This instant pot Cajun chicken pasta is a creamy comfort food with a little protein boost from canned blacked beans. It’s an easy-to-make weekday meal that only takes three minutes in an electric pressure cooker.
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Inspiration For This Tasty Cajun Chicken Pasta
When I was in college I worked at a ton of chain restaurants. I started with Bennigan’s and over the years worked at Outback Steakhouse, Chili’s, and even Lonestar Steakhouse – I don’t even know if they are still in business.
When I found myself with a bunch of random ingredients in the kitchen, I started to remember about one of the dishes I probably served a ton of in college – Chilis Cajun Chicken Pasta.
This is not necessarily a copycat recipe. Instead, we had some chicken in the fridge, red pepper that needed to be used, some heavy cream that needed to be used, etc.
At first, I thought of a simple chicken alfredo. With the red pepper, though, I started to think about more Southwest seasoning. In the end, I decided to jazz up the typical one-pot Cajun pasta recipe with black beans and red peppers.
Of course, we had to add the black beans, but both the beans and the red pepper added some fabulous color. Using the black beans also meant I could use less chicken than most recipes normally call for.
What Is Cajun Seasoning
There is one key ingredient to this pasta that makes it Cajun-style and that’s Cajun seasoning. Normally, Cajun seasoning includes salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and other seasonings. We like to use Louisiana Fish Fry Company Cajun seasoning. And, no, they are not paying us to say this.
But, on a trip to Baton Rouge a few years ago, we toured the Louisiana Fish Fry and learned all about their passion for all things Cajun. We became converts and brought some back from the US during our last trip.
For this recipe, the Cajun seasoning adds a little bit of heat but also some great coloring to keep the dish from looking more like alfredo than a creamy cajun chicken pasta recipe.
Check out our other Instant Pot Cajun Recipes:
Sauteing Chicken In An Instant Pot
I love Instant Pot easy chicken recipes because it’s super simple to cook the chicken on the saute function in the Instant Pot.
Any time I cook chicken, I like to take it out of the fridge a few minutes before I start doing the other prep work for the recipe. I like to season the chicken on both sides with black pepper and sea salt or Maldon salt.
Don’t be afraid to use salt when seasoning meat. It acts as a great tenderizer. Also by removing the meat ahead of time from the fridge, the meat has a chance to warm up a bit so it takes even less time to cook.
Instant Pot Cajun Pasta Ingredients
This recipe has all of the basic ingredients you would see in a one-pot Cajun chicken pasta recipe. The seasoned chicken breast is cut into pieces and cooked in olive oil. To that, add a bit of diced onion. Shallots would also work for this recipe if you have them.
I like to use a garlic press too so that there aren’t big chunks of garlic in the pasta recipe. Try the Zulay stainless steel garlic press, which is easy to use. There’s no need to even peel the garlic ahead of time.
The only other vegetable is a diced red pepper. It is possible to use a green or yellow pepper too, but I like the color the red pepper gives to the pasta.
The tasty Cajun pasta recipe is flavored by Cajun seasoning and crushed red pepper. We like a bit of kick but if you are sensitive to the heat, then just add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper or skip it altogether.
Rather than using water to cook the pasta ahead of time, use low-sodium chicken broth as the liquid base for the dish. The chicken broth adds a lot more flavor to the dish. Any pasta shape will work, including small shells, elbows, or even fusilli.
Like cooking pasta in an Instant Pot? Check out our Instant Pot Taco Pasta With Black Beans or our Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Parmesan Pasta With White Beans
For the black beans, be sure to drain the black beans in a colander. Run cold water over the beans until the water starts to run clear. If you just add the beans from the can then the bean “juices” will go with and will turn the pasta a dark and yucky color.
The creaminess of the Cajun chicken pasta comes from heavy cream and shredded cheese. Any shredded cheese will work, including any combination of cheddar, Monterey Jack, or even gouda would be fine. It’s important to shred the cheese ahead of time so that it melts quickly.
How To Make Cajun Chicken Pasta In An Instant Pot
I do love Instant Pot recipes that feel pretty instant, and this is one of them. Start this recipe for Cajun chicken pasta by adding the olive oil to the electric pressure cooker.
Turn the Instant Pot on the saute function. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is no longer pink. It doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through as it will continue to cook.
Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper. Coat in the olive oil and saute until the vegetables start to sweat, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot off and continue to stir the chicken and vegetables so that they don’t stick.
Add one cup of chicken broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any bit of chicken stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the Cajun seasoning and crushed red pepper. Add the black beans and uncooked pasta.
Add one more cup of chicken broth. Try to stir so that the pasta is covered. It’s okay for the beans or vegetables to be on top.
Close the lid of the Instant Pot and ensure the pressure valve is sealed. Turn the Instant Pot on Pressure Cook and set the time for 3 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the pot to pressurize. When the pot pressurizes, the valve will pop up and the time will count down.
When the three minutes are up, manually release the pressure valve by using a towel or oven mitt to press the release button. Immediately add the shredded cheese and stir. Then add the heavy cream.
Allow the cheese and cream to warm for a minute or two until ready to serve.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper
- ½ of a small onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 small red pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups dry, uncooked pasta
- 1 15 ounce can cooked, rinsed, and drained black beans
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Add olive oil to the electric pressure cooker. Turn the Instant Pot on the saute function. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
- Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper. Coat in the olive oil and saute until the vegetables start to sweat, about 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the Instant Pot off and continue to stir the chicken and vegetables so that they don’t stick. Add one cup of chicken broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot.
- Add the Cajun seasoning, crushed red pepper, black beans, and uncooked pasta.
- Add one more cup of chicken broth. Try to stir so that the pasta is covered. It’s okay for the beans or vegetables to be on top.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot and ensure the pressure valve is sealed. Turn the Instant Pot on Pressure Cook and set the time for 3 minutes.
- When the three minutes are up, manually release the pressure valve by using a towel or oven mitt.
- Carefully remove the lid. Immediately add the shredded cheese and stir.
- Add the heavy cream. Allow the cheese and cream to warm for a minute or two until ready to serve.
If you are not familiar with how to cook in an Instant Pot, see our more detailed notes and tips above.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 779Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 121mgSodium: 1967mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 12gSugar: 5gProtein: 36g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
Modifications And Variations
To make this dish a little more Cajun-style, perhaps try a cajun chicken and sausage pasta. Just add slices of andouille sausage when cooking the chicken.
To make a more spicy Cajun chicken pasta, add a diced jalapeno when cooking up the red pepper.
To make a more creamy cajun chicken pasta, you can add a tablespoon or two of cream cheese. This is a pretty common ingredient in many recipes for this dish. A low-fat sour cream would work well too.