krista

Monday 24th of September 2018

This meal has my full attention! Looks delicious!

Dee

Sunday 23rd of September 2018

Made this for dinner last night- the flavor profile is amazing, and the whole family loved it!

Catalina

Saturday 22nd of September 2018

This chicken looks so healthy and flavorful! I was looking for a recipe like this!

Jamielyn

Saturday 22nd of September 2018

So flavorful and delicious! Need to try this soon!

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