Learn how to make spicy chicken pasta with blackened chicken and a spicy tomato cream sauce. It’s one of the best chicken pasta recipes!
Spicy Chicken Pasta
Spicy chicken pasta is made with a perfectly balanced creamy and spicy sun-dried tomato pasta sauce with garlic and sautéed onions. Top it with thinly sliced seasoned chicken for the best easy, quick, simple, and affordable date night recipe ever!
This is one of those dishes that you’ll be really proud to serve to your friends and family. Be sure to top it with a little fresh basil or parsley for a beautiful finishing touch.
How To Make Spicy Chicken Pasta
- Start by combining the spicy chicken spice blend with the olive oil. Use that to coat the filleted chicken breasts in the olive oil and spice rub, then sauté the chicken until it’s cooked through.
- Sauté the aromatic ingredients for the spicy tomato cream sauce, then add in the tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, and chicken broth. Once that’s combined, stir in the cream cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- Toss the pasta in the sauce, and if the sauce is too thick, mix in some of the reserved starchy pasta water. Plate the pasta, and serve the thinly sliced chicken breast on top.
What Type Of Pasta Should You Use?
Linguine is my favorite pasta for this spicy chicken pasta recipe, but spaghetti and penne would also be great options.
What To Serve Spicy Chicken Pasta With
Garlic bread, a side salad, or roasted vegetables are my favorite side dish options for this recipe. A small Caesar salad, roasted broccoli with garlic, and sauteed green beans would be my top choices.
Optional Flavor Additions and Adaptations
I love how chicken takes on the flavor of the dish, and I think chicken always pairs really well with creamy sauces. If you’d prefer something a little different, bacon, sausage, and shrimp would all be great protein options to play with.
I like keeping this recipe relatively simple, mostly because it makes this a quick recipe to throw together. If you want to add more vegetables, you could try adding in sautéed mushrooms, more sautéed onions, mixing in some fresh spinach at the end so that it wilts, or adding some broccoli so that you really bulk the meal up with a healthy ingredient.
Creamy Pasta Sauce:
You can make this recipe creamy by using either cream cheese or heavy whipping cream. I am more likely to keep cream cheese on hand and it’s easier for me to find a way to use up the leftovers of a brick of cream cheese, so that’s what I wrote this recipe to use. You’re welcome to use heavy cream instead though – it just depends on which ingredients you prefer using and buying!
To me, this sauce is all about the sun-dried tomatoes. If you can, I would definitely use them. I also like adding some tomato paste to increase the tomato flavor in the sauce. If you can’t find sun dried tomatoes, I’d recommend using fire roasted tomatoes instead.
If you’re looking for a way to use up the leftover sun-dried tomatoes in your jar after this recipe, I’d definitely recommend our super popular Marry Me Chicken recipe – it’s seriously SO good!
Spices and Flavors:
This recipe definitely has some spice, but the fat in the creamy sauce calms it down. If you like a lot of spice, you can add more cayenne pepper to the chicken. If you don’t like too much spice, then I’d lower the amount of the red chili flakes in the sauce.
Also, if you really like a smoky flavor profile, you can swap the paprika for smoked paprika (if you love the Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta at Cheesecake Factory, I’d recommend making the paprika swap).
This recipe has a bit more of a spicy Italian vibe than it does a Cajun or Creole vibe. If you’re prefer a Cajun taste profile, you can use Cajun seasoning to coat the chicken, and I’d definitely recommend adding in some bell pepper as a nod to the holy trinity of cooking that’s popular in Louisiana.
Also, if you love Cajun flavors, be sure to check out my Cajun Butter Steak Bites recipe! It’s a really popular reader favorite.
Can You Eat It Cold?
This recipe is really best served hot. The cream cheese starts to make the pasta stick together as it cools down, so I wouldn’t recommend this recipe for cold leftovers or for meal prep.
How To Make It In Advance
You can make the tomato based sauce in advance, but wait on mixing in the cheese. To finish the sauce before serving, heat the tomato sauce up, and once it’s hot, mix in the cheeses. I would still recommend cooking the pasta and the chicken immediately before serving.
Can You Make It Gluten Free?
This recipe can be made gluten free by using gluten free pasta, certified gluten free spices, and either a gluten free bouillon or chicken broth.
Can You Make It Dairy Free?
You can make this recipe dairy free by omitting the parmesan cheese, and replacing the cream cheese with a creamy dairy-free replacement. Some options that I haven’t tried, but think might work are: coconut cream, vegan cream cheese, nut milk, and soaked cashews blended in a high speed blender (cashews are the option that I think would work the best).
Keep In Touch
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If you like this recipe, be sure to check out our entire chicken recipe category! Some reader favorites are:
Spicy Chicken Breasts:
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Pinch ground black pepper
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast (approximately 2 chicken breasts)
Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta Sauce:
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
- 2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (depending on spice preference)*
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes (diced, use the kind packed in oil)
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base**
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 brick)
- 1/2 pound linguine (227 grams)
- Fresh parsley (for serving)
Pasta Part 1:
- Start to bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, paprika, onion powder, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, fine sea salt, and black pepper and mix.
- Using a sharp knife, butterfly the chicken all the way through (do this by cutting the chicken horizontally to make two even filets). Coat the chicken in the oil and spice blend.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, turn the heat down to medium. Add the chicken and cook for approximately 2 - 3 minutes per side, or until the chicken is just cooked through and the internal temperature reads 165 F on a meat thermometer. Remove the chicken from the pan, and add the butter to the flavorful bits left behind.
Pasta Part 2:
- Once the chicken is finished cooking and the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it is al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the starchy pasta water.
Spicy Creamy Tomato Sauce:
- Add the onion to the buttered skillet and saute for about 5 minutes, or until it’s translucent. Mix in the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and red chili flakes, and saute for 2 minutes (or until it’s aromatic).
- Add in the water, tomato paste, and chicken bouillon. Stir until the tomato paste and bouillon have dissolved into the water.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese and cream cheese until it’s fully melted.
- Using pasta tongs, toss the pasta in the sauce. Add some of the reserved pasta water to reach your desired consistency, then toss again to combine.
- Slice the chicken into thin strips.
- Serve the pasta with chicken on top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and additional parmesan if desired.
This recipe moves quickly, so I’d recommend having all of the ingredients prepped before you start.
*I prefer this with 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes, but if you have a low spice tolerance, I’d definitely start with 1/2 teaspoon.
**If you don’t have chicken bouillon, the chicken bouillon and water can be replaced with chicken broth.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 17.4gCarbohydrates: 35gNet Carbohydrates: 31.7gFiber: 3.3gSugar: 3.9gProtein: 25.3g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate. This recipe makes 4 large or 6 small servings. Nutrition was calculated assuming 6 servings.
If you’re looking for the perfect date night recipe, try this delicious and incredibly easy spicy chicken pasta!