Instant pot Cajun chicken pasta is a creamy, spicy pasta dish full of bites of chicken, sausage and vegetables. It’s hard to believe it all cooks in one pot in just 5 minutes!
Instant pot Cajun chicken pasta
I’ve come a long way for a girl who only bought an instant pot to only make beans from scratch and chicken stock. I never thought I would rely on it to make quick and easy dinners! It still shocks me that raw pasta and sauce can cook together in just minutes.
I have now seen the light—I see just how easy it is to make one pot meals in it! Frequently, I use it to make a dinner for a friend or a neighbor while I cook for my family. Having two meals going at once saves me so much time!
While I’m known in my neighborhood for dropping off Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken on people’s doorsteps, this instant pot Cajun chicken pasta is about to take its place. It is so good—so creamy, perfectly spiced, and family-friendly! I even made it for my parents one night for dinner, and it was the perfect amount for 4 people.
If you're cooking for someone who tries to eat healthy, they will love my instant pot lo mein. It has chicken, noodles, and a slurpable sauce, just like this recipe.
I cook in the instant pot mini, also known as the smaller 3 quart model. I’ve found that this model is just enough to cook for a small family of 2-4 people.
When deciding which size to buy, I realized that I buy a giant roast that would require a larger instant pot only once or twice a year. This smaller pot is perfect for my family of 3.5. My son is still only eating small bites of what we eat, so I can’t quite count him in on family dinners.
I was inspired to make this recipe after my in-laws visited earlier this year. We went to a restaurant, and my father-in-law ordered a Cajun creamy pasta dish that smelled so good! We all had ‘order envy,’ and I basically haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
With my giant can of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (not sponsored, I just seriously love the stuff) leftover from making my Instant Pot Potato Salad, I got to work on a one pot meal that combined chicken, sausage, and pasta into a creamy crave-worthy meal.
Ingredients for Instant pot Cajun chicken pasta:
-red bell pepper
-Cajun seasoning (like Tony Chachere's)
You might notice salt is missing from the ingredient list--the Cajun seasoning I use has salt in it, and we feel like it doesn't need more.
It’s hard to believe this all cooks in the same pot in just 5 minutes! We are going to saute the veggies and spices first to bloom the flavors, so the total cook time is slightly longer, however.
How to make instant pot Cajun chicken pasta:
- First, gather all of the ingredients and have them ready, so everything comes together quickly. Please note that we’re only using half of this kielbasa. The remaining half can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months, tightly wrapped.
- Next, coat the bottom of the instant pot with the olive oil, and saute the onion and bell pepper until softened, about 3-4 minutes. To do this, you’ll use the SAUTE function set to 5 minutes. When you’re done sauteeing, hit OFF to move onto the next function.
- Add the garlic and all of the spices, and saute for just 1 minute. This recipe does not need any additional salt, trust me on this. You may add freshly ground black pepper, if you like.
- Add the chicken, penne, broth, and sliced kielbasa and give everything a good stir. Place the lid on the pot, and cook on HIGH pressure for 5 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, carefully do a forced pressure release. When the valve drops, remove the lid and stir in the Parmesan and sour cream. It might seem like the pasta has too much liquid, but it will absorb some as it sits for a few minutes.
- Divide onto plates, and serve with bread for catching the extra sauce. Garnishing with fresh parsley is optional.
Can I make this Cajun chicken pasta in the slow cooker?
If you don’t own an instant pot, you can absolutely adapt this recipe for the crockpot. The modifications to make are simple. I recommend sautéing the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and spices on the stove before adding them to the crockpot. Once they’re done, add it to the crockpot, along with the chicken and sausage and only 1 ½ cups of chicken broth. After 4-6 hours, add the pasta and continue cooking for about 20 minutes, until the pasta is al dente. Finally, stir in the Parmesan and sour cream before serving.
Can I use frozen chicken breast?
Anytime we’re making chicken breast in the instant pot, I always try to get away with using a frozen breast. Here, you totally can add one frozen chicken breast to the pot, but be sure to add an extra minute of cooking time. This is what I do when I'm making my Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup.
To make it thicker:
If you get all the way done with this recipe and find it’s still not as thick as you like, you can simply whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into ¼ cup of cold chicken broth, and then stir it into the dish. I offer this, because if you make any modifications to the recipe (or if you make it in the slow cooker), your final product might change, and I want you to still love it!
If you're out of sour cream, you can use plain full-fat yogurt, heavy cream, or even cream cheese.
Can I make this in the 6 quart (or larger) instant pot?
You guys ask me this question on every single recipe I post--I do all the work of scaling down a recipe for you, but then you love the recipe so much that you want to double it! It's ok, I understand. And yes, you can make this in a 6 quart instant pot. No need to change anything about the recipe when you're doubling it--the cook time is the same 5 minutes.
Instant Pot Cajun Chicken Pasta
Instant pot Cajun chicken pasta, another instant pot mini recipe using chicken.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ of a red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into 2" chunks
- 6 ounces raw penne pasta
- 1 ¾ cup chicken broth
- 7 ounces of kielbasa sausage, sliced
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup sour cream
- fresh parsley, for serving
1. Press SAUTE on the instant pot and set the timer to 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, and allow it to heat for a few minutes until it's hot.
2. Add the onion and pepper, and saute for 3-4 minutes until its softened. Then, add the garlic and all of the spices to saute for 1 minute until fragrant.
3. Press CANCEL on the instant pot. Then, add the chicken chunks, pasta, chicken broth and kielbasa slices. Place the lid on the pot, turn the valve to SEAL. Now, press PRESSURE COOK and set the pressure to HIGH. Set the timer for 5 minutes.
4. THe instant pot will beep to acknowledge your selection, and then pressure will slowly build over the next 5-10 minutes. Once the pressure is reached, then the instant pot will beep and begin its 5 minute timer to cook.
5. When the timer goes off, do a forced pressure release by using an oven-mitt covered hand and the long handle of a wooden spoon to slide the valve to release. Be careful! Steam from a pressure cooker is very hot!
6. Remove the lid from the instant pot, and stir in the Parmesan and sour cream to blend. If it seems like there's too much liquid, the pasta will absorb some as it sits. If after 10 minutes, it's still too runny, you can whisk some cornstarch into cold chicken broth, and add it to the pot. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 427Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 1655mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 22g
I made this tonight....it was soooooo yummy! Oddly, the grocery store was completely out of kielbasa (pandemic shortage? It was weird.), so I ended up using 3 links of smoked sausage. If you can’t find kielbasa, smoked sausage is an awesome substitute in this recipe, FYI. I also used just 1 tsp of the Tony Chacere’s since I know Cajun spicy is sometimes too much for me. Even with the reduced Cajun seasoning, the taste was amazing, so if you’re spice-sensitive, you can use a little less. Thanks for the tasty addition to my instant pot dinner rotation!
One of the best instant pot recipes!! We ended up using turkey kielbasa (pandemic life) and it was just as good! We had our doubts about the pasta being too soft but it was not at all! It was al dente! This and the instant pot chicken teriyaki recipe are on our menu rotation. Thank you Christina!! Can't wait for more instant pot recipes! 😉
If I use a slow cooker; what heat setting do I use?
Christina Lane says
Low setting :)
Tried this for lunch today. The pasta was hard (not fully cooked) when I opened the lid. I closed the lid and added another five minutes of cooking. It was pretty good with a couple of pieces of pasta that weren’t done. Is there anything I can do in the future to avoid this?
Christina Lane says
Oh no, Chris! I think this is because the pasta wasn't pressed down and submerged into the liquid ingredients before the lid was closed to pressurize. Also, what kind of pasta did you use? Not whole wheat or bean pasta, right?
Excellent dish. I used andouille sausage and added artichoke hearts. Will definitely make it again
Do you have to pre-cook the chicken? Or does it cook in the 5 minutes? I don’t see mention of any specifics in the recipe.
Christina Lane says
No precooking required. It all cooks together.
I have the bigger instant pot but still want to use this recipe for 2.. is that okay?!