This Cajun Chicken Pasta NEEDS to be in your family’s meal rotation. Chicken, peppers, onions and pasta coated in a smokey, herby, creamy sauce - it’s just soo good. And bonus - it cooks in just one pot! For families with younger children and babies, don’t worry, the spice level is totally adaptable and I will recommend how you do that.
How to Cook My Cajun Chicken Pasta One-Pot
Watch me make this Cajun Chicken Pasta One-Pot step-by-step here, before or as you cook.
I’ve used dried thyme and oregano for this recipe to keep it store cupboard friendly, but you can use fresh - just switch from 1 teaspoon of dried to 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh.
Also, I love this pasta dish even more with a sprinkling of fresh thyme when I serve it (I leave that off the kids bowls). If you happen to have fresh thyme when you make this meal, I really recommend you garnish the adult servings with it.
I would go for a pasta shape like casarecce (what I’ve used here), penne, spirali, fusilli or rotini.
The Cream Cheese
I use light cream cheese (soft cheese) for this recipe, but you can also use Lightest Soft Cheese too if you like.
Eat More Sustainably
You could use just half the chicken and add a can of white beans instead, like haricot (navy) or cannellini beans. Just add them once you’ve added the stock and water. Yum!
You can dice everything instead of slicing if you prefer, I’ve done it both ways and as long as you don’t dice the chicken into bigger than ½ inch cubes, it will cook in the same time.
You can prep almost everything ahead of time if you need too. The peppers and onions can be prepped and stored in a container or resealable food bag in the fridge, as can the chicken (separately) and the cream cheese. The spices, herbs, salt & pepper can be measured out and stored in a small bowl covered with clingfilm (saran wrap) and left at room temp. Pre-prepared garlic will need to be stored in the fridge.
Pro Cook Tips
Once you’ve added the liquids and it’s come to a boil, I’ve said to cook for around 14 minutes or until most of it has been absorbed and the pasta is tender. The key to getting the liquid to be mostly absorbed at that time is to stir often. And if you have a look at the video, you’ll see roughly how much liquid should remain before you add the chicken back in. When you think it’s at the right level, you can test a piece of pasta to make sure it is tender.
If the liquid is mostly absorbed but the pasta is not yet tender, add in a little more hot water and cook for a little longer.
Kids Cook Too
Younger children can get involved by helping to measure out the herbs, spices and pasta.
Feed a Crowd
This recipe can be doubled, but you’ll need to fry your chicken in two batches and use a large cooking pot.
Storing My Cajun Chicken Pasta One-Pot
You can store leftovers in an air-tight container or resealable food bag in the fridge for up to 3 days (cook day + 2). You can also freeze them, just defrost for 24 hours in the fridge and reheat until steaming hot all the way through. As there is cream cheese in the sauce, you may find that separates while it’s in the freezer, but it is still safe to eat and will taste the same.
For more on safe food storage and reheating read here >
My Cajun Chicken Pasta One-Pot is egg-free as long as you use dried pasta and not fresh. It is also nut-free. It can be made gluten-free if you switch to gluten-free pasta, but you will probably need to add more hot water and cook for a little longer until tender.
Adapting My Cajun Chicken Pasta One-Pot For Your Family
Here, I recommend how to tweak this recipe if you are eating with a baby or toddler and I’ll also give a tip for serving it to a fussy eater.
Keeping Young Children & Picky Eaters Happy
You’ll want to keep the spice level mild so I recommend ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. This will give you a mild subtly spicy dish, and that is how much I use when I cook it (½ teaspoon was a little bit too spicy for my kids at the moment). The smoked paprika is just warming and flavourful, not spicy so that can stay as is. Other than that, serve as is and without the fresh thyme garnish.
See more from me on fussy eaters here >
Older Children & Spice Lovers
If your kids are used to spicy food, go for ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. This will give the pasta a medium heat kick and won’t take anyones head off!
Making My Cajun Chicken Pasta One-Pot Baby & Toddler Friendly
We just need to do a few tweaks here. Switch too low-salt chicken stock and don’t add salt into the cook. Once you’ve removed their serving, you can add salt to the pan and stir in well. Then dish up everyone else’s.
For the spicing of this dish, add ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper - whichever you are more comfortable with. ⅛ teaspoon (or a good pinch) will be super mild and ¼ will still be mild but slightly spicy. You don’t need to alter the smoked paprika, it’s just warming and adds flavour, not heat.
How to Serve to Babies & Toddlers
I would recommend serving this as finger food (baby led weaning). The peppers are sliced already so can be palmed. If the pepper becomes too soft whilst cooking for this, dice them small. For thicker chicken slices, you can cut again once down the middle longways.
If you did want to share this with your baby and spoon-feed only, I would recommend cooking up some baby pasta separately in a little saucepan and then making a cajun chicken sauce for it. To do this, once cooked pick out some chicken, peppers and onions and purée them up with some warm boiled water or low-salt stock in your stick blender pot. Or pulse them in a mini food chopper until you have chunkier sauce.
For more info on how I keep my family meals baby & toddler friendly, read here >
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CAJUN CHICKEN PASTA ONE-POT
- Chopping board
- Measuring jug + mini wire hand whisk or fork
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 650 g chicken breasts thinly sliced
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 2 large peppers (bell), red / orange or mix thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper see notes
- 500 ml chicken stock / bouillon
- 600 ml hot water
- 300 g pasta
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 150 g light cream cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Fresh thyme leaves to garnish optional
- Heat the oil in a medium-large saucepan over a medium-high heat for 1-2 mins until the oil is hot and simmering. Add the chicken, a little salt & pepper and cook for around 6 minutes, stirring and turning regularly, until seared all round and cooked through. Remove using a slotted spoon, leaving the chicken juices in the pan. Set aside.
- Add the onions and mixed peppers into the same pan and fry over a medium-low heat for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add in the garlic, paprika and cayenne and fry, stirring for 1 more minute.
- Next add in the hot stock, hot water, dried herbs and pasta. Then turn the heat up high, stir and bring to the boil. Then decrease the heat to medium and continue to cook on a rolling boil stirring regularly, for around 14 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Then add the chicken back in and stir through well. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese.
YOUNGER CHILDREN & FUSSY EATERS
Use ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to keep it nice and mild. Don’t add on thyme garnish.
BABY & TODDLER
Use a good pinch or ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper to keep it super mild. For a little heat kick add ¼ cayenne. Use low-salt chicken stock and omit the salt from the cook. Use a long pasta shape.
Serve as finger food / baby led weaning, slice wide chicken slices in half lengthways. Peppers and pasta will be fine as they are.
Myself, my partner and my baby boy all really enjoyed sharing this delicious family meal together which was really easy to put together.